Lumped-Parameter Least Squares Estimation of Thermal Constants for Partially-Shaded Photovoltaic (PV) Modules

Jacques A. Dolan, Abraham K. Ishihara, and Shahar Ben-Menahem


Photovoltaic, Estimation, Hot-Spot, Heat Transfer


It has been shown that the electrical heat generation inside cells of a Photovoltaic (PV) module, especially under non-uniform shading patterns (reverse bias), can generate temperatures high enough to cause failures in the module and even fires; this is typically referred to as a ”hot spot”. The goal of this work is to estimate this internal generation based on measurements of external temperatures of the PV module, irradiance, and wind speed. The proposed method is to compare the thermal model to empirical data in the time domain, and estimate parameters using Least Squares. The results show accurate tracking of the deviation in temperature of the hot spot cell. An estimate of the heat transfer coefficient and heat generation is provided, each scaled with an effective heat capacity for the region around the temperature sensor.

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