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Chapter 3

electricity and requires only slightly more than half the area used if the two conversion devices had been mounted side by side and worked independently. PV cells have also been developed to be applied to win- dows to allow daylighting and passive solar gain. Reviews of recent work in this area are provided by Chow (2010) and Arif Hasan and Sumathy (2010).

Considerable work has also been done on architecturally integrating the solar components into the building. Any new solar building should be very well insulated, well sealed, and have highly efficient windows and heat recovery systems. Probst and Roecker (2007), surveying the opin- ions of more than 170 architects and engineers who examined numerous existing solar buildings, concluded the following: 1) best integration is achieved when the solar component is integrated as a construction ele- ment, and 2) appearance—including collector colour, orientation and jointing—must sometimes take precedence over performance in the overall design. In describing 16 case studies of building-integrated pho- tovoltaics, Eiffert and Kiss (2000) identified two main products available on the architectural market: façade systems and roof systems. Façade systems include curtain wall products, spandrel panels and glazings; roofing products include tiles, shingles, standing-seam products and skylights. These can be integrated as components or constitute the entire structure (as in the case of a bus shelter).

The idea of the net-zero-energy solar building has sparked recent inter- est. Such buildings send as much excess PV-generated electrical energy to the grid as the energy they draw over the year. An IEA Task is consid- ering how to achieve this goal (IEA NZEB, 2009). Recent examples for the Canadian climate are provided by Athienitis (2008). Starting from a building that meets the highest levels of conservation, these homes use hybrid air-heating/PV panels on the roof; the heated air is used for space heating or as a source for a heat pump. Solar water-heating collectors are included, as is fenestration permitting a large passive gain through equatorial-facing windows. A key feature is a ground-source heat pump, which provides a small amount of residual heating in the winter and cooling in the summer.

Smart solar-building control strategies may be used to manage the col- lection, storage and distribution of locally produced solar electricity and heat to reduce and shift peak electricity demand from the grid. An example of a smart solar-building design is given by Candanedo and Athienitis (2010), where predictive control based on weather forecasts one day ahead and real-time prediction of building response are used to optimize energy performance while reducing peak electricity demand.

3.3.4

Concentrating solar power electricity generation

Concentrating solar power (CSP) technologies produce electricity by concentrating direct-beam solar irradiance to heat a liquid, solid or gas that is then used in a downstream process for electricity generation. The majority of the world’s electricity today—whether generated by coal,

Direct Solar Energy

gas, nuclear, oil or biomass—comes from creating a hot fluid. CSP sim- ply provides an alternative heat source. Therefore, an attraction of this technology is that it builds on much of the current know-how on power generation in the world today. And it will benefit not only from ongoing advances in solar concentrator technology, but also as improvements continue to be made in steam and gas turbine cycles.

Any concentrating solar system depends on direct-beam irradiation as opposed to global horizontal irradiation as for flat-plate systems. Thus, sites must be chosen accordingly, and the best sites for CSP are in near-equatorial cloud-free regions such as the North African desert. The average capacity factor of a solar plant will depend on the quality of the solar resource.

Some of the key advantages of CSP include the following: 1) it can be installed in a range of capacities to suit varying applications and condi- tions, from tens of kW (dish/Stirling systems) to multiple MWs (tower and trough systems); 2) it can integrate thermal storage for peaking loads (less than one hour) and intermediate loads (three to six hours); 3) it has modular and scalable components; and 4) it does not require exotic materials.This section discusses various types of CSP systems and thermal storage for these systems.

Large-scale CSP plants most commonly concentrate sunlight by reflec- tion, as opposed to refraction with lenses. Concentration is either to a line (linear focus) as in trough or linear Fresnel systems or to a point (point focus) as in central-receiver or dish systems.The major features of each type of CSP system are illustrated in Figure 3.7 and are described below.

In trough concentrators, long rows of parabolic reflectors concentrate the solar irradiance by the order of 70 to 100 times onto a heat collec- tion element (HCE) mounted along the reflector’s focal line. The troughs track the Sun around one axis, with the axis typically being oriented north-south. The HCE comprises a steel inner pipe (coated with a solar- selective surface) and a glass outer tube, with an evacuated space in between. Heat-transfer oil is circulated through the steel pipe and heated to about 390°C. The hot oil from numerous rows of troughs is passed through a heat exchanger to generate steam for a conventional steam turbine generator (Rankine cycle). Land requirements are of the order of 2 km2 for a 100-MWe plant, depending on the collector technology and assuming no storage. Alternative heat transfer fluids to the synthetic oil commonly used in trough receivers, such as steam and molten salt, are being developed to enable higher temperatures and overall efficiencies, as well as integrated thermal storage in the case of molten salt.

Linear Fresnel reflectors use long lines of flat or nearly flat mirrors, which allow the moving parts to be mounted closer to the ground, thus reduc- ing structural costs. (In contrast, large trough reflectors presently use thermal bending to achieve the curve required in the glass surface.) The receiver is a fixed inverted cavity that can have a simpler construction than evacuated tubes and be more flexible in sizing. The attraction of

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