Solar panel manufacturer Solimpeks is offering a hybrid solar panel that is capable of providing both electricity and water heating from the same panel. The panels are ideal for applications where there is limited roof space available, but both solar electricity and solar hot water are desired. Even better, the combination of the two functions actually improves the efficiency of the electrical generation of the photovoltaics.
These hybrid panels address a problem most solar panels have: as photovoltaic (PV) panels get hotter, they get less efficient at generating electricity. A PV panel is about 1% less efficient for every 3.5 degrees F temperature increase. The Solimpeks panels address this by using water to absorb excess heat and keep the panels cooler. Water cooling is far more effective than air cooling, making this a very effective combination. The heated water is then used to provide the additional benefit of hot water for the building.
Testing has shown the efficiency of electrical generation to be as high as 28% while at the same time producing 140-160 degree F water. This works out to an improvement of 20% over a similar sized electric-only PV array, and without the added hot water benefit, either.
Keeping the panels cooler has the additional benefit of extending their lifespan, keeping them in service for a longer period of time. These panels will also be able to pay back their installation cost more quickly since they are providing both electricity and hot water.
Via World Architecture News and EcoGeek
This history major had blithely assumed that this type of panel would be somewhat common. (New homeowner thinking about some retrofits) Even I know about (the waste) heat and how it affects the performance of circuits. Why WOULDN'T you run some fluid through these panels whenever possible? It's an easy two bank shot. Having found any number of companies offering "free" installation of pure PV panels it has become obvious to me that this industry, for better or worse, is captive to maximizing capture of tax incentives rather than energy from the sun. A shame really because I think a lot of folks are ready to spend some money regardless of tax credits and long payback horizons. I am myself but it would have been nice to see things more evolved at this point.
Doing thesis work on the topic solar PVT/ water (thermosiphon type) great to see its in the market now...
I googled this combination for exactly the same reasons you list, harvesting the heat for the water which is a major energy cost, and cooling the panels to increase the power production of the panels. Now, what do they cost? Are they cost effective yet? And have you considered devices to change the angel of the panel keeping it pointed at the sun for more energy? Would like to hear from you on this J W
Ppl like you get all the brains. I just get to say thanks for he awensr.
Kudos to you! I hadn't tohhugt of that!
Photovoltaic Solar Hot Water Panels ,it will big change of pv industry .solar blog: http://www.pvsolarchina.com
I've been waiting for these systems to start appearing. It only makes sense if you've ever put your hand on a PV panel in the sunlight, they get hot! So it makes perfect sense to combine the functions. However, I still want to see building integrated solutions, rather than add-ons. I would like to be able to either build a roof entirely of these on a new construction, or be able to replace an existing roof with something like this rather than re-shingling.
I think this kind of hybridization is exactly the type of thing we need to continue to keep seeing!
[...] incorporates rainwater harvesting and purification, an air source heat pump, a wind turbine, and solar-thermal panels. Locally-sourced materials will be employed including reclaimed timber, and more unconventionally, [...]