Solar Collector Types


1. Air-Based Solar Collectors:

  • Transpired Solar Collectors:
    • Description: Dark perforated absorbers capture solar energy. A fan draws air through small holes in the collector, and the heated air is then distributed through the building.
    • Application: Used for space heating and ventilation in buildings.
  • Non-Transpired Solar Collectors:
    • Description: Similar to transpired collectors but the air is collected in a cavity between the solar collector and the building wall before distribution.
    • Application: Provides improved air quality at a low cost in building ventilation systems.
  • Aluminum Louvers:
    • Description: Aluminum louvers, acting as shading devices, can also function as solar thermal collectors.
    • Application: Used for both shading and capturing solar thermal energy.

2. Water-Based Solar Collectors:

  • Description: These collectors absorb solar radiation using a heat transfer liquid. The collected energy is transferred to a water heater system through a heat exchanger.
  • Application: Commonly used for domestic hot water systems and space heating.

3. Non-Concentrating Solar Collectors:

  • Solar Ponds:
    • Description: Solar radiation is absorbed and trapped at the bottom of the pond. Density differences in saltwater create a temperature inversion, allowing for heat storage.
    • Application: Used for thermal energy storage and can provide continuous heat for various applications.
  • Flat Plate Collectors:
    • Description: Flat, shallow absorbers are exposed to sunlight, and a fluid (usually water or an antifreeze solution) is circulated to collect heat.
    • Application: Commonly used for residential and commercial water heating and space heating.
  • Evacuated Tube Collectors:
    • Description: Consist of parallel rows of transparent glass tubes containing absorber tubes. A vacuum between the tubes minimizes heat loss.
    • Application: Efficient for residential and commercial water heating.

4. Concentrating Solar Collectors:

  • Trough Collectors:
    • Description: Parabolic trough-shaped mirrors concentrate sunlight onto a receiver tube, heating a heat transfer fluid.
    • Application: Often used in solar thermal power plants to generate electricity.
  • Dish Collectors:
    • Description: Concentrated mirrors or lenses focus sunlight onto a small receiver, typically located at the focal point of the dish.
    • Application: Used for electricity generation in concentrated solar power systems.
  • Power Tower Collectors:
    • Description: An array of mirrors or heliostats focus sunlight onto a central receiver at the top of a tower.
    • Application: Commonly used in large-scale solar power plants for electricity generation.

Each type of solar collector is designed to capture and utilize solar energy in different ways, catering to various applications and energy needs. The choice of collector type depends on factors such as the intended use, available space, climate conditions, and cost considerations.