Hybrid solar system for heat and electricity funded

PVT Solar is entering the solar-panel market with a twist: its system generates electricity as well as heat.

The San Francisco area-based start-up today said that it has raised a series B round of $13.7 million from Sigma Partners and named a former SunPower executive, Vikas Desai, as CEO. The money will be used to expand the company’s operations, including sales and distribution.

Price competition in the global business for solar photovoltaic modules is brutal, with prices for  solar panels falling steadily. PVT Solar is seeking to differentiate itself with multipurpose modules that produce electricity and harvest the heat generated by solar panels.

The company says that its combination system, called Echo, generates twice as much usable energy as a PV solar panel and offers a quicker payback. It does not disclose the price except to say it’s more expensive than PV-only solar panels.

solar panels

PVT Solar’s system pulls air from vents placed under solar photovoltaic panels and uses the heat in the home for space heating or hot water.

Under each row of solar panels on a roof is a vent which pulls in air from under standard PV solar panels. The hot air is transferred to a heat exchanger which filters the air and heats water pumped in from a storage tank. That pre-heated water is fed into an existing hot water heater to lower the amount of energy needed to run.

In addition, the system can distribute hot air to heaters in the home. At night, the cool air from outside can be pumped in as well. The system has electronic controls to manage the flow of heat and monitor the energy production, according to PVT Solar.

The idea of hybrid hot water-PV systems has been around for years and there are a number of other companies now making them, including Sundrum Solar and 7Solar Technologies.

Wicking away the heat generated by solar PV panels can actually bump up the output of silicon panels which don’t perform as well in high heat. But even though these systems are more efficient, they cost more upfront and involve more complicated installation which would typically involve more than one contractor.

PVT Solar was originally funded by Khosla Ventures, which participated in this round along with Energy & Environment Investment from Japan.

Source: CNET News

Solar energy technology is developing at a rapid rate.  The system above is probably fairly simple in theory but the challenge is to manufacture a hybrid solar energy system that is affordable.  As with most technology, prices do come down as competition increases and cost-effective manufacturing processes are devised.

Water Rhapsody Water Conservation Systems has incorporated Yes Solar Mpumalanga so that we can offer solar water heating systems to further reduce your environmental impact (water and energy are linked).  Yes Solar is a distributor for Solsquare Solar Solutions- high quality German-engineered solar energy systems that are competitively priced.  Solsquare solar geysers are SABS- and Eskom-approved and are fitted by qualified, Eskom-accredited solar installers.  In South Africa, home solar water heaters generally amortize their initial cost within 36 months (at current Eskom rates). Now is the time to install a solar geyser while the Eskom rebates last (this money will run out eventually) and before the looming energy crisis arrives.  Solar water geysers can reduce household electricity costs by up to 50%.

Water Rhapsody’s WWF AWARD-winning water conservation systems (product demo) include rainwater harvesting systems, grey water recycling systems, swimming pool backwash recycling, water-saving toilet flushing mechanisms and rainwater tanks (we are authorised  JoJo Tanks & Atlas Plastics water tank dealers in Mpumalanga and Limpopo).

Our water and solar systems will save the environment while you save money on water and electricity bills.

Contact us for a free quote on a solar geyser, water system or water tank.

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