Passive radiative cooling and other photonic approaches for the temperature control of photovoltaics: a comparative study for crystalline silicon-based architectures.
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The radiative cooling of objects during daytime under direct sunlight has recently been shown to be significantly enhanced by utilizing nanophotonic coatings. Multilayer thin film stacks, 2D photonic crystals, etc. as coating structures improved the thermal emission rate of a device in the infrared atmospheric transparency window reducing considerably devices' temperature. Due to the increased heating in photovoltaic (PV) devices - that has signicant adverse consequences on both their efficiency and life-time - and inspired by the recent advances in daytime radiative cooling, we developed a coupled thermal-electrical modeling to examine the physical mechanisms on how a radiative cooler affects the overall efficiency of commercial photovoltaic modules and how the radiative cooling impact is compared with the impact of other photonic strategies for reducing heat generation within PVs, such as ultraviolet and sub-bandgap reflection. Employing our modeling, which takes into account all the major intrinsic processes affected by the temperature variation in a PV device, we additionally identified the validity regimes of the currently existing PV-cooling models which treat the PV coolers as simple thermal emitters. Finally, we assessed some realistic photonic coolers from the literature, compatible with photovoltaics, to implement the radiative cooling requirements and the requirements related to the reduction of heat generation, and demonstrated their associated impact on the temperature reduction and PV efficiency. Consistent with previous works, we showed that combining radiative cooling with sub-bandgap reflection proves to be more promising for increasing PVs' efficiency. Providing the physical mechanisms and requirements for reducing PV operating temperature, our study provides guidelines for utilizing suitable photonic structures for enhancing the efficiency and the lifetime of PV devices.
author list (cited authors)
Perrakis, G., Tasolamprou, A. C., Kenanakis, G., Economou, E. N., Tzortzakis, S., & Kafesaki, M.