A thermal model for photovoltaic systems

A. D. Jones, Chris Underwood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

407 Citations (Scopus)


The energy balance of photovoltaic (PV) cells is modelled based on climate variables. Module temperature change is shown to be in a non-steady state with respect to time. Theoretical expressions model the energy transfer processes involved: short wave radiation, long wave radiation, convection and electrical energy production. The combined model is found to agree well with the response of the measured model temperature to transient changes in irradiance. It is found that the most precise fit to measured data is obtained by fitting the value of the forced convection coefficient for module convection. The fitted values of this coefficient were found to be within the range predicted by previous authors. Though the model is found to be accurate to within 6 K of measured temperature values 95% of the time in cloudy conditions, best accuracy is obtained in clear and overcast conditions when irradiance is subject to less fluctuation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)349-359
JournalSolar Energy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2001


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