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Proceedings Paper

Thermal optimization of a solar cell carrier for concentrator systems
Author(s): Aaron Muron; Simon Chow; Jeffrey Wheeldon; Karin Hinzer; Henry Schriemer
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Paper Abstract

Solar cell efficiency decreases as its temperature increases. Therefore, it is necessary to design a thermally optimal solar cell carrier that will maintain a minimal solar cell temperature. To achieve this optimal solar cell carrier design, a finite-element analysis model of the solar cell on carrier was developed. This numerical model was experimentally calibrated against a known design, in which the average solar cell temperature was determined by examining the shift in the open circuit voltage. This allowed us to explore the relationship between the carrier geometry and the average solar cell temperature. That is, the solar cell carrier is characterized by two independent thermal resistances: the uniform flow thermal resistance, and the thermal spreading resistance. As the copper thickness was increased, the uniform flow resistance acted to raise the cell temperature while the spreading thermal resistance decreased the cell temperature. Therefore, when the carrier geometry minimized the thermal resistances, it was found that the minimum solar cell temperature was achieved at a copper thickness between 1.5 and 3 mm depending on the surface area of the carrier. This optimized carrier design reduced the average solar cell temperature by 16 °C, which corresponds to an increase of 0.8% in cell efficiency at 1666 suns as compared to the original design used to experimentally calibrate the numerical model.

Paper Details

Date Published: 8 September 2011
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 8007, Photonics North 2011, 800722 (8 September 2011); doi: 10.1117/12.905692
Show Author Affiliations
Aaron Muron, Univ. of Ottawa (Canada)
Simon Chow, Univ. of Ottawa (Canada)
Jeffrey Wheeldon, Univ. of Ottawa (Canada)
Karin Hinzer, Univ. of Ottawa (Canada)
Henry Schriemer, Univ. of Ottawa (Canada)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8007:
Photonics North 2011
Raman Kashyap; Michel Têtu; Rafael N. Kleiman, Editor(s)

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