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A methodology for predicting hybrid solar panel performance in different operating modes

Fine, Jamie P., Dworkin, Seth B., Friedman, Jacob
Renewable energy 2019 v.130 pp. 1198-1206
electric power, electrical properties, models, prediction, renewable energy sources, solar collectors, temperature, thermal energy
When a hybrid solar panel produces thermal energy, it can operate in either hybrid mode, or thermal-only mode. In hybrid mode, the panel produces both electrical power and thermal power, and in thermal-only mode, only thermal power is produced. It has been shown that the thermal performance of a hybrid panel can vary by 15% on average between these two modes, but panel manufacturers are only required to publish performance data for one mode. Other studies in the literature have found a difference in panel thermal performance between these two modes, but they do not discuss a methodology to estimate alternate mode performance using manufacturer-supplied data. To alleviate this gap in the literature, this study presents a novel methodology to estimate alternate mode thermal performance of a hybrid solar panel only using manufacturer-supplied data. To match the panel information that is typically available, the second-order thermal efficiency model is used to estimate thermal performance, and temperature dependent electrical characteristics are used to estimate electrical performance. Indoor testing using a solar simulator was carried out, and the detailed test results are included. Results show that using the proposed modification technique can estimate thermal performance within 4% of actual values on average.