Detailed analysis of the energy yield of systems with covered sheet-and-tube PVT collectors

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Solar cells have a typical efficiency in the range of 5 to 20%, implying that 80% or more of the incident solar energy can be harvested in the form of heat and applied for low-temperature heating. In a PVT collector one tries to collect this heat. In this work, the electrical and thermal yield of solardomestic hot water systems with one-cover sheet-and-tube PVT collectors were considered. Objectives of the work were to understand the mechanisms determining these yields, to investigate measures to improve these yields and to investigate the yield consequences if various solar cell technologies are being used. The work was carried out using numerical simulations.A detailed quantitative understanding of all loss mechanisms was obtained, especially of those being inherent to the use of PVT collectors instead of PV modules and conventional thermal collectors. The annual electrical efficiencies of the PVT systems investigated were up to 14% (relative) lower compared to pure PV systems and the annual thermal efficiencies up to 19% (relative) lower compared to pure thermal collector systems. The loss of electrical efficiency is mainly caused by the relatively high fluid temperature. The loss of thermal efficiency is caused both by the high emissivity of the absorber and the withdrawal of electrical energy. However, both the loss of electrical and thermal efficiency can be reduced further by the application of anti-reflective coatings. The thermal efficiency can be improved by theapplication of a low-emissivity coating on the absorber, however at the cost of a reduced electrical efficiency.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)867-878
JournalSolar Energy
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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