Cooling silicon photovoltaic cells using finned heat sinks and the effect of inclination angle

Ellis Johnston, Peter S. B. Szabo, Nick S. Bennett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigates the reduction in temperature within a silicon solar module by increasing the heat transfer coefficient of its rear surface. Specifically, a combined simulation and experimental study is carried out to determine how the performance of a heat sink mounted on the rear of a module is dependent on orientation, and how fin height influences the heat sink’s ability to reduce temperature. With a heat sink fin height of 20 mm, the temperatures of the front and rear surfaces of the module reached 62°C and 51°C, respectively. When the fins are extended to 300 mm, these temperatures reduced to 45°C and 30°C, respectively. It is shown that the heat sink’s performance in removing heat decreases when the orientation is rotated through 180⁰ (from facing upwards to facing downwards). The accompanying effect on the power output is also investigated. When the 20 mm heat sink is applied to a solar module, the power output increased by 11.3% (relative), compared to the power generated from a bare solar module. Similarly, the application of a 100 mm heat sink resulted in an increase in power output of 15.3% (relative).
Original languageEnglish
Article number100902
JournalThermal Science and Engineering Progress
Early online date2 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2021


  • Heat sink
  • Natural convection
  • Solar cell
  • Temperature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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