Conventional air-to-air heat pumps cannot function efficiently in cold winter with extreme low outdoor air temperatures. Bakker et al. [124] in­troduced a space and tap-water heating system with the use of roof-sized PVT/w array combined with a ground coupled heat pump. The system performance, as applied to one-family Dutch dwelling, was evaluated through TRNSYS simulation. The results showed that the system is able to satisfy all heating demands, and at the same time, to meet nearly all of its electricity consumption, and to keep the long-term average ground tem­perature constant. The PVT system also requires less roof space and offers architectural uniformity while the required investment is comparable to those of the conventional provisions.

Bai et al. [125] presented a simulation study of using PVT/w collec­tors as water preheating devices of a solar-assisted heat pump (SAHP) system. The system was for application in sports center for swimming pool heating and also for bathroom services. The energy performances of the same system under different climatic conditions, that included Hong Kong and three other cities in France, were analyzed and compared. Eco­nomic implications were also determined. The results show that although the system performance in Hong Kong is better than the cities in France, the cost payback period is the longest in Hong Kong since there was no government tax reduction.

Extensive research on PVT/heat pump system with variable pump speed has been conducted in China. Experimental investigations were performed on unglazed PVT evaporator system prototype [126, 127]. Mathematical models based on the distributed parameters approach were developed and validated [128, 129]. The simulation results show that its performance can be better than the conventional SAHP system. With R – 134a as the refrigerant, the PV-SAHP system is able to achieve an annual average COP of 5.93 and PV efficiency 12.1% [130].

In the warm seasons, glazed PVT collector may not serve well as PVT evaporator. In cold winter however, the outdoor temperature can be much lower than the evaporating temperature of the refrigeration cycle. Then the heat loss at the PV evaporator is no longer negligible. The front cover would be able to improve both the photothermic efficiency and the system COP. Pei et al. concluded that for winter operation, the overall PVT exergy effi­ciency as well as the COP can be improved in the presence of the glass cover [131]. This is beneficial since the space heating demand is higher in winter.

Updated: July 30, 2015 — 4:08 am