Linear solar concentrators focus radiation onto the solar cell achieving a Gaussian illumination profile. Most of these concentrators use an active cooling system to evacuate the energy not converted into electricity to avoid undesirable overheating. Heat sinks can cause different temperature profiles in the cell depending on the cooling mechanism. Two temperature patterns are most common: the Gaussian and the anti-Gaussian. The effect of these temperature curves on the cell's electrical parameters has been analysed and characterised numerically and experimentally under different concentrated radiations. A power output increase is shown when the cell is subjected to a Gaussian temperature profile. Contrarily, the cell efficiency decreases more than 3% under the anti-Gaussian temperature profile. It is demonstrated that it is possible to tailor the temperature profile to maximise voltage output for determined illumination conditions. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.