The Solar-Innovation from Austria
This week’s technology snapshot covers an interesting interview with Mr. Alexander Friedrich, CEO of 3F SOLAR Technologies GmbH introducing their innovative hybrid photovoltaic modules.
We’ve heard that you’ve recently finished a very interesting pilot project in Vienna. Can you give us an insight?
Last year we first installed the probable coolest solar system, a custom built model, which is now part of our product portfolio. This new product is called the Adjustable Energy Field, a special construction enabling users to adjust the angle of inclination manually and automatically. But the name Adjustable Energy Field holds even more meaning, it consists out of 10 3F hybrid collectors (PVT) and produces electricity and heat at the same time.
The project was first realized in a modern villa in Vienna. The two energy fields installed on the villa’s roof supply the building with electricity as well as heat. Heat is stored in two 1500l buffer tanks and used for hot water supply, the underfloor heating system including the garage, and throughout the summer time it is used to heat the pool.
Weather forecasts and the projected energy demand of the building are used to specify the future demand of electricity and heat originating in the complex. Because the hybrid collectors are controllable the forecasted demand of heat and electricity can be covered most efficiently.
Tell us something about your decision to start as a solar module producer
We saw big unused potential in using the entire spectrum of solar radiation using each and every module. Traditionally, one had to decide between either Photovoltaic or Solar thermal.
Roof areas – especially in urban regions – are to valuable and scarce of a resource to make this decision without cutbacks and sparked by this idea, we started to tinker on prototypes in a basement.
It took us two years until we moved to the technology center Aspern IQ to install our production line and since last summer, we are producing the Solar ONE in series.
What’s the difference to usual photovoltaic modules?
On the one hand we have a special PV laminate to insure that the long-wave radiation can pierce through to the thermal absorber. On the other, we assemble this PV laminate in an aluminum trough, combining the aluminum with a copper absorber in perfect symbiosis.
In short, we completely created a new layout, overcoming the obstacle that existing components did not fit together.
Our new design, collectors can now produce more electricity than conventional photovoltaic systems by cooling down photovoltaic cells. Furthermore, the heat generated throughout the process is used to generate hot water and to support the heating system of the complex.
Based on our research, the vast majority of buildings located close to this complex’ latitude need two thirds of thermal energy and one third of electricity, a scenario, where our Solar ONE product is a perfect fit for the total supply.
What are your next steps?
We have some very interesting projects in the pipeline, for example: one with the Österreichische Bundesforste (Austrian Federal Forests) where we plan to install a complete off grid system including a battery system for a lodge. Up to date, this property is heated by fossil fuels, mainly due to it’s location, off the beaten track.
Furthermore, we plan on expanding our cruising radius by expanding our numbers of regional partners for installation. At the end of the year set ourselves the goal, to be ready to start serving foreign countries and explore new markets.
Depending on our incoming orders, we are planning expanding our production facility, taking into account the possibility of cooperating with existing production companies. The interest in our new technology is immense, and requests as well as demand are present, creating a positive outlook.
For more information on 3F SOLAR Technologies GmbH and their projects please visit www.3f-solar.at