Darren Quick over at Gizmodo reports on an interesting combined photovoltaic panel (with tracking) and water-heating system. According to Quick, the systems will be made by Technique Solar, an Australian company spunoff from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.
Each trough (see diagram above) has a lens that concentrates the sunlight on a strip of photovoltaic material. The lens system allows the use of less PV material, and, thus, a projected lower cost.
The tracking solar module also has a built-in heat exchanger located beneath the troughs and PV strips.
Quick says the panel can produce 400 watts of electrical power and 1700 watts of heat power for a total of 2100 watts. He also deconstructs some of the hype around this technology. He says the claim that these units increase efficiency to 50% are based on the combined wattage, not just electrical output.