Most geothermal add-ons for heat pumps take heat from the air or ground, but the new polymer solar-thermal device uses a fluid to accumulate heat from the sun. At the same time an integrated solar cell creates electricity from the sun’s visible light. Researcher, David Carroll, says,”It’s a systems approach to making your home ultra-efficient because the device collects both solar energy and heat.” The solar-thermal device takes advantage of the power of the sun. A standard rooftop solar cell only collects 25% of the energy the sun provides because it can’t collect infrared heat. To read more click here.
This is a great advancement. Standard solar cells have, at the most, an 8% efficiency converting solar energy to heat, but the solar-thermal device has a 30% conversion efficiency. Unlike a normal solar cell that collects the most sunlight between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., the new device provedes power for a larger part of the day. This advancement could cut the cost of heating a home by 40%.