July 23, 2024
This solar module could power and heat your home at the same time

European scientists have developed a solar module that can produce electricity and heat at the same time — in a potential breakthrough for low-cost clean energy generation. 

The device is made up of a concave mirror and a thin, glass tube filled with photovoltaic cells. When the sun’s rays strike the module, the mirror reflects them at the tube, generating electricity.  

The heat produced in the tube then warms up a transfer fluid that flows along the back of the solar cells in a system of pipes. This warm liquid can be used for heating and cooling buildings or for industrial applications.

“This approach has the potential to make a significant contribution to the energy transition,” said lead researcher Armin Buchroithner from the Graz University of Technology in Austria. 

an image of the hybrid solar module from Graz University