Published In

Applied Energy

Document Type


Publication Date



Photovoltaic power generation -- Industrial applications, Photocatalysis -- Photosensitizer


Solar photovoltaic (PV) systems suffer substantial efficiency loss due to environmental and internal heating. However, increasing the canopy height of these systems promotes surface heat transfer and boosts production. This work represents the first wind tunnel experiments to explore this concept in terms of array flow behavior and relative convective heat transfer, comparing model solar arrays of varied height arrangements - a nominal height, extended height, and a staggered height configuration. Analyses of surface thermocouple data show average Nusselt number (𝑁𝑒) to increase with array elevation, where panel convection at double height improved up to 1.88 times that of the nominal case. This behavior is an effect of sub-array entrainment of high velocity flow and panel interactions as evidenced through flow statistics and mean kinetic energy budgets on particle image velocimetry (PIV) data. The staggered height arrangement encourages faster sub-panel flow than in the nominal array. Despite sub-array blockage due to the lower panel interaction, heat shedding at panel surfaces promotes improvements on 𝑁𝑒 over 1.3 times that of the nominal height case.


This work was authored as part of the Contributor's official duties as an Employee of the United States Government and is therefore a work of the United States Government. In accordance with 17 U.S.C. 105, no copyright protection is available for such works under U.S. Law.



Persistent Identifier