How PVT Hybrid Solutions Bring the Heat and the Light to Your Business

In the heart of a hotel, guests expect hot showers – whether that’s during Stage 6 load shedding or not. Over at the gym, fitness enthusiasts wrap up routines with the intention of enjoying a steaming shower afterwards. In healthcare, the stakes are even higher: consistent electricity and hot water aren’t amenities; they’re lifelines.

Traditional photovoltaic (PV) panels might keep the lights on, but they fall short when it comes to offering consistent hot water. 

That is why Solarus’ solution harnesses PVT hybrid solutions to offer electricity and hot water from one ingenious system – and saves you money in the process.

Why Traditional PV Panels Fall Short

PV solar panels have been a cornerstone technology since 1954. Unfortunately, their limitations become increasingly clear in high-demand environments (such as hotels and hospitals) and buildings with limited solar collection area but high energy demand. To worsen the situation, load shedding is practically a daily occurrence in South Africa. 

  • Inefficiency. On average, PV panels’ conversion efficiency hovers between 15% and 20%. This means that a significant portion of the sun’s energy isn’t captured, resulting in lost potential and wasting a significant portion of your monetary investment in the panels.
  • Temperature Sensitivity. PV panels don’t perform as well in higher temperatures. When the mercury rises above 25°C, the efficiency of these panels drops, with a decrease of about 0.5% for each additional degree. 

This drop is counterintuitive, especially in sunny areas, which often experience higher temperatures.

The Best of Both Worlds: PVT Solarus AH72 PVT solution

First developed in Zaragoza, Spain, Solarus’ photovoltaic-thermal (PVT) hybrid solar panels offer dual functionality thanks to their aHTech® technology. This technology combines two distinct modules in one panel: a photovoltaic (PV) module that converts solar energy into electricity and a high-efficiency thermal (T) module that heats a thermal fluid. 

PVT solutions don’t simply convert sunlight into electricity like traditional PV panels; they also capture the sun’s thermal energy for heating purposes. This translates into simultaneous hot water and electricity for your business. 

“We believe that Solarus’ integrated, renewable hot water solutions, with the highest CO2 savings at the lowest costs per kilowatt hour, can make a difference in the world by moving towards a zero-energy bill for hot water.” – Izelle van der Spek, Hot Water Specialist at Solarus. 

How Does the Solarus PVT Hybrid Solution Work?

The solution consists of an aluminium frame, copper heat exchanger and piping, double glazing and glass wool for isolation purposes, and PV laminate. Panels are isolated on the back and front to reduce the heat losses to only 8%. 

  • The thermal module of PVT captures heat from the sun to be used for other applications like water heating and also acts as a cooling mechanism for the photovoltaic cells. In traditional PV systems, solar cells lose efficiency as temperatures rise, which the thermal module in a PVT panel mitigates.
  • The uniqueness of this technology also lies in its layered design, created to minimise thermal losses from the collector. The layers are engineered to optimise the temperature of the photovoltaic cells to ensure that electricity production remains at peak efficiency.

The Solarus Installation Process

Switching to a new energy system might sound daunting, but Solarus makes the transition smooth and stress-free. 

  • A team of specialised Water and Electricity installers first conduct a thorough feasibility study on-site to assess your needs. They evaluate your current equipment, measure the available roof space, and even determine the distance from the solar collection area to the plant room where hot water is distributed. 

This meticulous preparation means most installations can be completed within a week. Additionally, your business will experience less than two hours of downtime while the system is connected to your building’s water supply. 

A Clean, Cost-Effective Solar Solution

With 250 installations across 35 countries, Solarus is a green and renewable energy giant committed to simultaneously transforming solar energy into hot water and electric power. A multifunctional sports centre in Barcelona currently features over 1000 Solarus AH72 PVT panels, making this the largest hybrid renewable energy solution in Europe. 

With a strong focus on hospitality, healthcare, gyms and spas, Solarus’ energy solutions range from equipment to turn-key installations. Our committed partners in Spain manufacture our unique PVT solutions, while our team of specialists operate worldwide.

“I work with clients from hotels, hospitals, breweries and food processing plants to design and implement solar-powered systems that reduce their dependence on the unstable power grid and lower their carbon footprint.” – Michael Boyce, Hot Water Specialist at Solarus.

Before and After Solarus at Windtown Hotel

The results from this project at Windtown Hotel far exceeded predictions regarding cost savings and electricity usage. 

Between February 2019 and January 2020, Windtown Hotel’s electricity consumption was alarmingly high, hitting its highest at nearly 20,000 kWh in January 2020. Peak load consumption was even more concerning, hitting over 20,000 kW between August and September. 

Contrast this with the period after the installation of Solarus’ solution: electricity consumption plummeted to as low as 7,500 kWh in July 2022 and capped at about 12,500 kWh in September 2022, a 60% decrease compared to before Solarus’ solution was installed. 

Even more striking is the dramatic reduction in peak load consumption. It was at its highest at just over 15,000 kW, still a 33% decrease compared to the peak load consumption before the Solarus installation. However, peak load consumption wasn’t even a factor most of the time.

Before and After Solarus at Hilton Hotel

In the time frame between June 2018 and May 2019, the Hilton Hotel (now Hyatt) faced staggering energy costs, with the highest energy consumption reaching around 37,500 kWh and peak load consumption not far behind. 

The lowest numbers weren’t much better, with energy consumption at about 22,500 kWh and peak load at roughly 11,000 kW. 

Fast forward to the period between June 2019 and May 2020, after implementing Solarus’ solution, and the picture changes dramatically. The highest energy and peak load consumption have been capped at an impressive 10,000, with the lowest figures dropping to under 5,000.

How Solarus PVT Panels Transform Your Business

Solarus’ team of Hot Water Specialists have witnessed first-hand the challenges facing hotels, gyms, hospitals, and even breweries and spas. During load shedding, hot water is scarce, while the cost of electricity and backup power sources is climbing. 

Only when Solarus’ team has installed the PVT hybrid solution can establishments breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that their operations will function efficiently and cost-effectively. 

“Our customers benefit from having hot water available even during load shedding, as well as huge cost and CO2 savings, energy security, and equal hot water temperature throughout the facility.” – Solarus.

Space Smart

For industries with high electricity and hot water demands, the two-in-one approach of PVT solutions is efficient and space-saving. Instead of setting up two separate systems on your roof, PVT combines these roles and reduces installation complexities and costs.

Accelerated Efficiency

Solarus’ PVT solutions are engineered to achieve a total efficiency of 89%, a stark contrast to traditional solar PV panels, which only manage to convert 20% of the sun’s energy into electricity. By also capturing 69% of the thermal energy, every square metre of your installation is optimised for maximum energy output.

Financial Returns

The combined power of photovoltaic and thermal technologies in Solarus’ solutions allows the majority of our clients a return on investment (ROI) that is three times higher compared to normal PV systems. 

Consistent Hot Water Supply

Unlike traditional solar solutions that are dependent on grid reliability, Solarus’ PVT system runs independently from the grid. This guarantees a consistent and uninterrupted supply of electricity and hot water – a huge advantage in Stage 6 load shedding.  

Build a Sustainable Future for Your Business with the Solarus Hybrid PVT Solutions

In an era of rising energy costs and urgent environmental concerns, Solarus alleviate the daily stress of energy management in diverse commercial settings, delivering both efficiency and versatility. 

Solarus’ PVT solutions are a technological upgrade and investment in your business’s brighter, more sustainable future.

Contact Solarus for a free quote.