Performance of solar collectors under low temperature conditions: Measurements and simulations results

Mircea Bunea, Sara Eicher, Catherine Hildbrand, Jacques Bony, Bengt Perers, Stéphane Citherlet

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The performance of four solar thermal collectors (flat plate, evacuated tube, unglazed with rear insulation and unglazed without rear insulation) was experimentally measured and simulated for
temperatures below ambient. The influence of several parameters (e.g. collector inlet temperature, air temperature, condensation) is investigated under different operating conditions (day and night). Under
some conditions condensation might occur and heat gains could represent up to 55% of the total unglazed collector energy by night. Two TRNSYS collector models including condensation heat gains
are also evaluated and results compared to experimental measurements. A mathematical model is also under development to include, in addition to the condensation phenomena, the frost, the rain and the
long-wave radiation gains/losses on the rear of the solar collector. While the potential gain from rain was estimated to be around 2%, frost heat gains were measured to be up to 40% per day, under specific
conditions. Overall, results have shown that unglazed collectors are more efficient than flat plate or evacuated tube collectors at low operation temperatures or for night conditions, making them more
suitable for heat pump applications.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2012
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2012
EventEurosun 2012 : ISES-Europe Solar Conference - Rijeka, Croatia
Duration: 18 Sep 201220 Sep 2012


ConferenceEurosun 2012
Internet address


  • Solar collectors
  • Heat pump
  • Condensation heat gains
  • Measurements
  • Simulations models

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