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Solar Thermal Collectors

Abstract Solar thermal collectors are used to heat up a fluid, generally water or a mixture of glycol and water depending of the configuration of the solar thermal system. They are adopted for many applications in both industrial and residential sectors. Many typologies exist in order to comply with heterogeneous needs. All have a common operating principle: to capture solar radiation, converting it to useful heat and transferring it to a working fluid. In this chapter the main solar thermal collector typologies are described giving also information about the application field, system configuration and performances.

Keywords Solar thermal collector typologies • Operating principles • Efficiency and energy performance

Typologies and Working Principle

Unglazed Collectors

Unglazed solar collectors are the simplest solar thermal collectors. It consists of an absorber with embedded channels where the fluid circulates. Insulation is not used. Generally, the absorber and the pipes are made in plastic materials. The working principle is very simple. Basically, solar radiation impacts on the absorber heating it up. Since the absorber is treated with special paints only a very small solar radiation portion is reflected back to the environment. The produced heat is then transferred to the fluid which circulates in the pipes. The efficiency is strongly affected by the external conditions, particularly by external air temperature and wind. Indeed, at low air temperatures, although the solar irradiance is strong, unglazed collectors are not available to heat up the fluid. Despite they are not able to increase the temperature of the fluid up to 50 °C (OECD/IEA 2013), unglazed collectors are widely used for pool heating applications (IEA SHC).

© The Author(s) 2017

F. Reda, Solar Assisted Ground Source Heat Pump Solutions, SpringerBriefs in Applied Sciences and Technology,

DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-49698-6_2

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