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Surrey Technology Centre
40 Occam Road
Surrey Research Park
Guildford GU2 7YG

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Technology

How it works

By efficiently drawing heat away from the solar panel for space heating, hot water, de-salination and cooling the photovoltaic cells are maintained at an optimum operating temperature.  This results in significantly higher electrical output than standard photovoltaic panels.  This type of device is commonly referred to as PVT.

Both energy outputs are optimized replacing the need for two separate conventional panels (PV and Thermal), dramatically reducing installation time and cost whilst maximizing useable installation area.

The vacuum tubes have low thermal losses and will produce abundant hot water / heat regardless of being installed in hot or cold climates. The annual yield depends on the application, local climatic conditions and quantity of panels installed.

For installations requiring high temperatures for thermally driven cooling or heat storage we are producing matching ‘thermal only’ vacuum tubes, which will be able to produce significantly higher temperatures.

Performance and characterization of the panels is being undertaken by Imperial College London. Early indications are that ‘Virtu®’ produces unprecedented power output and is a step change in solar technology.



Electricity - On-site, exported or stored

Heat- Hot water, space heating and industrial processes

Cooling- Thermally driven chillers and coolers

Advantages
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Technology

Advantages over what exists

  • Patented high efficiency vacuum tube technology – Hybrid design is much more effective than standard solar collectors.
  • More useful energy per square metre – The combined outputs deliver unprecedented performance.
  • Patented heat transfer system – protects and improves the life and long term performance of the photovoltaic cells.
  • Versatile low cost installation –  Can be installed anywhere, pitched, curved, angled or flat roofs and walls. No requirement for expensive A frames.
  • Higher energy collection – 20-45% more energy through rotation of tubes and arrays.
  • Heat management system – End users can select to generate more electricity or heat depending on their own energy demands.
  • Self-cleaning impact resistant borosilicate tubes – 10% more energy input overall because flat panels require more cleaning.
  • Greater return on investment – For example in the UK the Virtu® benefits from both FITs and RHIs delivering unparalleled payback and a guaranteed income.
  • Bigger savings – Lower electricity, hot water and heating bills.
How it works
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Commercial Sector

Buildings account for almost a third of global energy consumption with 50% used for space heating, cooling and hot water.  By 2050 the number of households will grow by 67% and commercial building by 195%.  For this reason Virtu™ is an ideal solution for high energy consumption buildings such as hotels, leisure centres, factories and hospitals.
Commercial and industrial processes, light industrial roof space where requirement is for large amounts of electricity, hot water, space heating or chilling and  utility scale installations for desalination and power generation.
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Commercial Sector

Large commercial roof space such as hotels, leisure centres, public amenities where requirement is for large amounts of electricity, heat for water, building heating and chilling.

Laterally mounted tubes are ideal for curved roofs and are in harmony with existing architecture.  They can be rotated individually for optimal power and do not require large obtrusive mounting frames.

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Commercial Sector

Utility scale installations where the electrical output can be used for example to supply grid power in tandem with heat output for water purification, desalination, greenhouse crops and so forth. Heat can also be stored to supplement 24/7 power generation.

Can be rack mounted to maximise usable ground area or mounted on sun tracking heliostats to further increase energy collection.

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Commercial Sector

Installation on vertical surfaces where roof space is limited or practicality demands.

Tubes individually angled to produce highest output.

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Domestic Sector

Historically the payback period for investments in rooftop renewable energy technology (especially in the absence of government subsidies) has prohibited widespread adoption. Now with this hybrid technology and meaningful subsidies, on-site microgeneration makes increasing economic sense and is creating a mass market for Virtu™.

 

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Domestic Sector

Terraced properties with limited roof space can maximise solar collection with Virtu™ to provide abundant hot water and electricity.

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Domestic Sector

Older properties can also benefit but please note that listed buildings and buildings in conservation areas may need planning permission.

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Domestic Sector

Detached, Semi-detached and multi-occupancy houses.  A south facing roof (+/-30°) can supply ample hot water and electricity and with additional panels can supplement central and under floor heating – especially when used in conjunction with a heat pump.

 

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Savings and results

‘Virtu®’ not only produces more electrical energy than a conventional PV panel but also produces a large amount of thermal energy that gives a greater return on investment. ‘Virtu®’ dual energy output enables the user to benefit from the UK Governments energy cashback schemes - FITs and RHIs (Feed-in- Tariffs and the Renewable Heat Incentive) to deliver typical ROI of 13%. This income is Tax free, index linked and guaranteed for 25 years.  
*based on FITs @ 21p/kWh and current indicative performance outputs.
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