Hybrid Solar Heat and Power Systems On the Rise

According to “Residential Combined Heat and Power,” a new study by Pike Research, the market for residential combined heat and power (resCHP) systems – defined as small, distributed energy generation systems that produce electricity for residences while also capturing heat that would otherwise be treated as waste – is still very small, but growing rapidly.

“Besides being more efficient than the traditional power grid and easier to build than conventional power stations, resCHP systems have the additional benefit of producing thermal energy that can be used as heat, converted to electricity, or converted to cooling when coupled with an adsorption chiller,” said research director Kerry-Ann Adamson.  According to the report, the drivers for growth in this sector over the next decade include volatile energy markets, in which residential power costs can fluctuate dramatically from season to season, as well as increasing levels of fuel scarcity in a number of countries. In addition, aging transmission systems in many countries are contributing to the rise of blackouts and brownouts, such as this summer’s widespread power outages along the Eastern Seaboard of the United States. The distributed nature of resCHP systems makes them less vulnerable to outages on the centralized power grid.

Last week at Intersolar, we spoke with Mani Thothadri of Cogenra about the company’s technology. Cogenra is a CPV company at heart, said Thothadri, but its technology captures the “waste” heat and uses it to produce hot water on its installations.  The company boasts Facebook as one of its first clients.  Thothadri said the company is now looking to use the heat for solar cooling.  The video below has more on the company and its plans.

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Jennifer Runyon has been studying and reporting about the world's transition to clean energy since 2007. As editor of the world's largest renewable energy publication, Renewable Energy World, she observed, interviewed experts about, and reported on major clean energy milestones including Germany's explosive growth of solar PV, the formation and development of the U.S. onshore wind industry, the U.K. offshore wind boom, China's solar manufacturing dominance, the rise of energy storage, the changing landscape for utilities and grid operators and much, much, more. Today, in addition to managing content on Renewable Energy World and POWERGRID International, she also serves as the conference advisory committee chair for DISTRIBUTECH, a globally recognized conference for the transmission and distribution industry. You can reach her at Jennifer.Runyon@ClarionEvents.com

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