Photovoltaic/thermal collector – PV/T

Photovoltaic Thermal hybrid solar collectors, aka hybrid PV/T systems or PV/T, are systems that convert solar radiation into thermal and electrical energy. Conventional PV modules can convert only a small part of the incoming energy into electrical power, so the remaining part is dissipated as heat. PV/T collectors recover part of that heat, improving first-law efficiency of the module.

A thermal loop has been installed to measure thermal efficiency of PV/T panels in real environmental conditions. Three hydraulic branches in parallel are present, in order to conduct simultaneous analyses, connected to a common heat storage tank. An air dry cooler with variable-speed fans is used to dissipate the heat produced.

Measurements of temperature, mass flow and pressure allows to establish the thermal power recovered and corresponding auxiliary consumptions, while micro-inverters collects the electrical production of PV/T panels individually.

Operating conditions of the fluid inside the panels (i.e. flowrate and temperature) can be set and controlled by a LabVIEW® interface, so that a wide range of operating conditions can be evaluated.

Innovative PV/T concepts are currently tested in the laboratory and also mathematical models are developed and validated by experimental campaigns iresidential applications) and to design more efficient circuitries of the heat exchanger.

Experimental facility for PV/T performance comparison

Characteristic curve of a tested PV/T panel