Applied Research

Power Generation Using Simultaneous Capture of Solar Photovoltaic and Solar Thermal Energy

  • John Nill Ousterhout (General Dynamics)
  • Darren C. Olson (Central Washington University)


This paper describes a research project that was conducted to determine if it is technically feasible to use the heat reflected from Photovoltaic (PV) solar panels to produce additional electrical power using Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) generators. The researchers reviewed the surface reflectivity characteristics of PV panels, considered whether various available coatings and reflective films could be used as wavelength dividers, and assessed common CSP generator designs to determine the potential for incorporating PV panels into concentrating mirror systems. A small-scale test device was constructed to explore the effects of coatings and films on the amount of electrical energy captured by PV panels. The lead author constructed an experimental collector using a heat-reflecting film to reflect thermal energy from a PV panel to a concentrating Sterling engine. Field tests were conducted to determine the amount of usable electrical and thermal energy collected. Finally, the data was used to estimate the potential effect on net energy that can be captured by incorporating PV panels into full scale CSP power generating facilities. This analysis determined that it is possible to gain a net increase in energy gathered by using a combined PV and CSP collection system.

Keywords: electricity, energy, environmental issues, materials and processes, research

How to Cite:

Ousterhout, J. N. & Olson, D. C., (2013) “Power Generation Using Simultaneous Capture of Solar Photovoltaic and Solar Thermal Energy”, The Journal of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering 29(2).



Published on
01 Apr 2013
Peer Reviewed