A photovoltaic module thermal model using observed insolation and meteorological data to support a long life, highly reliable module-integrated inverter design by predicting expected operating temperature

Robert Balog, Yingying Kuai, Greg Uhrhan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

32 Citations (Scopus)


Accurate prediction of photovoltaic (PV) module temperature is needed to understand the expected electrical performance, lifetime, and reliability of photovoltaic cells. A photovoltaic AC module (PVAC) integrated the inverter directly with the PV module which exposes the power electronic circuitry to the thermal environment of the PV module. This has been reported to impose additional requirements on component selection and circuit design. However, a worst-case stack up analysis can lead to the conclusion that module-integrated inverters require industrial grade components or expensive thermal management. This paper presents a detailed thermal model for the PV module that uses real-world operating conditions, based on observed data from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to calculate PV module temperature. Results from the model confirm that the peak PV module temperature can reach over 80°C, which was expected from other techniques, but that these peak temperatures occur on average for only 8 minutes per year in locations similar to Tucson, Az. Since the PV module temperature is found to be less than 70°C for 99% of the operation hours, thermal management is not onerous and that the use of lower cost, commercial grade components will provide a mean time between failure (MTBF) to support an inverter warranty equivalent to that of the PV module itself.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2009 IEEE Energy Conversion Congress and Exposition, ECCE 2009
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes
Event2009 IEEE Energy Conversion Congress and Exposition, ECCE 2009 - San Jose, CA, United States
Duration: 20 Sep 200924 Sep 2009


Other2009 IEEE Energy Conversion Congress and Exposition, ECCE 2009
CountryUnited States
CitySan Jose, CA



  • Photovoltaic cell thermal factors
  • Photovoltaic power systems
  • Solar energy
  • Solar power generation
  • Thermal modeling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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