Thermo-economic study of hybrid photovoltaic-thermal (PVT) solar collectors combined with borehole thermal energy storage systems

Date of Award


Degree Name

M.S. in Renewable and Clean Energy


Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Graduate Renewable and Clean Energy Program


Advisor: Andrew Chiasson


Photovoltaic-thermal (PVT) technology is a relatively new technology that comprises a photovoltaic (PV) panel coupled with a thermal collector to convert solar radiation into electricity and thermal energy simultaneously. Since cell temperature affects the electrical performance of PV panels, coupling a thermal collector with a PV panel contributes to extracting the heat from the latter to improve its performance. In order to ensure a sufficient temperature difference between the PV cells and the working fluid temperature entering the thermal collector, the circulated water has to reject the heat that has been removed from the PV cells into a relatively colder environment. Borehole thermal energy storage (BTES), which is located underground, often serves as this relatively colder environment due to the stability of underground temperatures, which are usually lower than the working cell temperature. Use of BTES is especially beneficial in summer, when the degradation in cells efficiency is highest. In this thesis, the electrical, thermal, and economic performances of a PVT system are evaluated for three types of buildings -- residential, small office, and secondary school -- in two different climates in the United States, one of which is hot and the other is cold. For each case, two different scenarios are considered. In the first, a PVT system is coupled with BTES, and a ground-coupled heat pump (GCHP) is in use. In the second, a PVT system is coupled with BTES and no GCHP is in use. Each scenarios' GCHP performance is assessed as well. Both the PVT collectors and GCHP performances are evaluated over short and long-term to study the effect of continued ground heat imbalance on both technologies.


Photovoltaic power systems Cooling, Photovoltaic power systems Evaluation, Heat storage, Mechanical Engineering, Engineering, Energy, Photovoltaic, Thermal, PVT, PV, thermal collector, Geothermal, Ground loop, GCHP, GHX, BTES, solar, renewable energy, building, cell temperature, cell efficiency, thermo, economic, borehole, storage, TRNSYS, simulation

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