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Herrando, M.; , .; Ramos Cabal, A. Photovoltaic-Thermal (PV-T) Systems for Energy provision in Buildings. Encyclopedia. Available online: (accessed on 19 June 2024).
Herrando M,  , Ramos Cabal A. Photovoltaic-Thermal (PV-T) Systems for Energy provision in Buildings. Encyclopedia. Available at: Accessed June 19, 2024.
Herrando, Maria, , Alba Ramos Cabal. "Photovoltaic-Thermal (PV-T) Systems for Energy provision in Buildings" Encyclopedia, (accessed June 19, 2024).
Herrando, M., , ., & Ramos Cabal, A. (2022, May 04). Photovoltaic-Thermal (PV-T) Systems for Energy provision in Buildings. In Encyclopedia.
Herrando, Maria, et al. "Photovoltaic-Thermal (PV-T) Systems for Energy provision in Buildings." Encyclopedia. Web. 04 May, 2022.
Photovoltaic-Thermal (PV-T) Systems for Energy provision in Buildings

Photovoltaic-thermal (PV-T) collectors can be integrated with solar heating and cooling (SHC) technologies to generate electricity, heating and/or cooling. Some studies integrate concentrated PV-T collectors, air-based PV-T collectors and liquid-based PV-T collectors with cooling technologies to provide electricity, heating and cooling to buildings.

hybrid photovoltaic-thermal (PV-T) collector solar energy building energy provision heating and cooling heat and power

1. Non-Integrated Solar Combined Cooling, Heating and Power (S-CCHP) Systems

1.1. Flat-Plate Photovoltaic-Thermal (PV-T) Systems

Several authors proposed the integration of air-based PV-T collectors with heat pumps to provide water heating or space heating in buildings [1][2][3], while the integration of non-integrated air-based PV-T collectors into wider S-CCHP systems is scarcer. Most of the research focuses on BIPV-T collectors integrated with SHC technologies to provide heating, cooling and electricity. Liquid-based PV-T collectors can be integrated with several types of SHC technologies to provide heating, cooling and electricity. In these combined S-CCHP systems, the liquid is usually water (or a mixture of glycol/water) or refrigerant.
One of the easiest configurations is the integration of the electrical output of PV-T collectors with air-to-air, air-source or water-to-water HPs [4][5][6]. Using a reversible heat pump allows the simultaneous generation of electricity, DHW and cooling, depending on the HP operation mode [6][7]. The thermal output of water-based PV-T collectors can also be integrated with water-to-water heat pumps [8][9] to increase the HP COP, maintaining the source of the HP at a fairly constant temperature [4][5].
There are other more complex configurations that couple water-based PV-T collectors with water-to-water heat pumps [8] or with an adsorption chiller [10], depending on the operation mode, to supply electricity, space heating or cooling, and DHW for residential buildings [8][11], fitness centres and offices [10]. Water-based PV-T collectors can also be coupled with dual-source air-to-water HPs [12]. In this configuration, the HP evaporator can be the PV-T collector or an outdoor fan unit. For instance, on cold days, the PV-T collector acts as the HP evaporator, increasing the system COP. The air-to-water HP can also run in parallel to the PV-T collectors, using, for example, the outdoor fan unit as a condenser in cooling mode, while the PV-T collectors generate electricity and hot water.
Alternatively, some authors [13] proposed uncovered water-based PV-T collectors for direct trigeneration in residential buildings. The system provides heating, DHW, electricity and cooling with longwave radiative cooling. 
The integration of refrigerant-based PV-T collectors with a heat pump (HP), using the PV-T collector as the HP evaporator, is more common [14][15]. These systems are also called direct-expansion solar-assisted heat pump (DX-SAHP) systems [16]. The thermal absorber of the PV-T collectors can be made of copper tubes [14][17][18] or multi-port flat extruded aluminium tubes [16]. The results show that the overall energy output is higher in the system based on PV-T collectors than in the conventional heat pump plus a side-by-side PV system [18]. The use of heat-pipe PV-T collectors is less common [19]. The theoretical results in three different climates show that the performance and economics of a DX-SAHP system based on heat-pipe PV-T collectors are very dependent on the weather conditions and economic factors, with payback times ranging from 5 to 20 years [19].
Solar cooling technologies, such as absorption [20][21][22] or adsorption chillers [10][23][24] can also be coupled with water-based PV-T collectors for the provision of heating, electricity and cooling (see Figure 1). Recent studies [25][26] have shown that a COP of up to 0.8 can be achieved by solar-driven single-stage LiBr-H2O absorption chillers. Covered PV-T collectors are needed to reach the temperatures required to run the absorption chiller [20][21][27]. This type of S-CCHP system based on PV-T collectors and absorption chillers has been investigated in different types of buildings such as residential buildings [23][28], offices [23], universities [21][27] and factory buildings [20].
Figure 1. Schematic diagram of an S-CCHP system based on PV-T collectors and an absorption or adsorption chiller. Figure based on [20].
Adsorption chillers require lower water temperatures, but the COP is also lower [10][24]. Theoretical results show a maximum COP of the absorption chiller of 0.47 when coupled with covered PV-T collectors, while this value becomes 0.38 for unglazed PV-T collectors [24]. On the other hand, unglazed PV-T collectors generate more electricity than covered ones, so the selection of the type of PV-T collector also depends on the specific needs. Other authors [23] conclude that adsorption chillers are recommended in locations with scarce solar irradiance, or when coupled with low thermal performance solar collectors (such as uncovered PV-T collectors).
Finally, desiccant cooling and dehumidification systems can also be coupled with water-based or PV-T collectors [29], particularly in applications that require a temperature in the range of 50 °C to 60 °C. The research in [29] reveals that the outlet fluid temperature from existing PV-T demonstrations could almost match the low temperature required by dehumidification and cooling applications with reasonable electrical and thermal efficiencies.

