A numerical model was developed in the TRNSYS environment (a transient simulation software) for Tri-Sol, a novel three-in-one solar energy system that produces electricity, hot water, and daylight for commercial buildings, to simulate its annual performance in terms of the three useful energy streams. Even though this model was developed for Tri-Sol, it can also be used for calculating the annual performance of similar concentrating PV/thermal (PV/T) and daylighting systems for various geographical locations. The model simultaneously calculates the codependent electrical and thermal performances, and calculates the useful daylight harvested by the building. The model is versatile and flexible in that any configuration of the modeled system can be properly designed using by changing parameters and inputs inside of TRNSYS.
This model was used to predict the annual performance a single Tri-Sol PV/T module and a single Tri-Sol unit with five such modules as a function of its tilt and geographical location. Then, this model was used to compute the monthly performance of a Tri-Sol array for a 10,000 ft.2 building for varying geographical locations at a fixed tilt angle. These results show the utility and the power of the model for designing combined PV/T-daylighting solar technologies such as Tri-Sol.