Date of Award


Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Engineering (Research)


Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering

First Advisor

Mr. Chris Gibbons

Second Advisor

Dr. Stephen Cassidy


Photovoltaics are devices that convert sunlight directly to electricity. It is well established that the conversion efficiency of mono and poly-crystalline silicon-based photovoltaic modules is inversely related to their temperature. Substantial improvements in operational performance can thus be achieved if the thermal energy accumulating in the material can be effectively dissipated.

Accurate modelling of modules would allow possible methods of thermal dissipation to be evaluated, and as a crucial component of the model, the thermal properties of the constituent materials of PV modules needed to be known. Special consideration needed to be given to the interfaces between dissimilar materials and to the interconnections.

In this project the interface thermal resistances that exist between consecutive layers in a PV were fully determined. Pre-modelling took place to verify the existence and the significance of these thermal resistances.

The validity of the model was proven experimentally by quantifying the interface resistances. They sum to a total of 3.19 C/W, which is equivalent to 23.8 /o of the total thermal resistances of the PV module.

By including the results from the experimentation to the model, it was found that it is giving a representative picture of the photovoltaic thermal behaviour.

Further experimentation took place by testing a PV module under simulated lighting conditions. These results are within an error range of 25%.

Finally suggestions for further work and improvement of the model and the experimental results are given.


Submitted to the HETAC for the degree of Master of Engineering

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