For the thermoelectric properties of NaxCoO2, we analyze the effect of local Coulomb interaction and (disordered) potential differences for Co-sites with adjacent Na-ion or vacancy. The disorder potential alone increases the resistivity and reduces the thermopower, while the Coulomb interaction alone leads only to minor changes compared to the one-particle picture of the local density approximation. Only combined, these two terms give rise to a substantial increase of the thermopower: the number of (quasi-)electrons around the Fermi level is much more suppressed than that of the (quasi-)holes. Hence, there is a particle-hole imbalance acting in the same direction as a similar imbalance for the group velocities. Together, this interplay results in a large positive thermopower. Introducing a thermoelectric spectral density, we located the energies and momenta regions most relevant for the thermopower and changes thereof.