Traitement en cours

Veuillez attendre...

Paramétrages

Paramétrages

Aller à Demande

1. WO2020161548 - SYSTÈME ET/OU MODULE UTILITAIRE DE COLLECTE SOLAIRE

Note: Texte fondé sur des processus automatiques de reconnaissance optique de caractères. Seule la version PDF a une valeur juridique

[ EN ]

SOLAR HARVESTING UTILITY SYSTEM AND/OR MODULE

TECHNICAL FIELD

[001] Embodiments of the invention relate to solar harvesting utilities, for example, for harvesting solar radiation in form of electricity and/or heat; and/or for production of electrical and thermal energies.

BACKGROUND

[002] Harvesting of solar radiation in form of electricity and heat may include and/or be utilized for: solar heating, photovoltaics, solar thermal energy (and the like). Harvesting of solar energy may be implemented in various surroundings where exposure to solar energy is available and where demand for energy is required.

[003] For example, solar energy harvesting may be useful in proximity to locations where energy demand exists and/or in urban environments where large population resides. Harvesting of solar energy in such environment(s) may be useful adjacent buildings and may include harvesting means that are integrated or assembled into structures of buildings.

[004] A zero-energy building, possibly also referred to as a ZEB Zero Energy Building, zero net energy (ZNE) building or net-zero energy building (NZEB), ZCB zero carbon buildings; may be defined as a building with zero or positive net energy consumption, referring to the fact that a total amount of energy consumed annually within such building is just about the energy produced in or by the building or larger than the energy consumed, which is exported to the electrical grid or to any other external entity to the building. Such energy produced in the building may be from renewable energy sources, bio-mass sources (and the like) as is defined in ZEB regulation in the US, Europe and elsewhere.

[005] Such buildings thus result in less greenhouse gases being emitted into the atmosphere in relation to buildings that are supplied with energy, e.g., from the grid that is produced elsewhere and/or buildings that do not comply with such standards. While non-renewable energy may be consumed at certain times, this consumption may be substantially compensated by reduction in energy consumption at other instances. Criteria implemented e.g. by the European Union and US federal DOE is ZEB & nearly Zero Energy Building (nZEB)

[006] Providing e.g. buildings that comply with energy efficiency standards such as ZEB, presents challenges and/or needs for harvesting energy from locations on or adjacent such buildings. While roof tops are typically small in size relative to the foot print required for harvesting enough solar energy, and in any case typically occupied by systems such as prereferral systems like elevator infrastructure, water tanks, pumps (etc.) and local heating/cooling systems - other locations may be utilized for energy harvesting utilities, such as building facades (such as external walls) generally exposed to solar radiation.

[007] US8046960 for example describes a window harvesting structure that includes within an internal air gap, an electrical generator for converting electromagnetic radiation to electricity. The window includes reflective coatings for reflecting infrared radiation into the air gap and antireflective coatings that are configured to transmit visible light and infrared radiation into the air gap.

[008] US9057535 describes solar energy converters for harvesting electricity, heat and lighting simultaneously. The converters use slats to intercept sunlight, where slat surfaces in direct light path can be coated with photovoltaic (PV) material, or may be shaped to concentrate sunlight, allowing less PV material to capture reflected.

[009] US4137098 describes an energy absorbing venetian blind type device for generating electricity, providing heat, and serving as a sun shade. A plurality of slats covered with an array of photovoltaic cells are enclosed between two panes of glass of a window housing. A heat removal system using forced air cools the photovoltaic cells and collects heat for heating purposes elsewhere. The electricity generated by the photovoltaic cells is collected for immediate use or stored in storage batteries for later use.

[010] US20170012155 describes an apparatus for generating electricity from solar radiation. The apparatus includes a photovoltaic mirror comprising a plurality of photovoltaic cells, the photovoltaic mirror configured to separate the solar spectrum, absorb a first portion of the solar spectrum, and concentrate a second portion of the solar spectrum at a focus. The apparatus also includes an energy collector spaced from the photo-voltaic mirror and positioned at the focus, the energy collector configured for capturing the second portion of the solar spectrum.

SUMMARY

[011] The following embodiments and aspects thereof are described and illustrated in conjunction with systems, tools and methods which are meant to be exemplary and illustrative, not limiting in scope.

[012] A broad aspect applicable to at least certain embodiments of the invention may be defined as relating to a solar harvesting utility (SHU), for example, for harvesting of energy in form of electricity and/or heat; and/or to production of electrical and thermal power. In certain cases, such harvesting of energy may be of energy within the electromagnetic spectrum, possibly energy having solar spectral irradiance components.

[013] At least certain embodiments provide for solar energy harvesting in form of a‘dual’ (electrical and heat) energy generating utility. Such SHU may take form of a module, device, and/or system. At least certain SHU embodiments coming within the scope of some embodiments of the present invention, may not necessarily be of a so-called‘dual’ harvesting function, but rather of a mainly‘single’ function, arranged for either electrical harvesting or heat harvesting.

[014] An aspect applicable to at least certain ‘dual’ harvesting module embodiments may be defined in substantial separation between heat and electrical harvesting, so that e.g. relative high temperatures may be reached during heat harvesting while avoiding/limiting substantial harm to harvesting efficiency of electricity.

[015] In at least certain SHU embodiments this may be embodied by locating main utilities for harvesting heat and electricity at different, preferably spaced apart, locations possibly within the harvesting module's outer housing/boundary. In certain embodiments one of the utilities, for example that harvesting heat, may be located outside of the module in communication with the module. For example, a thermal solar collector (TSC) e.g. in a VTC formation may be located physically outside of the SHU's housing/boundary, such as within a building to which the SHU is fitted e.g. in a wall or a ceiling of such building.

[016] In any event, such spaced apart formation of utilities for harvesting heat and electricity may be seen in the illustrated embodiments embodied by optionally locating main heat harvesting utilities at a rear side of the SHU (see e.g. thermal solar collector TSC 18 in description below) while electrical harvesting being concentrated in the shelves.

[017] At least certain SHU embodiments may include an at least partial outer glazed/glass wall that may serve as the utility’s outer or external wall (known also as a façade, screen, building envelop or the like). In some cases, the outer wall may be in form of a single glazing. Such glazing of the outer wall may render the outer wall as transparent to incoming solar energy

[018] At least certain SHU embodiments may also include an inner wall or may be associated or fitted to an already existing wall structure that may be arranged to serve as an inner wall of the utility.

[019] In one example, an already existing wall structure may be a wall of a building upon which an embodiment of a SHU of the invention may be placed and hence such building wall may be arranged to function/serve as a SHU inner wall.

