Rooftop PV module setup: Measurement and analytical studies on thermal processes

More than two weeks ago

We want to study the effect of dynamic-wind condition, and cloud formation on PV modules energy yield installed on a building rooftop.

Photo-voltaic solar panels provide a very attractive solution for future clean energy provision on site. Today's panels provide a relatively high efficiency under optimal conditions and when just fabricated. However, when the surface level airflow, irradiance transition caused by moving clouds, ambient temperature, radiation angle, and radiation concentration conditions are varying, the Energy-yield efficiency fluctuates quite heavily. Dynamic wind speed, wind direction and cloud covering play a significant role in the thermal processes. The range of these effects heavily depends o​n the context in which these panels are used and on the type of technology used.  We will mainly focus on crystalline silicon flat late modules using the most cost-effective solar cells.


In this thesis, we want to study the sensitivity of the above effects on PV modules installed on a building rooftop. We will compare several module topologies. We want to measure the I-V curves where both thermal, wind effects and cloud patterns will be included. Detailed thermal sensors would be distributed across the modules along with cloud movement imagining of the experimental site. This will contribute heavily to the understanding of the energy-yield efficiency over the entire lifetime of the future solar system. That will result in a large practical impact of the work in this thesis.

In this thesis, the student would have a unique opportunity to conduct both experimental and analytical studies. This thesis involves a large amount of hands-on practical engineering work with the hardware installations and the complex measurement equipment like thermal sensors, ultrasonic anemometer, pyranometers, sky imagers etc.  


Keywords: photovoltaic panels, outdoor energy-yield measurement, thermal and wind effects, cloud movement

Desirable exprience: Matlab/ Python and Labview experience.

Interest: Hands-on engineering activity


Prof. Francky Catthoor (IMEC-Leuven, K.U.Leuven)

Prof. Jan Cappelle (K.U.Leuven, Gent campus)

Daily coordinators: 

Bert Herteleer (K.U.Leuven, Gent campus), 

Gofran Chowdhury (IMEC+KULeuven)

Type of project: Thesis

Duration: 6-9 Months

Required degree: Master of Engineering Technology, Master of Science, Master of Engineering Science

Required background: Electrotechnics/Electrical Engineering, Energy, Physics, Mechanical Engineering, Computer Science

Supervising scientist(s): For further information or for application, please contact: Francky Catthoor ( and Gofran Chowdhury (

Imec allowance will be provided for students studying at a non-Belgian university.

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