Photovoltaic Thermal hybrid solar collectors, or Hybrid PV/T (PVT), are systems that convert solar power into both thermal and electrical energy. These systems combine PV with a solar thermal collector, which captures the remaining energy and removes waste heat from the PV module.
The capture of both electricity and heat allow these devices to be more energy efficient overall than PV or solar thermal alone. PV cells suffer from a drop in efficiency with the rise in temperature due to increased resistance, and thus the solar thermal element cools the cells and improves their efficiency by lowering resistance. Although this is an effective method, at present they operate to the detriment of each other, and it particularly causes the thermal component to under-perform compared to a solar thermal collector.
PVT panels are currently expensive and inefficient compared to separate systems, however they are available for both RHI and FITs and advancements are being made all the time – so watch this space!