Sunrain Flat Plate Solar Collectors are ideal for domestic solar water heating and solar pool heating applications. The flat plate solar collector is more effective at lower temperature differences than vacuum tubes. This means domestic water heating and solar pool heating are great applications especially in warmer climates such as southern USA and the Caribbean.
When looking at the heating application we need to determine the difference between the outdoor temperature and design water temperature. This is known as the temperature difference or “Delta T”. Flat Plate solar collectors perform well when the temperature difference is low to moderate. This happens when the application requires lower water temperature or the outside temperature is relatively warm. Pool heating is a great source for the use of flat plate collectors as the pool water is typically close to the air temperature (small temperature difference) so using flat plate panels results in better performance than vacuum tubes in most cases. Domestic water heating in southern United States also do well with these type of collectors.
Flat plate solar collectors have always been popular due to their cost effective pricing compared to solar vacuum tubes collectors. While they are not as efficient at higher temperatures this is often overcome by faster paybacks based on smaller initial capital investment due to their lower price points. Typically a solar flat plate collector is about ½ the price of a solar evacuated tube collector. Often a flat plate collector is used in warm climates that do not require antifreeze so the overall cost of the system can be significantly less because it does not need glycol and heat exchangers which add to the cost.
Over Heating Solved
One of the most frequent problems with vacuum tube systems is their high efficiency produces high temperatures that if not managed can lead to overheating. The flat plate solar panels do not have face this issue to the same degree. Temperatures can reach the 250 F but will never see the 400 F that vacuum tubes can reach. This provides a safer operating temperature and results in less damage if the system is oversized.