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Performance and Economic Evaluation of a Hybrid Photovoltaic/Thermal Solar System in Northern China

Authors: E. Sok, Y. Zhuo, S. Wang


A hybrid Photovoltaic/Thermal (PV/T) solar system integrates photovoltaic and solar thermal technologies into one single solar energy device, with dual generation of electricity and heat energy. The aim of the present study is to evaluate the potential for introduction of the PV/T technology into Northern China. For this purpose, outdoor experiments were conducted on a prototype of a PV/T water-heating system. The annual thermal and electrical performances were investigated under the climatic conditions of Beijing. An economic analysis of the system was then carried out, followed by a sensitivity study. The analysis revealed that the hybrid system is not economically attractive with the current market and energy prices. However, considering the continuous commitment of the Chinese government towards policy development in the renewable energy sector, and technological improvements like the increasing cost-effectiveness of PV cells, PV/Thermal technology may become economically viable in the near future.

Keywords: Hybrid Photovoltaic/Thermal (PV/T), Solar energy, Economic analysis

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