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Solar’s Newest Hybrid System-CoolPV

September 21, 2015 | Kerry Inserra

The world’s newest and most elegant Solar Energy Solution has finally arrived.  CoolPV is not your typical residential solar PV or solar thermal system. CoolPV can generate up to 4x the energy of a stand alone Solar Electric System!

One of the largest sources of energy consumption is heating water for a household. Using solar energy to produce that heat source is a smart move. Solar’s newest hybrid technology product-CoolPV-is an even smarter option.  Going Solar for your combined electricity and water needs is smarter than ever with CoolPV.

“Highest efficiency”.  “Highest Reliability”. “Guaranteed Performance”. These are phrases often associated with CoolPV. As with other technological advancements including the IPhone, laptops, cars, headphones, 3D printers, video, and more, businesses are constantly looking to improve product performance and design.  The solar industry is no different.

Just this past month, solar manufacturer FAFCO, launched a more efficient, more reliable, and more robust hybrid solar system called CoolPV.  You may not have heard of CoolPV yet, but soon you will. Diablo Solar is one of the few select East Bay solar companies to offer this specialized, hybrid solar product.  CoolPV doesn’t come cheap (more on that later).  I’ve learned over the years that efficient, reliable, high performance, best-in-class, advanced technology comes at a premium-think Tesla (an $80k+ price tag doesn’t seem to be detouring too many buyers).  Savvy, knowledgeable consumers with high disposable incomes, oftentimes want to be the first on the block to own the newest, most advanced product or gadget.  CoolPV falls into this premium category.

FAFCO has been a pioneer in the US solar thermal industry for over 45 years and has a storied solar industry reputation including a long history of innovation. According to FAFCO Founder, Freeman Ford, the mission is to “Do good while doing well for the sake of the consumer, the environment and the industry.”

So just what is CoolPV really?  CoolPV is a hybrid solar system combining two products into one. CoolPV improves PV electrical output with the capability of heating your pool or household water at the same time as you’re generating electricity! The unique hybrid design of CoolPV provides unmatched performance and maximum energy output using the same roof space. The tasteful, classic looking CoolPV solar panels generate electricity and heat water simultaneously (big plus especially for homes with smaller rooftops)! 

Why would CoolPV be important to a homeowner exploring solar options?  Glad you asked.  Basically, you are getting two full systems in one product.  And CoolPV can generate up to 4x the energy of a stand alone Solar Electric System. It’s also a more aesthetically pleasing option than traditional panels.  The attractive black CoolPV panels blend in with the roof so they are less visible, less noticeable (a common concern for those exploring solar in general).

Now that we know what CoolPV is, let’s take a look at how it works and what differentiates it from solar electric and solar pool and water heating. By using FAFCO’s state of the art solar thermal technology and Solar World’s state of the art solar electric technology, CoolPV’s enhanced solar electric system generates electricity and heats water using the same panel on the same roof space. Because the solar electric panel is “cooled”, it generates more electric power than a stand-alone solar electric panel. With me so far?  CoolPV’s enhanced Solar Electric and Solar Water Heating Hybrid System has been a game changer for those who want to take advantage of Solar to generate electricity and heat water at the same time using the same roof space!
While attending the InterSolar North America Conference in San Francisco back in July, I had the opportunity to view first hand solar’s latest shiny, new solar system-CoolPV-and I must say I was quite impressed.  Conference attendees were gathering around the CoolPV display, eager to check out this new solar hybrid system.

Here are some of the benefits of CoolPV outlined by the manufacturer FAFCO:

The benefits are significant.
1. Visually pleasing all-black panels
2. Less amount of roof space being utilized
3. Relief from runaway electricity costs
4. Good for the environment
5. Increased electrical output
6. Extended swim season with low cost, low maintenance heated pool
7. Proven technology that is virtually maintenance-free

Let’s take a look at this example to understand how the size of your CoolPV system is calculated:

The best way to determine the size of your CoolPV system is to input the following numbers using the example below to calculate your estimated costs.

The formula is: Array Size (kW) = (Annual kWh usage) / (365 days/year) / (Solar Hours/day)

Say your electricity bill is $110/month and you use about 900 kWh/month.  You live in the East Bay near Danville, so you may get approximately 5.62 solar hours/day.  (10,800 kWh/year) (365days/year) / (5.62 kWh/day) / (0.75) = 7kW Array

Due to real world efficiency losses (irradiance, dust, temperature, and wiring), you should expect your system power output (AC power) to be about 75% of the system (DC power) size.  This is the 0.75 efficiency constant included.

The costs of CoolPV are a bit more nebulous to define here in a blog because pricing is based on two key factors that are unique to each homeowner:

1. Yearly electricity and kWh usage
2. Average sun hours at your home

CoolPV is typically about 25% more expensive than traditional separate pool and PV solar systems, but can qualify for a much larger solar tax credit.  By using significantly less roof space, the enhanced aesthetics of the system offers a much higher value and can typically justify the higher initial purchase price. Since every home is so unique, it’s best to contact a professional solar installer in your area who can break out the costs and explain how CoolPV costs are derived.  In general, you are looking at paying a premium for CoolPV (just as you do for that Tesla, 3D printer, and Iphone).

While we’ve focused mainly on residential benefits of CoolPV, the commercial applications for this product are numerous (perhaps a topic for a future Blog). For now, Diablo Solar has already started installing CoolPV systems (all requests have been for PV and solar pool heating). As the consumer becomes more aware of CoolPV and it’s numerous benefits, demand will continue to grow, despite it being a pricier option.

The solar revolution continues.  Solar products and systems continue to improve as advances in technology, design and energy output surpass some of the older, more outdated models.

Call or email Diablo Solar today for more information on CoolPV or ask to schedule a free in-home solar evaluation.