Types of Solar Thermal Collectors

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Thermal solar collectors turn the sun’s radiation into heat and then transfer that heat to air or water. This process is facilitated by a hot water solar collector. There are multiple types of solar thermal collectors:

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Photo Credit: Erneuerbare Energien

  • Evacuated tube collectors are the most efficient but most costly type of hot water solar collectors. These collectors have glass or metal tubes with a vacuum, allowing them to operate well in colder climates. Learn more about evacuated tube collectors.
  • Batch solar water heaters, also called integral collector-storage systems, have storage tanks or tubes inside an insulated box, the south side of which is glazed to capture the sun’s energy. Learn more about batch systems.
  • A flat plate collector is a box covered by glass or plastic with a metal absorber plate on the bottom. The glazing, or coating, on the absorber plate helps to better absorb and retain heat. Learn more about flat plate collectors.
  • Unglazed flat plate collectors, typically made from rubber, are primarily used for heating pools.
  • Air collectors are used primarily for space heating in the home. Learn more about solar air collectors.

Learn how such systems can provide solar water heating and solar space heating for your home, or how you can use solar thermal energy to heat your pool.

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