SPLTRAK Abstract Submission
Collection of Heat Loss in Photovoltaic System by Parallely Connected Thermoelectric Network
Joel D. Erickson1& Jing Bai2
1University of Minnesota Duluth, Duluth, MN, United States
/2University of Minnesota Duluth, Duluth, MN, United States

The goal of this work is to increase solar cell efficiency by efficiently combining the electric power of a solar cell and a thermoelectric generator into a single two terminal hybrid device. This work presents a method of achieving this by dividing the thermoelectric generator into smaller thermoelectric generators, forming a parallel connected network with them, and connecting this network in series with the solar cell. An equivalent circuit model was developed for this device scheme, and compared with experimental data.  The data show some support of the model, but fine evaluation of the model’s accuracy was hindered by limitations in the experimental setup. If thermoelectric generator efficiency increases in the future, it may become practical to combine thermoelectric generators with solar cells. Providing a method for combining the two power sources at the cellular level may be important for simplifying and improving systems that use these photovoltaic/thermoelectric hybrids.