Schueco, a leading producer of photovoltaic panels, used Flomerics‚â€™ Flovent computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software to improve panel thermal function so that 15% to 20% more panels can be used in a given space.
With photovoltaic panels, every degree Centigrade of temperature rise reduces output power by 0.5%. ‚â€œThe CFD results helped us understand exactly how the panels were being heated and guided us as we made improvements to their design,‚â€ said Hamid Batoul, technical director, Solar Department, Schueco International, Paris, France.
Flovent simulated panel absorption and reflection of solar energy, as well as the transfer of heat to aluminum profiles and the surrounding air. ‚â€œExamining the flow of air under the photovoltaic panels showed that the size of the passageway was constricting air flow,‚â€ said Batoul. ‚â€œWe increased the profile depth that supports the photovoltaic panels to increase the distance between the panels and the roof. A follow-on simulation showed that the increased airflow reduced the temperature of the photovoltaic panels. These studies helped us understand how temperature is affected by different arrangements of panels and ambient conditions.‚â€
‚â€œThermal simulation of solar energy systems requires software that can also model the effects on building materials that play a role in thermal characteristics,‚â€ noted Batoul. ‚â€œFlovent CFD software addresses heating, ventilation and cooling issues in building materials. The software met our requirements for modeling the thermal characteristics of glass and simulating the effects of
radiation on the panels.‚â€
Filed Under: Energy management + harvesting, FEA software, Green engineering, Software