Novel thermal management design for BIPV modules incorporating MEPCM layers

Building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) refers to an architectural design approach that combines photovoltaic (PV) panels with the building construction system. This combination allows BIPV to not only feature a power generation function but also to become part of the building facade. A reduction in the total energy consumed by the building can be achieved when BIPV is integrated with shading devices, daylighting, and illumination. Thus, BIPV transforms buildings from energy consumers into active power generators and is important to promote sustainable development in the building sector.

Generally, the power output from a PV system is roughly proportional to the PV cell area and the solar irradiation on the PV cell surface. The power output is also affected by shading, cell temperature, dust on the PV surface, the sunlight incidence angle, and the irradiation spectral distribution. The PV cell temperature is associated with the generation efficiency of the solar irradiation energy that is converted to electricity. The nominal power of a PV module is tested under standardized testing conditions (AM1.5, 25°C, 1000 W/m2). However, in a normal environment, it is difficult to maintain a PV cell temperature of 25°C because the cell is affected by ambient climate and heat transfer conditions.

The efficiencies in a PV module decrease as the module temperature increases. Therefore, whenever possible, it is necessary to enhance the heat dissipation of a PV module. During the processes of melting or solidification, a PCM (Phase Change Material) can effectively release or store a great amount of latent heat. The temperature of PCM can also be stably maintained during the latent heat transfer process. Therefore, in the application of energy storage and thermal environmental control, PCM is a very promising material choice.