Solar Energy (photovoltaics)
Icarus Hybrid PVT Solar Power Boost and Storage System
Thursday, September 27
11:40 AM - 12:00 PM
Abstract Content : Traditional current photovoltaic (PV) panels are installed at the rate of 30,000 per hour around the world despite a typical peak efficiency rating of only 21% in converting the amount of insolation striking each panel into electricity. In addition, unfortunately as panels heat up during each day, yield drops as much as 25% to an overall efficiency as low as 16% during the hottest part of the day.
The objective of the Icarus Hybrid Solar Photovoltaic/Thermal (PVT) Power Boost system is to use newly developed organic fluids with low global warming potential for low grade waste heat recovery, in a system designed to: 1) enhance the performance of solar panels by cooling panels; 2) generate additional power with the extracted waste heat using Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC); 3) store heat energy for use during cloud shading or after sunset; 4) improve the lifetime efficiency and extend the life cycle of traditional photovoltaic panels by limiting the daily heat cycle and related fatigue; and 5) improve the return on investment (ROI) for a typical commercial, industrial or utility scale solar array.
The system was designed using traditional engineering methods, process simulation software, and multi-physics finite element analysis. A proof of concept prototype was assembled and tested to demonstrate use of ORC.
Simulation and analyses results yield a performance increase in overall system output by more than 25% (9% improvement in panel output due to cooling, and 16% or more additional power output from the ORC turbo-generator). A full-scale prototype was assembled to prove the results predicted by simulation and optimize performance. Prototype testing is currently underway. A second larger prototype with thermal storage for generation after sundown is planned for third party verification.
Cost models for commercial, industrial and utility scale systems demonstrate additional PVT solar power with the hybrid system available at significantly lower cost per watt compared to adding additional solar panels, resulting in a significantly improved ROI for the overall system, per watt of installed power.
Since the system stores heat thermally for power generation, it has inherent benefits over traditional batteries: first, the ORC does not cannibalize power generated during the day to recharge batteries; second, the thermal storage and generation capacity doesn’t degrade over time; and third, the thermal battery system is based on environmentally safe materials with low global warming impact.
A hybrid PVT system using ORC to cool traditional solar panels, generate and store additional power, improve the lifetime of traditional solar panels and improve the ROI of traditional solar arrays is a compelling breakthrough for the solar industry.