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Energy Convers. Mgmt Vol. 37, No. 11, pp.

1657-1670, 1996
Copyright 1996 ElsevierScienceLtd
S019641904(96)00010-6
Printed in Great Britain. All rights re~xved
0196-8904/96 $15.00 + 0.00

Pergamon

PERFORMANCE ANALYSIS OF PHOTOVOLTAIC


THERMAL AIR HEATERS
K. SOPIAN, K. S. YIGIT, H. T. LIU, S. KAKA(~ and T. N. VEZIROGLU
Dorgan Solar Laboratory, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Miami, Coral Gables,
FL 33124, U.S.A.

(Received 14 September 1995)

Al~traet--The performance of single-pass and double-pass combined photovoltaic thermal collectors are
analyzed with steady-state 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 single-pass and double-pass collectors. Comparisons are made between
the performances of the two types of combined photovoltaic thermal collectors. The results show that the
new design, the double-pass 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

Steady-state 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.:

PHOTOVOLTAIC THERMAL AIR HEATERS


INTRODUCTION

Solar energy is an important and environmentally compatible source of renewable energy.


Applications of solar energy can be broadly classified into two categories: thermal systems that
convert solar energy into thermal energy, and photovoltaic systems that convert solar energy
directly into electrical energy. Presently, many research and development programs in developing
countries are oriented toward applications of solar energy for domestic hot water, solar distillation
of sea and brackish water, water pumping, production of fuel from biomass, small-scale
hydropower development, drying of agricultural produce, solar industrial process heat, and
photovoltaics for remote applications. However, in developed countries, extensive works are
performed on space heating and cooling (passive and active design), daylighting, solar thermal
electricity generation, photovoltaic electricity generation, solar refrigeration, ocean thermal power
generation, harnessing tidal and wave energy, development of large windmill schemes, pyrolyic
conversion of waste, and large-scale energy plantation (biomass) and bioconversion.
For most of the solar energy systems mentioned above, the vital component is the solar energy
collection systems. Two solar energy collection systems commonly used are flat plate collectors
and photovoltaic cells. Normally, these systems are used alone. In a conventional solar
thermal system, electrical energy is needed to circulate the working fluid through the system. This
energy is supplied by an electrical source. The need for the whole or part of the electrical source
can be eliminated by using a "hybrid" system, which is also known as a photovoltaic thermal
system. The photovoltaic thermal collector generates both thermal and electrical energy simultaneously. The photovoltaic cell can also be adjusted according to the requirement for electrical
energy.
Simulation studies of photovoltaic thermal air heaters were conducted by Prakash [1], Bhargava
et al. [2], and Garg et al. [3]. The design is essentially a single-pass air heater with the air flow
passage between two metallic plates. The upper metallic plate was painted black and the
photovoltaic cells were pasted over it. Garg et al. [3] presented the first simulation study of the
single-pass photovoltaic thermal air heater with plane reflectors. A new design, a double-pass
photovoltaic thermal air heater is proposed in this paper, and its performance is studied against
the single-pass collector. The effects of various parameters, such as flow rates, packing factor or
fraction of the absorber area covered by photovoltaic cells, absorber length and duct height on the
efficiencies of the photovoltaic cells and thermal efficiencies, as well as the combined efficiency, were
analyzed.
MATHEMATICAL

MODELING

The single-pass and double-pass photovoltaic thermal systems presented in this paper are as
shown in Figs 1 and 2, respectively. The single-pass photovoltaic thermal air heater is similar to
the one proposed by Bhargava et al. [2]. It is essentially a single-glazing 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) covW-0

hq~

Nrod
--

IneuNen ~

h~]N-~

hcp~l

Phoiova4~ ml

Fig. 1. Configuration of a single-pass photovoltaic thermal solar collector with the heat transfer
coefficients.

SOPIAN et al.:

PHOTOVOLTAIC THERMAL AIR HEATERS

\L/

1659

hqp

~soa~l~n*.. p,

hqv,

hctlll

~.~

~.

hq~P2

T~ ~

.......

c~

Fig. 2. Configuration of a double-pass 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 double-pass 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 x-direction; 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)

For the flowing air,


thCf dTn
h~,f,(Tp=- T~)= a ~
+ h~vm(Tf'- Tp2)

(2)

For the plate which contains the photovoltaic cells,


Zs~p,S(1 - P ) + z.~p+SP(1 - ~pv) - h~t.(Tp, - T~) - h ~ p , ( T ~ , - T~.) - h . f , ( T . ,

- Tr,) = 0 (3)

For the back plate,

(4)
Substituting equations (1), (3). and (4) into equation (2). the variables Ts and Tpt can be ehminatcd,
and the following first-order linear differential equation is obtained:
dTn
d--x--+ RTn = Q

