Design and Testing of Passive Coolant Devices for Photovoltaic Cells

As their senior design project and without industry sponsorship, students examined natural convection as a means of keeping a photovoltaic array cooler. Cooling photovoltaic arrays is important because the cells in the array have lower electrical output as their temperature rises. Therefore, winter operation tends to offer higher electrical output for a tracking or tilted array. This project examined the effects of coolant passage design on the plate temperature of a simulated tilted array. The efforts expended by the students produced some fundamental data on the design of these coolant passages.