An Amsterdam houseboat owner has installed PVT panels on the deck of his ship, which feeds a heat-pump.
Most people associate solar power with photo-voltaic solar panels, not in the least because of spectacular price decline, with panels of 100 x 160 cm and 300 Watt Wp, costing 100-150 euro.
That wasn’t always the case. The solar revolution started with thermal solar collectors, used for tap water heating, when astronomically priced panels were reserved mostly for space exploration. Increasingly, people begin to understand that both functions can very well be combined. Solar panels are black, meaning that they are energetically “black bodies”, meaning that they absorb almost all solar radiation, go to good old Max Planck for the physics details. That solar radiation can be used both for electricity and heat generation, with a total yield of 1400 Wp per 100 x 160 cm panel.
Modern, commercial solar panels have an efficiency of 20% or more, thermal collectors much higher. Enter “photovoltaic thermal hybrid solar collector” (PVT). PVT panels are more expensive than solar panels [*], but the realization that in the urban environment, space rather than money, is the real limiting factor, PVT could become big, now that the solar revolution is picking up serious momentum, especially in overcrowded and prosperous renewable energy laggard Holland, that enjoyed the ownership of a huge natural gas field, it could milk for decades until prices for renewable energy came down sufficiently to jump on that bandwagon, leaving the real innovation effort to the Danes and Germans, who (deservedly) now own the industries, good for them. (Never mind, we’ll make our renewable energy money from maritime installations and monopiles, North Sea electricity production we can export into the EU and perhaps a share in the future hydrogen trade).
We have collected a few examples of PVT-projects in the Netherlands, captured in video.
[*] – as a rule of thumb, solar collectors cost per m2 about twice as much as solar panels, so for PVT expect a price per m2, three times that of a solar panel.
[wikipedia.org] – Black Body
[wikipedia.org] – Photovoltaic thermal hybrid solar collector
[deepresource] – Our PVT articles
[volthera.nl] – PVT-producer and installer
PVT-panels applied in a new housing project in Utrecht, this is the easy, happy flow.
Adding solar panels/collectors to new buildings is easy, where solar panels can become the roof itself, eliminating the need for tiles and save cost. The real challenge is to integrate PVT-panels in buildings that weren’t designed for solar, like here in Delft.
In this project it is stressed that PVT-systems can eliminate the need for expensive intrusive underground and thus stationary heat exchangers and instead opt for solar radiation and heat extraction from flowing thin air.
Hallelujah-video from a Dutch producer of PVT-systems, QPanel by HRSolar.
PV-panels have 300 Wp, PVT-panels 1400 Wp!