Draft PPS18: Renewable Energy
Annex 1 Technology: Flat Plate Collectors
G5. Flat plate collectors comprise a water filled metal ‘envelope’ with a special black coating which improves absorption of solar energy and heat transfer. This is housed in a glazed, insulated box. The collector is connected to the hot water system of the building in a similar way to a conventional boiler, usually using an indirect coil in the hot water cylinder. Water is circulated either by thermo-syphon or, more commonly using a circulating pump. The pump is controlled in such a way that when the temperature of the collector is lower than the temperature in the hot water system, the pump is switched off. Flat plate collectors need to be protected against frost, and this is effected either by the addition of antifreeze to the heating circuit, or by arranging the system such that the collector ‘drains down’ when the pump is switched off.
G6. A type of flat plate collector has the storage cylinder as an integral part of the collector, mounted on the roof. Although common in warmer climates these are rare in the UK, and normally the only part of the installation that is visible is the collector.