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Photovoltaic units, also known as solar cells have an ideal operating temperature of about 25 C or 77 F, for each degree Celsius above the optimal operating temperature, we can expect the efficiency of the unit to drop 0.5%. On any given summer day, it is not uncommon for solar cell temperatures to reach upwards of 70 C which is about 158 F, this results in a drop of 25% efficiency. If we think of efficiency as the quantity energy produced divided by energy supplied, we can quantitatively see how loss of efficiency corresponds to a loss in energy produced. Our goal is to make up some of this loss energy through thermoelectric generation using the increased heat from the solar cells to create a current that we can add back into the total power produced. Successful implementation of such as system could potentially decrease the dependency of fossil fuels.
engineering, photovoltaic units
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