OCI Solar Power partnered with San Antonio College (SAC) again this spring for a second solar power research project. After a successful, ten week research program last summer, OCI donated the required materials to continue the experiments this semester.
For the program, students investigated the effects of different methods of cooling solar panels on power output and efficiency. If solar panels become too hot or cold, their energy output decreases. Since most solar fields are found in warm climates with excess sunlight, discovering a method to keep these panels at the ideal temperature is critical to energy efficiency and maximization.
Expanding upon the cooling methods developed last year, misting and forced air cooling, the new program added longer sunlight exposure and as well as a new method of cooling, continual water circulation to the experiments.
The SAC student results found cold water misting to be the most effective cooling method with an increased energy output of nearly 25 percent more than an uncooled panel. Forced air cooling, or fans, saw a 16 percent increase in energy output and continual water circulation caused output to increase by 8 percent.
The classroom experiments and programming have been so valuable to the students that OCI Solar will partner with SAC for an enhanced third research study later this summer. Led by professor Dr. Klaus Bartels and guided by OCI Solar Power’s Fazli Qadir – Senior Vice President of Engineering, Procurement and Construction, SAC students will continue to dig deeper into their research and generate even more data to find ways to increase solar power production.
OCI Solar Power is proud to partner with programs like these to help inspire the next generation of sustainable and solar power engineers and professionals.