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SUN-193, 000,000 Miles Away from Earth No deadly radioactive waste Free-Renewable Fuel Already heating Earth (No added Heat) Dependable-Sustained Clean Energy Natural Power

Source of Solar Energy

The sun radiates energy at the rate of 3.9 1026 W (watts) and has been doing so for several billion years. The fusion reaction in the sun is a multistep process in which hydrogen is burned into helium, hydrogen being the "fuel" and helium the "ashes as per following overall reaction.

The fusion reactions in the solar core take place because of the very high temperatures ( 108K ) in this region of the Sun.

Solar radiation received at the top of earths atmosphere comprises of : Ultraviolet (UV) radiation : 9% Visible radiation: 40% Infra Red (IR) radiation: 51% Roughly half of it reaches the surface of earth. Much of the UV is absorbed by Oxygen, Nitrogen and Ozone in upper part of earths atmosphere. Some of the infrared rays are also absorbed by water vapours, carbon dioxide and methane in the lower atmosphere.

Diffuse and Direct Solar Radiation

As solar radiation passes through the atmosphere, part of the radiation is absorbed, scattered and reflected by the following: Air molecules Water vapor Clouds Dust Pollutants The above component is called diffuse solar radiation or diffuse insolation. The solar radiation that reaches the earth's surface without being diffused is called direct solar radiation or direct insolation. The sum of the diffuse and direct solar radiation forms global insolation. Diffuse component depends on the clarity of the sky. Atmospheric conditions can reduce direct beam radiation by 10% on clear, dry days and by 100% during thick cloudy days.

Solar energy balance for Earth

Total Incident solar radiation is distributed as follows: 30% is reflected back to the space by atmosphere, clouds and earths surface. This component is called albedo. 19% is absorbed by atmosphere and clouds. Remaining 51% of the incident radiation is absorbed by earths surface. The relatively constant temperature of earth is the energy balance between the incoming and outgoing radiations.


The range of solar technologies can be split into three categories: (i) Solar thermal devices for direct heat applications. (ii) Concentrating solar power (CSP) thermal devices which use heat for electricity production in a steam turbine. (iii) Photovoltaic devices that produce electricity directly from solar radiation (PV).



Modern Solar Heating Systems

Active solar systems: the solar heated fluid is circulated by a fan or pump. Example: Heating of Swimming Pools, Domestic water heating Systems Passive solar systems: Uses no external power but allows the fluid heated by the sun to circulate by natural means.

Example: Passive space heating in buildings

Solar thermal devices for direct heat applications: Solar Cookers

The basic purpose of a solar box cooker is to heat things up - cook food, purify water, and sterilize instruments The interior of the box is heated by the energy of the sun. Sunlight, both direct and reflected, enters the solar box through the glass or plastic top. Single or multiple reflectors bounce additional sunlight through the glass and into the solar box. This additional input of solar energy results in higher cooker temperatures. The temperature inside the box rises until the heat loss of the cooker is equal to the solar heat gain.

Example: Collector area of Solar Oven

Useful rate of heat energy (Power) needed for cooking is 150 W. The solar oven is 20% efficient. The noon time insolation rate is 900 W/m2. 85% of above insolation is received by the oven. The required area of the oven to intercept the desired energy is worked out as follows: Rate of insolation received by the Solar Oven, P = 0.85900 = 765W/m2. Power needed for heating = P Efficiency of Oven Collector Area 150=7650.2Area Collector Area=150/(7650.2)=0.98m2

Examples of other Designs of Solar Cooker

Both Designs use auxiliary reflectors to reach high temperature. Heating of the pots inside the box is done by direct absorption and by convection.

Parabolic Reflector Design

Telkess Oven: Design has fixed cooking pot and movable oven


Most common use of solar heating systems today is to provide hot water for domestic purposes (DHW) or for swimming pools. 7% of the Solar water collectors sold today in US are for DHW and 93% for Swimming Pools. Swimming Pool Collectors operate at temperatures less than 430C DWH Collectors operate at temperatures varying from 60-820C.


