Review of R&D progress and practical application of the solar photovoltaic/thermal (PV/T) technologies
Zhang, X., Zhao, X., Smith, S., Xu, J. and Yu, X. (2012) Review of R&D progress and practical application of the solar photovoltaic/thermal (PV/T) technologies. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 16 (1). 599 - 617. ISSN 1364-0321
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1016/j.rser.2011.08.026
In this paper, the global market potential of solar thermal, photovoltaic (PV) and combined photovoltaic/thermal (PV/T) technologies in current time and near future was discussed. The concept of the PV/T and the theory behind the PV/T operation were briefly introduced, and standards for evaluating technical, economic and environmental performance of the PV/T systems were addressed. A comprehensive literature review into R&D works and practical application of the PV/T technology was illustrated and the review results were critically analysed in terms of PV/T type and research methodology used. The major features, current status, research focuses and existing difficulties/barriers related to the various types of PV/T were identified. The research methods, including theoretical analyses and computer simulation, experimental and combined experimental/theoretical investigation, demonstration and feasibility study, as well as economic and environmental analyses, applied into the PV/T technology were individually discussed, and the achievement and problems remaining in each research method category were described. Finally, opportunities for further work to carry on PV/T study were identified. The review research indicated that air/water-based PV/T systems are the commonly used technologies but their thermal removal effectiveness is lower. Refrigerant/heat-pipe-based PV/Ts, although still in research/laboratory stage, could achieve much higher solar conversion efficiencies over the air/water-based systems. However, these systems were found a few technical challenges in practice which require further resolutions. The review research suggested that further works could be undertaken to (1) develop new feasible, economic and energy efficient PV/T systems; (2) optimise the structural/geometrical configurations of the existing PV/T systems; (3) study long term dynamic performance of the PV/T systems; (4) demonstrate the PV/T systems in real buildings and conduct the feasibility study; and (5) carry on advanced economic and environmental analyses. This review research helps finding the questions remaining in PV/T technology, identify new research topics/directions to further improve the performance of the PV/T, remove the barriers in PV/T practical application, establish the standards/regulations related to PV/T design and installation, and promote its market penetration throughout the world.