Cost Effective Concentrated Photovoltaic System with Thermal Energy Storage Grant uri icon


  • Concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) is a promising technology to reduce the cost of PV generated electricity. The high cost of PV is replaced by inexpensive concentrator material by reducing PV area by concentration ratio of the concentrator. There are several challenges associated with implementation and achieving an efficient CPV system. These challenges includes solar to electrical efficiency decrement, delamination and rapid degradation due to elevated temperature of the PV in a CPV system. Flux non-uniformity and other optical losses due to design and manufacturing of the concentrator produces hot spot and increases ohmic losses. Furthermore, active cooling of the PV adds to cost and complexity of the system while passive cooling system losses useful thermal energy to the environment. In this project, all these problems are addressed to develop a cost effective, efficient CPV system with passive cooling using a phase change material. The phase change material absorbs energy during solid-liquid phase change thereby regulates the temperature of the PV and store useful thermal energy to use on demand. Optics of the CPV system is improved by designing a non-ideal parabolic dish concentrator using a Monte Carlo ray tracing software, TracePro. Characterization of the concentrator is carried out by measuring reflectivity, absorptivity, and flux non-uniformity, and concentration ratio. Comparative analysis of different reflective materials is carried out. A finite element based numerical model is used to design a state of the art heat sink employing phase change material as temperature regulator and thermal energy storage medium. Characterization of different commercially available PCM as well as synthesizing novel sulfur based PCM is undertaken. Indoor characterization of the PV system is carried out to evaluate the thermal and electrical output of the CPV system. An optimal geometrical configuration is designed to perform outdoor investigation of the CPV system in real Qatar conditions. It is found that a customized geometrical configuration of CPV system incorporating a low cost tailored concentrator and a heat sink for Qatar climatic conditions will improve the solar to electrical conversion of the PV. All these results ensure availability of a CPV system capable of producing cheap electricity from an abundant renewable solar energy source of Qatar, thereby providing an alternative to conventional electricity generation source without greenhouse gas emissions in Qatar.

date/time interval

  • 2016 - 2018