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International Heat Transfer Conference 15

ISSN: 2377-424X (online)
ISSN: 2377-4371 (flashdrive)

An Integrated Thermal Electrical Model for Single Cell Photovoltaic Receivers Under Concentration

Marios Theristis
Heriot-Watt University

Tadhg S. O'Donovan
Institute of Mechanical, Process and Energy Engineering, Heriot-Watt University

DOI: 10.1615/IHTC15.sol.009239
pages 7551-7562

KEY WORDS: Solar energy, Computational methods, Thermal management, Solar spectrum, Multijunction solar cells


Three dimensional finite analysis is used to predict the cooling requirements of a multijunction photovoltaic cell in steady-state. The inputs to the thermal model are imported through an analytical spectral dependent electrical model which is used to quantify the heat generated in the cell. Both natural convective and radiative heat losses are accounted for all free surfaces to the surroundings. Reflection losses from the cell’s surface have also been considered. The results report on the cell’s maximum temperature and the heat transfer coefficient required to maintain the cell’s temperature below 100°C. In this study, the current density and voltage produced is calculated for each layer, thus the exact thermal power can be quantified giving a more accurate prediction, resulting in a better estimation of the cooling requirements of the system. The results show that the analytical model gives a realistic prediction of the thermal power which passes through each layer of the III-V cell due to its ability to include the current mismatch and the infrared light absorption rate. It is found that CPV single cell configurations up to 500 suns concentration can be adequately cooled passively with a heat sink’s thermal resistance below 1.7 K/W while for locations with extreme ambient conditions, a thermal resistance less than 1.4 K/W is needed.

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