PROJECT PROFILE: Arizona State University 4 (PVRD)

You are here

Project Name: Plant and Module Designs for Uniform and Reduced Operating Temperature
Funding Opportunity: PVRD
SunShot Subprogram: Photovoltaics
Location: Tempe, AZ
SunShot Award Amount: $899,316
Awardee Cost Share: $100,000
Project Investigator: Govindasamy Tamizhmani

This project intends to identify and evaluate thermally conductive and radiative but electrically insulating backsheets, which can be used by the photovoltaic (PV) module manufacturers to reduce solar levelized cost of energy (LCOE) values. Based on the typical temperature coefficients of standard multicrystalline modules, it is possible for conventional rooftop c-Si PV modules to lose as much as 30% of power and the open rack c-Si modules to lose as much as 20% power on hot summer days in sunny or desert locations. This project intends to reduce solar LCOE by lowering module operating temperatures, reducing reliability failures, and reducing degradation rates to improve system lifetimes.

Approach

Modules in the field operate at higher temperatures than the standard conditions at which they are tested and rated at before installation. Higher temperatures lead to increased radiative recombination, lower efficiencies, and increases in degradation and the risk of failure. This project will develop a passive approach to cooling standard flat-plate crystalline silicon modules by incorporating a thermally conductive/radiative backsheet into these modules. These backsheets promise to reduce module operating cell temperature by at least 2% and increase operating module efficiency and lifetime.

Innovation

The most common module cooling approaches use active cooling, such as pumping water through pipes on the back of modules, which adds more costs than benefits. This project will use a passive approach to cooling standard flat-plate crystalline silicon modules by incorporating a thermally conductive/radiative backsheet (TCB). The novel backsheets will reduce module operating cell temperature, resulting in increased operating module efficiency and lifetime and leading to a lower levelized cost of energy.