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Building Integrated Photovoltaic/Thermal System

While there is ample evidence that zero energy homes can be built today with off-the-shelf technologies, not all necessary technologies are economically competitive. In particular, additional development is required to improve the competitiveness of PV technology. One opportunity for reduced PV cost is better integration within the building envelope, specifically, the roof. Most current systems are installed over the roof, with additional cost for the PV support system and framing. Integration would eliminate redundant construction elements and improve overall cost effectiveness.

CFD Analysis of BIPV-T Array

Working with industry manufacturers, our design showcases a prototypical BIPV system in which the PV system is the weatherproof membrane of the roof. The European system, manufactured by Ernst Schweizer Company, allows full-size PV modules from a variety of manufacturers to be coated and mounted without additional shingles underneath. In our case, we are using 8.8 kW of SunPower modules with one of the highest efficiencies on the market. The system provides a single, uniform, weather-proof plane for the competition module roof. This same system will also produce more energy over a year than is required by the full house, thus making it a zero-energy home.

The PV roof will be further integrated with the building mechanical system with a network of water tubing, manufactured by Thermo Dynamics Ltd., between the PV modules and the roof insulation. The water flowing behind the PV modules will cool the PV modules, increasing PV efficiency and providing hot water for the house when needed. The roof will also be used as a sky radiator in the summer, cooling water at night for use in air conditioning during the day.