Where there is a large roof and sunlight, there is the potential for a next generation skylight, one that can illuminate a building, generate electricity and produce hot water – all while drastically cutting energy costs.
UNH students have developed such a prototype. The groundbreaking solar technology, which they’ve named TriSol, generates three useful energy streams in one device.
By combining three features into one product, the manufacturing and installation costs are greatly reduced, Gorthala said. “That makes this technology very attractive,” he added. “There is no such product on the market now.”
The goal of the project was to research and develop a novel, cost-effective building-integrated photovoltaic specifically for next-generation skylight technology. Daylight would stream in through the skylight and that sunlight would be put to use, generating electricity and producing hot water.
Since its initial design, graduate students have also collaborated on the project. This semester, Shu Kai Chang, a graduate student in mechanical engineering, is developing a TriSol thermal modeling. Chang said he spends at least 25 hours a week on the project, developing computer models that would allow for changes in size and scope. “The work is very complex and very interesting,” he said.