Wind Turbulence Impact on Solar Energy Harvesting
Heat Transfer Engineering
Increasing global energy demand and the need for cleaner energy have accelerated renewable energy deployment. The conversion efficiency of sunlight to renewable energy decreases as the temperature of a photovoltaic (PV) cell, inside a PV panel, increases. To harvest the solar energy and convert it to high-quality electricity at a high efficiency, atmospheric wind could be utilized to boost the efficiency of PV panels by lowering their cell temperature. This study investigated the influence of devices that create turbulence in the air flowing over a PV panel, in order to increase the convective heat loss, decrease cell temperature, and consequently increase the panel efficiency and power output. To decouple the various aspects of atmospheric wind on heat convection, a controlled environment was employed: a heated flat plate in a wind tunnel incorporating a largely uniform cross-wind obstruction. Velocity and heat transfer at various points were measured to delineate the underlying mechanisms of heat transfer enhancement in a systematic manner. A discrete rib design resulted in the greatest overall enhancement of heat transfer coefficient (∼30%). Comparing the various types of turbulence-inducing devices, the heat transfer coefficient was most related to the turbulence intensity and the velocity normal to the panel surface.
Fouladi, Fama; Henshaw, Paul; Ting, David S.K.; and Ray, Steve. (2020). Wind Turbulence Impact on Solar Energy Harvesting. Heat Transfer Engineering, 41 (5), 407-417.