News Analysis

Conserval Introduces Rooftop PV and Thermal Modules

July 29, 2008

EBN

Vol. 5, No. 1), Conserval Engineering has created SolarDuct PV/T for rooftop applications. Like SolarWall, SolarDuct has a dark, perforated metal surface that heats air inside a passage. This heated air is then drawn into the mechanical system to reduce a building’s heating load. Whereas SolarWall systems need to be installed on a south-facing wall, SolarDuct panels can be placed on any flat rooftop. Angled to take advantage of maximum solar gain, these 6' x 4' (1.8m x 1.2m) modular panels are easy to install and integrate into an air handler­—an eight-panel array is capable of generating 8 kilowatts of thermal energy and 2,000 cubic feet per minute of heated ventilation air, according to the company. SolarDuct PV/T can also be used as the racking system for mounting photovoltaic (PV) modules, making cogeneration possible in one rooftop footprint. SolarDuct’s metal surface draws heat off the back of the PV cells, improving cell efficiency by as much as 10% and raising overall system efficiency above 50%. This is important since electrical output from PV cells is reduced by 0.4%–0.5% for every 1.8°F (1°C) above 77°F (25°C). Generating heat energy as well as electricity in one unit may provide the quick return on investment necessary to make these units a realistic option for commercial and industrial applications. For more information, visit www.solarwall.com.