Thermal Energy Performance of a Solar Thermal Electric Panel

Alternative Title

Thermal Performance of a Solar Thermal Electric Panel (STEP) System


The main goal of this research was to develop and understand the performance of a hybrid roof system that combined an amorphous junction photovoltaic panel in combination with copper panel and tubing encased in a low-iron glass. The setup encompassed 160 sq ft of the solar thermal electric panel (STEP) system supplied with a glycol-water closed-loop system. The system was fixed to a simulated roof assembly built at the optimal angle of 61° for winter solstice for the local area (Rolla, Missouri). The encased combination panel provided consistent electrical efficiency and mixed thermal efficiencies based on the hours of operation. In conclusion this paper will discuss experimental performance analysis on the STEP system thermal and overall outcomes. Further testing on the effects of a glazed versus unglazed panel yielded a 23% reduction in solar electric production; however, it increased thermal collection by approximately 200%. The present study shows that the idea of a STEP system is viable. A prototype hybrid solar thermal electric panel system was implemented in the Missouri Univ. of Science and Technology's solar house entry into the 2005 solar decathlon, and today the solar house is part of student housing and the solar research facility at Missouri Univ. of Science and Technology.


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Electrical efficiency; Experimental performance analysis; Photovoltaic panels; PV-t; Science and Technology; Solar thermal; Solar thermal electric; Thermal efficiency; Iron research; Photovoltaic cells; Roofs; Solar buildings; Solar heating; Hybrid roof

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

0733-9402; 1943-7897

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





© 2012 American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Sep 2012