I’ve heard of “sun tea” but sun beer?

30 Oct 2012

Corner Brewery in Ypsilanti, Michigan, recently installed a unique solar panel system to provide both electricity and heat energy to be used in the beer making process.  The 140 solar panels installed for the project will reportedly produce a combined 16.1 kW of electricity, and 89.6 kW of equivalent thermal energy.

The panels, which do double duty, are manufactured by Detroit-based Power Panel.  Power Panel systems are designed to circulate water though a non-pressurized, drain-back system which collects thermal energy from the panel while actively cooling the photovoltaic (PV) cells – increasing electrical output.  As a result, Power Panel claims its systems can collect four times the energy compared to traditional PV panels.  Thermal energy is stored in Power Panel’s patented modular thermal storage tank  These systems are designed to be more durable than the typical glass-tube heat collection system.  The concept of capturing both power and heat is certainly a positive concept and one which may put this sort of solar back into competition with wind, which has lately taken the lead in renewable energy as the method of choice.

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