16571670, 1996
Copyright 1996 ElsevierScienceLtd
S019641904(96)000106
Printed in Great Britain. All rights re~xved
01968904/96 $15.00 + 0.00
Pergamon
Al~traetThe performance of singlepass and doublepass combined photovoltaic thermal collectors are
analyzed with steadystate models. The working fluid is air and the models are based on energy
conservation at various nodes of the collector. Closed form solutions have been obtained for the
differential equations of both the singlepass and doublepass collectors. Comparisons are made between
the performances of the two types of combined photovoltaic thermal collectors. The results show that the
new design, the doublepass photovoltaic thermal collector, has superior performance. Important
parameters for both types of collector are identified, and their effects on the performances of the two types
of collectors are presented in detail. Copyright 1996 Published by Elsevier Science Ltd
Photovoltaic thermal solar collector
Single pass
Double pass
Steadystate analysis
NOMENCLATURE
Area (m2)
Duct depth (m)
Width of system (m)
Specific heat of air (j/kg. K)
Hydraulic diameter (m)
Convective heat transfer (W/m2 K)
Conductivity of air (W/m2. K)
Length of absorber plate (m)
Mass flow rate (kg/hr)
Reynolds number
Packing factor or area of absorber covered by cells
PE= Electrical energy
S = Solar radiation intensity (W/m 2)
T = Temperature (C)
X = Horizontal coordinate
uR= Back plate overall loss coefficient (W/m2. K)
A, B, C, K, R, Q = Constants obtained by algebraic manipulation of systems of coupled equations
Greek letters
~t = Absorptance
r/= Efficiency
= Transmittance
fl, ~,, 2 = Constants obtained by algebraic manipulation of systems of coupled equations
Subscripts
a = Ambient
c = Convective
col = Collector
f l = Upper channel fluid stream
f2 = Lower channel fluid stream
g = Glass cover
i = Inlet
A=
b=
B=
c~ =
=
h=
k=
L=
m=
Re =
P=
o
p
pv
pl
Mean
= Outlet
= Puttant
= Photovoltaic cell
ffiAbsorber plate
=
plat
Radiative
Reference
Sky
Wind
p2 = Back
r=
ref =
s=
w=
1657
1658
SOPIAN e t al.:
MODELING
The singlepass and doublepass photovoltaic thermal systems presented in this paper are as
shown in Figs 1 and 2, respectively. The singlepass photovoltaic thermal air heater is similar to
the one proposed by Bhargava et al. [2]. It is essentially a singleglazing air heater with the air flow
passage between two metallic plates. The upper metallic plate is painted black and the photovoltaic
cells are pasted over it. The material used to paste the cells on the absorber plate is a good thermal
\f/
hrls ()
./. 81holeOreucov~
Akin
hcp"
GW) covW0
hq~
Nrod

IneuNen ~
h~]N~
hcp~l
Phoiova4~ ml
Fig. 1. Configuration of a singlepass photovoltaic thermal solar collector with the heat transfer
coefficients.
SOPIAN et al.:
\L/
1659
hqp
~soa~l~n*.. p,
hqv,
hctlll
~.~
~.
hq~P2
T~ ~
.......
c~
Fig. 2. Configuration of a doublepass photovoltaic thermal solar collector with the heat transfer
coefficient.
conductor and a good electrical insulator. The cells can be either circular or rectangular. For
rectangular cells, it is possible to cover the entire area of the absorber plate.
For the doublepass photovoltaic thermal heater, air first enters the flow channel formed by
the glass cover and the upper metallic collector, and then under it. This flow arrangement
effects greater heat removal from the top absorber plate and also reduces the heat loss from
the collector. The upper and lower metallic plates are painted black and the photovoltaic
cells are pasted over the upper plate. The air must not come in contact with the bare cells,
otherwise the cells would be damaged. Hence, a protective transparent layer has to be applied to
the surface.
E n e r g y balance f o r the single pass s y s t e m
To keep the analysis simple, the energy balance equations at the glass cover, absorber plate and
working fluid (air) are written under the following assumptions: (i) capacity effects of glass cover,
absorber plate and of the enclosed air have been neglected; (ii) natural convection is completely
suppressed for the hot plate in contact with air below; (iii) the temperatures of the glass cover and
plates vary only in the direction of fluid flow, the xdirection; and (iv) the side losses are negligible
and leakage of air to or from the collector is negligible.
