Solar power can provide two essential services to the average home: it will heat your water and create electricity for your home. Now for the most part these two applications—solar thermal and photovoltaic (PV) power, respectively—have remained independent of each other. You install a solar thermal system to heat your water and that’s it. If you want free electricity, you must install a solar PV system as well. Yet just one sun is creating all this energy. So wouldn’t you think we could combine PV and thermal to create one multi-tasking solar system? Yes you would. And yes we can. Back in October we discovered that a few solar companies were catching on to the idea. Now, just a few short months later, we get to see just how fast ideas evolve in the solar industry, with the following all-in-one solutions to our home (and away) energy needs. Photensity - Simultaneously a PV panel, thermal collector, and a skylight, Photensity is definitely something to look at. The SolarFlow System is the brainchild of Cool Energy, Inc. When solar thermal heat is not needed, the system converts that excess energy to electricity. Solvatten is literally “sun water.” Swedish innovators have developed a solar powered water-purifying device that is already aiding the developing world. It simply collects solar heat to purify water and can be scaled for personal to commercial use.