The Second Law Efficiency of Solar Energy Conversion

[+] Author and Article Information
J. A. Gribik

Basic Technology Incorporated, Pittsburgh, Pa. 15235

J. F. Osterle

Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pa. 15213

J. Sol. Energy Eng 106(1), 16-21 (Feb 01, 1984) (6 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3267555 History: Received July 08, 1983; Online November 11, 2009


The controversy over the proper expression for the theoretical maximum conversion efficiency of solar devices is resolved. The correct expression, ηmax = 1 −4/3 (To /Ts ), relates to the maximum work that can be done by a device which accepts blackbody radiation at Ts and rejects heat to the ambient at To . A general bilinear dissipation equation for solar devices is derived. The effect of back-radiation is considered, and the efficiency decrease due to atmospheric scattering is determined.

Copyright © 1984 by ASME
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