The energy balance equations can then be written as follows.
For the glass cover,
=,s +
Ts) + h + , d T p ,
 T , ) = ho
(T, 
r+) +
(1)
(2)
 Tr,) = 0 (3)
(4)
Substituting equations (1), (3). and (4) into equation (2). the variables Ts and Tpt can be ehminatcd,
and the following firstorder linear differential equation is obtained:
dTn
dx+ RTn = Q
(5)
1660
SOPIAN eta/.:
(6)
Tn = Q + C~e  ~
Using the boundary condition,
(7)
The solution can be obtained as
(8)
Energy balance f o r the double pass system
For simplicity, assumptions (i), (iii), and (iv) for the singlepass case are used. The behavior of
the system is governed by the following energy balance equations.
At the glass cover,
%S
Tp,) +
h~ng(T s  T n )
(9)
For air flowing between the glass cover and the collectorplate,
mCf dTn
~  + hq,lf,(Tf, Tpl)
ha~g(Tg T n ) = ~ 
(10)
Tp2)+
h ~ m ( T p l  Tf2)
(II)
rhCf dTf~
t h~p~(Tf2  Tp2)
(12)
(13)
dx
The variables Ts, Tpl and Tp2 can be eliminated from equations (10) and (12) by substituting
equations (9), (11), and (13) into them. The following two linear firstorder differential equations
are obtained:
dTn
(iX
dTn
~"71Tn
+ 72Tf2+ Ci
=#lTn + #2Tf2+ C2
(14)
(15)
Equations (14) and (15), subject to boundary conditions,constitutea twopoint boundary value
problem, which is normally solved by numerical methods. However, a closed form solution can
be obtained by the following proc~u.re. Firstly,~luations (14) and (15) can be combined as
d(Tn + 22 Tn)
= C(Tn + 22 Tf2) + K
dx
(16)
where
C ffiTl +
22#t
(17)
SOPIAN
et al.:
1661
22 =  
(18)
K = C~ + 22C 2
(19)
(20)
From equation (18), the two roots can be solved and the following equations can be obtained:
Tfl q" 221Tf2 =  K,1
Cl'T~~_l~l ecllX
(21)
(22)
where the constants can be obtained again through algebraic manipulations. The constants Bll and
B22 can be determined from the following boundary conditions:
Tr,(x=0) = Ta
(23)
Tfl(x = L) = Tf2(x = L)
(24)
Hence, the solution yields the temperature distributions of the air in both passes, from which
the temperature distributions of the glass cover and plates can be obtained.
Equations (3) and (9) contain the effect of the photovoltaic cells on the characteristics of the
absorbed solar radiation. When solar radiation is transmitted through the glass cover, part of the
incident radiation is converted into electrical energy by the photovoltaic cells and the remainder
is absorbed by the cells and the plates as thermal energy. Thus, the part of the energy used in raising
the temperature of the absorber plate that contains the photovoltaic cells in equations (3) and (9)
are calculated by subtracting the energy converted into electrical energy out of the total incident
solar radiation. In equations (3) and (9), r/pvis the efficiency of the photovoltaic cells at an average
plate temperature Tin P is the fraction of area of the absorber plate occupied by the photovoltaic
cells. For the singlepass photovoltaic thermal collector, out of the total solar radiation P S incident
on the photovoltaic cells, "~gupvS?'/pvP is converted into electricity, while the remaining
rg%vSP(1 r/pv) is transferred to the absorber plate along with the part zg~pl(l  P ) S directly
absorbed by the plate. For the doublepass collector, ZgZp%vPS~lp~ is converted into electricity,
while z~zpusSP(1  ~Tp~)is transferred to the absorber plate, and rg%us(1  P ) S is directly absorbed
by the plate.
