A company called Solyndra pioneered the solar tube but this new invention by UK-based Naked Energy may just take cylindrical solar to a whole new level. Called Virtu, the product includes an integrated photovoltaic cell in a vacuum tube to generate both electricity and warm water at the same time. The setup keeps the PV cool to optimize energy production and maximizes space with a combined PVT solution.
Specifically, “heat is transferred away from the photovoltaic cells with a patented thermosyphon technology that harvests the unwanted heat from the photovoltaic cell to heat up water,” according to The Engineer. The process is expected to generate about 45% more energy over conventional solar PV.
Virtu can be installed anywhere — pitched, curved, or flat roofs or walls — and system owners can prioritize electricity or heat generation, depending on their energy demands.
Naked Energy is on a trade mission in the U.S. right now seeking additional investment capital, so perhaps it won’t be long before a production level product becomes available to residential and commercial consumers. I’ll keep you updated on future progress.
Credits: Naked Energy.