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ENHANCING PHOTOVOLTAIC EFFICIENCY VIA COOLING-LIGHT REFLECTION

METHOD
M.Z. Zulkefli1, J.J. Jamian1
1

Department of Electrical Engineering, Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Universiti


Teknologi Malaysia, Johor, Malaysia

Abstract: The main objective of this project is to show the potential use of a solar panel
using multiple fixed directed mirrors as a reflector and water as a cooling agent to lower the
temperature of the panel surface. The main contribution of this work is by increasing the
irradiance or the solar energy absorbs by the photovoltaic (PV) cell. There are three mirrors
being placed around the solar panel with specific angle and a water hose at the top-end of the
panel to allow water running on the surface of the solar panel controlled by Arduino program.
In the simulation using MATLAB, it is clearly showed that the presence of additional
irradiance or sunlight will increase the output power, voltage and current. Besides, when the
temperature of solar cell is increased, the output energy became slightly decreased. With the
help of Data Acquisition Interface LVDAC, the data of conventional solar panel and solar
panel with reflector-cooling method were recorded and being compared their performance
respectively. Experimental shows that if the presence of reflector (mirrors) to concentrate
sunlight onto PV panel, the panel receives an additional output power. Moreover, the output
power also increase when the water flow on the surface of solar panel. As a result, it can save
cost because less number of solar panels is needed to produce a certain amount of power.
KEYWORDS: Efficiency, Light Reflection, Cooling, Photovoltaic Cell

Introduction

Renewable energy is the energy which can be obtained from natural resources that can be
replenished. There are many types of renewable energy such as solar energy, wind energy,
hydropower, biomass, geothermal, ocean energy and others [1].

Renewable energy

technologies also include hybrid and related technologies. Solar energy is one of the most
important sources among the renewable energies. Generally, solar systems can be classified
into two categories. First, thermal systems which convert solar energy into heat; meanwhile

the other one is the PV systems which convert solar energy into electricity [1].

The

characteristics of PV as a semi-conductor materials give them an ability to convert solar


energy to electrical energy [2-3]. However, there are several difficulties in using PV systems.
One of the complications is in term of low energy conversion efficiency of PV cell and the
efficiency keep reducing during operational period due to the increasing of PV temperature
by 4-17% [1, 4].
There are many research and efforts to improve the PV efficiency as well as to reduce
the cost gap between PV and conventional power generation. In order to reduce the cost of
PV, intensive efforts have been made to improve the efficiency of the PV system and also
enhance the energy collection for unit surface area [1]. The performance of PV system
depending on the input of irradiance from sunlight and been affected by several factors such
as temperature, weather, tilt angle, shading, battery efficiency and many more. To increase
the electrical efficiency of PV cell, the solar panel must absorb maximum amount of solar
radiation. One of the ways to increase the amount of irradiance is by using reflection mirror,
where it can received and direct reflection sunlight to the solar panel. However, the part of
solar radiation that been absorb by the PV cell is not converted into electricity 100%. Some
of the solar radiation is transform into thermal energy and it will causes the electrical
efficiency of PV cell decreased [4]. To overcome the increasing temperature problem, a
cooling system will be installed to the PV system.

Materials and Methodology

2.1

Design of Reflected solar panel and Cooling System


There are a few factors in designing the experimental set up for the reflected and

cooling system solar panel. The factors of consideration in the reflection methods are the size
of the mirror, angle of the mirror and the position of the mirror. For the cooling system, the
elements that should be concerned are the cooling liquid mechanism, the system itself, the
actuator, materials and others. The last but not least is the design of the circuit for all those
system to be working correctly.

I.

Design of reflector
The dimension of mirror used for reflection method is same size with the solar panel.

It is because; by using the same dimension the mirror can reflect the sunlight for the whole
surface of the PV panel. Moreover, the position of the mirror has to be determined whether to
place the mirror with a distance from the solar panel or attach to it. In this experiment, the
mirror was attached to the PV panel. Besides, the tilt angle of the mirror also important
because it ensures that the reflection of solar radiation from the sun will directly hit the
surface of solar panel. From the research of other papers and experimental study, the best tilt
angle for the mirror is between 50 - 60 inclination.

II.

Design of cooling system


As the solar panel get heated, it needs to be cooled for a better performance because

increasing temperature of the PV panel will affect its efficiency. To keep the temperature of
solar panel low, a cooling system is introduced. Water is used as cooling agent because it has
high specific heat capacity and readily available. The water will flow on the top surface of
solar panel. To produce a film of water flowing on the PV panel, a tube with many holes is
place at the top end of PV panel. A 5 V DC water pump is used to pump water from the water
container to the top of solar panel.

III.

Design of control system


The process of cooling system is controlled by using Arduino Uno microcontroller

and temperature sensor LM 35. The working principle is when the temperature sensor sense
the PV panel temperature is exceeding 50 , it will send signal to Arduino board and
trigger the water pump to start operate for 30 seconds. When the time passed, the temperature
sensor will work again to measure the temperature of solar panel. If the temperature is still
above 50 , the pump will continue to operate for another 30 seconds.

2.2
I.

Construction and Working Procedure


Construction of Proposed model
The mirror reflected solar panel with cooling system was constructed using locally

available raw materials to make it cost effective. First, a frame is constructed and mounted to
the solar panel. The frame is used to support and hold the reflection mirror in place so that the
position of the mirror is fixed. The frame was build using L-shape stand. The angle of Lshape stand was adjusted to achieve 60 angle of the reflection mirror. Second, cooling
system was made and attached to the solar panel. A pipe hose from the water pump is placed
at the top-end of the solar panel as in Figure 2.1. The water pump was controlled by Arduino
Program.
Reflection
mirror
Temperatur

Pipe hose
(water
Water
Water

Arduino
program

Figure 2.1 Experimental Setup

II.

