Solar collectors (SCs) and Photovoltaics (PVs) can intervene with tri-generation systems to form a poly-generation system. Many studies have accessed this intervention, however, these studies depended on the performance of these components as individual components not on a system basis. They haven’t dealt with the environmental and exergetic aspects of the whole system. Moreover, they haven’t dealt with optimal planning and scheduling of these systems. A methodology of real system level comparison is presented in contrary to component-level comparisons that are available in the open literature. This methodology depends on comparing an optimized Solar CCHP poly-generation system with side-by-side PVs and SCs, against an optimized CCHP (Combined heating, cooling and power) system. The comparison is under the constraints of maximizing a formulated combined efficiency that combines energy, economy, environment and exergy aspects. Results showed that the Solar-CCHP system has higher combined efficiency but with lower Net Present Value (NPV). Another novel contribution for determining the actual selling price of both sold CCHP-electricity and Solar electricity is presented. These results assured the importance of reducing the capital costs of solar energy systems to facilitate its deployment in future energy systems as they already prove their ability to increase overall combined efficiency of energy systems by decreasing the fuel used and emission produced.
Keywords Trigeneration, Photovoltaics, Solar Thermal collectors, CCHP, Solar-CCHP, Comparison, Optimization