A novel hybrid cooling strategy was proposed for the free-standing photovoltaic panel (PV), i.e. the design of a novel photovoltaic-thermal collector (PVT) was proposed. The hybrid cooling approach assumes both passive (PCM-Phase Change Material) and active (water) cooling approach with an incorporated smart regulation system. The design details of a novel hybrid cooling approach, i.e. novel PVT collector were elaborated in detail. Besides elaboration of the specific design approach, the experimental and numerical investigation was also carried out as a necessary step for further development of the ongoing experimental setup. Namely, the convective heat transfer coefficients were investigated by the experimental way in the wind tunnel for freestanding PV panel. The idea was also to investigate a general behaviour of the convective heat transfer profiles for various wind speeds (0 m/s to 6.7 m/s), relative wind angles (0 degrees to 45 degrees), and PV panel tilt angles (0 degrees to 35 degrees) since they strongly affect performance. The numerical analysis was conducted, and simulations were compared with experimental readings. An average deviation between the measurement and experimental data was determined to be around 12%, and which directs that the developed numerical model is reasonably accurate. Numerically, the best PV cooling effect was reached for 45 degrees wind angle while the worst was achieved for a wind angle of about 20 degrees. Furthermore, this phenomenon was confirmed by experimental data. The gained research outcomes in this work are important for the finalization of the experimental setup that would be enabled in the Mediterranean climate operating conditions. The proposed concept of a novel PVT collector could be suitable for building applications as an integral part of the building energy systems, i.e. for space heating or hot water preparation.