1.2. Low-Concentrated PV-T Systems

Low-concentrated PV-T collectors have been proposed as the evaporator of an HP water heating system [30]. Experimental results show an average COP of 4.8 for water heating while increasing the electrical efficiency of the PV cells compared to a low concentrated PV system (that is, with no heat recovery) [30].
A comprehensive comparison among different types of PV-T collectors (flat-plate vs. CPV-T collectors) and alternative cooling technologies (absorption vs. adsorption chillers) [23], concluded that in climates with high beam solar radiation, CPV-T collectors show the best performance due to the higher operating temperatures. The research also concluded that absorption chillers and high-temperature adsorption chillers perform better with CPV-T collectors than with flat-plate PV-T collectors, also due to the higher CPV-T operating temperatures.
CPV-T collectors can operate at temperatures above 100 °C, which are suitable to run single-stage LiBr-H2O absorption chillers [31][32]. If the concentration ratio is increased, parabolic dish CPV-T collectors can operate at up to 180 °C with reasonable electric and thermal efficiencies [33], so they can be integrated with double-stage LiBr-H2O absorption chillers, which have a higher COP than single-stage LiBr-H2O absorption chillers [33][34]. Dynamic simulations show that this system has a significant potential for energy savings, as it can produce electricity, space heating, space cooling and DHW all year long. However, this type of system might not be profitable without public funding policies due to its high investment cost [34]. S-CCHP systems based on CPV-T and absorption chillers have been proposed for a research building [32], a university building with a fitness centre [34], and offices and dwellings [33].

2. Building-Integrated S-CCHP Systems

The main difference between non-integrated and integrated PV-T systems relies on the orientation and internal configuration limitations of the PV-T collectors when integrated into the building envelope.
There are several research articles on BIPV-T systems, but most of them are limited to the PV-T subsystem and do not address the complete integrated S-CCHP system. For instance, recently, the energy, economic and environmental performance of a novel grid-connected BIPV-T/wind system with thermal storage for electricity and heat generation in single-family buildings was analysed [35]. The results showed that the solar energy subsystem could cover up to 65% of the building heating needs, and the PV-T/wind system showed economic competitiveness as well as the potential to reduce the annual CO2 emissions by 54%. Other authors [36] evaluated the energy yields of a water-based BIPV-T system considering different façade orientations using a semi-transient model developed in TRNSYS [37]. The main conclusion of this research is that to maximize the rate of self-consumed energy, the most suitable exposure for the installation of solar systems does not always coincide with the one that receives the highest solar irradiation, and it should be chosen according to the hourly profile of the load. Other studies [38] analysed the performance of a BIPV-T system with the PV cells installed at optimum tilt angle and the influence of shadow. The research concluded that the reduction in insolation received by the BIPV-T system due to shading and the sky-view blocking effects are more noticeable for buildings located closer to the BIPV-T system. At the same time, it was observed that the electrical and thermal energy outputs of the BIPV-T system decreased with an increase in storey heights as well as the widths of surrounding buildings.
A novel BIPV-T system for energy efficiency in buildings was designed [39] with the main advantages being: (i) the PV module operates at lower temperatures in the summer, maximizing efficiency and PV utilization, thanks to controlled water flow through the panel, (ii) the hot water can be directly used for radiant floor or ceiling heating in winter and can decrease the cooling needs in summer dumping heat and (iii) the integration of the panel into the building skin eliminates the waterproofing concerns associated with conventionally mounted PV-T collectors. All this led to important energy benefits of the proposed BIPV-T system with a small additional investment. In this line, the techno-economic performance of a BIPV-T SAHP system in Canadian houses was evaluated [40]. The authors concluded that the majority of energy savings from the BIPV-T system are due to the HP and that the proposed system retrofit has the potential to reduce up to 18% of the annual energy use of the Canadian housing stock.
A review of heat utilisation from BIPV-T systems with low-temperature desiccant cooling and dehumidification [29] (see Figure 2) concluded that: (i) solid desiccant cooling systems offer the lowest temperature operation and high COP compared with other solar thermal cooling technologies and (ii) good cooling performance and energy-saving opportunities were found in the limited examples of existing BIPV-T desiccant cooling systems. Recently, a comprehensive review of BIPV-T systems for indoor heating [41] stated that the integration of PV into the structure of the building and the technology of thermal management have to be straightforward, and concluded that: (i) air-based BIPV-T systems are more convenient but present lower performance compared to PCM-based BIPV-T systems or other BIPV-T cooling methods; (ii) PV cells’ installation on rooftops allow easier integration with other heating devices due to the broader area of installation; (iii) special attention must be paid to the stack effect that could be overcome with some openings in high-rise BIPV-T systems; (iv) improving the thermal efficiency of the buildings can also positively affect the economic criteria, so an economic assessment of these systems is important.
Figure 2. Schematic diagram of the BIPV-T-driven liquid desiccant cooling system presented in [29].


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