The main solar thermal uses are the following:
Generation of hot water for indoor or outdoor swimming pools heating.
Underfloor heating or radiators.
Operate refrigeration appliances. Solar thermal energy can also be used for cooling buildings (air conditioning) or in industrial processes (refrigeration).
To heat energy to be used in agricultural product dryers.
Industrial use, for example in solar ovens.
Cooling by means of solar energy
Desalination using solar energy
How is electricity generated with solar thermal?
To generate electricity through solar thermal collectors it uses a technology similar to that of coal or nuclear power plants. These plants use fuel to generate steam at a very high temperature. The generated steam drives a steam turbine that is connected to an electrical generator by a shaft.
In this way, it is possible to convert solar radiation into thermal energy, later into mechanical energy, and finally, into electrical energy.
What is domestic hot water?
Sanitary hot water (DHW) is the water that, in a home, we use to shower. Since we do not need this water to be excessively hot, it can be easily heated by flat plate collectors on the roof and heat exchangers in the installation. Due to their shape, glass tubes can better resist the ambient air pressure
The time to heat a liter of water is longer than the time it takes to consume it when showering, so it cannot be heated at the same time it is needed. Energy storage systems are used to solve this problem. Storage tanks are tanks in which heated water is stored during the day.
In single-family houses, it is very common to see solar collectors. The function of these solar panels is to heat sanitary hot water for domestic use or for heating. They are generally support systems, but they allow considerable financial savings.
What is underfloor heating?
The underfloor heating system is a system by which a closed circuit of pipes is installed under the floor of a house. Hot water is circulated through this circuit as heating.
Another advantage of this system is that by distributing the temperature in a more uniform way, the fluid is not required to have such a high temperature. This feature makes solar thermal energy an almost perfect technology for heating that water.
The system for heating the heating circuit is the same as in the case of domestic hot water. The same solar collectors installed outside the house allow us to obtain the maximum use of energy.
What is a solar oven?
Parabolic mirrors or heliostats concentrate light (solar radiation) at the focal point. The temperature at the focal point can reach 3,500 °C (6,330 °F), and this heat can be used to generate electricity, melt steel, produce hydrogen fuel, or nanomaterials.