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International Journal of Photoenergy
Volume 2013, Article ID 978234, 10 pages
Research Article

Characterization of Air-Based Photovoltaic Thermal Panels with Bifacial Solar Cells

1Solar Energy Research Institute, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Bangi, 43600 Selangor, Malaysia
2Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Bangi, 43600 Selangor, Malaysia

Received 15 July 2013; Accepted 5 November 2013

Academic Editor: Vincenzo Augugliaro

Copyright © 2013 P. Ooshaksaraei et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Photovoltaic (PV) panels account for a majority of the cost of photovoltaic thermal (PVT) panels. Bifacial silicon solar panels are attractive for PVT panels because of their potential to enhance electrical power generation from the same silicon wafer compared with conventional monofacial solar panels. This paper examines the performance of air-based bifacial PVT panels with regard to the first and second laws of thermodynamics. Four air-based bifacial PVT panels were designed. The maximum efficiencies of 45% to 63% were observed for the double-path-parallel bifacial PVT panel based on the first law of thermodynamics. Single-path bifacial PVT panel represents the highest exergy efficiency (10%). Double-path-parallel bifacial PVT panel is the second preferred design as it generates up to 20% additional total energy compared with the single-path panel. However, the daily average exergy efficiency of a double-path-parallel panel is 0.35% lower than that of a single-path panel.