PVT collectors simultaneously generate solar power and solar heat on the same surface. While the PV modules convert the incoming solar energy into electricity, the thermal collectors can make efficient use of the waste heat to heat up air or water. Especially in urban areas with limited usable space, the overall efficiency of heat and power generation can be significantly increased. Despite growing interest from industry and commerce, PVT technology is still new on the market. For this reason, since January 2019 the BMWi has been supporting the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) and two industrial partners, SOLAB and Solvis in Braunschweig, in the development of highly efficient systems in which PVT collectors have been cleverly integrated.

Particular attention has been paid to the thermal application at both low and high fluid temperatures and to the potential markets for the soon-to-be-developed PVT collectors and the all-in-one solutions from the collaborative project. Initially, an uncovered PVT collector will be further developed to generate electricity and heat at low temperatures. In addition, an innovative collector will be developed whose transparent cover makes it suitable for higher temperatures. A third innovative variant is also being researched, which combines in one element a silicone encapsulation with a collector with insulated glass.

To support this emerging market, the partners are working together on complete solutions for the integration of PVT collectors in PVT systems. This involves the investigation of technical and economic aspects and the simulation of PVT systems in a living laboratory. Efficient, complete PVT solutions are to be created from this. The collaborative project is being funded by the BMWi until the end of 2021.