The forced convective heat transfer coefficients are calculated using the following relationship [4].
h = 0.0158(Re) 8 D~
(25)
In equations (1) and (9), hrgs and h~gw can be combined to form the overall heat transfer
coefficient from the glass to the ambient. It combines radiative as well as convective losses due
to the wind and takes the value 25 W/m 2. K. All other radiative heat transfer coefficients are
taken as 6W/m2.K. The value of the glass and pottant transmittance zg and % is 0.9,
respectively, and plate %, and glass absorptance % are 0.9 and 0.06, respectively. The solar
absorptance and the radiative properties of the photovoltaic cell surface and pottant are assumed
to be the same as that of the black absorber (%v = % = Up,). The back loss coefficient UR is
0.0692 W/m 2. K.
Since perfect thermal contact between the photovoltaic cell and the absorber plate is
assumed, the cell temperature will be equal to the absorber plate temperature. In addition, the
efficiency of the cell depends on the temperature of the cell. The plate temperature will be a function
of the distance from the air inlet, x. For both cases, the average absorber temperature T can be
ECM37/II~G
1662
calculated by integrating the function Tpl (x). The efficiency of the cell at Tm is given by the
following [5]
~]pv ~"~ref[ 1  flref(Trn  Tr)]
(26)
where r/~f= 10% is the cell efficiency at the reference Tr~f= 25C. fir is a constant given by
fl~f =
1

(27)
rpv rr
where Tpv, the cell temperature at which the efficiency drops to zero, is taken to be 270C.
An iterative method is adopted to solve the equations. For the singlepass photovoltaie
thermal collector, equations (1)(8) are solved for a photovoltaic cell efficiency of 10%. The
temperature distribution inside the collector is obtained, and Tm is calculated. Then, ~/p~for this
Tm is calculated from equation (26). With this new value of ~/p~, the system equations are again
solved until the difference between two successive values of r/pv< 0.1%. For the doublepass
photovoltaic thermal collector, equations (9)(24) are solved using a similar procedure as above.
The instantaneous thermal efficiency for both the singlepass and doublepass collectors is given
as follows:
rh Cr(To Ti)dt
r/thermal =
(28)
A~ol~Sdt
(29)
(30)
40
!
o
~30
P=0.25
I.U
i
t=
I. 25
g... P = 1
" 
"" . . . . . . .
20
J
15
0.002
Double PaX
o.0o7
o.o12
o.o17
o.022
(T.  T=)/8
Fig. 3. Thermal efficiency curves for the
singlepass
pC
o.o27
m'/W)
and doublepass
SOPIAN
1663
7.5
o>,
le.s
"6
P=I.0
~5.5
UJ
4.5
DoublePsss
....
4
30
Single Pass I
35
40
45
50
55
Hence, the combined photovoltaic thermal efficiency for both cases over the period of sunshine is
given as follows:
(3])
dt
goo
go
8oo
8o
700
70
.o
ri
11
00
~0
6:00 7.'00 8:00 9.0010:0011:0012:001:00 2.'00 3:00 4:00 5:00 6:00 7:00
Time ~ the DIq (hr)
Fig. 5. Daily variations of global solar radiation and ambient temperature.
1664
,o

I
3o
20
10
I_
0
:00
7.'~
8.'00
9:00
_.I
I 0:00
11:00
12:00
I:00
2:.00
3.'~
4:00
5:00
Tlme of the
6:00
Day ~r)
Fig. 6. Maximum outlet temperature at various collector lengths for the singlepass collector.
RESULTS
AND OBSERVATIONS
The parameters that affect the performance of the singlepass and doublepass photovoltaic
thermal solar collector are (i) the absorber plate temperature, (ii) mass flow rate, (iii) duct depth,
(iv) collector length, (v) inlet temperature, (vi) solar radiation, and (vii) packing factor. Calculations
were performed for both cases for various values of flow rates, collector length, duct depth, and
packing factors.
Thermal and electrical efficiency curves
A typical efficiency versus ((TfiTa)/S) curve is normally used as a standard form for
rating commercial thermal collectors. Figure 3 contains the thermal efficiency curves for both
collectors. The method used to generate the efficiency curves was to vary Tfi, keeping
70
60
1.0
ESO
20
......
