Solar Energy: Your Questions and Answers


SolarUK: Glossary


The controller compares the different temperatures at specific locations in the solar systems circuit.

When the collector sensor location (panel) is warmer than the coolest part of the stored water calorifier by a preset minimum difference (usually 3C), the solar pump switches on, circulating the water through the system and transferring the heat from the collectors to the heat exchanger inside the calorifier. If the temperature difference is below this set value, the pump will not be triggered to run. This prevents the water in the calorifier from being cooled by the solar circuit.

Controllers incorporate an LCD display, which in a SolarUK system will show three temperatures: that of the water leaving the collector, the water leaving the coil/heat exchanger and the water in the calorifier. The controller measures temperature difference and behaves according to a programmed logic. This logic enables the system to recognise and make use of energy from the sun whenever it is available. The position of the sensors is vital to the operation of the system.

More information can be found here: Solar Thermal Circulation Controls

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Other Associated glossary terms : Commercial

Solar Thermal
The collection of the sun's energy as heat rather than converting it to electricity.

Vacuum Tube Solar Collector
This is a technology that uses a glass tube, think of a long thermos flask to insulate the solar collector and ensure that effectively all solar energy is retained.

Feed in Tariff
A method to reward the producer of renewable energy (electricity) by paying a fixed amount of money for each unit of electricity generated.

Recirculation - pumped secondary
Pipework carrying secondary hot water.

Sequential heating arrangement
The heating that occurs as the solar thermal system heats the water before the conventional heat source provides any necessary additional heating.

Heat store
Stores the suns energy as heat captured by the collector.

Refers to any period when the heat transfer fluid is not circulating, even though the solar panel is receiving the suns energy.

Primary and secondary systems
This refers to the water travelling round the boiler and the water in the cylinder which is heated by it.

Stratification / de-stratification
The layering of hot water on colder water.

Expansion vessel
A trapped volume of pressurised air or gas inside a steel vessel to allow for the expansion that accompanies temperature increases.

Buffer vessel
A tank storing heated water in anticipation of variable demand requirements.

Pre-feed cylinder
A cylinder placed between the cold water feed and the existing hot water cylinder.

Any pipe with several outlets to or from other pipes, or a junction of pipes.

A water storage vessel, which has the capability to increase the temperature of the water contained within it.

The controller compares the different temperatures at specific locations in the solar systems circuit.

Circulation module / Pump module
Operates the heat transfer system.

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