A typical flat-plate collector is a metal box with a glass or plastic cover (called glazing) on top and a dark-coloured absorber plate on the bottom. The sides and bottom of the collector are usually insulated to minimize heat loss.
Sunlight passes through the top glazing and strikes the absorber plate, which heats up, changing solar energy into heat energy. The heat is transferred to liquid passing through pipes attached to the absorber plate. Absorber plates are commonly painted with “selective coatings,” which absorb and retain heat better than ordinary black paint. Absorber plates are usually made of metal—typically copper or aluminium—because the metal is a good heat conductor. Copper is more expensive, but is a better conductor and less prone to corrosion than aluminium.
Flat plate collectors can be cleaned easily using a soft brush. They also do not collect debris as easily as evacuated tube collectors. There is a lot of debate around which collector is right for a project. Our team at Collins Pluming, Gas and Heating can help you choose the best fit for you situation and usage. It all comes down to the best fit for the job!