Such use of a building’s wall as a SHU’s inner wall, in one non-binding example, may be in order to retrofit an existing building to meet its energy needs, possibly complying with efficient energy consumption standards such as ZEB or the like.

[020] An inner wall of at least certain SHU embodiments may be formed at least in part from thermally insulated material. Such thermally insulated material may be defined as appropriate for building exterior walls or shells, with substantially good thermal insulation, that may be characterized as suitable for a "passive building" design and walls. In certain embodiments, the inner wall may in addition or alternatively be at least partially glazed/glass-formed, possibly making it transparent to incoming solar energy. Possibly such glazed wall may be a double-glazing wall that serves as the inner wall of the utility. Preferably, a SHU embodiment with an inner glazed wall includes such glazed wall as an integral part of the SHU.

[021] At least certain SHU embodiments may include an appropriate number of shelves, e.g. one and typically more, extending each between the inner and outer walls, possibly from adjacent the outer wall towards the inner wall. In at least certain SHU embodiments, shelves may be arranged generally closer to the SHU’s outer wall. Such proximity to the outer wall may be defined by arranging the shelves within the SHU’s cavity, such that when tilted to a position generally orthogonal to the inner and/or outer walls– the outer edge of each shelf is located closely adjacent the SHU’s outer wall. This may increase harvesting efficiency of such SHU embodiments due to relative proximity of the shelves to the outer wall through which solar radiation is configured to enter the SHU module during use.

[022] Each shelf may be defined as extending along a shelf axis between the inner and outer walls, where all shelf-axes at least in certain embodiments may be defined as generally parallel one to the other. In some embodiments, a solar harvesting utility (SHU) may include at least some shelves that are arranged to extend along shelf-axes that may not necessarily be in parallel to shelf-axes of the remainder of the shelves within the SHU.

[023] In certain embodiments, a SHU module may be divided into sub-divisions e.g. by forming groups of shelves within a module and arranging the SHU such that an angular orientation of each group of shelves may be independently controlled from other groups. Such SHU arrangement may permit different portions within a SHU module to be tuned for different harvesting parameters/criteria. For example, while one or more groups of shelves (or module sub-divisions) may be tuned for harvesting of preferably electricity, one or more other groups of shelves (or module sub-divisions) may be tuned for harvesting of preferably heat.

[024] Groups of shelves may be formed from a plurality of adjacent shelves or spaced apart shelves (i.e. not necessarily shelves located immediately adjacent a neighboring shelf). In certain embodiments, providing such sub-division(s) within a SHU module may provide additional utility to the SHU, such as by permitting tilting of certain shelves within a module to an orientation that forms a less obstructed view out of a building (e.g. when such SHU modules are fitted to an outer façade of the building).

[025] Shelves may be vertically stacked one above the other within an interior space or cavity of a SHU. Such interior space may be defined by the inner and outer walls and a possible peripheral pane extending between the walls.

[026] The peripheral pane may be formed from aluminum or any other building metal and/or any other conventionally used materials such as wood or the like. Such pane may be arranged in certain embodiments to include a reflecting member on its inner side facing into the SHU’s cavity in order to reflect inwards heat and/or solar radiation in order to increase overall harvesting efficiency. Such inward reflection of solar energy into the SHU’s cavity may be in order to capture direct, diffused or reflected radiation and/or in order to internally direct backwards radiation into the SHU’s cavity solar energy during certain times of the day, such as but not limited to during morning or evening hours.

[027] In certain embodiments, a tilt angle of each shelf in relation to the inner and outer walls may be adjustable so that an angle of inclination of each shelf axis relative to the inner and/or outer walls may be altered. In some cases, vertical spacing’s between shelves may be tuned according to the e.g. location, latitude and/or geographic coordinate where the SHU is intended to be utilized for solar harvesting. Thus, SHU modules prior to installment may be arranged to have e.g. appropriate spacing’s between the shelves according to the specifics of the location where they are intended to be installed/utilized.

[028] Each shelf may be arranged in a general layered structure. Layers within a shelf may be arranged in the following exemplary order from top to bottom, where top refers to a general upward direction away from a ground face and/or towards the direction of incoming solar radiation.

[029] In one formation, an upper most top layer may take form of a filtering member, such as a dichroic beam splitter, a hot mirror (or the like); possibly serving as an irradiance spectrum splitter. Beneath may be arranged an electrical harvesting (EH) layer for converting solar radiation into electricity, such as a photovoltaic (PV) layer. Beneath the solar power layer may be located a structural member such as a plate-like structural layer having a reflecting member at a lower and downward facing side. The structural member may take also form of a structural frame– for framing and/or supporting the layers of each shelf.

[030] The structural member may be formed from thermal conductive material such as aluminum and may include or support a heat absorber (HAB) above the reflecting member and adjacent the electrical harvesting (EH) layer. Such heat absorber (HAB) in one example may be in form of fluid pipes for transferring heat away from the PV cells. In some cases, the heat absorber (HAB) may take other form, such as that of a heat-pipe combining principles of both thermal conductivity and phase transition to efficiently transfer heat away from the shelf as a whole and the electrical harvesting (EH) layer in particular. In certain cases, an enclosure within a shelf, such as that suitable for housing an HAB - may remain substantially empty (e.g. not include a HAB dedicated structure therein) in order to form a

passage for promoting free convection by air present in this space for transferring heat away from the electrical harvesting (EH) layer.

[031] The filtering member at the top side of each shelf is arranged to reduce heat at the electrical harvesting (EH) layer (e.g. PV cells) and consequently reduce heat within the shelf - by limiting absorption of radiation that does not substantially contribute to harvesting of heat and/or electricity. Thus, filter member, inter alia, assists in tuning SHU embodiments of the invention for optimal harvesting conditions.

[032] In certain embodiments, the electrical harvesting (EH) layer in form of a photovoltaic (PV) layer may be internally cooled by heat transfer via thermal conductive material of the structural member (e.g. aluminum material) to the HAB of the shelf. Such removal of heat away from the PV layers may assist in increasing thermal and electrical efficiency of the PV layers. The heat removed from the electrical harvesting (EH) layer in some cases may thus be harvested as heat that contributes to overall heat that may be harvested by at least certain SHU embodiments.

[033] The reflecting member at the lower side of the structural member may take form of a mirror-like or specular reflection member arranged to further reflect solar radiation so that the reflected radiation preserves many or most of the characteristics of the original radiation. A reflecting member located at a lower side of a given shelf may be arranged to reflect, inter alia, wave lengths reflected upwards off a filtering member of a lower shelf that is located beneath it– so that at least some of such reflected radiation may be communicated onwards, inter alia, towards the SHU’s thermal solar collector (TSC). Such a reflecting member located at a lower side of a given shelf may also be configured to reflect direct, diffused and/or reflected solar - radiation, possibly also onwards towards the EH layer and/or directly towards the TSC.

