Is Cost Everything?

This post is part of a series of posts highlighting the feasibility of Solar Thermal when compared to Solar PV modules.Find the previous post here.


The second criteria, when evaluating both  Solar Thermal and Solar PhotoVoltaic system, is the power generated for an effective area.Essentially, output energy generation capacity and form vary in both these systems.

A solar thermal system consisting of 50 tubes with dimensions of approximately 2.7 x 3.7 m – with an area of 10 m2 – can produce power in the range of 7 kW.


A solar PV module set with 7 Solar PV systems – fitting the same area of utilization of the Solar Thermal Module, on the other hand, can only produce 1.96 kW of Power, with one module producing a power of 280 W.



The reasons for this is are as follows:

The efficiency of a solar thermal module is 60 – 65 percent with one tube collecting around 90 – 95 percent of the incident radiation while a Solar PV module has a maximum efficiency of 17 percent.

Summing up, a 10-meter sq. area of a Solar thermal module can produce a power of 10630 kWhr whereas a Solar PV module can produce 3000 kW-hr – solar thermal module producing almost 3.5 times the power at half the costs

This is without a doubt the aptest solution for applications below 100 °C with the potential to save millions in terms of money and carbon emissions


In the next post, we shall look into the other additions costs and devices that are required in both the modules.