Photovoltaic Electricity + Solar Thermal = Virtu Solar Tubes
Virtu solar tubes utilize a hybrid design that incorporates both PV cells for solar energy, and solar thermal conduction for heating. Best of all, the hybrid arrangement helps both components work better than standalone systems, proving the old adage that the whole really can be greater than the sum of its parts.
Virtu solar tubes are the brainchild of UK-based Naked Energy. The premise is simple: if you’re dedicating rooftop space for solar equipment, why choose between thermal and PV systems when you can have both together?
Virtu tubes are vacuum sealed and contain photovoltaic cells positioned on top of fluid-filled tubes. The heated liquid can be circulated for use with hot water systems, industrial applications, or space heating – even combined with a heat pump. And since excess heat is removed from the photovoltaic panels, electricity production is increased because the PV cells can function much more efficiently. Naked Energy estimates that Virtu tubes can offer 25-40% performance improvements compared to the energy generated by traditional PV arrays.
Besides maximizing space efficiency, Virtu tubes are expected to provide substantial cost savings by reducing installation time and labor. They can be mounted at any angle on roofs or exterior walls, and the unique rounded glass casing doesn’t collect as much dust and grime as flat panels (further improving performance).
Learn more at the Naked Energy website.