First Advisor

Raúl Bayoán Cal

Date of Publication

Spring 6-10-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Mechanical Engineering


Mechanical Engineering


Photovoltaic power systems, Solar energy, Heat -- Transmission, Turbulence



Physical Description

1 online resource (xii, 72 pages)


Large scale solar farms supply an increasing amount of the worlds electricity supply. However, in order to reach cost parity with fossil fuels, further reductions are necessary. Towards this end, photovoltaic (PV) panel cooling becomes increasingly important; high temperatures both decrease efficiency and panel lifetime. To better understand, characterize, and exploit the natural convective cooling of utility scale solar farms, a model solar farm was created. Using both thermal measurements and particle image velocimetry to characterize heat transfer and velocity fields, wind tunnel experiments were conducted using the model solar farm. Three parameters were examined for their effect on heat transfer and the flow field: Reynolds number, inflow turbulence intensity (TI), and PV inclination angles. Results show that increasing inflow turbulence improved both upper and lower surface heat transfer by 7%, and lower surface increases on order of 100% were demonstrated in both the flow field and heat transfer with changes in angle inclination. Results suggest that significant farm level temperature reductions are possible.

Persistent Identifier