Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Idea for Photovoltaic Thermal - Sunbox mark 2!

6 April: There is a technology of combining Photovoltaic and Thermal panels, called PVT for short. (See a definition) However, I only know of one manufacturer (Echo PVT solar) who makes one, and these are not yet approved for accredited installation in the UK.
  The conditions for Sunboxes to support a GSHP are different from the Echo PVT panels, as they do not require high performance, or back insulation. They need to be good for good air temperatures, to work at nightime and to augment a GSHP, and allow summer airflow even when overcast.
  I am trying to work out if they should be designed to go above each other, on a wall, or on a roof. Sunboxes work best on a wall as you need to build up the air temperature for them to work, and a slender roof panel would not be right for this. So if they are on a wall with a PV front, the PV panel needs to be tilted. Even 20degs makes an improvement over them being vertical - so I am working on 70ยบ angle to avoid the panels projecting too much.
  For the thermal collector, I cannot remain fixed to the plastic Solar Focus panels as they are too big. There's no need for something large and wide as there is no direct view of the Sun. Picking up air temperature is the requirement. There is large range of metal radiators with very efficient finning, better heat transfer etc. They only need to be painted matt black to pick up heat from the back of the PV panel, and the fins will pick up heat from the air. They can easily connect to small bore piping, instead of these massive 40mm black pipes.
They would need to be next to each other, as ones above each other would cast shadow in the valuable summer months. If they are adjoining, then pipes can run through easily. If I build a prototype, I will probably having it just charging a car battery, for powering 12 volt devices, as it is too early and too expensive (for just one panel) to fit an inverter.
This idea will continue developing, I hope. I prepared to spend funds researching this, now that the principles of augmenting a GSHP are proven.

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