(5)

1660

SOPIAN eta/.:

PHOTOVOLTAIC T H E R M A L AIR HEATERS

The general solution to equation (5) is

(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 single-pass case are used. The behavior of
the system is governed by the following energy balance equations.
At the glass cover,
%S

= h,~(Tg - Is) + hcgw(T s - T.) + hrp,g(T8 -

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)

For the collector plate, which contains the photovoltaic cells,


ZgZpS%l (1 -- P) + ZgZpS%v P(1 - r/pv)+ h~ls(Ts - Tpl ) + h~m (Tfl - Tpl )
= hrplp2(Tp, -

Tp2)+

h ~ m ( T p l - Tf2)

(II)

For the air flowing between the two plates,


h~p,f2( Tpl - Tp2 ) =

rhCf dTf~

t- h~p~(Tf2 -- Tp2)

(12)

hrplp2(Tpl - Tp2) + h~p~(Tf2 - Tp2) = UR(Tp2 - T,)

(13)

dx

Finally, for the back plate,

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 first-order differential equations
are obtained:

dTn
(iX

dTn

~--"71Tn

+ 72Tf2+ Ci

=#lTn + #2Tf2+ C2

(14)

(15)

Equations (14) and (15), subject to boundary conditions,constitutea two-point 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.:

PHOTOVOLTAIC THERMAL AIR HEATERS

1661

22 = - -

(18)

K = C~ + 22C 2

(19)

re, + 22T~ = - ~K+ ~ B eCx

(20)

The general solution to equation (16) is

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)

Tf ..~_222 Tf2 .~- -- C2K22


~ + -C2222
- e c22x

(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 single-pass 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 double-pass 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

SOPIAN et al.: PHOTOVOLTAIC THERMAL AIR HEATERS

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 single-pass 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 double-pass
photovoltaic thermal collector, equations (9)-(24) are solved using a similar procedure as above.
The instantaneous thermal efficiency for both the single-pass and double-pass collectors is given
as follows:
rh Cr(To- Ti)dt
r/thermal =

(28)

A~ol~Sdt

For the single-pass collector the instantaneous electrical energy generated is


PE = zg~p~S~/pvP

(29)

The instantaneous electrical energy generated by the double-pass collector is


PE = zgZp~pvSr/pvP

(30)

40

m=lO0 kg/hr, L=lm. I)--10 m


~35
P=I.0

!
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

single-pass

pC

o.o27

m'/W)

and double-pass

photovoltaic thermal collector.

SOPIAN

et al.: PHOTOVOLTAIC THERMAL AIR HEATERS

1663

rn= 100 kg/hr, L = l m . 13=10 c m

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

(3"1 + To)/2 (*C)


Fig. 4. Electrical efficiency curve for the single-pass and double-pass photovoltaic thermal collector.

Hence, the combined photovoltaic thermal efficiency for both cases over the period of sunshine is
given as follows:

;rhCp(To- Ti)dt + ;PEdt


~pvt=
;S
A~o]

(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

SOPIAN et al.: PHOTOVOLTAIC THERMAL AIR HEATERS


70
m = 1 0 0 k g / h r , b=0.1 c m , P---0.25
60
t:~_o
1.5
1.0

|,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 single-pass collector.

RESULTS

AND OBSERVATIONS

The parameters that affect the performance of the single-pass and double-pass 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 ((Tfi-Ta)/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

m = 100 kg/hr, b=0.1 ore, P=0.25


L,2.0 m

60
1.0

ESO

20
......
10
0
6.'00

1
7:00

First air slmarn


8wxmcl U l i n e n
I
8.-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

Time of the Day (hr)


Fig. 7. Maximum outlet temperature at various collector lengths for the double-pass collector.

6:00

SOPIAN et al.:

PHOTOVOLTAIC THERMAL AIR HEATERS

1665

lOO

90

L=I m, b=lO era, P---O~5

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

Time of the D l y (hr)


Fig. 8. Effect of mass flow rate on the outlet temperature for single-pass collector.

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 single-pass and double-pass photovoltaic thermal solar collectors.
Figure 6 shows the maximum outlet temperature for the single-pass 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 double-pass photovoltaic thermal solar collector. For collector

Ii

L=I m, b=lO cm, P=O.2S


outlet

Temperatures
m (l~hr)

lOO

E
3O
2O
10
0

6:00

7.-00 8:00

~00

10:00 11:00 12:00 1 . ~ 0

2.~0

3.-00 4:00

15.'00 6.~0

Time of the Day (hi')


Fig. 9. Effect of mass flow rate on the outlet temperature for double-pass collector.

