There are currently photovoltaic solar panels that produce electricity and thermal panels that produce hot water, all taking advantage of the sun’s energy. Hybrid solar panels combine the photovoltaic and thermal solar part in the same panel.
In thermal panels, the sun strikes the surface of the panel and the water circulating inside is heated by heat transfer.
In photovoltaic panels, the sun strikes the cells which transform solar energy into electricity, they are normally made of silicon and there are two types: monocrystalline and polycrystalline.
Hybrid solar panels combine the photovoltaic and thermal solar part in the same panelthus uniting the two technologies, and obtaining more energy in a smaller surface.
The main advantage of these latest generation panels is that they can produce more electricity than a photovoltaic panel, since thanks to the thermal part, the photovoltaic cells are cooled. Another important advantage is that they separately occupy half the space of a thermal and a photovoltaic, which is ideal for roofs with little space.
In addition, installation times, as there are fewer panels, are reduced.
After having seen what they are and their advantages, we will see a practical case of setting up this type of solar panels.
An example of a 4-star hotel with 400 beds.
This article presents an example in which it is integrated into a 4-star hotel with 400 beds located in the Balearic Islandsthis innovative solar technology: hybrid solar panels.
This technology simultaneously generates electricity and hot water with a single panel, thus generating more energy in the available space.
Greater energy savings mean greater economic savingswhich is the key for this technology to offer cost-effective solutions like the case presented.
This hotel, in addition to the consumption of domestic hot water (DHW) for the showers, has other hot water consumption for the restaurant and the laundry. There is a pool into which excess heat can be dissipated when production exceeds consumption. As an auxiliary system, the hotel has a boiler with an efficiency of 75% (measured in smoke outlet) which provides the heat necessary to cover the thermal demand of the hotel.
Daily heat demand is broken down into 22,000 liters for showers and 5,000 liters for other uses such as: laundry and restaurant. The price at which fuel is paid is €0.07/kWh and the variable electricity charge is €0.062/kWh.
The opening period of this hotel is from March to October. There is a flat roof with enough space to place 170 aH60 model hybrid panels representing 280 m2 of catchment area. With them, the photovoltaic power is 40.8 kWp (35.7 nominal kW) and 170 thermal kW.
The annual thermal production of this installation is 229,904 kWh/year and the photovoltaic production is 62,360 kWh/year.. This energy production involves annual economic savings of €25,902 and reduction in emissions of 83,475 kg of CO2 per year.
The investment cost of this installation (fully installed and running) is €156,205. Consequently the the payback period of the investment is 5.4 years.
At the end of the useful life of the said facility (estimated at 25 years), the cumulative cash flow is €1,106,681.
These results show that the use of hybrid solar panels in the hotel sector can be very interesting if three key requirements that usually occur in our country are met: high irradiation, high energy consumption and energy prices. students.
In this case, not only is the investment recovered in the short term, but the expenses related to the energy consumption of the hotel are reduced and, consequently, the competitiveness of the company and the reduction of emissions increase.
One of the most important aspects of this project is that has a monitoring systemn, which reports in real time on production and savings. This information is very important for three reasons: the property knows the savings made, the guest sees the CO2 emissions avoided, conveying an image of the hotel’s sustainability and, finally, the maintenance staff sees the working conditions of the facility, being able to take action if any of the values are outside the recommended range.
The percentage of photovoltaic self-consumption is close to 100% because the hotel’s hourly demand curves are significantly higher than the production curves. However, at times when production may be greater than consumption, the photovoltaic inverter will limit electricity production through a zero injection system, preventing production from being injected into the grid. In these cases, the amount of electrical energy that the panels do not generate will automatically lead to an increase in thermal production. Indeed, conventional photovoltaic panels operate at a temperature when they produce electricity and when they do not produce electricity, their temperature increases.
Hybrid panels manage to recover the heat that a photovoltaic panel transfers to the environmentso that in the hybrid panels, instead of increasing the temperature of the cell when the inverter limits the production, they transfer heat to the fluid that circulates in it and therefore use it to heat the water that will be consumed later in the hotel.
Currently, the aH60 model manufactured by Abora is the hybrid solar panel with the highest overall performance (thermal plus photovoltaic) on the market. The key for the aH60 model to be the market leader is the continuous R&D carried out in its “L’ABORAtorio”.
In the video you can see the installation of 240 hybrid solar panels at the Iberostar Las Dalias hotel (Tenerife).
Benefits of hybrid solar panels in hotels.
Abora is convinced that the energy transition will accelerate when there are cost-effective solutions that allow it. For this reason, Abora is betting on hybrid panel technology as one of those solutions which, because it is cost-effective, will allow the energy transition to arrive as soon as possible. For all these reasons, the integration of hybrid solar panels in hotels is very attractive since:
- It is a profitable investment: because it is not only recovered in 5 years, but also the accumulated cash flow demonstrates the total savings made.
- It conveys an image of sustainability to customers: bringing a differentiating added value.
- Greater competitiveness of the company: thanks to the reduction of energy costs.
- It solves the problem of lack of space on roofs: since it generates more energy in the same space.
- Compliance with regulations: in new hotels where the installation of thermal sensors (HE4) and photovoltaic panels (HE5) is required.
- Changing the energy model towards sustainability: because… what world do we want to bequeath to future generations?
Thanks to the Abora Solar company for bringing us the details of the installation of this type of solar technology.