Solar thermal energy (STE) is a technology for harnessing solar energy for thermal energy (heat). Solar thermal collectors are classified as low-, medium-, or high-temperature collectors. Low temperature collectors are flat plates generally used to heat swimming pools. Medium-temperature collectors are also usually flat plates but are used for heating water or air for residential and commercial use. High temperature collectors concentrate sunlight using mirrors or lenses and are generally used for electric power production. Solar thermoelectric power generation uses solar thermal energy. Solar heating, cooling, and ventilation technologies can be used for commercial and residential buildings.

Applications of Solar thermal energy (STE) Collectors

  • Solar Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems
  • Solar swimming pool water heater using Solar low-temperature collectors
  • Solar chimney for residential and commercial buildings
  • Solar water heaters using solar medium-temperature collectors
  • Solar Thermal Power Plant for Electricity Generation using thermal energy in solar energy
  • Solar air heaters using Glazed Solar Collectors and Unglazed Solar Collectors
  • Solar process heating systems for heating large ponds/pools or space heating for nonresidential buildings
  • Solar Dryer for drying cloths, wood drying, forming crop drying agriculture systems
  • Solar cookers that use sunlight for cooking, drying and pasteurization
  • Solar cookers using solar boxes and solar reflector types of solar temperature collectors
  • Solar water purifier using solar water heating and distillation
  • High-Efficiency solar heating engines using High-Temeperature solar thermal collectors operating between 700 °C to 800 °C
  • Solar thermal energy power generation using solar radiation that is concentrated by mirrors or lenses to obtain higher temperatures – a technique called Concentrated Solar Power (CSP)
  • Solar Parabolic trough power plants using curved mirrored trough which reflects the direct solar radiation onto a glass tube containing heat transfer fluid (also called a receiver, absorber or collector) running the length of the trough, positioned at the focal point of the reflectors.
  • Solar Power Tower power plants or ‘Heliostat’ power plants that focus the sun’s thermal energy with thousands of tracking mirrors (called heliostats)
  • Solar Dish-Stirling Engine System for generating electricity
  • Solar Fresnel reflector power plant using a series of long, narrow, shallow-curvature (or even flat) mirrors to focus light onto one or more linear receivers positioned above the mirrors and a small parabolic mirror
  • Solar thermal power plant using Fresnel lens concentrators, linear Fresnel reflector (LFR) and compact-LFR (CLFR) technologies
  • Solar power tower heat storage tanks and steam accumulators