1666

SOPIAN et ai.:

PHOTOVOLTAIC THERMAL AIR HEATERS

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 double-pass 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 single-pass and double-pass
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

l'Jmo G( the Day (hi')

1~'.

Lm2 m, bmlO ~m, m , , l O 0

10.'00

I.!,

e~o 7:oo I~o ~

10~0 11~0 12~00 1~0 a:oo a~o 4~0 s.~o too


Time el the Day (hr)

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 single-pass collector.

~00

SOPIAN et al.:

PHOTOVOLTAIC THERMAL AIR HEATERS

1667

In the case of the double-pass 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 double-pass photovoltaic thermal collector than for the single-pass
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 single-pass and double-pass photovoltaic thermal solar collectors, respectively.

The combined efficiency of the photovoltaic thermal collector


Figures 12 and 13 show the effects of mass flow rate and packing factor on the average daily
photovoltaic cell efficiency, the average daily thermal efficiency, and the average daily combined
efficiency of the single-pass and double-pass photovoltaic thermal solar collector. In both cases,
as expected, the photovoltaic cell, thermal and combined efficiencies increase as the mass flow rate
increases, since the absorber plate will be cooled by the incoming working fluid. As the length of
the collector increases, the efficiencies of the photovoltaic thermal solar collector decrease. At a
length of 1 m, mass flow rate 200300 kg/h, and packing factor of 0.5, the thermal, photovoltaic,
and combined efficiencies are 24-28, 6-7, and 30-35%, respectively, for the single-pass photovoltaic
thermal collector. If similar conditions are applied to the double-pass photovoltaic thermal solar
collector, the thermal, photovoltaic, and combined efficiencies are 32-34, 8-9, and 40-45%,

12,

11,

~ t0 ~

Ls,1 m, b,,lO ore, m,,lO0 kE/hr

I.-1 m, bmlO cm, m.200 kg/hr

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 . ~

2.~0 3.'00 4.00


Time of the Day (hr)

10c0011.'00 12:00 1.'00

S:O0

6.'00

12

L-2

in, b,,lO

em, m.lO0 kg/hr

i
1 1 ] ~

11,

S:O0 7.00

L,.2 m, I~,10 om, m.200 kg/hr


/

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

Time of the Oey (hr)

Fig. 11. Effect of mass flow rate, packing factor, and length of the absorber on the photovoltaic cell
efficiency for single-pass double-pass collector.

1668

SOPIAN et al,: PHOTOVOLTAIC THERMAL AIR HEATERS

(a)
50
L = I m, b = l O c m

45

P,,1.0
40
>,
=

35,

fJ
JR

_o
=
uJ

Avera0e Ddy Comb~ed Emckmcy of


PhofoveltldoColector

30

25

2_2 ~...-~l~

Average Dally Thel/Iml E~fldeflcyof.~.~....~.....~.

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
L--2 m, b = l O m
45

i ....

40

o~
o

,,=,

35

I)-1.0

Average Daily Combined Efflck.cy of


PhofovolaJc Colk)clor

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

Mass Flow Rate (kg/hr)

Fig. 12. Daily thermal, photovoltaic cvU,and combined efficienciesof the single-pass photovoltaic thermal
solar collector.

SOPIAN

(a)

et al.:

PHOTOVOLTAIC THERMAL AIR HEATERS

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

Average DailyCombined Efficiencyof


PhotovoltalcC
~

. . -

35
u
:

30

9
==

25,

iJJ
20
15
10
5
0
0

25

50

75

100

125

150

175

200

225

250

275

zoo

Mass Flow Rats (kg/hr)

Fig. 13. Daily thermal, photovoltaic cell, and combined efflciencies of the double-pass photovoltaic
thermal solar collector.

1670

SOPIAN et al.: PHOTOVOLTAICTHERMALAIR HEATERS

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 single-pass and double-pass 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 double-pass photovoltaic thermal solar collector produces
superior performance over the single-pass model for a normal operating collector mass flow rate
range.
The improved performance of a double-pass photovoltaic thermal solar collector over the
single-pass 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 double-pass 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 area-related installation cost are of primary concern and the space needed to install
side-by-side 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

1. J. Prakash, Energy Convers. Mgmt 35, 967 (1994).


2. A. K. Bhargava,H. P. Garg and R. K. Agarwal, Energy Convers. Mgmt 31, 472 (1991).
3. H. P. Garg, R. K. Agarwaland A. K. Bhargava, Energy Concers. Mgmt 32, 543 (1991).
4. J.A. Duffleand W. A. Beckman,Solar Engineering and Thermal Processes, p. 171.WileyInterscienc,NewYork(1991).
5. L. W. Fiorschuetz,Sol. Energy 22, 361 (1979).