“Harnessing Sunshine: Unveiling the Future of Thermal Energy Storage Systems”

Hello, fellow solar enthusiasts! It is time to heat up our discussion about advanced technologies in the solar industry. A new trend is emerging within the realm of energy storage; one that does not solely depend on electro-chemical batteries. Today, I’m shedding some light on an innovative technology combining photovoltaic (PV) power with thermal storage.

Solar system designers and installers have been using hot water heating in tanks as a ‘diversionary load’ for quite a while. This method offers a convenient way to store the excess electricity generated from solar panels for your home. But this isn’t the only approach to thermal storage out there. There’s a new kid on the block – a company called PowerPanel. Going beyond traditional thermal storage methods, PowerPanel is innovating in the field, combining simple, safe, and easy-to-manage hot water systems with advanced thermoplastic technology and architecture.

PowerPanel’s latest creation, the Gen 20 thermal storage tank, revolutions traditional steel tanks, replacing it with durable, safe, stable, and recyclable thermoplastics. It’s lightweight, secure, and rapidly-deployable in just a few minutes, providing a long-lasting solution that can serve you for decades.

What’s more fascinating is the union of PV module and thermal storage in one panel. PowerPanel calls it Photovoltaic and Thermal heating (PVT). The PVT panel uses special materials to encapsulate a PV ‘insert’ into the thermal collector/circulatory architecture. This not only collects heat but cools the PV module resulting in a more efficient electricity generation process. The energy production output ratio of a PVT panel is roughly 1:4 PV and thermal, making it about twice as effective in decarbonization as compared to PV or thermal alone.

While traditional solar panels for your home are approximately 23% efficient depending on their type, the hybrid PVT panel is over 80% efficient at capturing the sun’s energy with combined electricity and hot water generation! According to the solar company, a large PVT solar array for home can produce 2.7kW of PV electricity and 12.7kW of thermal energy simultaneously.

Another striking feature of PowerPanel’s technology is the adaptability of their Gen 20 tank. The tank, made from expanded polypropylene foam (EPP), offers superior insulation capability at just a fraction of the weight of traditional tanks. It also has superior impact and chemical resistance, and loses little over 2°C of heat over a 24 hour span, a big win in reducing energy loss.

The bonus? The PowerPanel Gen 20 tank is modular in design for ease of transportation and rapid assembly. This solar company even managed to make the tank self-palletized and its lightweight pieces easy to assemble by two people in about 10 minutes or less.

Practical applications of PowerPanel’s PV/thermal systems are vast, from disaster relief operations to institutional and hospitality facilities. Anywhere hot or cold pure water is essential to human health and well-being, this technology can strive.

As the world leans more heavily into renewable energy and solar companies continue to innovate, it’s thrilling to ponder the future of solar technology. Let’s continue our journey of exploring the latest developments in the industry, as I keep sharing more exciting discoveries in future blogs. Until then, harness the power of the sun and keep it green!

Original Articlehttps://pv-magazine-usa.com/2024/04/12/a-new-twist-on-thermal-storage/

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