The University of Lleida (UdL) in eastern Spain has patented a concentration solar power module that produces heat, cold and electricity and that can be integrated into a building’s facade or roof. The university claims this thermal-photovoltaic modular system has a solar concentration of 10 suns; therefore, it only needs one-tenth of a standard system’s active surface to produce the same energy, be it electricity, heat or both simultaneously. Besides the reduction in the surface of used solar cells and the cost reduction this implies, this new technology can generate cold by connecting a heat pump to the system.

The modules can be directly installed in roofs, on the closure of concrete or brick blocks, part of a curtain wall in a facade or as a part of the railings in terraces. They also can be used in residential buildings, companies or farms.

The system consists of a stationary lens and a linear absorber plate that concentrates sunlight to generate energy. This concentration system reduces the space that until now was needed with traditional plates, which move around in search of sunlight.

Joan Ignasi Rosell, project co-lead, underlined the global efficiency of energetic conversion in this module, which could rise above 60 percent. Researchers at UdL anticipate that the product could be commercialized in a year if companies opt for this technology.