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The recent increased interest in renewable energy has created a need for research in the area of solar technology. This has brought about many new opportunities for universities and research centers to build upon existing technology or develop new strategies for handling how energy systems function. Both avenues of research could require an experimental test bench to verify and quantify results. This thesis outlines the design and testing of a simulator for a small solar thermal collector array that can be used in a laboratory configuration to test other parts of a solar thermal collector system. The simulator will be able to repeatedly produce given output power conditions so that other components in a typical solar thermal system can be tested

with greater reliability.

Solar thermal:
The most cost-effective, affordable renewable energy technology currently available for domestic and commercial applications is solar thermal water heating - the technology that allows to effectively collect and utilize solar energy radiated by the sun to heat the water. Solar thermal technology transforms direct and diffuse solar radiation into useful solar thermal heat using solar thermal collectors. The heat is then used to heat water in domestic and commercial properties which at the same time helps to decrease carbon emissions and reduce global warming as well as offering a sustainable solution. Solar energy is free, clean and safe. It is environmentally friendly and produces no waste or pollution. Using solar energy enables you to reduce not only your carbon footprint and promoting sustainability but also your energy bills. The whole process is simple and effective and entirely renewable something which has to be good for both the environment and for future generations. Solar thermal offers an affordable and practical renewable energy solution.

Evacuated tube:
Vacuum tube solar thermal collectors are currently considered the premium product on the market. They are the most efficient solar thermal collectors available and are on average 30 percent more effective than traditional flat plate panel equivalents. Each vacuum tube solar thermal collector consists of a highly insulated manifold and a row of solar tubes. The vacuum inside each tube ensures the most effective transfer of energy into heat as well as providing perfect insulation. It protects the system from outside influences, such as cold, wet or windy weather, resulting in consistent high quality performance all-year-round. Vacuum tube collectors can provide up to 70% of annual hot water requirements with zero carbon emissions. They are also flexible for building integration, fitting perfectly on sloping roofs, flat roofs or even faades. They are quick and easy to install as the tubes can be carried and fixed onto the roof individually. In addition to Domestic Hot Water, some of vacuum tube collectors can also provide Central Heating support for standard or under floor heating, specialized industrial hot water heating for high temperature applications, as well as solar cooling.

Flat plate Flat plate panels are the most popular solar thermal collectors on the market. They provide a cost-effective solution both in domestic and commercial applications and deliver excellent levels of efficiency and performance.

Each flat plate panel consists of a dark flat-plate absorber of solar energy, a transparent cover that allows solar energy to pass through and reduces heat losses, a heat-transport fluid (typically antifreeze) and a heat insulating backing. They are robust, hard-wearing and flexible in installation with both in-roof and onroof options. In-roof installations typically take place on new build properties. The solar panel is encased in a cassette unit that is then mounted directly onto the roof battens. The roof is then tiled up to the cassette, not only to provide a weather-tight installation, but also to maintain the integrity of the roof itself. The on-roof option tends to be favored for use on existing properties, as the solar panel is mounted on top of the existing roof tiles on brackets that penetrate through the roof and are bolted to the rafters to ensure a secure fixing.

DrainBack systems are becoming more popular they have a less complicated control system, which in turn makes installation and servicing very simple. The collector is mounted separately from the drainback tank and the solar thermal circuit has its own pump, generally at the drainback unit. Solar liquid is heated in the

collector and transmits the heat via a heat exchanger coil to the domestic hot water in the storage vessel.