In 2023 PVT collectors were used for a wide variety of different applications. In this article we present some PVT flagship projects from four different PVT manufacturers. Some of the projects were chosen because of their large size, others because of special customers such as industrial companies. The photo shows the roofs of the Barcelona Swimming Club with 1,041 PVT panels, inaugurated in August 2023 – the largest project realized so far by Abora Solar from Spain. You can also read the news about Europe’s growing PVT industry.
Photo: Abora Solar
Spain: Large PVT field for Swimming Club pays back in 1.5 years
After more than 5 years of preparation the large 2,082 m2 PVT field on the roofs of the Swimming Club on Barcelona’s coastline became reality. First and foremost, the solar heat is used to keep the outdoor pool at reasonable temperatures for training all year round. But it is also used to heat the indoor pools and the showers. The solar electricity is 100% consumed in the Swimming Club buildings, without the use of electric batteries.
The solar elements are covered PVT collectors. This means the units are insulated from the back and covered with a glass cover on the front. They perform like a flat plate collector, only with a slightly lower thermal performance because the PV cells absorb some of the sunlight. On the electrical side the slight reduction in the amount of electric kilowatt hours due to transmission losses in the glass cover is offset by the effect of cooling the PV cells. “Although the peak power of the PV panels is 2.8 % lower due to the front glass, the electricity generation in this project is higher because the working temperature in the solar thermal circuit connected to the pools is lower,” explained Alejandro del Amo, founder and Managing Director of Abora Solar. The temperature of the fluid inside the panels varies between 25 and 45 °C, which increases the annual solar electricity generation by 3.6 %.
Key figures of the installation at the Barcelona Swimming Club. Source: Abora Solar
France: 465 apartments heated with PVT + boreholes + brine heat pumps
PVT manufacturer Dualsun from France reported a 1,030 PVT panel installation in Switzerland as its largest project in 2023. Four new blocks with 465 apartments in the town of Bussigny benefit from space heating, hot water and air conditioning via an innovative heating system. It includes 1,030 PVT panels of the type Spring3, which are connected via a cold district heating grid with 150 boreholes and six brine heat pumps. The PVT panels are unglazed with a polymer thermal absorber clamped to the PV module? Cotegate, the owner of the housing area, offers the flats for rent promoting the highly energy efficient building envelope standard, known as Minergie-P.
Netherlands: PVT collectors preheat epoxy for yacht production
The Dutch project developer Next Source has demonstrated that PVT panels in combination with heat pumps can also be used by industrial customers. A yacht manufacturer in IJmuiden preheats epoxy resin with the thermal energy provided by 150 m2 of PVT panels (50 kW) on its roof and uses the excess heat for space heating. The absorber is glued to the back of a PV panel, with the copper piping pressed into the aluminium absorber. Next Source (formerly HR Solar Projects) was renamed in March 2023 through a rebranding of the HR Solar group to HR Energy group. Next Source is the commercial project developer of this group.
At the end of 2023, HR Energy launched a thermal absorber that can be retrofitted to existing PV installations and is called Qpanel.
Photo: Next Source
Germany: Nursing home heated with PVT + geothermal baskets + brine heat pumps
A new German project shows that PVT in combination with geothermal baskets and brine heat pumps can provide enough thermal energy for a nursing home, which is usually a building type with high energy needs. The German PVT manufacturer Pa-ID was responsible for the installation of the 66 2Power collectors on the roof together with the two modulating heat pumps with a maximum capacity of 22 kW each. Furthermore, 12 geothermal baskets were buried in the garden. The building was built by a private investor and is now rented to a social institution.