How Do Flat Plate Solar Collectors Work?

How Do Flat Plate Solar Collectors Work?

Nature gives us a lot but we in return fail to utilize them completely. Here, we are going to know about solar thermal collector by which we can transfer solar radiation energy into internal energy that helps us in different forms. Sun gives us so much but we fail to consider how we can actually make use of it. Using solar thermal collectors, we store and use the solar energy, which helps us, trim huge electricity bills.  As the term suggests in itself, solar collector is the major component of solar thermal collectors. Solar collector absorbs the solar radiations at absorber area and intercepts them at collector area.

They are of two types:


  1. Non-concentrating: In this the absorber area and the collector area are same.
  2. Concentrating: It has smaller absorber than collector area.

Solar thermals are then classified in two parts:

  1. Flat plate solar collector
  2. Evacuated Tube solar collectors.

This classification is based on the domestic and commercial uses i.e. for water and space heating purposes.


Flat Plate Solar Collector

These types of solar collectors are generally seen for household purposes as the temperature need at home is way lesser than needs at workplace. Water heating and space heating are the jobs where they proves to be efficient and when not in use you can store the energy too and use it afterwards.

Flat plate solar collector has black surface, which is placed facing sun. Proper installation of all such panels is very important in order to extract the best you could. Therefore, they are generally placed where the sun radiation falls best.

Components of flat plate solar collector:

  • Absorber (dark flat-plate)
  • Glazing (transparent cover used for reducing heat losses)
  • Fluid (to transfer heat from absorber to collector)
  • Heat insulated backing
  • Enclosure

To maximize the absorption of radiation on absorber plate copper works best. It is because of its high thermal conductivity and high melting point, which helps it stand strong solar radiations. After a proper coating the leakage of heat and radiations could be controlled to an impressive level. Insulators and cover plates are also used to save the heat and reduce its losses so that handsome amount of energy can be stored. Without all such insulations, you cannot store energy for longer period because of losses. So, to protect heat and energy high insulation is done so that you can use it conveniently.  First, the solar radiations strikes glazing film and then are absorbed by absorber. The radiations absorbed by absorber are secured by glazing, as it does not allow heat losses.

Absorber converts solar energy into heat energy, which is then transmitted with the help of fluid and fluid cover (liquid or air). This fluid takes the heat to the interceptor. Here, you are either use it or store it well. For whichever option you go proper heat insulated backing is done and all the components are enclosed in an enclosure. This is just for easy handling.

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