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What Is A Hybrid Solar Panel?

Hybrid solar panels are devices that combine photovoltaic and thermal solar energy. From them you can get electricity and heat at the same time. That is, a PVT panel is capable of producing electricity and hot water.

What is a hybrid solar panel?

Therefore, a hybrid solar panel is composed of a photovoltaic collector to which a heat exchanger is associated. This exchanger is capable of heating a fluid thanks to the part of the solar radiation not converted into electrical energy.

What is a hybrid solar panel for?

A hybrid solar panel can generate electricity and hot water.

In the same installation of solar panels, hybrid panels act as photovoltaic solar panels and thermal panels at the same time. In this way, solar energy can be used to heat water and increase the efficiency of electricity production.

These installations of hybrid solar panels allow progress towards the energy transition that all the countries of the European Union are facing.

What advantages does the hybrid solar panel have?

The main advantage of the PVT panel is that it increases performance.

Since the origin of photovoltaic conversion, it has been observed that the rate of conversion of solar radiation into electrical energy depends on the temperature of the solar photovoltaic cell that performs the conversion.

Generally speaking, solar panels do not tend to have a high efficiency. The performance of the solar panels decreases with the increase in the temperature of the photovoltaic cell. As this conversion rate is of the order of 15-20%, it turns out that the residual 80-85% is converted to heat energy or sensible heat.

One solution is to cool the photovoltaic cells using a heat transfer fluid that removes residual heat. The hybrid solar panel allows to exploit this heat in a similar way to a thermal solar panel.

The overall energy yield (ie, considering the heat recovered and the electricity produced as a useful effect) normally exceeds 40%, and can reach 50-60% under favorable conditions.

What are the types of hybrid solar panels?

There are different types of hybrid solar panels:

1.- Solar panels with front air chamber

Solar collectors with a front air chamber exploit the greenhouse effect. They are used almost exclusively for heat exchange with air.

2.- Solar panels without air chamber

Tubeless solar panels are the most common type of collector. In this type of collectors, the exchange of thermal energy takes place at the back of the photovoltaic collector.

This type of panel has the advantage of a rear location of the fluid supply and extraction lines, which would otherwise pose shading problems.

3.- Liquid solar collectors

Compared to a normal photovoltaic panel, in a liquid collector there is the addition of a heat exchanger and its insulation.

This exchanger can be of various forms:

  • In the most frequent cases it is made up of copper tubes adherent to the backing sheet

  • With an aluminum coil exchanger that allows better heat transfer.

The heat exchange with the liquid collector is very effective in cooling the photovoltaic cells, increasing their performance.

4.- Concentrating solar panels

By abandoning the use of silicon cells and the introduction of thin film technology, it is possible to design a hybrid panel that sees the use of solar concentration.

An interesting application sees the presence of a solar radiation concentrator. At the focus of the concentrator a tube is placed on the side surface of which is seated a film of thin film solar cells.

This configuration makes it possible to achieve higher yields from photovoltaic cells. At the same time, heat removal is more effective.

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Published: March 6, 2018
Last review: August 28, 2020