Guildford, England--Tubular, hybrid photovoltaic (PV) solar panels from Naked Energy use the sun's energy to produce both electricity and hot water. The tubes contain standard PV silicon solar panels and also support water, which is pumped through the tubes, absorbing excess heat to cool the panels and keep them running at peak efficiency. The tubular panels—unlike the cylindrical solar technology from now bankrupt Solyndra—thus double as hot water heaters in a process called cogeneration.
Naked Energy isn't the only player in the field. Cogenra Solar (Mountain View, CA) has also installed a combination photovoltaic and hot water heating system at the Kendall-Jackson winery near Santa Rosa, CA to provide electricity and hot water for a bottling and blending facility.
The solar cogeneration idea has been around a long time, but smaller cogeneration systems like these can make solar energy available to those who don't need megawatts. The Cogenra system, for example, can produce about 241 kW, or enough to save Kendall-Jackson some $30,000 per year in electricity costs. Cogenra CEO Gilad Almogy says that the basic model of the system provides about 30 kW of heat, and is a good fit for apartment buildings.
Naked Energy's panels are in vacuum tubes that can be mounted flat, with the water being pumped in pipes that draw the heat from the panel directly (a similar innovation was unveiled last year by researchers at MIT and Boston College).
Naked Energy is still a startup, seeking enough investment capital to mass-produce the solar panels.
SOURCE: Discovery News; http://news.discovery.com/tech/naked-energy-tubular-solar-120411.html#mkcpgn=rssnws1