Solar water heating systems use the sun's energy to heat water in liquid-based solar collectors. These are usually used along with conventional water heaters. Solar collectors for these systems are typically 36 m2 in area.

A typical solar water heating system can meet approx. 50% of the water heating requirements in a home.


Solar water heating systems include storage tanks and solar collectors. There are two types of solar water heating systems: (i) Active, which have circulating pumps. (ii) Passive, which are based on natural convection. The storage tanks are well insulated. Heart of The system is the SOLAR COLLECTOR

SOLAR COLLECTORS for Solar water Heating Systems

Three types of solar collectors are used for residential applications:

Flat Plate Collectors Batch Collectors

Evacuated Tube Solar Collectors

SOLAR COLLECTORS for Solar water Heating Systems

Flat Plate Collectors

Evacuated Tube Solar Collectors


It has thin flat metal plate, painted black, to absorb suns radiation. Absorber plate is in contact with fluid tubes. Fluids absorb heat and circulated by a pump to take away heat. In an air based collector the circulating fluid is air, whereas in a liquid based collector it is usually water. This set up is covered with one or two sheets of glazing. Achievable temperature is 30-70C (86-158F)

Flat plate collector.

These are best suited to applications that require heating during the winter months.

Passive Batch Solar Water Heater

Also known as a bread box system or integral collector storage system, This solar collector consisting of one or more storage tanks placed inside an insulated box that has a glazed side facing the sun. A batch collector is mounted on the ground or on the roof of the building .

Choice of materials for surfaces on the tank(s): The surfaces of the tank should have good absorbers of solar infrared radiation and inhibit radiative loss. On an area basis, batch collector systems are less costly than glazed flat-plate collectors but energy delivered per year by them is less .

Functioning of Passive Batch Solar Water Heater

Cold water enters a pipe and can either enter a solar storage/backup water heater tank or the batch collector, depending on which bypass valve is open. Water, upon entering the tank, is heated in it. Hot water from the batch collector is carried into the solar storage/backup water heater and thence to the house .

Evacuated Tube Collectors

This type of solar collector can achieve high temperatures in the range 77C to 177C and under the clear sky conditions and proper orientation , work very efficiently. Evacuated-tube collectors are, however, quite expensive, with unit area costs about twice that of flat-plate collectors. They are well-suited to commercial and industrial heating applications and also for cooling applications.

They can also be an effective alternative to flatplate collectors for domestic space heating, especially in regions where it is often cloudy.

Direct-flow evacuated-tube collectors

An evacuated-tube collector consists of parallel rows of evacuated glass tubes connected to a header pipe. This eliminate heat loss through convection and radiation. A highly selective absorption coating is applied to the inner tube. The heat gained is conducted by special aluminum lamellas into copper tubes. The water is circulated through the inner tubes and gets heated and sent to the header pipe. The collector header consists of two copper pipes. The lower pipe brings liquid into the collector, the upper pipe takes the warmed up liquid from the collector.

Passive Solar Space Heating System

The house itself acts as the solar collector and the storage facility. Heat energy flow is by natural means. No need of pumps and fans. Sunlight enter through the south facing window and is stored in. Principle of passive solar heating is that the amount of thermal energy transmitted in the house from the south facing window during a clear day is more than the thermal energy loss from house over 24 hours period. This is achieved by enhancing thermal mass i.e., using such materials which have high heat absorption capacity. Ex: Concrete, water and stone.

Essential elements of Passive Space Heating System

1. Maximising solar heat gain: It depends on: (a) The solar radiation available at the location of the building.

(b) Orientation of the building (South facing windows). Schematic illustration direct solar heat gain (c) The characteristics of the collection areas (their solar transmittance/absorption and heat transfer). of

Essential elements of Passive Space Heating System

2. Minimising heat losses Heat losses may be minimised by following methods: (a)Applying thermal insulation of high quality. (b) installing multiple-glazed windows. (c )avoiding thermal bridges. (d) providing air tightness. These methods help to reduce heat transmission and air infiltration which are the main avenues for heat transport through the building envelope.

