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FAQ

  • Q What is a Flat Plate Solar Collector?

    A Flat plate solar thermal collector is suitable for residential or commercial solar water heating projects.  
    While the basic flat plate design has been around for a long time, and is the most widely used type of solar thermal panel for domestic hot water supply, not all collectors are designed and made alike.
    Choice of material and design aspects can greatly affect not only the solar thermal performance but also the reliability when operating in many varied environmental conditions. Sunpower has chosen only the highest quality materials to ensure reliable, efficient operation and collector longevity.  
     
    The diagram below shows the basic construction of the collector.
  • Q What is an Evacuated Tube Heat Pipe Solar Collector?

    A

    Evacuated tube heat pipe solar collectors convert energy from the sun into usable heat. This energy can be used for hot water heating, pool heating, space heating or even air conditioning.

    Construction
    Evacuated tube with Heat Pipe and Aluminum Fin

    Copper vacuum pipe that transfers the heat from within the tube up to the manifold. 

    Manifold
    Insulated box containing the copper header pipe. The header is a pair of contoured copper pipes with dry connect sockets that the heat pipes plug into. 

    Mounting Frame
    Strong and easy to install with various options to match different mounting methods.

     

  • Q What is a Heat Pipe?

    A he heat pipe evacuated tube consists of the glass evacuated tube described above. In addition a copper heat pipe is installed within the tube. The copper heat pipe transmits heat to its tip which is plugged into the collector's heat transfer manifold. As water runs through the manifold heat is transferred from the copper heat pipe to the water. The heat pipe is a very efficient means of of transferring heat from within the evacuated tube to the water. The following diagram shows both the glass evacuated tubes and the copper heat pipe. The heat pipe is simply inserted into the glass tube, held in place with high quality silicon based glue. There is no need for a air tight seal between the glass tube and heat pipe, in fact air must be able to move in and out of the tube as the air inside heats up and cools down.
  • Q What is an Evacuated Tube?

    A Glass evacuated tubes are the key component of the Solar heat pipe evacuated tube solar collectors. Each evacuated tube consists of two glass tubes. The outer tube is made of extremely strong transparent borosilicate glass that is able to resist impact from hail up to 25mm in diameter. The inner tube is also made of borosilicate glass, but coated with a special selective coating (Al-N/Al) which features excellent solar heat absorption and minimal heat reflection properties. The air is withdrawn (evacuated) from the space between the two glass tubes to form a vacuum, which eliminates conductive and convective heat loss.
    In order to maintain the vacuum between the two glass layers, a barium getter is used (the same as in television tubes). During manufacture this getter is exposed to high temperatures which causes the bottom of the evacuated tube to be coated with a pure layer of barium. This barium layer actively absorbs any CO, CO2, N2, O2, H2O and H2 out gassed from the tube during storage and operation, thus helping to maintaining the vacuum. The barium layer also provides a clear visual indicator of the vacuum status. The silver coloured barium layer will turn white if ever the vacuum is lost. This makes it easy to determine whether or not a tube is operating correctly. See picture below.
    The Getter is located at the bottom of the outer tube. See right.LVQPWNORS1YO$406W4))1`ILeft Tube = Good --- Right Tube = Faulty

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