[034] A thermal solar collector (TSC) according to various embodiments of the invention may take form of a heat absorber such as that combining principles of

both thermal conductivity and phase transition to efficiently transfer heat. As aforementioned, such thermal solar collector (TSC) may be located either within an outer housing/boundary of a SHU or outside of the outer housing/boundary such as within a building to which the SHU is fitted. In addition or alternatively, a thermal solar collector (TSC) according to various embodiments of the invention may be any one of: a transpired collector (TC), a vacuum tube collector (VTC), a flat plate collector, a compound parabolic reflector (CPC), or trough type solar thermal collector such as the Winston trough collector (or the like).

[035] In certain embodiments, at least some of the solar radiation entering a solar harvesting utility (SHU) - may directly reach the thermal solar collector (TSC) e.g. without being first reflected off any surfaces on the way such as filtering member(s) and/or reflecting member(s) within the SHU. In addition, or alternatively, at least some of the light entering a solar harvesting utility (SHU)– may directly hit/meet reflecting member(s), for example– scattered solar radiation, and from there be reflected onwards, possibly directly, towards the filtering member and/or thermal energy collector (TSC).

[036] At least certain SHU embodiments may include a thermal solar collector (TSC) within the interior space or cavity of the utility for converting solar radiation to thermal energy entering the utility and/or reflected off shelves or other structures of the utility. The thermal solar collector (TSC) may be located between the inner wall and the shelves of the utility.

[037] In certain embodiments, the filtering member located above each shelf may be arranged to filter solar energy arriving at the shelf. Such filtering of wave length spectral bands may be defined in at least certain embodiments according to the type of electrical harvesting (EH) layer located beneath the filtering member and configured to harvest solar energy penetrating into the shelf. For example, the filtering member may be tuned to permit given wave length(s) spectrum(spectra) to pass therethrough and reach the electrical harvesting (EH) layer, where said given wave length(s) spectrum(spectra) generally correlate and/or overlap to the

absorption spectrum(spectra) and/or reception spectrum(spectra) of the electrical harvesting (EH) layer.

[038] In certain embodiments where the PV efficiency is relatively high in that it converts radiation over a relative wide range of wavelengths to electricity– necessity of the filtering member may not be required thus forming an embodiment absent of a filtering member above the EH layer. An example of such a case may be embodied where the EH layer comprises Triple and/or four Junction PV Cells capable of converting sun radiation from about 300 nm to about 2000nm to electrical power.

[039] In at least certain embodiments, the filtering member located above each shelf may be arranged to split solar energy arriving at the shelf into several wave-length spectra. In an example, where the EH layer comprises silicone type PV cells, the filtering member may be configured such that one wave length spectrum, e.g. between about 0.55 µm and about 1.05 µm, can pass through the filtering member (i.e. be transmitted through) to create electrical energy at the electrical harvesting (EH) layer, while other(s) wave length spectrum, e.g. between about 0.3 µm and about 0.55 µm and/or between about 1.1 µm and about 2.5 µm, are/is reflected away from the shelf by the filtering member.

[040] Wave length spectrum(spectra) reflected away from the shelf, such as those in the example above, may then be harvested at least partially by the thermal solar collector (TSC) as heat. Reflection of wave length spectra away from the shelves by the filtering members results in such wave-lengths substantially not arriving at the PV cells. Avoidance of such wave-lengths may assist in reducing heat buildup at the PV cells, where such heat build-up if present may increase likelihood to harm in efficiency of electrical conversion at the PV cells and/or reduce the service life and/or reliability of the PV cells.

[041] The thermal solar collector (TSC) may take various forms such as a hollow void through which air can be urged (e.g. via bellows) to flow in order to transfer heat absorbed at the TSC for further use e.g. in a building to which a SHU based system is fitted. In certain embodiments, the TSC may take form of a like-tubing-grid (or coil) heat exchanger, or a heat-pipe combining principles of both thermal conductivity and phase transition to efficiently harvest and transfer heat absorbed by the TSC for further use.

[042] In certain embodiments, harvested heat by heat absorbers (HABs) at the shelves of a SHU embodiment - can be merged/collocated/combined with heat harvested by the thermal solar collector (TSC) at the SHU - so that substantially all heat harvested in the SHU can be combined together out of the SHU for further use e.g. in HVAC applications (heating, ventilation, air conditioning, air dehumidifying) within a building and /or Sanitary water or such (and the like).

[043] Certain SHU embodiments may take form of modular components that may be combined to form large dual/hybrid solar system / array of harvesting structures/panes, such as harvesting facades upon outer exteriors of buildings.

[044] At least certain SHU embodiments may be incorporated into a construction of new buildings (e.g. high-rise office, public, commercial, or residential buildings) and/or may be fitted to existing buildings to retrofit such buildings with solar harvesting utility.

[045] At least certain SHU embodiments may be addressed as relating to technologies referred to as Building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) or building-integrated photovoltaic and thermal (BIPVT) and/or may be fitted to be part of a building (e.g., high-rise office building) envelope such as preferably a façade of a building.

[046] At least certain SHU embodiments, possibly in form of modular units, may be arranged to be pre-fabricated/pre-assembled off-site and possibly tested and/or made ready for installation off-site - and then later transported to a building site for installation to the building and by that minimizing need to use of peripheral construction service area. Installation to buildings may be by means of crane or the like.

[047] SHU embodiments may possibly be fitted in an upright vertical manner e.g. to a building so that e.g. the inner and/or outer walls of the SHU extend generally upright in relation to a ground face. SHU embodiments may also be fitted in other orientations such as to follow an outer inclined contour of e.g. a building facade or roof– resulting in the inner and/or outer walls of the SHU being inclined to a ground face.

[048] SHU modules and/or SHU system on building facades for increased solar harvesting may generally be arranged to face azimuth wise towards the earth’s equator, for example generally south if located in northern hemisphere. Nonetheless, other directions may also be suitable for overall energy harvesting, such as the east and/or west directions.

[049] At least certain TSC embodiments within the SHU embodiment may be designed to work in combination with other solar irradiance collectors such as, but not limited to, transpired collectors, vacuum tube collector, a flat plate collector, a parabolic trough type solar thermal collector such as the Winston trough collector (or the like).

[050] Certain SHU embodiments may be arranged with North-South tracking for improved / optimal performance.

[051] PV panels incorporated within shelves of a SHU, in a non-binding example, may be based on organic or inorganic materials such as: monocrystalline/polycrystalline/amorphous silicon type materials, Gallium arsenide, perovskite (or the like).

