Municipality of the District of Digby

Solar Thermal Collectors

Put simply, solar thermal systems harness the heat from the sun. There are many different types of solar thermal collectors, and the heat they harness can be used in many different ways; most commonly, it is used for space or water heating, or for electricity generation.

Residential solar thermal systems will typically consist of one of two types of collectors (or both): glazed flat-plate collectors, or evacuated tube collectors. Evacuated tube collectors are capable of reaching higher temperatures and are better suited to space heating, while glazed flat-plate collectors don't reach temperatures quite as high.

Industrial solar thermal systems are capable of harnessing huge amounts of heat, and can therefore achieve much higher temperatures which can be suitable for creating steam to drive a turbine and generate electricity. There are many different types of industrial solar arrays. One example is the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating Station in the Mojave Desert of California, which uses more than 170,000 mirrors to focus rays of sunlight onto boilers positioned on top of three high towers. The Ivanpah Station is capable of producing 400 megawatts of electricity.

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Two Types of Solar Thermal Collectors