Company offers renewable electricity along with solar hot water
A new company spawned from recent advances made at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Boston College offers the potential to produce renewable electricity while simultaneously making hot water, according to CNET.
When most homeowners today consider the possibility of adding a rooftop solar installation, they are thinking primarily of the photovoltaic systems that can provide electricity. However, solar hot water has been a popular and successful technology much longer than photovoltaics, playing an important role in many countries around the world.
Now, a new material being commercialized by GMZ Energy can be added to traditional solar water heaters to also produce a small electrical current, helping to offset electricity bills as well as utility bills for hot water.
"We have a situation where the added costs to provide electricity is probably 3 times less expensive than PV (photovoltaics) on a dollar-per-watt basis," Aaron Bent, GMZ's chief executive officer, told CNET.
The U.S. has been slow to adopt solar thermal technologies, but according to the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century global capacity grew 21 percent in 2009 alone, with most of the growth coming from China. Adding renewable electricity to these solar water heaters could make them substantially more attractive in the U.S.