Flow over a heated flat plate (surrogate photovoltaic panel) was investigated experimentally in a closed loop wind tunnel to examine the influence of free stream turbulence intensity on the convection heat transfer coefficient. First, the near laminar (background turbulence intensity < 0.5%) free stream case was considered at velocities ranging from 4 to 10 m/s; this resulted in Reynolds numbers ranging from 1 × 105 to 2.4 × 105 based on the plate length. The turbulence free stream case was realized by installing an orificed perforated plate upstream to generate turbulence intensities of 4, 8 and 12% at the leading edge of the surrogate panel. Local heat transfer coefficient and Nusselt number were determined along the span of the plate for each case; Nusselt number was presented in terms of Reynolds number and turbulence intensity. It was revealed that by increasing the turbulence intensity from 4% to 12% the rate of heat transfer increased up to ∼40%, such considerable increase can significantly improve performance of some applications such as PV panels.

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