Solar Collector - The Best Way to Heat Naturally

Usage of Solar Energy has seen growth the world over. Solar Collectors on the other hand are also in prime focus apart from the solar panels. Do you know that a staggering 43% of the solar energy is utilized only for heating purposes!

You may be in a dilemma about the solar collector and a solar panel? Well let’s get this sorted. A Solar Thermal Collector is used primarily for heating purposes whereas a solar panel is used for generation of electricity.

The Beginning!

The basic idea for these collectors was developed by Swiss Scientist Horace de Saussure who is credited to build the world’s first solar collector way back in 1767.

Now you may think,”But how does the sunlight get converted into heat?” When you walk in the sun your head gets hot (Come on, take stroll to the local grocery store and try it yourself). The Black color has a property of absorbing almost all the light incident on it.

In case of a solar thermal collector, the black surface faces the light incidence side. This surface is placed inside a metallic casing with insulation on the hind side. A glass sheet is placed which allows the maximum sunlight to hit the black surface, keeps the energy stored and reduces the heat losses.

When sunlight is incident on the black surface of the solar thermal collector. It absorbs the majority of the sunlight. The energy from the sunlight causes vibrations in the molecules of the black surface and the energy is transferred by the free electrons. In this way the sunlight gets converted into heat.

How do modern day thermal collectors use this phenomenon for heating?

  • As you must have seen that the Surfaces of the solar thermal collectors are black in order to cause the heating effect. The darker and blacker the surface the more the heat produced in the collector.

  • Increase the surface area.
  • As you increase the surface area the better are the heating results.

  • By proper Insulation.
  • The modern day solar thermal collectors focus on reducing the heat losses via radiation. This is done by employing vacuum area, better insulation, glazed surfaces etc.

Once the heat is trapped by the solar thermal collector it is transferred to a working fluid (water or air) which flows through the collector pipes.

Solar Thermal Collectors: Various Types

  • Flat Plate Collector
  • These are the oldest and the most commonly used type of a collector. They are extensively used for solar water heating and also in solar space heating applications.

  • Evacuated Tube Collector

  • Evacuated Tube Collector
    Evacuated Tube Collector

    An evacuated tube collector is basically used for water heating purposes. It is also used in solar air conditioners. These are generally used in the areas where the ambient temperatures are low. They are capable of delivering water above temperatures 200 F.

    Now that you my friend have got some basic ideas about solar collectors in general & will surely find it very much useful when you decide to buy a water heating system for your home.

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