Solar-thermal collectors and photovoltaic panels are effective solutions for the decarbonisation of electricity and hot water provision in dwellings. In this work, we provide the first insightful comparison of these two competing solar-energy technologies for the provision of combined heating and power (CHP) in domestic applications. The first such system is based on an array of hybrid PV-Thermal (PVT) modules, while the second is based on a solar-thermal collector array of the same area (based on a constrained roof-space) that provides a thermal-energy input to an organic Rankine cycle (ORC) engine for electricity generation. Simulation results of the annual operation of these two systems are presented in two geographical regions: Larnaca, Cyprus (as an example of a hot, high-irradiance southern-European climate) and London, UK (as an example of a cooler, lower-irradiance northern-European climate). Both systems have a total collector array area of 15 m2, equivalent to the roof area of a single residence, with the solar-ORC system being associated with a lower initial investment cost (capex) that is expected to play a role in the economic comparison between the two systems. The electrical and thermal outputs of the two systems are found to be highly dependent on location. The PVT system is found to provide an annual electricity output of 2090 kWhe yr-1 in the UK, which increases to 3620 kWhe yr-1 in Cyprus. This is equivalent to annual averages of 240 and 410 We, respectively, or between 60% and 110% of household demand. The corresponding additional thermal (hot water) output also increases, from 860 kWhth yr-1 in the UK, to 1870 kWhth yr-1 in Cyprus. It is found that the solar-ORC system performance is highly sensitive to the system configuration chosen; the particular configuration studied here is found to be limited by the amount of rejected thermal energy that can be reclaimed for water heating. The maximum electrical output from the solar-ORC configuration explored in this study is 450 kWhe yr-1 (50 We average, 14% of demand) for the UK and 850 kWhe yr-1 (100 We average, 26% of demand) for Cyprus, however, the study helps to identify aspects that can lead to significant improvement relative to this estimate, and which will be at the focus of future work. An economic analysis is also undertaken to investigate the installed costs and lifecycle costs of the two systems. Without financial incentives both systems show long payback periods (14 years in Cyprus and 18 years in the UK for the PVT, and >20 years for the solar-ORC).
papers presented to the 12th International Conference on Heat Transfer, Fluid Mechanics and Thermodynamics, Costa de Sol, Spain on 11-13 July 2016.