New so­lar panel tech­nol­ogy break­through

Irish Examiner - Farming - - TECHNOLOGY FOCUS -

Fast ad­vanc­ing so­lar panel tech­nol­ogy has made pho­to­voltaic (con­vert­ing sun­light to elec­tric power) and so­lar ther­mal (con­vert­ing sun­light to heat) in­stal­la­tions vi­able even in less sunny coun­tries like Ire­land.

Yet an­other so­lar panel break­through won one of the in­no­va­tion prizes at the re­cent Agriscot show in Ed­in­burgh.

A highly com­mended cer­tifi­cate was pre­sented to Soltropy, a startup busi­ness, for its newly in­vented mo­du­lar so­lar ther­mal panel which does not re­quire anti-freeze.

So­lar pan­els used to gen­er­ate heat nor­mally have a pres­surised, closed sys­tem which trans­fers heat to, for ex­am­ple, a house’s cen­tral heat­ing. The closed sys­tem must con­tain anti-freeze to pro­tect the panel from dam­age when the tem­per­a­ture is very low.

It is rec­om­mended that the sys­tem be flushed out with clean wa­ter, and the anti-freeze re­newed, every few years.

How­ever, Soltropy de­vised a spe­cial in­ner core to make pan­els ice-re­sis­tant, a sys­tem which is also claimed to be three times more ef­fi­cient than con­ven­tional so­lar pan­els.

It’s good news for farm­ers who use so­lar pan­els to gen­er­ate hot wa­ter in the milk­ing par­lour, or in the home.

— Stephen Cado­gan

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