The government relies on the development of solar power plants (PLTS) to accelerate the use of renewable energy by 23% of the total national energy mix by 2025. The reason is that sunlight can be obtained anywhere. In addition, as of 2019, the utilization of PLTS is still less than 0.05% of the total potential of more than 200 gigawatts (GW).

However, the use of sunlight as a source of energy is like a double-edged sword. The reason is, PLTS only utilizes up to 20% of solar radiation into electrical energy, the rest is wasted as heat.

Not only is radiation wasted, the increase in solar panel temperature can also reduce the performance of PLTS. Studies show that at a temperature of 65 celsius, the performance of solar panels can be reduced by 1.6% to 2.6% compared to a temperature of 25 celsius. This risk is getting bigger for PLTS installed in areas with high radiation levels, such as in the equatorial area.

To overcome this problem, electrical energy through sunlight can be produced through a combination of photovoltaic technology and a thermal system ( photovoltaic thermal system / PVT). Photovoltaic is the process of converting sunlight into electrical energy. Whereas in a thermal system, electricity is generated from direct sunlight. So with both technologies, we can convert both light and heat energy from the sun into electrical energy optimally.

Get a summary of the last week’s environmental news.Heat Harvesting Technology
The author develops PVP hybrid technology through the integration of thermoelectric generator (TEG ) equipment and heat storage media, namely phase change material (PCM). TEG is a device that converts heat energy into electricity directly. The integration of the two aims to absorb the wasted heat from photovoltaic into electrical energy.

The PVP configuration consists of a solar panel and a channel ( PVT duct ) at the back of the photovoltaic module. In this line gap, heat-harvesting and cooling devices are integrated to increase the conversion of electrical energy.

The conversion process occurs through the difference in temperature between the hot plate and cold plate at TEG–known as the Seebeck effect . The higher the temperature difference between the hot plate and the cold plate, the greater the electrical energy produced.

To create this effect, in this study, we added a lens to increase the transfer of heat absorbed by the hot plate. We increased the lens power up to 10 times for optimal conversion.

Meanwhile, PCM is integrated on the side of the TEG cold plate to provide a cooling effect and to provide a constant temperature effect. This is done to anticipate temperature fluctuations in TEG which is a problem in the findings of previous studies .

Based on the author’s study in 2017, the increase in efficiency was able to increase the performance of electrical energy output by up to 5%. As an illustration, the heat regulation model in this study can provide additional electrical energy of about 1.3 kilowatts for a 300-square-meter solar panel area, equivalent to lighting about six protocol street lamps.

Meanwhile, research results published in the journal Applied Energy in 2019 showed, thanks to thermal technology, the increase in PLTS electricity production was already higher – by 9.5%.

Expanding studies, spurring the performance of PV mini-grid
Research and innovation of solar panels through a combination of PVP technology is able to increase the production of PLTS stun. The study can be followed up with a study on the development of TEG and PCM materials so that the two devices can harvest more electricity from solar energy.

One problem that poses a challenge is the unstable PCM equipment and problems with its melting point ( melting point ) so that it is at risk of disrupting PV mini-grid production, especially in long-term operations. If the performance of the two devices is sufficient, then the use of PLTS can add to the contribution of clean energy sources to power electricity in the country.

By Arkha