Photovoltaic-thermoelectric hybrid (PV-TE) systems combine photovoltaic (PV) cells and thermoelectric cooling (TEC) modules to improve the system performance. PV panels efficiency is undesirably influenced by temperature rise, reducing power outlet from PV cells. As a countermeasure, cooling methods have been widely suggested. In this chapter, we provide an overview of both technologies, as well as an analysis of thermoelectric cooling as a possible solution to temperature rise in PV panels. Energy and exergy balances of hybrid system are conducted to determine if the thermoelectric cooling is viable for a self-sustaining system. Our results show that copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS), crystalline silicon (c-Si), amorphous silicon (a-Si), and cadmium tellurium (CdTe) PV panels are unsuitable candidates using the TE cooling. Even though exergy losses diminish with temperature decrease in CIGS, c-Si, and a-Si, the power consumption of the TEC has shown to overcome power generation from PV panels.
Part of the book: Bringing Thermoelectricity into Reality