Hybrid Solar Panels (PV), Thermal (Heat) Solar Power System : SolarRoofs.com's Current Product Design Proves to be Ideal for Hybrid

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PV Solar Panels, Solar Thermal hybrids have recently become popular because these solar power systems make more effective use of valuable solar roof space. The Hybrid Solar panels, Solar hot water collector effectively more than doubles the per square foot solar power output of PV alone. This is done by producing heat for solar hot water or solar space heating as a byproduct, in effect, a solar co-generation process.

a gargantuan leap in a field where engineers exult over the most incremental gains.

Further efficiency is achieved because PV solar panels grow less efficient as they get hot so air cooling the underside of the PV panel makes it produce more electricity. Further savings are achieved because the solar panels usually covers a large part of the south roof and thus reduces the buildings cooling load.

On its own, Solar hot water usually produces over 4 times the energy of PV in thermal terms. A solar hot water collector covered with PV solar panels is going to work at lower efficiency because most of the direct sunlight is blocked by the solar power cells. If the thermal portion of the Hybrid collector was working at only 25% efficiency, the gross energy output would be doubled. Now add to that increased solar power PV panel efficiency and decreased cooling load and you have a real winning combination.

For years SolarRoofs.com has produced a popular light weight and attractive solar hot water collector called the "Skyline" 10-01 and 20-01. Recently the Inventor of the collector, Al C. Rich, an innovation leader in the solar water heating and PV industry, realized the unique roll formed pan design would make an ideal air collector. Having also built air collectors in the past, Rich said, "it wasn't much of a leap to put two and two together and see that by simply substituting a PV solar panel as the glazing, our air collector would become an excellent Hybrid PV–Thermal collector."

"I have been toying with solar power PV-Thermal Hybrids since 2001 when we built our first one. Being a thermal guy I thought that the heat developed was not enough, so I scrapped it, now I realize that the heat was as much or more energy than the PV solar panel would produce plus there are other benefits," Rich said.

The value of this solar power technological approach has been recognized by no less than Vinod Khosler, the founder of Sun Microsystems who is now an alternative-energy technology entrepreneur. He called this hybrid approach "a gargantuan leap in a field where engineers exult over the most incremental gains."

"After 30 years in solar hot water, I have a few tricks up my sleeve and am excited to be making another contribution to solar energy, and this one is mostly just a simple modification of our highly flexible collector design. I wish I had shown up with this solar panel at the 2006 California Clean Tech Competitions in San Francisco, even though what I brought was revolutionary and will still have its day, people can immediately understand the value of solar power Hybrid PV-Thermal," Rich said.

For more information, please contact Al Rich at (916) 481-7200.

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Al C. Rich
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