Hybrid Solar Collector Makes a Big Splash
A graduate student in the Netherlands is making a big splash in the hybrid solar collector pool. Stefan Roest, a student majoring in Sustainable Energy Technology has created a new model of hybrid solar collector that has substantially higher efficiency and a longer life span than others on the market at the moment.
Hybrid solar collectors use both PV and solar thermal technology to create energy as well as heat water. Conventional hybrid solar collectors pose many problem such as overheating of PV panels and low efficiency; both problems that Roest addressed in his new model.
Roest replaced standard crystalline silicon PV with a thin-film panel and removed the conventionally used transparent cover on the panel says EcoSeed.org. These changes help keep the solar panel from overheating, causing a massive drop in efficiency, as well as making it easier to draw heat from the panel into the water heater. The transparent cover on previous models cause the temperature of the panel at extremely high levels which results in a meager five - ten year lifespan.
Roest's new model more than doubles this with a fifteen - twenty year lifespan, making a hybrid solar collector a much more economical buy.
Roest built a prototype as well as a solar simulator to test his model's efficiency says Science Daily. There has been so much commercial interest that Roest has started a company named Eternal Sun to sell his new creation and has sold many since its launch in January 2011. Eternal Sun now employs six students and recent grads and is on its way to making big changes in the hybrid solar collector market.
We here at SolarTown are always looking for new products that may influence the future of the solar energy market, and this new hybrid technology deserves further attention to see whether it can gain traction in the market.