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Novel Computational Fluid Dynamics Modeling of Spatial Convective Heat Transfer over PV-Modules Mounted on an Inclined Surface with an Underlying Air Gap
M.G. Chowdhury, L. Somma, D. Goossens, H. Goverde, I.T. Horvath, E. Voroshazi, J. Poortmans, F. Catthoor
Performance, PV System, Rooftop, Simulation, Module, Façade, Wind Modelling
Photovoltaic Modules and BoS Components
Subtopic: PV Module Design, Manufacture, Performance and Reliability
Event: 35th European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition
Session: 5CV.1.15
1182 - 1185
ISBN: 3-936338-50-7
Paper DOI: 10.4229/35thEUPVSEC20182018-5CV.1.15
0,00 EUR
Document(s): paper


The energy yield of PV modules depends on solar insolation, wind speed, wind direction, ambient temperature, the mounting structure, the building structure, and the local topography. The interaction of all these factors results in either a heating up or a cooling down of the module. Variations in temperature result in variations in the module’s energy yield. Hence it is imperative to have accurate information on cell and module temperature. State of the art studies already reports on the dependency of module temperature on wind velocity. However, the current literature does not consider fine grain details or assumes a constant heat transfer or an average temperature over the module surface. In this paper, we work on the fine grain details and include volumetric heat generation from the cell and correlate it with the forced convection over PV module surfaces. A test PV setup was mounted on an inclined roof with a 3.5 and 5.5 cm air gap underneath the module. Inlet freestream wind velocities of 3, 4 and 5 ms-1 were considered We only considered forced convection because, for 3, 4 and 5 ms-1 freestream velocities natural convection was negligible. We proposed a feasible method to include the fine details with the thin layer feature of COMSOL inside the module. By doing so, the computational effort was significantly reduced. Results were compared to experimental data collected in a wind tunnel. Overall, there was good agreement between the simulated and the measured results. The mismatches that were observed arose mostly from overestimations in the simulation. The modeling technique can be used in future studies on the effects of wind velocity and wind direction on temperature distributions over PV setups of different configurations.