Passive systems are of three types

1. Direct Gain

2. Indirect Gain

3. Attached Solar green House

Indirect Gain passive solar Space Heating System (Trombe Wall)

System collects and stores heat in one part of the house and uses natural heat transfer (conduction and convection) to distribute the heat to the rest of the house. A massive concrete wall is placed 10cm behind a south facing glass area. Solar radiations are absorbed by the wall, which reradiates heat in the space between glass and wall and heats up the air. Warm air rises and circulates in the room through vents and is replaced by cooler air from the bottom.

Attached Green House

Green house is attached on the south side of the house.

It acts as extended thermal wall.

Serve dual purpose (food production and space heating).

Thermal Energy Storage

One important requirement of a solar energy heating system is its ability to store energy for night time use and for cloudy days. Q=mcT Q=Heat added to a mass m whose specific heat is c. T= Rise in temperature. An important criterion in selecting a storage medium is the specific heat of the substance. Good Example : Water Large thermal capacity is achieved by using a material of large specific heat. Hence, drums filled with water serve as good storage device.

Principles of passive cooling

Features of passive cooling 1. Minimizing solar heat gain by (a) Increasing the building mass. (b)Increasing thermal protection. (c) Reflective coating (white) on exposed surfaces. (d) Curtailing solar radiations using shading devices. (e) Air tightness of the building.

Principles of passive cooling

2. Removing unwanted heat (a) Use of technologies for cooling of buildings. (b) Unwanted heat in hot and dry climates could be removed by (i) evaporative cooling (ii)Nocturnal ventilation (iii) in hot humid climate, a thermo-active ceiling could be installed (see figure), which would however need a pump. BUT as no energy for cooling is required, such systems are usually classed as passive cooling. (iv) By providing adequate cross ventilation on buildings.

Estimation Of Collector Size for Space Heating

How much collector area is required to provide the thermal energy needed to heat a house for one day when the average heat load is 21.1106 J/h. Take mean daily insolation on the collector surface as 20.4106 J/ m2/day and the collectors efficiency is =50%. Thermal energy needed will be provided by total radiation falling on the area A Heat needed for 1 day= Incident heat (Insolation) efficiencyArea 21.1106 24= 20.4106 0.5 A A=49.65 m2 (about roof area of a two bed room HDB house)

Electricity Production from Solar Thermal Power Plant

Power plants use curved, mirrored troughs (collectors) which reflects the direct solar radiation onto glass tubes containing a fluid running along the length of the trough and positioned at the focal point of the reflectors.

The fluid (also called heat transfer fluid) becomes very hot. Common fluids are synthetic oil, molten salt and water.

The hot fluid is transported to a turbine where about a third of the heat is converted into electricity.


parabolic trough (PSA) solar tower (SNL)

linear Fresnel (Solarmundo)

parabolic dish (SBP)

Eurotrough Reflector

The focus pipe has flexible pipes on the ends to allow rotary motion to track the sun, while the absorber pipe is kept at the focus.


SOLAR POWER TOWERS capture and focus the sun's thermal energy with thousands of tracking mirrors (called heliostats) in roughly a two square mile field. A tower is located in the centre of the heliostat field. The heliostats focus concentrated sunlight on a receiver which is mounted atop of the tower. Within the receiver the concentrated sunlight heats molten salt to over 5500C. Flat mirrors are aimed to focus sun at the receiver target to melt salt


The heated molten salt then flows into a thermal storage tank where it is stored, maintaining 98% thermal efficiency, and eventually pumped to a steam generator. The steam drives a standard turbine to generate electricity. This process, also known as the "Rankine cycle" is similar to a standard coal-fired power plant.