Temperature Considerations in Solar Arrays

Steve Eugene Watkins, Missouri University of Science and Technology
Min-Jung Wu
E. J. Timpson

This document has been relocated to http://scholarsmine.mst.edu/ele_comeng_facwork/1900

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Temperature is an important consideration in the operation of photovoltaic (PV) arrays. In particular, daily and seasonal temperature variations are a limitation on the application of solar power to homes. At lower temperatures, PV systems produce more power. For higher temperatures, optimum operation requires modification of electrical load and removal of excess heat. Several technologies and approaches are available. To pursue this system optimization, PV cells were investigated at different temperatures. These investigations are compared with simulated theoretical results to draw more specific conclusions that can be applied to a solar house. A temperature reduction of 60⁰C improved the power by up to twenty-seven percent with the current test cell. The simulations matched this conclusion and can be applied to the PV array used on a house. The University of Missouri-Rolla (UMR) and Rolla Technical Institute (RTI) jointly built a solar house for the 2002 National Solar Decathlon Competition. This house is the motivation and testbed for our research. The first application is to cool the cell; then compare the additional amount of power produced with the amount of power required to cool the cell. The feasibility of cooling the array is discussed. This paper first gives a description of the UMR/RTI solar house, a literature review, and overview. Temperature-dependence theory and experiments is given next. The third portion shows simulations including current-voltage curves and an analysis of load lines and temperature. The direct application of this research to the solar house and proposals for design considerations are summarized.