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Performance enhancement of a photovoltaic panel with reflectors and cooling coupled to a solar still with air injection

Kabeel, A.E., Abdelgaied, Mohamed
Journal of cleaner production 2019 v.224 pp. 40-49
air, cooling, cost estimates, electric power, electricity, energy costs, evaporation rate, freshwater, solar collectors, solar radiation, solar still, surface temperature
The present study aims to overcome the problems of freshwater and electricity in remote areas. To achieve this, a hybrid system of photovoltaic (PV) panel with reflectors and cooling coupled developed solar still with air injection was experimentally investigated. This study aims to improve the PV panel performance using reflectors with cooling. The cooling was used to reduce the PV surface temperature. On the other hand, reflectors are used to reduce reflection loss and increase the rate of solar radiation absorbed by PV panels. To obtain the best cooling technique of the PV panel with reflectors, the five operating cases was studied, namely case-A (conventional PV panel), case-B (PV with reflectors), case-C (PV with reflectors and air cooling technique), case-D (PV with reflectors and water cooling technique), and case-E (PV with reflectors, water and air cooling techniques). The cooling air out from the PV module for the two cases C and E were injected inside the developed solar still to increase the evaporation rate within the solar still, thereby improving the freshwater productivity. The results show that the improvement in the electrical power of the PV panel was recorded 16.81, 21.62, 35.13, and 39.69% for cases B, C, D, and E, respectively compared to case-A. Also, using the air injection system improved the freshwater production by 40.98% and 21.96% for cases C and E, respectively compared to the case without air injection system. The average overall efficiency of the hybrid system was recorded 21.2, 22.1, 30.55, 22.95, and 27.15% for cases A, B, C, D, and E, respectively. Moreover, the economic analysis presented that the estimated cost of kWh and fresh water production vary between 0.076 and 0.083 $/kWh and 0.01–0.014 $/L, respectively.