A Finite Element Method Formulation for Non-Uniform Heating of Photovoltaic Modules with Associated Validation Metrics

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


photovoltaics, hot-spot, FEA, validation-metric


Photovoltaic module performance is highly dependent on the nonlinear coupling between the thermal and electrical response of the system. Such complex interactions, which give rise to undesirable phenomena such as hot-spot generation, do not admit closed-form solutions and therefore motivate a need for accurate numerical methods. In this paper, we present a model of hot-spot generation in a Kyocera (KC50T) photovoltaic (PV) module developed using the finite element method. Validation was performed using a sum of squared errors (SSE) metric, with terms corresponding to the bulk partial differential equation, boundary conditions, and matching conditions between adjacent structural elements. This metric was calculated using a post-processing grid apart from the finite element mesh.

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