Photovoltaic thermal (PV/T) system is a well-engineered extension of photovoltaic (PV) technology to get both heat and electricity. Heat exchanger (flow channel) extract heat from the PV cells by heat transfer fluid for thermal applications. Material used to fabricate the flow channel has a vital impact on effective heat removal. In the present research, effect of flow channel material on heat transfer rate and PV/T performance has been investigated experimentally for copper and aluminum based PV/T system under the same ambient condition. Maximum PV/T thermal efficiency attained are 71% and 70% for copper and aluminum channel respectively where the aluminum based PV/T is about 2.5 times cheaper than copper based PV/T. It can be concluded that aluminum based PV/T is more cost-effective.
Keywords Solar energy, photovoltaic thermal system, flow channel materials, thermal applications