A solar panel installation that can also deliver heat besides electricity has been developed and now is being commercialized by Naked Energy, a Guilford, UK-based company. The hybrid solar panel has been named Virtu and has a few advantages over similar stuff out previously produced.
As you’ve probably been used to seeing solar panels standing at a 45-degree angle on rooftops, Virtu has the advantage of sitting in a tube: each solar cell can change the tilt, so it follows the sun for as long as it can, leading to higher efficiency.
“The annual yield depends on the application, local climatic conditions and quantity of panels installed. For installations requiring high temperatures for thermally driven cooling or heat storage we are producing matching ‘thermal only’ vacuum tubes, which will be able to produce significantly higher temperatures,” says a company press release.
The Imperial College London tested Virtu and certified that it can produce up to 46 percent more energy than the typical PV panel at 65 degrees Celsius.
Naked Energy has been founded by Richard Boyle, and since its beginning it started studying possibilities of blending photovoltaics with heat-producing solutions. The company also patented a technology called “thermosyphon,” which has the role of harvesting the unwanted heat from the photovoltaic cell to provide hot water.