Hybrid Solar Tubes Will Heat Your House On The Cheap
Naked Energy has found a way to merge solar photovoltaic cells (turning the light into electricity) and solar thermal collectors (turning the light into hot water for heating) into a single whole, a hybrid solar tube. The British company Virtu Tube, collaborating with Naked Energy, puts the photovoltaic panels into a vacuum-sealed tube. Sunlight hitting the panel generates extra heat, which is then transfered to the tube’s solar thermal collector. The transfer keeps the photovoltaic cells close to their optimal operating temperature, with the shared benefit of a hot water supply that can heat a building at a low price. Thus the hybrid design makes a Virtu up to 46 percent more efficient than traditional solar panels of the same size. The developers are currently working at increasing the tube’s heat transfer function.