Evacuated tube solar thermal collectors

Solar power has become increasingly popular with the growing change in climate and rising fuel costs. As a result, demand for electricity is in growing demand. What better way to improve your situation than harness something that Mother Nature provides for free? All around the world, businesses, homes, governments and organizations are embracing the solar energy movement.

One component of this new technology is solar collector tubes. Solar collector tubes are devices that change solar radiation (from the sun) into actual energy that can heat water in homes. The heat is then transferred to a water, solar fluid or air mechanism for the use of either heating swimming pools, serving as back up for the heating systems of swimming pools or for heating water. With this technology, homes and businesses no longer have to pay a utility company for something they can get for free. They key is knowing what to purchase and how to install and use it.

In the center of the solar collector tube is the absorber, usually a collection of multiple strips of metal or either copper of aluminum. This strip is en essence the conductor of the heat. This absorber strip is attached through a heated pipe that transfers fluid. If it is a plate absorber, two sheets are situated together and the mechanism sits between them. In the case of the swimming pool mechanisms, the absorbers are made of plastic because you don’t need the device to get as hot.

Since the absorber’s purpose is to take in sunrays, they are usually black because they can absorb more heat that way. Anyone who’s worn all black on a hot summer’s day can attest to that! Emission levels are determined so that you know how much heat is emitted or absorbed by the absorbers. Special coating scan help improve the absorption rate. These can include solar paints, black chrome, black nickel, and aluminum oxide with nickel or titanium-nitride-oxide. The coating in essence keeps the heat from escaping the device.

There are two types of solar connectors: the flat-plate and the evacuated tube. Flat plate connectors include the absorber, a low-iron solar safety glass cover, a frame and insulation. Very little heat escapes the device through the greenhouse effect. They are considered an economical choice. Evacuated tube collectors use evaporation to create a vacuum effect. An absorber is placed in a glass tube, and the heat transfer fluid is placed at the base and energy is generated as the fluid evaporates.

Below are a few examples of popular solar connector tubes. Always shop around and research, making sure you are fully connected on the technology (including manufacturer warranties and installation) before making a major long-term purpose:

  • The Trendsetter TS-22S and the Trendsetter TS-30S are evacuated tube collectors that can work up to 10 in a series and are ideal for domestic and commercial use, at a maximum of 300 tubes. Available configurations include open and closed loop, drainback and thermosyphon. There is unlimited possibility for parallel configurations. Mains pressure and potable water for RV parks, hotels, schools and public showers and kitchens are some of the ways this device can be used. It cannot be used in swimming pools or spas that have chlorinated water.
  • The Soltub collector tube for solar showers works as a replacement unite or standalone to increase the amount of warm water you get in your warm water system. Water can be heated up to 130 degrees Fahrenheit after one or two hours after hookup. One foot provides an average of 15kwh, and the device can be used to store hot water. Each tube comes with a 5.5-gallon capacity and they can be daisy chained to maximize the hot water supply.
  • The GSE Series IP-195 Passive Solar Evacuated Tube Water Heater is a powerful hot water heater system for commercial and residential use. The device is glycol free, completely automatic and maintenance free. With no freeze technology, this device comes with a 10-year manufacturer’s warranty and promises a lifespan of at least 25 years. This CSA International certified device is eligible for state and federal rebates. Contents of each include manual, installation CD and an operator’s manual.
  • The GSE SP-25, still in development, will include photovoltaic and turbine technologies, with PV conversion at 73 percent and irradiation to thermal conversions of 92 percent.
  • The McShea 10-Tobex is a freestanding device of 1800 mm and is a glass collector. Two of these devices can warm up 40 to 50 gallons of water a day or more than 30,000 BTUs. This is a good device for two-people homes with a 45-gallon storage device and for larger households solar panels can be added. Three panels can process 80 gallons. Each glass device produces 500 percent more energy than its PV counterparts.

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