PV/PCM systems are not yet sold as one unit although companies mentioned in Table 5 do offer sheets of PCM, which can be easily integrated with PV to maintain lower temperatures.
6.2. Economics of incorporating PCM with PV
Consider a PV array on which insolation EHop-016 incident. In low-insolation climates, high PV temperatures are infrequent so cooling by natural convection from the front and near surfaces is employed. In climates with higher insolation, thermal management interventions using PCM offer more effectively maintained lower PV temperatures but incur additional capital cost. The viability of the latter expenditure depends on the value of the additional electrical output. In these locations worldwide with very high insolation it may also be viable to withdraw heat stored in the PCM. However, the further additional cost this incurs does need to be off-set by still greater electricity production from a cooler PCM heat sink and/or the value of the heat extracted. In very high insolation climates, the heat extracted can be a very valuable resource for night time space cooling and, in some instances, dehumidification. These trends are illustrated in Fig. 39.