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Hybrid collectors use roof surfaces twice over
21.08.2012

Combining photovoltaics and solar thermal energy

Homeowners interested in utilising solar energy usually used to have to decide between generating solar thermal energy using collector systems or producing solar power with photovoltaic modules. However, new hybrid collectors now enable a joint solution. They combine both forms of solar energy in a single housing and thus create a uniform appearance on the roof. The new BINE-Projektinfo brochure “Using solar roofs twice over” (10/2012) presents the systems, two pilot projects and concepts for future technological optimisation. Solar energy systems with hybrid collectors are particularly suited for buildings with high heating requirements throughout the year.

The efficiency of photovoltaic modules reduces with increasing temperatures. They only achieve around half the electricity yield with temperatures of around 130 °C. Thermal solar energy systems, on the other hand, work particularly efficiently with high temperatures. In summer they achieve temperatures between 90 and 200 °C. Developers of hybrid collectors (PVT modules) therefore have to balance out these contradictory requirements and decide whether their system should focus more on generating electricity or heat. As part of the energy research, a glazed collector optimised for generating heat was developed along with an unglazed collector coupled with a heat pump system and borehole heat exchangers and which enables greater electricity yields. Although hybrid collectors have not been able to really convince until now in terms of their economic performance, they could become increasing important in future. PVT modules enable a considerably greater solar energy yield on restricted roof surfaces than separate individual solutions. Possible application areas include residential buildings, hospitals, care homes, process heat and their combination with systems for providing solar cooling or air-conditioning.

Developers are currently improving their concepts for the systems, whereby new materials and optimised manufacturing and production technologies are being tested out. The BINE Projektinfo brochure “Using solar roofs twice over” (10/2012), which can be obtained free of charge from the BINE Information Service at FIZ Karlsruhe, is available online at www.bine.info or by calling +49 (0)228 92379-0.

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Combining photovoltaics and solar thermal energy

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