BIPV/T facades – A new opportunity for integrated collector-storage solar water heaters? Part 1: State-of-the-art, theory and potential

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Building Integrated Photovoltaic Thermal (BIPV/T) systems are promising solutions for serving local electricity and heat demands in Net Zero Energy Buildings (NZEB). Despite BIPV/T offering clear energetic and space saving advantages compared to separate BIPV and solar thermal, overheating occurs when no thermal demand exists, resulting in reduced yields, stagnation damage, and excessive fluid pressures. Whilst continuous fluid flows mitigate overheating, corresponding parasitic demands and space requirements are significant (pumps, large storage tanks or heat rejection equipment). This two-part study examines an alternative approach to BIPV/T, addressing overheating by combining BIPV and Integrated Collector-Storage Solar Water Heater (ICSSWH) concepts. Solar heating capabilities of ICSSWH collectors are well established and their overnight heat loss characteristics provide passive overheating control. BIPV-ICSSWH approaches have yet to be investigated extensively. This paper (Part 1 of 2) reviews state-of-the-art and performance benchmarks in BIPV/T and ICSSWH; proposes new performance metrics enabling fairer comparisons; and develops a heat transfer model for BIPV-ICSSWH façade elements employing Planar Liquid-Vapour Thermal Diodes (PLVTD) to regulate absorber temperatures and heat losses. Multi-day solar thermal collection, photovoltaic generation, and overnight heat retention behaviours are simulated in different climates. The modelling results (experimentally validated in Part 2 of 2) suggests BIPV-PLVTD-ICSSWHs with single transparent covers and ς ≈ 90% PLVTD diodicity achieve η T,col ≈ 60% solar thermal efficiency at N ≈ 0.035m 2K·W −1, PV/T performance ratio PR T3 ≈ 75%, and heat loss coefficient U r,sysA sys/u ≈ 20 W·m −3K −1. The novel BIPV-PLVTD-ICSSWH approach can reduce maximum stagnation by 20 °C compared to conventional BIPV/T and therefore support NZEB realisation during global efforts to tackle the climate crisis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)317-335
Number of pages19
JournalSolar Energy
Early online date8 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Sept 2020


  • Building facade
  • Heat removal factor
  • Integrated Collector-Storage Solar Water Heaters (ICSSWH)
  • Photovoltaic-thermal (PV/T)
  • Solar collector
  • Thermal diode


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