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Fundamentals of Solar Collectors

In this free online course, you will learn about solar collectors and the mechanism of solar thermal energy capture.

Publisher: NPTEL
In this free online course, you will learn about the mechanism of capture and utilisation of solar thermal energy with solar thermal collectors. Gain understanding by learning the basics of heat transfer in nature and learning the different solar thermal collectors available, particularly on the flat plate collectors. You will appreciate its construction, mode of operation, and how to enhance its performance.
Fundamentals of Solar Collectors
  • Duration

    5-6 Hours
  • Students

  • Accreditation






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This free online course on solar collectors brings to you the immense potential offered by solar thermal energy collection and storage technology. For most people, ‘Solar Energy’ brings to mind solar photovoltaic panels. A cheaper way of utilising the energy we get from the sun is to capture its heat directly and use it instantly as hot water or air. In this course, you will experience the technology that allows us to do just that. To recognise that this technology is crucial, you must first learn about the physics of heat transfer. Once you understand the different modes by which heat is transferred in nature, you will appreciate the construction of the various solar thermal collectors and their structure. You will then be ready to look at ways to enhance the performance of these collectors to capture the maximum possible heat from the solar radiation and transfer most of that heat. The challenges of minimising heat loss to the surroundings will be at your fingertips.  

The course will unpack the heat transfer mechanism through different modes and how to calculate the rate of heat transfer using specific non-dimensional numbers and heat transfer coefficients. Classifying various solar heat collectors, particularly the solar flat-plate collector (FPC), will challenge your thinking. You will have the confidence to investigate its construction, working, performance, efficiency, transmissivity, and energy balance. You will explore thermal resistance and how the loss of heat from the top, bottom, and sides of a flat plate collector, reduces efficiency. How to analyse its performance using various parameters and how to enhance the performance of a collector by specific alterations in its configuration and positioning will be unearthed. Discover how multiple FPC modules can be combined in series and parallel to obtain the maximum useful heat. Ultimately, you will learn about the testing and applications of solar flat plate collectors. The evacuated tube collector is another exciting topic you will touch on. Your learning will be aided throughout by suitable numerical examples. 

This course is suitable for those who have a basic knowledge of thermodynamics and high-school level mathematics. You will find this course useful if you wish to pursue studies in solar energy engineering and technology, energy management, or sustainable development. Those who want to pursue a career in renewable energy, environmental science and engineering, or sustainable architecture will also find this course invaluable. It will form the foundation of more profound comprehension of solar energy engineering and technology. Due to the current emphasis on sustainability practices worldwide, professionals in these fields are high in demand everywhere. This course is your opportunity to gauge your interest in solar thermal energy technology and build your knowledge and skills around it. Why wait any longer? Dive into this invaluable course and create a bright and impactful future for yourself.

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