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.