Improving photovoltaic module efficiency using water cooling

Saad Odeh, Masud Behnia*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

163 Citations (Scopus)


An effective way of improving efficiency and reducing the rate of thermal degradation of a photovoltaic (PV) module is by reducing the operating temperature of its surface. This can be achieved by cooling the module and reducing the heat stored inside the PV cells during operation. In this paper, long-term performance modeling of a proposed solar-water pumping system is carried out. The system, which is used for irrigation purposes, consists of a PV module cooled by water, a submersible water pump, and a water storage tank. Cooling of the PV panel is achieved by introducing water trickling configuration on the upper surface of the panel. An experimental rig is developed to investigate and evaluate PV module performance with the proposed cooling technique. The experimental results indicated that due to the heat loss by convection between water and the PV panel's upper surface, an increase of about 15% in system output is achieved at peak radiation conditions. Long-term performance of the system is estimated by integrating test results in a commercial transient simulation package using site radiation and ambient temperature data. The simulation results of the system's annual performance indicated that an increase of 5% in delivered energy from the PV module can be achieved during dry and warm seasons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)499-505
Number of pages7
JournalHeat Transfer Engineering
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - May 2009
Externally publishedYes


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