Application of Phase Change Material to Increase Solar Panel Efficiency

Kyle D. Rose Sr. and Mohan Aggarwal
Alabama A&M University, Alabama, United States

Keywords: Phase Change Material, Solar Panel, efficiency, energy harvesting

ABSTRACT - Heat is the number one restrictive characteristic for power production and energy conversion efficiency of solar panels. To remedy this heat problem, our study used special techniques to apply a phase change material (PCM), non-intrusively (no drilling) to the backside of our test solar panels as a conduction mechanism. Features of this PCM make it ideal in its designed proportional composition to change phase from solid to liquid at 77°F (25°C), exactly the Standard Test Condition (STC) used internationally to certify PV panel power output. Data shows favorable results that a system can be designed to control the temperature of the panel surface area to maintain and improve the efficiency and energy conversion of photovoltaic (PV) panels. The findings of our experiment are presented along with the next phase of our experiment using a working fluid to heat water in user facilities. A hybrid solar technology has dual-use both civilian and military applications which produces electricity and hot water at the same time.