10
0
6.'00
1
7:00
I
9:00
i
10:00
I
11.'00
I
12:00
J
1.'00
. . p
I_
J
2.~0
I
3:00
_)
i
4:00
J
5:oo
6:00
SOPIAN et al.:
1665
lOO
90
80
oulla
Temperatures
70
m (~r)
.o 60
100
Jo
10
0
6:00
7:00
8:00
9:00
10:00
11:00
12:00
1:c0
2:00
3:00
4:00
5:00
6:00
S = 1000 W/m 2 and Ta = 22C. The packing factor varies for P = 0.25 to P = 1.00. Figure 4 shows
the electrical efficiencies plotted as a function of the average fluid temperature in the collector,
(Tfo + Ta)/2.
The effect of mass flow rate, packing factor, and absorber length on the outlet temperature
Figure 5 shows the daily variations of solar radiation and ambient temperature, which have been
utilized in analyzing both the singlepass and doublepass photovoltaic thermal solar collectors.
Figure 6 shows the maximum outlet temperature for the singlepass photovoltaic thermal solar
collector. For the length of 1 m, the maximum outlet temperature for the day of 44C can be
achieved. In addition, for a length of 2 m, an outlet temperature of 48C can be reached. Figure 7
shows a similar analysis for the doublepass photovoltaic thermal solar collector. For collector
Ii
Temperatures
m (l~hr)
lOO
E
3O
2O
10
0
6:00
7.00 8:00
~00
2.~0
3.00 4:00
15.'00 6.~0
1666
SOPIAN et ai.:
lengths of 1 and 2 m, the maximum outlet temperatures for the day are 47 and 55C, respectively.
This can be attributed mainly to the fact that, for the doublepass photovoltaic thermal collector,
the outer glass cover is cooled by the working fluid, thereby reducing the top losses. The effect of
mass flow rates and packing factors on the outlet temperatures for the singlepass and doublepass
collectors are shown in Figs 8 and 9, respectively. Increasing the mass flow rate decreases the outlet
temperature of the collector. However, increasing the packing factor will slightly decrease the outlet
temperature.
The effect of mass flow rate, packing factor, and length of the absorber on the photovoltaic cell
efficiency
The effects of mass flow rate, packing factor, and length of the absorber on the photovoltaic
cell efficiency were plotted and are shown in Figs 10 and 11 for the single and double pass cases,
respectively. From the figures, it can be seen that, as the absorber plate length increases, the
efficiency of the photovoltaic cell decreases since the average absorber plate temperature increases.
Furthermore, for the same length of collector plate, if the flow rate increases, the photovoltaic cell
efficiency increases. Hence, the output from the photovoltaic cells increases for increasing air flow,
regardless of the values of the packing factor. As the thermal efficiency of the photovoltaic thermal
solar collector increases, the mean photovoltaic cell temperature decreases and, hence, the
combined solar efficiency increases. A lower thermal efficiency implies an increase in the average
absorber plate temperature.
12,
L,,1 m, b,lO
am, mlO0
12 f
11 /
I~hr
''r
Lml m, h m l O
o111, m m z w
~iFn
11,
10
g,
F:"
12.00
200
"
711
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
(~00 700 a.oo g..oo 10:0011:0012..00 1.00 2:00 8.00 4..00 S:O0
L'O0
IL'O0
8.'00
T~meo(tho Day(~
12
e.'~0
i"
 .....
I .  2 m, b,,,lO ore, m , , 2 0 0 Jq#hr
kg/hr
11
i
10 ~
''XU
I~neF~w~)
75
1'
4.'00
1~'.
10.'00
I.!,
too "coo 8.~0 t,~o 10.00 11:00 1 2 ~ I.~0 2:oo ~00 ~00 ~
Time o( the Day (hi')
Fig. I0. Effect of mass flow rate, packing factor, and length of the absorber on the photovoltaic cell
efficiency for singlepass collector.
~00
SOPIAN et al.:
1667
In the case of the doublepass photovoltaic thermal collector, the working fluid (i.e. air) cooled
the absorber plate and the glass cover. Hence, there is a reduction in the temperature difference
of the absorber and the glass cover, thereby reducing the top losses. The photovoltaic cell efficiency
is slightly higher for the doublepass photovoltaic thermal collector than for the singlepass
photovoltaic thermal collector. For example, at a collector length of 1 m, duct depth of 10 cm, flow
rate of 100 kg/h, and a packing factor of one, the photovoltaic cell efficiencies at noon are 6.7 and
7.5% for the singlepass and doublepass photovoltaic thermal solar collectors, respectively.
