The operating temperature of photovoltaic (PV) modules is affected by external factors such as irradiance, wind speed and ambient temperature as well as internal factors like material properties and design properties. These factors can make a difference in the operating temperatures between cells within a module and between modules within a plant. This is a three-part thesis.
Part 1 investigates the behavior of temperature distribution of PV cells within a module through outdoor temperature monitoring under various operating conditions (Pmax, Voc and Isc) and examines deviation in the temperature coefficient values pertaining to this temperature variation. ANOVA, a statistical tool, was used to study the influence of various factors on temperature variation. This study also investigated the thermal non-uniformity affecting I-V parameters and performance of four different PV technologies (crystalline silicon, CdTe, CIGS, a-Si). Two new approaches (black-colored frame and aluminum tape on back-sheet) were implemented in addition to the two previously-used approaches (thermally insulating the frame, and frame and back sheet) to study temperature uniformity improvements within c-Si PV modules on a fixed latitude-tilt array. This thesis concludes that frame thermal insulation and black frame help reducing thermal gradients and next best viable option to improve temperature uniformity measurements is by using average of four thermocouples as per IEC 61853-2 standard.
Part 2 analyzes the temperature data for two power plants (fixed-tilt and one-axis) to study the temperature variation across the cells in a module and across the modules in a power plant. The module placed in the center of one-axis power plant had higher temperature, whereas in fixed-tilt power plant, the module in north-west direction had higher temperatures. Higher average operating temperatures were observed in one-axis tracking as compared to the fixed-tilt PV power plant, thereby expected to lowering their lifetime.
Part 3 focuses on determination of a thermal model coefficients, using parameters similar to Uc and Uv thermal loss factors used in PVsyst, for modules of four different PV technologies experiencing hot-desert climate conditions by statistically correlating a year-long monitored data. Thermal models help to effectively quantity factors influencing module temperatures to estimate performance and energy models.
- Temperature coefficients and thermal uniformity mapping of PV modules and plants