photovoltaic or solar thermal?

I've been designing a high tech, off grid, self sufficient home over the past few months as a hobby. So far it consists of an artificial island floating on recycled plastic bottles and other buoyant devices (see: Spiral island) with an average sized house made of recycled shipping containers and plywood with a greenhouse.

I basically want it to be a more high tech version of Spiral Island, but I have two questions.

1.) I'm trying to decide on whether or not I should use a Solar thermal generator or an array of Photovoltaic panels, but which has a better efficiency rate in terms of power and cost?

2.) Does anyone have any suggestions on plumbing? cause so far all I've thought of is a self composting toilet, but it would be really cool to have running water.

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jeff-o6 years ago
You could do a hybrid system. Use reflectors to shine more light onto the PV panels, to boost their efficiency (especially on cloudy days). PV panels don't like getting hot, so cool them with liquid cooling. Use the heat generated by the PV panels to heat your water.
tieguy (author)  jeff-o6 years ago
Do you mean like setting up a tubing system underneath the panels? and do you know of any common hybrid set ups?
jeff-o tieguy6 years ago
Yup, that's exactly it. I don't know of any examples of it, though...
2. If you want running drinking water, you'll need a rain collector(roof runoff could work) and a filter system. You could also use a Brita or PUR filter jug to clean small batches of water. 2. You could make a water distillery, which requires the evaporation and condensation of water to separate the water from the impurities. Both systems are relatively simple and easily accomplished.
Re-design6 years ago
2. All you need for running water is a small pump to fill a water tank on the roof. Then the pressure from the tank makes running water. The higher the tank is above the outlet the more running will be the water.