[052] In at least certain embodiments, at least one of the inner and/or outer wall(s) of a SHU may be movable after deployment of the SHU in a working condition– so that an interior-space/cavity of the SHU can be accessible for maintenance. Preferably, an inner wall of a SHU can be removed/moved after deployment in a working condition - so that the interior of the SHU can be accessible e.g. from within a building upon which the SHU is fitted.

[053] While‘dual’ energy harvesting embodiments of heat and electricity have been discussed,‘single’ energy harvesting embodiments or embodiments where ‘single’ energy harvesting may be active at least during some instances, may also be applicable.

[054] For example, a solar energy harvesting utility (SHU) of a ‘dual’ harvesting functionality may at times be arranged to preferably harvest substantially one of the energies of heat or electricity, such as maximum available electricity and residual heat, or maximum available heat and residual electricity, or any other combination between heat and electricity. This may be accomplished in one non-binding example by rotating the shelves and consequently their filtering members AOI (angle of incidence) to face direction of solar radiation or by rotating the shelves to be in parallel to sun angle of inclination and by that permit solar radiation to reach TCS directly with substantially full solar spectra. Any other tilt angle of shelves that will allow different combination may also be applicable.

[055] Harvesting substantially of only a preferable energy of heat or electricity may be activated upon client building needs and requirements.

[056] In other examples, a SHU embodiment may be arranged to be substantially devoid of elements blocking portions of incoming solar radiation from reaching an interior of a building fitted with the SHU. Such elements blocking light may e.g. include the thermal solar collector (TSC) 18 located at a rear part of the SHU and possibly adjacent a window of a building. Thus, to increase incoming natural light into an interior of a building, such SHU may be arranged e.g. with a TSC that may permit at least some wave lengths to pass therethrough– consequently reducing such TSC’s thermal efficiency.

[057] In addition, or alternatively, increase in incoming natural light may be by reducing the TSC’s internal foot print and abstraction by e.g. increasing spacing’s between elements (such as between pipes e.g. in a VTC formation) which consequently may result in reduction in heat harvesting ability of the TSC and consequently of such SHU. Such increase of incoming natural light may be

provided in a TSC of e.g. a transpired collector (TC) type - by e.g. making such TC from materials that are more transparent to incoming light.

[058] In addition to the exemplary aspects and embodiments described above, further aspects and embodiments will become apparent by reference to the figures and by study of the following detailed descriptions.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

[059] Exemplary embodiments are illustrated in referenced figures. It is intended that the embodiments and figures disclosed herein are to be considered illustrative, rather than restrictive. The invention, however, both as to organization and method of operation, together with objects, features, and advantages thereof, may best be understood by reference to the following detailed description when read with the accompanying figures, in which:

[060] Figs. 1A and 1B schematically show, in Fig. 1A a building with embodiments of solar harvesting utilities (SHU’s) incorporated into its structure during construction; and in Fig. 1B a building retrofitted with embodiments of solar harvesting utilities (SHU’s);

[061] Figs. 2A and 2B schematically show a perspective front view and a side views, respectively, of an embodiment of a solar harvesting utility (SHU) of the invention;

[062] Fig. 3 schematically shows a perspective rear view of an embodiment of a solar harvesting utility (SHU) of the invention with a rear wall of the SHU in an open state;

[063] Figs. 4A, 4B and 4C schematically show perspective top and bottom views and an exploded view, respectively, of an embodiment of a shelf suitable for use in various SHU embodiments;

[064] Figs. 5A and 5B show schematic cross sectional side views of a SHU embodiment illustrating interaction of rays of solar radiation with two embodiments of a solar harvesting utility of the invention;

[065] Fig. 6 shows a block diagram exemplifying a system in accordance with an aspect of the present invention;

[066] Figs. 7A and 7B schematically show front view of various solar harvesting utility (SHU) embodiments;

[067] Fig. 8 schematically shows an embodiment of several solar harvesting utility (SHU) modules mounted together to form an embodiment of a glazed wall or screen;

[068] Figs. 9A and 9B schematically shows upper and lower portions of an embodiment of several solar harvesting utility (SHU) modules mounted together to form an embodiment of a glazed wall or screen, and

[069] Figs. 10A to 10C and 11 schematically show a test conducted using three test modules to examine efficiency of a SHU according to an embodiment of the present invention,

[070] It will be appreciated that for simplicity and clarity of illustration, elements shown in the figures have not necessarily been drawn to scale. For example, the dimensions of some of the elements may be exaggerated relative to other elements for clarity. Further, where considered appropriate, reference numerals may be repeated within the figures to indicate like elements.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[071] Attention is first drawn to Figs. 1A and 1B illustrating a building 10 with embodiments of solar harvesting utilities (SHU’s) 12 according to the present invention.

[072] SHU’s of at least certain embodiments of the invention may be incorporated into a building during its construction as possibly illustrated in Fig. 1A and/or may be used to retrofit an already existing building as seen in the illustration of Fig. 1B. SHU’s of various embodiments of the invention may preferably be fitted to a side, here a façade of a building, that is generally exposed to solar radiation, e.g. a generally south facing façade in a building located in the northern hemisphere. SHU modules fitted to such a façade and/or outer side of a building may be considered as forming a system and/or array of modular segments (see, e.g., also Fig. 8). Such system and/or array may be formed from SHU modules being arranged one immediately adjacent the other to form a substantial continuous formation as illustrated, and/or at least some of the SHU modules may be arranged spaced apart one from the other (not shown).

[073] In the example illustrated in Figs. 1A and 1B, the SHU's are illustrated arranged along two facades of a building, covering and overlaying here possible openings 13 in form of windows in the facades of the building. In certain embodiments, such windows 13 may not be required as independent components that are overlaid, but rather the SHU’s themselves may function, inter alia, as screen, façade and/or windows of the building as seen in the example of Fig. 1A. The SHU’s are here also illustrated as generally transparent units permitting an at least partial non-obstructed view out of the building. Fig. 1B illustrates SHU embodiments being fitted to a building to retrofit the building for solar harvesting utilities and possibly overlaying already existing openings such as windows 13 of the building.

[074] It is noted that while embodiments of the solar harvesting utilities (SHU’s) have been here illustrated as being fitted to an outer side or façade of a building, in certain embodiments, such SHU embodiments as described herein may equally be placed in other arrangements in relation to a building. For example, at least certain SHU embodiments may be fitted to extend out of a building in a wing-like formation and/or in fence-like formations adjacent a building (e.g. on a ground face surrounding the building), or the like.

