Structural and Thermal Enhancement of Industrial Photovoltaic Modules for Marine Applications
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To increase the potential of renewable energy sources, this thesis investigates floating solar panels. Floating solar panels have a large potential due to the growing demand for greener energy sources such as solar energy, along with limited possible installation locations for such systems, particularly in densely populated areas. Installing solar panels on water also has the potential of cooling the solar panels without the use of additional cooling technology. This is important since an increase in cell temperature will result in a lower power output. To install solar panels on water, a support structure is needed to provide additional stiffness, as well as to maximize the cooling potential of the water surface underneath. Trade-offs have been discussed in order to propose a support structure design which meets the functional requirements of the system at a low cost. Limitations of the evaluations include that there are no defined requirements regarding the maximum deformation the system can endure without compromising functionality. U-shaped profiles with a wall thickness of 2 mm and a profile separation distance of 40 mm sandwiched between two aluminium sheets has been concluded to be the optimal design with the limitations presented in the thesis.