Working Procedure

Solar panel with Cooling-Light reflection method and conventional solar panel are
placed under the sunlight simultaneously. For solar panel with proposed model, water was
preserved in a container that placed at bottom-end of the solar panel. The function of water
container is to supply water for cooling system and at the same time its collect the used water
from the solar panel. Temperature sensor is placed at the surface of the proposed model solar
panel. When the temperature reach 50 , the Arduino will power up the water pump and
cooling system is start to operate. The output of the solar panel is connected to Data
Acquisition Interface LVDAC for data collecting system. The output data of the two solar
panels were analysed and compared. The process flowchart is illustrated in Figure 2.2.

Start

The experiment being set up with


reflection mirror and cooling system

Input irradiance from sunlight absorb


by solar panel

Temperature sensor sense the temperature of


solar panel surface 50

Re-read the
new input

NO

YES
Arduino programming
system start to operate

Power up the water pump

Water running on the surface of


solar panel for 30 seconds

Figure 2.2 Process Flowchart

III.

Circuit Connection
Data Acquisition Interface LVDAC was used to collect the data from the PV panel.

The output from the PV is connected to the 228.57 load resistor and connected to LVDAC.
The data was recorded by using LVDAC into the computer. Temperature sensor is placed on
the surface of the PV panel and it is connected to Arduino program. Power supply to power
up the Arduino board is using from the computer. The Arduino will powers up the water
pump when the temperature of the PV reaches 50 . The overall schematic diagram is
shown in Figure 2.3.

Figure 2.3 Schematic diagram of Overall Circuit Connection


3

Result

3.1

Light Reflection Solar Panel

The result of the experiment is measured based on voltage, current and power
generated by the solar panel. Figures 3.1 and 3.2 showed the overall comparison between
conventional and light reflected solar panel.

Figure 3.1: Voltage and Current Output of Light Reflection vs Conventional Solar Panel

Figure 3.2: Power Output of Light Reflection vs Conventional Solar Panel


The graph in Figure 3.1 indicates the comparison of voltage and current between light
reflection and conventional PV panel. For the voltage, it can be seen that the voltage curve of
solar panel with light reflection method (blue line, with mirror E1) is slightly higher than

voltage of conventional solar panel (purple line, without mirror E2). The highest value for
voltage is 19.80 V for the light reflection solar panel. Besides, the current of light reflection
panel (red area, with mirror I1) is higher than conventional panel (light blue area, without
mirror I2). Same goes to the power in Figure 3.2. The power of light reflection solar panel
(blue line, with mirror PQS1 E1,I1) is higher than conventional panel (red line, without
mirror PQS2 E2,I2). The total energy for light reflection is 170.682 W while total energy for
conventional is 136.111 W. The increased efficiency of light reflection solar panel is 25.4%
from the conventional solar panel.
Based on the Figure 3.3, the temperature of light reflection solar panel (blue line) is
higher than temperature of conventional solar panel (red line). This is because of the mirror
at the solar panel concentrate the heat to the surface of solar panel. So, the consequence is
the solar panel cannot operate at the best performance.

Figure 3.3: Temperature Compared Graph of Light Reflection vs Conventional Solar Panel
3.2

Cooling-Light Reflection Solar Panel


The temperature in light reflection PV panel caused higher temperature compared to

conventional solar panel. So, the cooling method is introduced to overcome the problem.
Figures 3.4 and 3.5 are showed the result when cooling system is installed to the light
reflection solar panel.

Figure 3.4: Voltage and Current Output of Cooling-Light Reflection vs Light Reflection
without Cooling System Solar Panel

Figure 3.5: Output of Cooling-Light Reflection vs Light Reflection without Cooling System
Solar Panel
Based on the Figures 3.4 and 3.5, the voltage (blue line, with mirror and cooling
system E1), current (red area, with mirror and cooling system I1) and power (blue line, with

mirror and cooling system PQS1 E1,I1) of cooling-light reflection solar panel is slightly
higher than voltage (purple line, with mirror and without cooling system E2), current (light
blue area, with mirror and without cooling system I2) and power (red line, with mirror and
without cooling system PQS2 E2,I2) of with mirror and without cooling system solar panel.
The highest voltage is recorded at 21.72 V and it is much higher than voltage of light
reflection panel. The total energy of cooling-light reflection method is 177.792 W while for
the light reflection without cooling system is 170.682 W. The efficiency of proposed method
is increased as much as 4.2%.
Referring to the Figure 3.6, the blue curve is temperature of cooling-light reflection
method whereas the red curve is temperature of light reflection without cooling system solar
panel. The cooling system is set to operate at temperature reach 50

. As seen in the

graph above, the temperature of solar panel with cooling system will drop its temperature
when reaching 50

. Hence, the performance of PV cell will increase due to the low

temperature.

Figure 3.6: Temperature Compared Graph of Cooling-Light Reflection vs Light Reflection


without Cooling System Solar Panel
4

Conclusions

Solar energy is one of the most important renewable energy that available on the
earth. Solar is a clean energy because it does not involve any process that will pollute the
environment like any other power generation nowadays. However, the efficiency of PV cell
is quite low due to low energy conversion and several factors.
In this project, the efficiency of solar panel is increased by installing cooling and light
reflection method to the solar panel. As a result, the total energy of PV cell is increase up to
20% - 25%. By using multiple fixed directed mirrors as a reflector, the output energy of solar
panel is increase. However, by using this method, the surface temperature of the solar cell
also increase and give a bad effect to the performance of the PV cell. Therefore, cooling
system is introduced to decrease the surface temperature. By allowing water flowing on the
surface of the solar panel, the temperature of the PV cell is reduced and the performance of
the solar cell is increase.

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