[075] In an aspect of the present invention, an embodiment of a harvesting system of the invention may be formed by SHU embodiments fitted in a modular arrangement/configuration one substantially adjacent the other along an outer face of a building, as e.g. illustrated in Fig. 1A or 8. Such placement of adjacent SHU modules may form a so-called glazed wall/screen generally facing a direction of

expected incoming solar radiation, such as facing (when in the northern hemisphere) generally south and/or generally east or west (acc. to architectural/designer considerations).

[076] In such system, the harvesting modules (SHU’s) may be arranged to interface one with the other such that air and/or liquid passages in adjacent neighboring modules may be combined/linked to form continuous flow paths through and/or along at least portions of the system. Such air and/or liquid within the flow paths, in at least certain harvesting system embodiments may be urged to flow. In certain cases, the urging of flow may be via means such as a blower/pump located in a certain area in or in association with the system, such as at or adjacent a roof of a building and/or in between floor sections of a building (see, e.g., Figs.9).

[077] With attention additionally drawn to Fig. 2A and 2B, an embodiment of a solar harvesting utility (SHU) 12 can be seen, respectively, in a perspective front view and a cross sectional side view. An outer housing of SHU 12 is here seen including outer front and inner rear walls 161, 162 defining in part an interior space/cavity of the SHU and a plurality of vertically stacked shelves 14 located one above the other and spaced apart one from the other within the cavity.

[078] SHU 12 here further includes a thermal solar collector (TSC) 18 located in-between rear wall 162 and the shelves 14, so that each shelf may be defined as extending along a respective shelf axis S in a forward direction from TSC 18 towards front wall 161, where all axes S may be generally parallel to each other.

[079] In certain embodiments (not shown) one of the utilities, for example that harvesting heat, may be located outside of the SHU module in communication with the module. For example, a thermal solar collector (TSC) e.g. in a VTC formation may be located physically outside of the SHU's housing/boundary, such as within a building to which the SHU is fitted e.g. in a wall or a ceiling of such building.

[080] Each shelf may be adapted to rotate about a pivot 17 defining an axis of rotation P extending generally parallel to the inner and/or outer walls. The pivots 17 in a side view (as in Fig. 2B) may be seen arranged one above the other along an

axis/plane X extending generally parallel to the inner and/or outer walls. Imaginary mid-points 71 (here two being indicated) are defined being located mid-way between adjacent shelfs along axis/plane X, and a spacing‘C’ defined between each pair of adjacent mid-points 71 is also equal to a spacing between the pivots 17 of adjacent shelves. In addition, as seen in Fig. 2B, each shelf is defined having an extension‘L’ along its axis S.

[081] In an embodiment of the present invention, spacing‘C’ and extension‘L’ may be arranged to satisfy a relation of‘L’ being equal to or smaller than‘C’ - so that the shelves may be rotated to substantially extend each along axis X, while the filtering members of the shelves face towards the outer wall and out of the SHU. When‘L’ is substantially equal to‘C’, the shelves when pivoted to generally extend along axis X, form a generally continuous and non-interrupted wall/barrier.

[082] In any case, such arrangement of the shelves when pivoted to extend generally along axis X– form a so-called barrier substantially blocking solar energy from entering the SHU’s cavity to be harvested as heat, while wave-length spectra penetrating into the shelves through the filtering members may be harvested at the EH layer of each shelf as electrical energy.

[083] Attention is drawn to Fig. 3 illustrating a perspective rear view of an embodiment of a solar harvesting utility (SHU) 12 exemplifying an option of opening of the SHU here by pivoting the rear wall 162– in order to form an opening for possible accessible for maintenance of the SHU. In this example, the thermal energy solar (TSC) 18 of the SHU is seen optionally fitted for movement together with rear wall 162. The solar harvesting utility (SHU) 12 may additionally include in the illustrated example an adjustment mechanism 19 for adjusting an angle of tilt of all the shelves so that inclination of each shelf along its axial extension towards the front wall may be adjusted/altered, by urging the shelves to pivot about their pivots 17. It is noted that various mechanisms having other constructions to illustrated mechanism 19 may be used for urging such tilt.

[084] The solar harvesting utility (SHU) embodiment seen in Fig. 3 includes a thermal solar collector (TSC) of a vacuum tube collector (VTC) type. Therefore, this SHU embodiment may be configured to include, inter alia, a manifold arrangement 29 for communicating fluid(s) flowing within the TSC/VTC and additional fluids possibly flowing within the SHU, such as from heat absorbers located within shelves of the SHU module. In addition, manifold arrangement 29 may also provide fluid collection /integration between adjacent SHU modules.

[085] In the example seen in Fig. 3, three exemplary manifolds 291, 292, 293 of manifold arrangement 29 are illustrated. Manifold 291 in this example communicates with the heat-pipes of TSC 18 and is arranged to provide a fluid path for liquid flowing passed the heat-pipes and heated by the heat-pipes. Manifold 292 located at the near side of Fig. 3 may be arranged to receive the heated liquid from manifold 291 and communicate this heated liquid onwards downstream possibly together with heated liquid arriving from adjacent SHU’s.

[086] Such downstream collection of fluids may be via an exit 11 of the SHU that communicates fluid towards a SHU (not shown) that is located above the illustrated SHU to form a cascade-like fluid path through adjacent SHU modules. With attention additionally drawn to Fig. 8, a possible formation of several SHU module embodiments 12 placed adjacent each other to form an embodiment of a harvesting screen 120 can be seen. The modules 12 within screen 120 may be arranged in fluid communication with each other, e.g. to provide downstream flow of fluids such as harvested heated liquids. Collection of fluids within screen 120 may also be of e.g. air flowing through the modules, including incoming passages/entries for fresh air into nodules of the screen.

[087] With attention yet further drawn to Figs. 9A and 9B, an embodiment of a harvesting screen wall 1200 generally similar to that in Fig. 8 is illustrated. Screen wall 1200 in this example is shown including possible ingress and egress portions 2000, 3000 at possible relative lower and upper sides of the screen wall, respectively. Ingress portion 2000 may include possible openings 2001 for

ventilating air into the SHU modules of the screen wall and an incoming conduit 2002 for providing modules within the screen wall with incoming relative cool liquid flow. An inlet 2003 may also be present for returning air circulating within the dwelling through the screen wall. Egress portion 3000 may be arranged to include outlets 3001 for heated air harvested within the screen wall to be drawn out, possibly by blowers or the like. Egress portion 3000 may further include an outgoing conduit 3002 for drawing heated liquid harvested within modules of the screen wall, out of it.

