Building Envelope News

Solar Thermal 101

An Introduction to STE

Category: Alternative Energy
Originally published in: EnergyPlace
Original date published: 2010-04-01

Solar Thermal Energy (STE) is a type of solar technology used to collect solar energy to generate thermal energy (heat).

These types of collectors come in various technologies that are designed around low, medium or high heat solar collectors.  The low heat types are generally used to heat swimming pools or space heating.  The medium heat types are generally used for commercial or residential applications to heat hot water or space heating and this is commonly called solar domestic hot water (DHW).  The high heat types are generally used to generate steam to run generators for electric generation and use concentrators, usually mirrors or lenses to reach very high temperatures.   The common theme between all these technologies, while using differing types of manufacturing techniques, is that end product that heats water to various stages of temperature depending on the requirement.  The end result may be used for actual hot water use, generating electric power, space heating or process heat.  There are both passive and active systems depending on the requirement. 


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