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Solar Spectrum Splitter for PV and Thermal Generation

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  • Solar Spectrum Splitter for PV and Thermal Generation

    I have a question about solar spectrum splitters. I am looking for a spectrum splitter that will generate both electricity through PV and thermal energy. I have seen a variety of products that split the solar spectrum to increase the efficiency of PV cells but nothing that does both. Is there a reason why people aren't generating thermal and electrical power with the same unit? I may just be searching for the wrong system. If anyone could point me in the right direction or give me some feedback on why this isn't being done I would really appreciate it.

    Thanks!

  • #2
    Yep building codes codes do not permit it. Water and electricity do not play well together and thus cannot occupy the same space. Only Chi-Coms do that.

    From the China Olympic Games for US Athletes hotel rooms.

    MSEE, PE

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    • #3
      Frequency splitting (or a form of band pass filtering) that uses different parts of the solar spectrum optimized for various materials for PV applications (electricity production) is an interesting idea, but not yet practical for many reasons, including but not limited to cost considerations.

      That's a different animal however, than using excess ("waste") thermal energy left over from common PV production methods to heat a fluid for HVAC, process heat or other purposes using what amounts to plumbing and heat transfer fluids. While such combining of PV and thermal applications is closer to any reality than frequency selectivity (at this time), and has been demonstrated as possible, it too is not very practical or cost effective, and at this time mostly relegated to hucksterism preying on the ignorant, and/or the stuff of master's theses that have sat in some university library for 30 or more years gathering dust. I've seen more than a few of those. The journals are also full of them.

      Basically and bottom line, you've not seen working PV/thermal units because they are impractical and the few that do exist usually are poorly designed and don't work for long. They are however, great devices for separating fools from their money.

      I suppose a PV/thermal application might fit the frequency splitting definition in the narrow sense that the PV uses some portion of the solar spectrum (shorter wavelengths) with some efficiency, and the thermal application using some/most of what's left over as f(thermal efficiency) with some overlap in both bands.

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      • #4
        Thank you both for your comments! What you're saying is matching what I thought I was seeing but I thought I would get some advice from people who actually know what they're doing.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by bobsimms View Post
          Thank you both for your comments! What you're saying is matching what I thought I was seeing but I thought I would get some advice from people who actually know what they're doing.
          For anything I may have contributed, you're welcome.

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