Main content area

Feasibility of an innovative amorphous silicon photovoltaic/thermal system for medium temperature applications

Ren, Xiao, Li, Jing, Hu, Mingke, Pei, Gang, Jiao, Dongsheng, Zhao, Xudong, Ji, Jie
Applied energy 2019 v.252 pp. 113427
absorption, annealing, cooling, deformation, heat transfer, models, power generation, silicon, stainless steel, temperature
Medium temperature photovoltaic/thermal (PV/T) systems have immense potential in the applications of absorption cooling, thermoelectric generation, and organic Rankine cycle power generation, etc. Amorphous silicon (a-Si) cells are promising in such applications regarding the low temperature coefficient, thermal annealing effect, thin film and avoidance of large thermal stress and breakdown at fluctuating temperatures. However, experimental study on the a-Si PV/T system is rarely reported. So far the feasibility of medium temperature PV/T systems using a-Si cells has not been demonstrated. In this study, the design and construction of an innovative a-Si PV/T system of stainless steel substrate are presented. Long-term outdoor performance of the system operating at medium temperature has been monitored in the past 15 months. The average electrical efficiency was 5.65%, 5.41% and 5.30% at the initial, intermediate and final phases of the long-test test, accompanied with a daily average thermal efficiency from about 21% to 31% in the non-heating season. The thermal and electrical performance of the system at 60 °C, 70 °C and 80 °C are also analyzed and compared. Moreover, a distributed parameter model with experimental validation is developed for an inside view of the heat transfer and power generation and to predict the system performance in various conditions. Technically, medium temperature operation has not resulted in interruption or observable deformation of the a-Si PV/T system during the period. The technical and thermodynamic feasibility of the a-Si PV/T system at medium operating temperature is demonstrated by the experimental and simulation results.