The Power-SparÂ® is a revolutionary high efficiency solar concentrator that can be configured for electricity, heat, cooling and/or lighting solutions. The Power-SparÂ® system consists of a parabolic trough reflector which concentrates the sun’s energy onto a modular absorber. The absorber converts the sun’s energy to electricity (via high efficiency multi-sun photovoltaic cells), or to heat (via a patented absorption surface) or transports the light to the buildings’ interior (via optical cabling).
The Power-Spar is a pretty novel product, combining photovoltaic and solar thermal technologies to produce both electrical and thermal energy.Â While most solar thermal or concentrating solar (CSP) systems convert sunlight to heat, which then powers a turbine via a HTF (heat transfer fluid), the Power-Spar operates differently:
Using patented technology, the Power-SparÂ® panels reflect and concentrate solar rays onto an absorber that runs the length of the spar units. Within the absorber, there are channels containing a heat transfer fluid (typically propylene glycol). The fluid is heated by the sun’s energy and is then pumped to the building.
The heated fluid is either used directly (for process heat or steam) or passed through one or more heat exchangers to transfer energy from the fluid to space heating applications, domestic hot water pre-heat, etc. This system can supply up to 70% of your heating energy requirements from free solar energy.
Surplus heat energy is transferred to a thermal storage tank. The mass of water in this tank allows for effective retention and distribution of energy even during prolonged ‘non-solar’ periods (i.e., at night or on cloudy days)
The company claims that the Power-Spar’s design enables it to effecitvely produce heating even in the winter.Â “Since the Power-SparÂ® concentrates the sun’s rays onto a small absorbing area, the heat loss of the entire system is minimized.”Â Concentrating sunlight onto a small area also allows for efficient electrical production from the optional photovoltaic cells:
In addition to the glycol fluid, optional high efficiency multi-junction solar cells can be added on the Power-SparÂ® absorbers. By placing the PV cells in the concentrated light, their electric current is amplified significantly – a three watt solar cell can produce up to 10 watts. Effectively lowering solar cell costs by a factor of three.
The glycol fluid behind the PV cells should help keep them cool, also adding to their efficiency.Â As PV modules heat up, their efficiency decreases:
For every 1ËšC rise in PV panel temperature, there is 0.4 to 0.5 percent drop in PV efficiency. When you consider that many PV solar panels are placed on roofs in temperate climates, this can represent a significant loss of effectiveness. Of greater concern is that the heat build-up can damage the PV cells, shortening their useful life. (EDC)
The Power-Spar can be used in both ground and rood-mounted applications.Â More info at the link below: