Using energy balance method to study the thermal behavior of PV panels under time-varying field conditions

Shahzada Pamir Aly, Said Ahzi, Nicolas Barth, Amir Abdallah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)


A precise estimate of PV panels temperature is crucial for accurately assessing their electrical performance. Therefore, in this study, one of the main aims has been to significantly improve the prediction accuracy of the PV cell temperature, by using realistic boundary conditions. Unlike previous thermal models in the literature, which usually focus on its mere application, a detailed step by step development and numerical implementation of the complete model has also been provided in great details in this work. The developed model is transient, so it can fully simulate the thermal performance of any PV panel under time-varying field conditions. Once the model is defined for a specific PV panel, the only external inputs it needs are the total incident solar irradiation, wind speed and the ambient temperature. The model has been adequately validated through PV panel's datasheet provided information, literature data and against a versatile set of experimental data under various weather conditions. After thorough validations, the developed model was compared to various other widely used empirical, analytical and numerical thermal models from the literature. The comparison shows that by using realistic boundary conditions, the developed thermal model has far better prediction accuracy than other models from the literature. The methodology presented in this study is completely generic. That is, though it has been implemented and validated here for a silicon-based PV module the approach may be used to model any free-standing plane PV surface, with appropriate modifications to layer thicknesses and material properties. A range of weather conditions may also be accommodated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)246-262
Number of pages17
JournalEnergy Conversion and Management
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2018



  • Analytical model
  • Empirical model
  • Finite difference
  • Numerical method
  • PV cell temperature
  • Thermal model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology

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