Performance and operational effectiveness of evacuated flat plate solar collectors compared with conventional thermal, PVT and PV panels

The concept of an evacuated flat plate (EFP) collector was proposed over 40 years ago but, despite its professed advantages, very few manufacturers have developed commercial versions. This situation suggests both technical difficulties in manufacturing a competitively-priced sealed for life panel and a lack of awareness of the benefits of such panels. This paper demonstrates an evacuated flat plate simulation that closely models experimental efficiency measurements. Having established the validity of the model, it compares published data for a commercial EFP collector with predictions for an optimal design to investigate whether any further efficiency improvement might be possible. The optimised design is then evaluated against alternative solar energy devices by modelling a number of possible applications. These comparisons should inform choices about solar options for delivering heat: EFP collectors are well-suited to some of these applications. An evacuated flat plate solar thermal collector with a 0.5x0.5 m absorber was tested under a solar simulator. The test conditions spanned the range 200