[088] Ingress portion 2000 may be arranged to be located at a relative lower side of the screen, possible adjacent a ground floor of a building fitted with the screen wall or adjacent a lobby area of the building (or the like). Egress portion 3000 may be arranged to be located at a relative upper side of the screen wall, possible adjacent a roof of a building fitted with the screen wall or adjacent a ceiling of a floor within the building. Liquid exiting via outgoing conduit 3002 may be used downstream for internal heating of a dwelling and/or may be communicated to heat storage e.g. at locations above and/or below the dwelling, in order to support HVAC utilities of the dwelling.

[089] With attention drawn back to Fig. 3, manifold 292 as illustrated may also be arranged to receive heated liquid from additional sources, such as heated liquid from heat absorbers within shelves of the SHU, such as the HAB’s 28 discussed herein. Manifold arrangement 29 may also include additional manifolds, such as a manifold 293 possibly here located at the far side of the figure and arranged to introduce relative cool liquid into manifold 291 and the shelves, which is then heated accordingly by the heat-pipes and HABs respectively, as discussed. Harvested heat in form of heated liquid collected by manifolds such as those in manifold arrangement 29, may be communicated downstream for possible further use e.g. in heating and/or other applications e.g. in a building associated with the above discussed SHU embodiment.

[090] Attention is drawn to Figs.4A to 4C illustrating an embodiment of a shelf 14 possible used in at least certain SHU embodiments of the invention. Layers within a shelf may be arranged in the following exemplary order from top to bottom, where top refers to a general upward direction away from a ground face and bottom generally towards the ground face.

[091] In one formation, an upper most top layer may take form of a filtering member 20 possibly serving as an irradiance spectrum splitter. Filter member 20 may be arranged in various embodiments as a color filter for selectively passing light of a small range of colors while reflecting other colors.

[092] In one non-binding example, filtering member 20 may be chosen to be a dichroic beam splitter. In certain cases, such dichroic beam splitter filtering member 20 may be deposited as a coating on a substrate such as glass (e.g. the Borofloat tradename glass of SCHOTT North America, Inc) or foil (e.g. a thin multi-layer polymer foil) (or the like). In certain cases, such dichroic beam splitter filtering member 20 may be deposited as a coating directly onto an electrical harvesting (EH) layer 22 (e.g. PV’s) located beneath it in a shelf. In at least certain embodiments, a spectral response of such a possible dichroic beam splitter may be adjusted (in a limited manner) according to design considerations such as preference of power outputs - electric Vs thermal and/or different climate zones.

[093] Beneath may be arranged an electrical harvesting (EH) layer 22 including in certain embodiments solar cells such as those of SunPower Corporation (or the like). Beneath layer 22 may be located a structural member 24 having a reflecting member 26 at a lower and downward facing side. Reflecting member 26 may be made of any front surface reflecting foil.

[094] The structural member may be formed from thermal conductive material such as aluminum and may include or support a heat absorber (HAB) 28 above the reflecting member and adjacent the electrical harvesting (EH) layer. Such heat absorber (HAB) in one example may be in form of fluid/liquid pipes for transferring heat away from the electrical harvesting (EH) layer. In some cases, the heat

absorber (HAB) may take form of a heat-pipe combining principles of both thermal conductivity and phase transition to efficiently transfer heat away from the EH layer. In certain cases, an enclosure 281 within a shelf, such as that suitable for housing an HAB 28 (see indicated in Fig. 4C) - may remain substantially empty (e.g. not include a piping type HAB 28 therein) in order to form a passage for promoting free convection by air present in this space for transferring heat away from the electrical harvesting (EH) layer.

[095] In Fig. 4B and 4C - reflecting member 26 is shown not extending along the full lower extension of the shelf for illustrative purposes to reveal the heat absorber (HAB) 28, which would otherwise be concealed from beneath.

[096] In certain embodiments, the electrical harvesting (EH) layer 22 in a photovoltaic (PV) layer formation, at possible p-n junctions within the layer may be cooled by heat transfer via thermal conductive material of the structural member 24 to the HAB 28 of the shelf. Such thermal conductive material may comprise the material of the structural member (e.g. aluminum material) and possible thermal conductive gap filler pads (e.g. TCGF pad) located in between the EH layer and the HAB. Removal of heat away from the PV layers may assist in increasing thermal and electrical efficiency of the PV layers. It is noted that the heat absorbers (HAB’s) located in the shelves may be optional in certain embodiments.

[097] The reflecting member 26 at the lower side of structural member 24 may take form of a mirror-like or specular reflection member arranged to reflect light so that the reflected light preserves many or most of the characteristics of the original light.

[098] In certain embodiments, at least some of the Solar radiation entering a solar harvesting utility (SHU) - may directly reach the thermal solar collector (TSC) e.g. without being first reflected off any surfaces on the way such as filtering member(s) and/or reflecting member(s) within the SHU. In such case the TSC may be more efficient in heat producing due to its exposure to the full sun spectral radiation. In addition or alternatively, at least some of the light entering a solar harvesting utility (SHU)– may directly hit/meet reflecting member(s) and from there be reflected onwards, possibly directly, towards the thermal solar collector (TSC).

[099] Attention is drawn to Fig. 5A illustrating interaction of rays of solar radiation with an embodiment of a solar harvesting utility (SHU) 12 of the invention. Here only two exemplary adjacent shelves 141, 142 of the SHU are illustrated, with an upper shelf 141 being stacked above a lower shelf 142.

[0100] The two exemplary rays of solar radiation illustrated in this figure– represent upper-most and lower-most rays of direct sun radiation 101, 102 that in the illustrated SHU configuration and solar altitude and/or trajectory of the sun 1 can enter the SHU between these two shelves and reach the lower shelf 142.

[0101] Ray 101 along its dashed-lined path enters the SHU via the front wall 161 until at least part of this ray is reflected off a relative rear part of the lower shelf 142 by the filtering member 20 of this shelf. Thus, while ray 101 along the dashed-line represents a relative full spectrum of electromagnetic radiation, along the dotted-line it represents a partial spectrum of e.g. substantially IR + UV wave lengths that are reflected off the lower shelf 142 by the filtering member 20.

[0102] Parts of the electromagnetic radiation of ray 101 that enter the lower shelf 142 are harvested by the PV layer in this shelf for production of electrical energy and by the heat absorber (HAB) 28 for heat. The dotted-lined part of ray 101 reflected off lower shelf 142 can be harvested for heat by the thermal solar collector (TSC) 18.

[0103] Ray 102 along its dashed-lined path enters the SHU via the front wall 161 until at least part of this ray is reflected off a relative forward part of the lower shelf 142 by the filtering member 20 located on this shelf. Thus, while ray 102 along the dashed-line represents a relative full spectrum of electromagnetic radiation, along the dotted-line it represents a partial spectrum that are reflected off the lower shelf 142 by the filtering member 20.

