Two companies that are working with the technology is Toronto Conserval Engineering and Congenra Solar.
Toronto's Conserval Engineering's SolarWall PV/Thermal (PV/T) technology combines solar air heating with PV. They also make a rooftop system called SolarDuct that generates air heat and electric power.
California-based Cogenra Solar, has introduced a hybrid system that combines solar thermal water heating with PV.
Hopefully, hybrid systems will pave the way for more solar use, just like the Toyota Prius inspired use of hybrid cars and electric vehicles (EVs). While Solar PV still has a long way to go in terms of widespread use–solar thermal has even further to go in terms of public awareness and market penetration. According to the New York's Solar Thermal Road Map, “NYS lags the world in terms of solar thermal usage," but we lag behind with PV as well. The New York's Solar Road Map reported that, “Germany has only four times the population of New York but currently has more than 300 times the installed capacity."
Although both reports may sound dire, they did offer New Yorkers hope for a more environmentally friendly future. In terms of solar thermal usage, New York's Solar Thermal Road Map also reported that there was "a strong foundation upon which to grow, if the appropraite policies are put in place." New York Solar Road Map also showed some potential promise, stating that the state offered "substantial growth opportunities relative to Germany.”
With only a minor amount of New York's electricity generated by solar energy, and more than 50 percent the state's overall energy demand in buildings originating from indoor space and water heating, cutting edge hybrid solar thermal–PV systems will help ease our way into a more resilient future in more ways than one.
Paul McGinniss is the Green Advocate for New York House magazine. Check out his blog The New York Green Advocate. You can email him at email@example.com