Solar technologies are either used for heating application or for the production of electricity and yet people sometimes fail to distinguish them. But with the emergence of a new technology that uses both the application that confusion may go forever. The technology is Solar Photovoltaic Thermal which essentially clubs the two technologies into one.
The Photovoltaic Thermal technology is disruptive for the conventional rooftop solar & solar water heater
A Photovoltaic Thermal comprises of a panel that has a standard photovoltaic module along with a polymer absorber. This system harvests solar energy and gives electrical output while also harvesting thermal energy in the form of hot water.
The traditional photovoltaic systems lose efficiency in hot climates due to overheating. The Photovoltaic Thermal technology has water coolant that circulates through the system. This helps in bringing down the heating of the system while harvesting thermal energy.
Joerg Gaebler, principal advisor of Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), an agency which works with the government of Germany for sustainable development inaugurated the state-of-the-art photovoltaic thermal (PVT) solar power systems on the Government College of Technology (GCT) campus in Coimbatore.
The cost of the system is around Rs 60 to Rs 80 per watt and gives four times the power output – electrical and thermal combined- in comparison to traditional solar heaters or power plants. The system also requires lesser space.
The photovoltaic thermal plant at GCT has cost around Rs 27 lakh of which the college has invested Rs 15 lakh. GIZ has provided the equipment. The two PVT systems will generate power and also provide hot water for hostels.
The systems installed in GCT is the first in South India and it would next install it in Puducherry. GIZ is also planning to manufacture photovoltaic thermal panels in India and talks for that would begin in May 2019.
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