[0104] Parts of the electromagnetic radiation of ray 102 that enters the lower shelf 142 are similarly harvested by the PV layer for production of electrical energy and by the heat absorber (HAB) 28 for heat. The dotted-lined part of ray 102 reflected off lower shelf 142 extends upwards until meeting reflecting member 26 located on the lower side of shelf 141, which reflects ray 102 back down towards the thermal solar collector (TSC) 18 where most of this energy is absorbed and harvested for heat.

[0105] In Figs. 5A and 5B are illustrated also diffused rays of radiation 55 randomly entering at various incoming angles into the SHU(s), to be harvested for electrical and heat energy in a similar manner to rays 101, 102.

[0106] Fig. 5B illustrates a SHU embodiment generally similar to that in Fig. 5A, however here fitted to include a thermal solar collector (TSC) 118 of a transpired collector (TC) type, which is arranged to heat air flowing therethrough. The transpired collector (TC) 118 is here illustrated in form of an aperture partition possibly formed from blackened, perforated aluminum sheet. TC 118 may be spaced from a rear wall 162 of the SHU and air (see dashed arrows 88) within the cavity of the SHU may be arranged to be sucked via TC 118 towards the spacing formed between TC 118 and rear wall 162. The SHU embodiment of Fig. 5B may include ventilation entries for inputting fresh air into each module or at least certain modules. In certain embodiments, a lower most SHU module may receive air from a lower part of a building upon which it is fitted, such as from a lobby of a building (or the like).

[0107] The spacing between partition TC 118 and rear wall 162 may act as a passageway for communicating air heated, in this example upwards, by means of bellows or the like (not shown). This heated air may be used for HVAC purposes (e.g. for heating and/or air conditioning a building or the like) and/or for incoming fresh air de-humidifying, ventilation and/or air circulation purposes. In certain embodiments, the TC’s partition may be made from at least partial transparent

material for permitting solar radiation to pass e.g. entering a building fitted with such SHU.

[0108] Attention is drawn to Fig. 6 illustrating an aspect of the present invention, embodied by a system 500 for controlling tuning, optimizing and/or determining harvesting. Such control exemplified in system 500 may be of various harvesting utility types, such as also those of the solar harvesting utility (SHU) embodiments discussed herein. Nevertheless, principles going along with system 500 may be applied also to harvesting utilities other than the embodiments discussed herein.

[0109] System 500 includes two main“harvesting” utility blocks, one for harvesting“heat” 501 and the other for harvesting“electricity” 502. These harvesting utilities may be arranged to function in parallel to each other possibly with mutual links and/or affinities therebetween.

[0110] Each harvesting utility may be tuned and/or controlled for its respective outputted contribution to a“client” 503 such as a building. Optional control of such outputted contribution, in one non-binding example may be embodied by e.g. altering angular orientation of shelves within a SHU in order to increase or decrease harvesting of electricity and/or heat.

[0111] Such management and control of balance between harvesting of energies of heat and electricity, may be executed by linking a controller (or controllers) of an energy harvesting utility (or utilities), via communication channels (and the like) with a controller (or controllers) of utilities consuming/receiving the harvested energy, such as building(s), smart grid system(s) (or the like).

[0112] The amount of heat and/or electricity being harvested may be affected/tuned/controlled/determined by a controller 504 of or in association with system 500– in some cases by an algorithm executed by such controller. Input parameters affecting harvesting within system 500 may include: energy demand in e.g. a client fitted or feeding-off the harvesting utilities 501, 502, and/or other considerations/criteria, such as regulatory aspects, dynamic incentives, peripheral demands of e.g. additional infrastructures feeding off the harvested energy (or the like), weather information and predictions, weather statistics, real time solar radiation parameters and characterization (and the like). Such inputted parameters may be communicated to the controller for affecting harvesting parameters. This is exemplified in Fig.6 by the‘dotted arrowed’ line leading back from the client to the controller.

[0113] The controller may in addition or alternatively receive other inputs, such as from sensors measuring actual harvesting within the SHU(s) to determine changes/control to harvesting parameters, as exemplified by the‘dashed arrowed’ line in Fig. 6. Additional parameters that may be accessible to such control of the system may include accumulated use of energy in form of heat and/or electricity at the building, that may affect increase or decrease in harvesting e.g. in order to fill or lower additional energy within a storage 504, respectively.

[0114] In some cases, financial criteria, such as incentives and/or on-line cost of energy vs. cost of harvesting - may be taken into consideration by means of such algorithm in controlling and/or tuning harvesting parameters. A controller of the system may interface with a smart grid for determining harvesting parameters and/or management of energy. A controller of such system may activate motors, electromagnets, switches and/or valves for controlling communication of harvested electrical and/or heat energy, respectively, within system 500.

[0115] Controller 504 may be utilized for receiving from harvesting utilities optimal outputted energy, such as maximal heat energy and residual electricity or; or maximal electrical energy and residual heat and other combinations. Such optimal outputted energies received by controller 504 may associated to "available" outputted energies where such "availability" may relate to respective energy outputs that can be created/harvested in view of considerations such as "available" solar radiation, weather (etc.)

[0116] A controller may fuse said sensed data and information and capability to control harvested energy as explained earlier in order to optimize total system

performance as well as allowing visibility and understanding of building compliance with ZEB requirements.

[0117] In an aspect of the present invention, harvesting solar radiation in form of electricity and/or heat may be regulated by controlling any one of the following: angular orientation / tilt of one or more shelves of a given SHU module possibly independent of other shelves in the given module; angular orientation / tilt of all shelves of a SHU module so that possibly all shelves are tilted in a generally similar angle; and/or angular orientation / tilt of all shelves of several SHU modules so that all shelves of such an array of SHU modules possibly have generally similar angles of tile.

[0118] Such regulation of harvesting of solar radiation in form of electricity and/or heat may be controlled by tracking the location of the sun in order to maximize solar radiation entering a SHU module to be harvested therein. In certain cases, one or more SHU modules within an array of modules may be tuned for optimal harvesting of electricity while one or more other SHU modules within the array may be tuned for optimal harvesting of heat.

[0119] In certain embodiments, one or more SHU modules or an array of such modules may be configured to interface with an exterior main-controller e.g. of an infrastructure such as a building where such module(s) / array are fitted and/or designed to provide their harvested energies. Such exterior main-controller may be of, or associated with, a system/device handling harvesting e.g. of such infrastructure, possibly configured to collect harvesting details and/or perform computations relating to harvesting, such as optimizations (or the like).

[0120] Such interface may be embodied by provision of data interfaces for communicating to the main-controller sensed data/information (possibly from sensors located within SHU modules) such as: hydraulic details (e.g. pressures and flow rates), thermal details (e.g. temperature and heat rates), electrical details (e.g. of electrical current and voltage), angular orientation / tilt of shelves within the modules(s) / array (and the like).

