Germany’s Paxos is currently testing the solar tile in a test facility connected to an air-source heat pump. The panel can provide both heat and electricity while improving the heat pump’s coefficient of performance by approximately 25%.
germany Paxos partnered with TH Köln University of Applied Sciences to develop a solar tile that could be used to generate electricity and heat at the same time.
The appearance of photovoltaic-thermal (PVT) tile hardly differs from conventional tiles, which could make them attractive to homeowners. Paxos and TH Köln fabricated a prototype slab to test its temperature, walkability, high resistance to environmental influences and safety. They also analyzed the glass to minimize optical losses by reflection or scattering.
They tested the prototype in a test facility equipped with microinverters and an air source heat pump.
“Thanks to the adjustments we have made to the tile itself, the physical properties as well as the energy efficiency have been significantly improved. The system was thus ready for continuous use under real conditions”, explains Christian Dick, project manager at TH Köln.
Performance tests began in real conditions in October. The system shows comparable values in terms of electrical performance as a reference system with conventional elevated solar modules.
“An air duct to cool the solar cells has been integrated into the solar tile, which improves the operating point, much like rear ventilation in conventional systems,” Dick said. “Our data shows that comparable electrical performance is to be expected. According to him, the first data also showed an increase in the coefficient of performance of the heat pump by around a quarter, depending on the heat demand and the climatic conditions.
TH Köln said the results show that the solar tile can also make a contribution to a building’s heating supply, increasing the overall efficiency of the system.
“Many roofs in Germany are not used to produce energy – this would be an important element for the success of the energy transition”, said Julian Münzberg, project manager at Paxos. “We would like to create an offer for the listed building and for people who previously avoided solar because of the optics.”
Paxos has already sold the solar tile patents to an undisclosed photovoltaic manufacturer. It will take over from mass production. Paxos is also the originator of the photovoltaic tile that Meyer Burger will sell and is currently producing it in series.
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