Energy performance of semi-transparent PV modules for applications in buildings

Pao Yue-kong Library Electronic Theses Database

Energy performance of semi-transparent PV modules for applications in buildings


Author: Fung, Yu-yan
Title: Energy performance of semi-transparent PV modules for applications in buildings
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 2006
Subject: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations.
Building-integrated photovoltaic systems.
Photovoltaic power systems.
Department: Dept. of Building Services Engineering
Pages: xv, 219 leaves : ill. (some col.) ; 30 cm.
Language: English
InnoPac Record:
Abstract: Owing to the increasing awareness on energy conservation and environmental protection, building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) has been developed rapidly in the past decade. A number of research studies have been conducted on the energy performance of BIPV systems. However, most of the previous studies focused on the systems that incorporated with opaque type PV modules, little attention has been devoted to semi-transparent type PV modules, which have been commonly integrated in modern architectures. This thesis aims at evaluating the energy performance of the semi-transparent BIPV modules, including heat gains to the indoor environment, power generation from the PV modules and daylight utilization. Solar radiation intensity on PV module's surfaces is an essential parameter for assessing energy performance of the PV modules. Different slope solar radiation models are analyzed and compared. The model that best suits Hong Kong situations is selected for the further development of the energy performance of the BIPV modules. The optimum orientation and tilted angle are determined in the analysis. In addition to the solar radiation models, a detailed investigation on the heat gain through the semi-transparent BIPV modules is carried out in this study. A one-dimensional transient heat transfer model, the SPVHG model, for evaluating the thermal performance of the semi-transparent BIPV modules is developed. The SPVHG model considers in detail the energy that is transmitted, absorbed and reflected in each element of the BIPV modules such as solar cells and glass layers. A computer program of the model is written accordingly. By applying the SPVHG model, the heat gain through the semi-transparent BIPV module of any thickness can be determined for any solar irradiance level. The annual performance can also be assessed by inputting annual weather data to the model. In order to verify the SPVHG model, laboratory tests have been carried out on semi-transparent BIPV modules. A well-insulated calorimeter box and an adjustable steady-state type solar simulator which can provide up to 1600 W/m2 have been used in the tests. Energy that transmitted through the semi-transparent BIPV modules and entered the calorimeter box was evaluated. It was found that the experimental results and the simulated results support each other. The SPVHG model is validated and can be used for further studies. Other than heat transfer, power production and the daylight utilization are also the vital parts in the energy performance assessment of the semi-transparent BIPV module for applications in building facades. Power generation models of both opaque and semi-transparent BIPV modules are investigated in this study. In order to test the validity of the power generation model, measurements on a BIPV system of an existing building are carried out. The measurement results reveal a good validity of the power generation model. Only a minor modification to the model is required. The daylight utilization is evaluated by using an indoor illuminance model. The model estimates the mean internal illuminance on the working plane of a room when there is both sunlight and skylight. Consequently, the power saving due to the daylight utilization can be determined. By using the SPVHG model together with the power generation model and the indoor illuminance model, the energy performance, in terms of electricity benefit, of building facades that incorporated with semi-transparent BIPV modules is evaluated. Different scenarios are studied by changing various parameters such as the window to wall ratios, thickness and efficiency of the solar cells. The results show that the solar cells within the semi-transparent BIPV modules significantly reduce the solar heat gain and thus reduce the power consumption of air-conditioning systems. Taking into account the impacts of PV electricity generation and daylight utilization, the optimum solar cell area ratio in the PV modules varies from 0.7 to 0.9 for different window-to-wall ratios of the building facade. The largest net electricity benefit of the BIPV facade under the simulation conditions is around 120 kWh/m2. The SPVHG model developed in this study is a precise model for calculating the amount of heat gains through the semi-transparent BIPV modules. By considering also the power generation and daylight utilization, the electricity benefit of different BIPV facade configurations can be simulated. This information should help engineers predict the cooling load due to the BIPV facade and thus review their designs for energy efficiency optimization. On the whole, the results of this study provide valuable reference to local engineers, designers and professionals for efficient BIPV facade applications.

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