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Tri-Sol Solar Energy

Undergraduate and Graduate Project

Investigators:  Ravi Gorthala, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering
                          Undergraduate students:  Tristan Cowan and Kevin Jalbert, Jr.
                          Graduate students:  Shu Kai Chang, Niranjan Samuel Adaikalam

Sponsors:  U.S. Department of Energy and CT Clean Energy Fund

Project Description:  The goal of this project was to research and develop a novel, cost-effective, building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) technology specifically for the next-generation skylight technology that generates electricity, produces hot water and delivers daylight by utilizing teams of undergraduate and graduate students.  The proposed technology utilizes a linear Fresnel concentrating PV/thermal system and is integrated into a skylight.   Concentrating lenses focus solar radiation on a small PV strip reducing the amount of PV materials needed and yet allow diffuse light into the building.  A prototype has been successfully built and is currently being tested.

Under this grant, TCoE built a Solar Testing and Training Laboratory (STTL) for testing and rating of solar thermal systems.  STTL is being used to test the Tri-Sol prototype.

A patent is currently being filed.

thermal absorber

Tri-Sol mock-up being tested using STTL rig.

tri sol

A full-scale mock-up of Tri-Sol on display