[0121] By possibly combining such details at the main-controller together with client demands also communicated to the main-controller (such as requested / preferable harvesting parameters)– suitable control of SHU modules may be attempted in order to meet the client's energy preferences/needs.

[0122] Attention is drawn to Fig. 7A and 7B illustrating various SHU module embodiments, where each SHU module is arranged to include groups of shelves that can be tilted independently from other groups within the same module. In Fig. 7A, each SHU module is shown including three groups, where each group includes a few (here six) adjacent shelves. A first one of the groups of shelves is marked by ‘continuous-lines’, a second one by‘dotted-lines’ and a third by‘dashed-lines’. In Fig.7B, the groups of shelves are seen chosen not necessarily adjacent each other.

[0123] Provision of such groups of shelves within a SHU module may be utilized to create sub-divisions within a SHU module. Such sub-divisions may be useful in introducing a so-called flexibility into a SHU module by permitting regions within a module to be tuned for specific harvesting. For example, certain groups within a module may be tilted to increase/decrease harvesting of electricity and/or heat.

[0124] Attention is drawn to Figs. 10A to 10C schematically illustrating a comparison test performed to assess harvesting efficiency of different elements of a SHU according to various embodiments of the present invention, such as that shown in Figs.2A and 2B. The test was conducted in order to examine efficiency of a SHU according to an embodiment of the present invention, by comparing the energy (electric and thermal) harvested/produced in three test modules having an equal frontal sized transparent vertical aperture of 850x450mm.

[0125] Fig. 10A shows a cross sectional view of a solar harvesting utility (SHU) 12 according to various embodiments of the present invention that includes an outer housing enclosing two active shelves 14 and one upper most shelf not effective in this case for harvesting solar radiation since it is substantially not exposed to incoming radiation. The SHU also includes a thermal solar collector (TSC) 18. The SHU at its front side includes a front glass wall 161 through which incoming solar radiation arrives. Fig. 10B illustrates a similar sized housing as in Fig. 10A, however here including electrical harvesting (EH) layer 22 with PV cells similar to those in the shelves of the SHU of Fig. 10A. The PV cells of the EH layers are placed upright on an inner side of the glass wall 161 thereby facing incoming solar radiation. This module doesn’t have a thermal solar collector (TSC) 18. And Fig. 10C illustrates a similar sized housing as in Figs. 10A and 10B, here enclosing a thermal solar collector (TSC) 18 located adjacent an inner side of the glass wall 161 to face incoming solar radiation.

[0126] The test was conducted during the month of November with clear sky conditions and with the three modules (of Figs. 10) being placed facing south in the Aravah region in Israel (a geographical area south of the Dead Sea basin). The test was conducted while sun elevation angle was at 11:30 (max.) at about 40.45 degrees, and with respect to the module of Fig. 10A the shelves where inclined at about 20 degrees upward to the horizon. The measurements that were taken showed (see, e.g. graph of Fig. 11) that the module of Fig. 10A (the one according to an embodiment of the present invention) produced significantly more power than the other two modules combined, while all tested modules were designed to have a similar sized front aperture (i.e. a same sized glass wall 161).

[0127] At least certain solar harvesting utilities (SHU’s) described herein such as those shown in Figs. 2 and 3 can be accommodated/adapted into a Double-Skin Façade (DSF) construction (building envelop), as wall mounted together with modules. Such an arrangement may be generally shown in Fig. 8 and 9. In certain cases, each one of the modules may possibly be, as an example, with dimensions (not limited to) of more than 3m height by 2m width.

[0128] The sidewalls (East/West sides) of a module construction frame may block part of the sun irradiance at before-noon and after-noon times, which may affect the irradiance way by casting shadows on the SHU panels (shelves). In some cases, partial shading may affect and reduce the generation of electric power from the PV and thermal energy from the thermal collector, mostly, but not only, at morning and evening hours.

[0129] Different methods/solutions can be applied in the PV system design to reduce such shading losses. These may include one or more of the following, in regard to electric power outputs: a) the use of one row PV cells, with the size that cover the width/depth of a shelf (e.g 155X155mm or so), b) different stringing arrangements that electrically connect group of shelves (one above the others) in series or in parallel, c) different combination of PV cell dimensions and different appropriate stringing arrangements, in each one of the shelves or in group connected shelves, d) utilizing bypass diodes devices when needed, e) use of module level power electronics (MLPEs) as DC optimizers and/or microinverters.

[0130] As mentioned above, thermal energy outputs may be also affected by the module sidewall shadow, casted on the module shelves. In addition to this, the filtering member located above the electrical harvesting (EH) layer, reflects the long wave irradiance (IR) toward the heat absorber, but because of the side-rays trajectory, part of it hits the opposite side wall (West side for before-noon rays and vice versa), without instantaneous reaching the heat absorber. To reduce these effects and maximize thermal power outputs as well, the interior of these sidewalls of the module frame may be covered by: a) reflecting mirror, designed/adjusted to reflect most of the rays toward the heat absorber or, b) size-adjusted heat collector, which is part of the main heat absorber or connected to it.

[0131] In the description and claims of the present application, each of the verbs, “comprise”“include” and“have”, and conjugates thereof, are used to indicate that the object or objects of the verb are not necessarily a complete listing of members, components, elements or parts of the subject or subjects of the verb.

[0132] Furthermore, while the present application or technology has been illustrated and described in detail in the drawings and foregoing description, such illustration and description are to be considered illustrative or exemplary and non-restrictive; the technology is thus not limited to the disclosed embodiments.

Variations to the disclosed embodiments can be understood and effected by those skilled in the art and practicing the claimed technology, from a study of the drawings, the technology, and the appended claims.

[0133] In the claims, the word“comprising” does not exclude other elements or steps, and the indefinite article“a” or“an” does not exclude a plurality. A single processor or other unit may fulfill the functions of several items recited in the claims. The mere fact that certain measures are recited in mutually different dependent claims does not indicate that a combination of these measures cannot be used to advantage.

[0134] The present technology is also understood to encompass the exact terms, features, numerical values or ranges etc., if in here such terms, features, numerical values or ranges etc. are referred to in connection with terms such as“about, ca., substantially, generally, at least” etc. In other words,“about 3” shall also comprise “3” or“substantially perpendicular” shall also comprise“perpendicular”. Any reference signs in the claims should not be considered as limiting the scope.

[0135] Although the present embodiments have been described to a certain degree of particularity, it should be understood that various alterations and modifications could be made without departing from the scope of the invention as hereinafter claimed.