The solar industry is advancing in leaps and bounds. From inventions that are able to simply harness energy from the sun, to those able to harness energy from the sun, moon and clouds, more and more innovations are made everyday. In Sydney, Australia, the first ever building integrated solar system is able to generate both heat and electricity.
The system was first designed by Bluescope, an Australian steel manufacturer. However, it would not have come to life without help from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA). The system is made of a roof mounted array. Said array is comprised of thin-film solar PVs and a solar duct system that warms and cools the air. The top layer produces electricity by harnessing energy from the sun. At the same time, though, the heat is trapped between the layers and distributed to the house.
Bluescope managed to finish their $5 million integrated PV thermal system after receiving a $2.3 million grant from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency. The ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht talked about their common project saying: “Today we are witnessing an exciting new technology solution moving from the lab to be prototyped on everyday Australian rooftops for the first time. These first installations are an important step as the technology moves towards commercialization and cost competitiveness with conventional rooftop PV.”
The aim of the integrated solar system, in the long run, is to reduce the costs of energy installations and improve energy efficiency. For now, the project has been installed in one house where it has proven to be successful. However, climate change-denying Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s right-wing administration wishes to shut down ARENA as part of their attack against clean energy. Do you think they will succeed? Or will the integrated solar system become a thing of the future?