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Solar Collectors

This section is a brief review of solar collectors -
air, water and electric.

Solar collectors have similar materials, but they are constructed differently to accommodate their intended purpose. They all have glass and aluminum on the outside, but the middle can be hollow, copper or silicon. Solar air collectors are hollow to allow air to pass through. Solar water collectors have columns of pipes that are fused to a copper absorber plate. Solar electric collectors have a silicon middle for electrons to concentrate.

Solar Warm Air Collector                

Solar Warm Air Collector Components

Most solar air collectors are about 4 feet wide and 8 feet long.

This diagram shows solar warm air collector components; glazing, absorber plate, air cavity, housing and insulation.

The glazing is a tempered, low iron glass (92% light transmittance).

The absorber plate is treated with a special high absorption, low emissivity paint for high performance.

The air cavity is the space behind the absorber for the air to travel through the collector. The air makes a big "U-turn" inside the collector. The air will enter from one side of the collector, travel down the length of the collector and crossover to exit out the other side - pulling heat off the absorber plate through the entire route.

The housing is an extruded aluminum frame with a metal back plate.

The insulation forms a thermal break between the warm interior cavity and the external conditions.

Solar air collectors are basically made out of inert materials that do not wear out, glass, aluminum and insulation. Their life expectancy is typically greater then 20 years.

Some air collectors use a "non-glass" glazing such as polycarbonate or fiberglass. These glazing materials are suitable for solar applications but will lose their strength and yellow over time. They may need to be replaced after 10 years or a bad hail storm.

Solar Hot Water Collector                 

Solar Hot Water Collector Components

The components for solar hot water collectors are similar to warm air collectors.

Most solar hot water collectors are about 4 feet wide and 8 feet long.

This diagram shows solar hot water collector components; glazing, absorber plate, housing and insulation.

The glazing is a tempered, low iron glass (92% light transmittance).

The absorber plate is usually copper and treated with a special high absorption, low emissivity paint for high performance. The water strips heat off the absorber plate while it passes through the pipes. The water travels through the bottom "header" pipe, up the smaller "riser" pipes and the returns through the top "header" pipe.

The housing is an extruded aluminum frame with a metal back plate.

The insulation forms a thermal break between the warm interior cavity and the external conditions.

Solar hot water collectors are basically made out of inert materials that do not wear out, glass, aluminum, copper and insulation. Their life expectancy is typically greater then 20 years.

Solar Electric Collector         

Solar Electric Collector Components

The solar components for solar electric collectors vary in design from the solar thermal collectors because they collect electricity, not heat.

Solar electric collectors come in all sizes from palm size to 5 feet wide and 10 feet long.

This picture shows the front view of a typical solar electric collector - components include; glazing, silicon absorber plate, housing and wire terminals.

The glazing is a tempered, low iron glass (92% light transmittance).

The silicon absorber plate is a special silicon wafer layered with fine wires to collect the electrical energy.

The housing is an extruded aluminum frame with a metal back plate.

The wire terminals are located on the back.

Solar electric collectors are basically made out of inert materials that do not wear out, glass, aluminum, and silicon. Their life expectancy is typically greater then 20 years.

More definitions and concepts are described in the Glossary. 

Check out Solar Incentives, tax credits and other reasons to go Solar Today!

 

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http://www.SolarOmaha.com
Solar Heat and Electric is the name of a solar business with over 20 years of experience in Omaha, NE. We service and install all types of solar systems within a few hundred miles; air, water and electric. We also provide design support or lead to; architects, engineers, plumbing, HVAC, investment and property managers.
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