12,
11,
~ t0 ~
j.
.2
7
"
tL"O0 7,'00 8:00 g:00 10cO011:001~'(X)1.'00 200 3:00 4.'00 5:00 8.'00
TkM o f t h e O I y (hr)
12,
8"00 9 . ~
S:O0
6.'00
12
L2
in, b,,lO
i
1 1 ] ~
11,
S:O0 7.00
10,
S,
i"
7
J:t
7.
e:oo 7:00 8.00 s:o0 t0c001t..0012:00 1..00 2..00 ~co 4..00 8:(30 S.'O0
1 l i n e o f t h e I ~ y (hr)
I
I
!
I
I
I
I
I
I
l
I
e:O0 7.'00 8.'00 9:00 10~00 11.00 12:00 1:00 2:00 3:00 4.00 S.'O0 S.'O0
Fig. 11. Effect of mass flow rate, packing factor, and length of the absorber on the photovoltaic cell
efficiency for singlepass doublepass collector.
1668
(a)
50
L = I m, b = l O c m
45
P,,1.0
40
>,
=
35,
fJ
JR
_o
=
uJ
30
25
2_2 ~...~l~
20
15
10
5
0
0
I
25
50
75
100
"
125
'I
150
175
200
225
250
275
300
M a i m F l o w R a t e (Ir~g/hr)
(b)
50
L2 m, b = l O m
45
i ....
40
o~
o
,,=,
35
I)1.0
30
25
20.
15.
10
5
0
0
:
25
....I
50
I
75
I
100
)
125
]
150
I
175
I
200
I
225
I
250
I
275
300
Fig. 12. Daily thermal, photovoltaic cvU,and combined efficienciesof the singlepass photovoltaic thermal
solar collector.
SOPIAN
(a)
et al.:
1669
50
L = I rn, b = l O c m
45
40
;t
A
:
e
o
:
I.LI
Averagel~dlyComl~edEfllclectcyof
Pht4ovoltalc Collector
.
~
.."
35
. . . .  .
"'"
..........
____~" "____12""
"_______Z "  "
30
25
20,
15
//
10
I,. =1.o
5
0
0
t
25
50
I
75
100
125
150
175
200
225
250
275
Mass
(b)
Flow
Rate
300
(k~r)
50
L=2 m, b = l O c m
45
4o
. . 
35
u
:
30
9
==
25,
iJJ
20
15
10
5
0
0
25
50
75
100
125
150
175
200
225
250
275
zoo
Fig. 13. Daily thermal, photovoltaic cell, and combined efflciencies of the doublepass photovoltaic
thermal solar collector.
1670
respectively. In addition, the thermal and combined efficiencies increase as the packing factor is
decreased, while the photovoltaic efficiency decreases slightly.
CONCLUSIONS
Analytical models that yield closed form solutions have been developed for predicting the
performance of singlepass and doublepass photovoltaic thermal solar collectors. The models also
yield the temperature profiles of the glass cover, plates, and air stream. The mean plate temperature,
containing the photovoltaic cells, can be used to evaluate the efficiency of the photovoltaic cells.
Performance analysis shows that the doublepass photovoltaic thermal solar collector produces
superior performance over the singlepass model for a normal operating collector mass flow rate
range.
The improved performance of a doublepass photovoltaic thermal solar collector over the
singlepass case can be attributed to the productive cooling of the photovoltaic cells and reduction
in the temperature of the glass cover. Hence, higher photovoltaic cell efficiency is obtained. Hence,
the double pass hybrid solar collector can produce more heat and, at the same time, have a
productive cooling effect on the photovoltaic cells. It should be noted that an improved
performance of the doublepass photovoltaic thermal solar collector is achieved at very little
increase in collector capital cost. The increase in operating cost due to increased pressure drop
across the collector is small compared to that of the total pressure drop across the system. However,
the use of photovoltaic thermal collector systems is attractive for solar applications in which limited
space and arearelated installation cost are of primary concern and the space needed to install
sidebyside solar thermal and photovoltaic collectors is not readily available. Recent advances in
the production methods of photovoltaic cells will reduce their initial cost and, hence, increase their
demand. Under such economically favorable conditions, the use of photovoltaic thermal collectors
would be ideal for a wide variety of applications.
REFERENCES
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