The Differences Between Solar Thermal and Photovoltaic Systems

25/08/2022
thermal and photovoltaic systems

Many people in Cyprus tend to confuse the differences between solar thermal and photovoltaic systems. Although they might seem similar on the outside since they both rely on the sun’s rays and they produce energy, there is a huge difference between the two.  In this article, you can learn what are the major differences between the two and what purpose each system has to offer.

Both systems have a huge connection and similarity that seems to be the reason why so many people tend to confuse the two. Both systems have panels that are placed in various places where they can receive solar rays from the sun directly on their surface.

Solar Thermal Systems

The solar thermal system can be found in both domestic and power plants. They are the ones responsible for producing heat. The ones with the domestic purpose, are placed usually on the roof of the household and they basically generate hot water. These heat panels are comprised of tubes that hold inside a substance that combines the mixture of glycol and antifreeze. Once the panels absorb the sunlight and heat from the sun and the mixture is now hot, is transported to a copper coil which is responsible for warming up the water that is placed inside the water tank. There is also a pump that moves the liquid around so the water can stay warm.

Solar Thermal Systems have a very simplistic design and have low maintenance costs. They don’t take up too much space and they save a lot of money on energy bills. Many systems of thermal solar panels are possible to store generated energy so the system can maintain the heated water. On the other hand, if there isn’t enough sun available, especially during the winter days the solar panels cannot work effectively. But that isn’t necessarily a problem in Cyprus since even during the colder months, the sun is mostly available. Thermal solar panels can last up to twenty years, after that they might need replacing.

thermal solar panels
Solar Thermal Systems

Photovoltaic Solar System

Photovoltaic Solar systems also known as PV panels basically is responsible for producing electricity. In the past few years, it has become a very popular choice in Cypriot households since it makes clean renewable energy, is safer and better for the environment and the cost of electricity can be cut down by a very high percentage. They can be found in different rectangular sizes, and they basically look like black glass. When the sun rays contact the panels of the photovoltaics, the voltage of electricity is produced. The electricity travels to an inverter and is then redirected to the fuse box.  The photovoltaic system can either use this energy to generate electricity for the connected household or send the electricity back to the electric grid where you only pay the surplus of the electricity you sell back to the provider. Generally, in Cyprus, it is common that the system that is used is mostly connected to the national grid.

There are three types of photovoltaic panels. There are called monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin film solar cells. The main differences between the three are their price, level of efficiency and flexibility. Maintaining the photovoltaics is not difficult, they only need some cleaning occasionally and they can be checked by the service that provided them just to make sure that they are working properly. Their life expectancy can last up to fifty years. Of course, the cost of getting photovoltaic panels and inserting a system into a house is high and they take up quite a lot of space on the house roof.

photovoltaic solar panels
Photovoltaic Solar System

Thermal Solar and Photovoltaic Solar Systems can work individually on their own but can work together as well. This will benefit the owner since they can get rewarded from both systems at the same time. Make sure to learn more about the best Photovoltaic systems available in Cyprus and ask for more details on the installation service provided by Photovoltaic in Cyprus.