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Testing alternative Photovoltaic-Thermal (PVT) prototype panels

Author(s): Stuart Baur a, Nicole Annis a, Kelly Homan b and Joon-Ho Choi c
Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering Department, Missouri University of Science & Technology, Rolla, MO
b Mechancial and Aerospace Engineering Department, Missouri University of Science & Technology, Rolla, MO
c School of Architecture, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
International Journal of Smart Grid and Clean Energy, vol. 11, no. 3, July 2022: pp. 118-126
Digital Object Identifier: 10.12720/sgce.11.3.118-126

Abstract: The purpose of this research was to develop a modular photovoltaic-thermal panel, which would be easily implemented and maintained. Three different prototype panels were tested simultaneously. The system was fixed at an angle of 37.95° to the surface of the earth based on the local area (Rolla, Missouri) latitudinal angle to optimize the solar potential energy. The first two panels (PVT A & B) consisted of a highly conductive thermal sheeting and different sized copper tubing. The third panel (PVT C) consisted of copper tubing with an aluminium fin. Thermal images were used to verify the heat transfer across the panels and compare with the standard photovoltaic panel (PV D). The PVT panels A, B and C had thermal efficiencies of 33.6%, 26.4% and 28.7%, respectively. It is found that the change in diameter of piping while maintaining a constant flow rate of the water as working fluid indicates varying improvements to the thermal yields. It is also found that the types of heat sink materials used effects the overall efficiency of thermal output. Furthermore, the impact of photovoltaic/thermal collector design parameters on the electrical and thermal performances has been analysed and discussed.

Keywords: solar, photovoltaic-thermal panel, PVT, solar water heater, thermal gain
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