Solar panels thermal have been around since the 1950s. The rectangular, flat plates are the most commonly seen and used forms of thermal solar panels, particularly for residential installations. They are usually arranged in groups called arrays because one panel alone collects very little solar energy.
Each panel is constructed of an absorption plate that is flat and dark, a cover that is transparent so solar energy can penetrate to the absorption plate, a fluid such as water or antifreeze that removes heat from the absorption plate and a backing that helps insulate and protect the plate from heat. The basic function begins when sunlight hits the absorption plate and heats it. This alters the solar energy into heat energy which is transferred to the fluid in the tubing of the absorption plate. Panels are installed and configured to meet the homeowner’s requirements for daily hot water use at approximately one-half to one-square foot per gallon per day.
There are a variety of thermal solar panels to choose from. They come in a variety of sizes as well. Other conditions which must be considered are the climate changes in the areas where they will be used. Areas that are subject to occasional freezing or repeated episodes of freezing require that panels be handled differently. Collectors that use metal piping could be subject to damage if frozen. These must either be completely drained prior to an expected freeze or have antifreeze added to the circulation. Using non-metallic piping is another option to prevent freeze damage.
Most companies that sell solar panels and installation components will be more than happy to help you determine which type of solar thermal panels you need. Many provide installation and some provide optional maintenance agreements. If you are competent handyman, you may want to install the panels and system on your own. Find out what effects a self-installation has on any warranty before you decide. You can either install the panels yourself or let a qualified solar panel company like Thamesgate do the work for you. The end result is lower utilities bills whichever way you choose to go.