[Originally posted on EcoGeek.]


Solar panels suffer from one problem: the hotter they get, the less efficient they are. For something that sits out in the sun all the time, that can be a drawback. Simply put, a hotter solar collector will produce less electricity than one that is cooler. A photovoltaic (PV) panel loses about 0.5% efficiency for each degree Kelvin (or Centigrade) of temperature.

To deal with this, Solimpeks, a solar panel manufacturer in Turkey, is making hybrid solar panels that produce both electricity and hot water. With these hybrid panels, however, there is a double benefit. Not only is there the extra production of hot water with the same panels, but the removal of heat from the PV panels also increases their efficiency in generating electricity. Like an internal combustion engine that needs to be kept cooled in order to function, the hybrid solar panels use the hot water system as a radiator to help cool the photovoltaic panels.

Conecting these panels is likely to be somewhat more involved, since both electrical and plumbing connections need to be made. But the benefits offered by hybrid panels can definitely make it worthwhile.

link: Solimpeks