Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

First Advisor

Michael J. Brandemuehl

Second Advisor

Moncef Krarti

Third Advisor

John Zhai


In order to maximize solar energy gains per square foot on a residential roof, the development of a new Building-Integrated Photovoltaic/Thermal (BIPV/T) module was designed, built and tested. The concept for the design was constrained by a provisional patent entitled, Low-cost, modular mounting system for building-integrated photovoltaic/thermal collector. The novel aspect of the patent required that the framing/mounting system include an integrated heat conducting fluid conduit. Photovoltaic/Thermal collectors are capable of simultaneously producing electricity and hot water. A heat conducting fluid is passed underneath the PV laminate picking up the waste heat from the PV panel. The waste heat rejected to the fluid is useful for two reasons: 1) it cools the PV cells allowing for higher power conversion efficiencies and 2) it provides a source of heat for low-grade temperature applications. In addition to the solar performance, the building-integrated modules are to serve as façade elements, replacing traditional shingles or siding, which is accomplished by designing the frame with integrating flanges and gaskets that overlap one another providing a smooth, low-profile and aesthetic array. A prototype was fabricated by a local plastic shop and a physical experiment was built on the roof of the engineering center. Data collected from the experiment was used to calibrate a TRNSYS computer model which simulated the annual performance of a 5kW BIPV/T array on a typical American household for 20 non-freezing climate cities. The computer simulation found the BIPV/T modules were capable of meeting up to 80% of the domestic hot water load (the solar fraction), and an improved electrical power efficiency up to 2.6% in certain climates.

BIPVTDefense.pptx (23072 kB)