Solar Collector Systems

There are a wide assortment of solar energy collectors available on the market, at PG Plumbing we've done research into the various systems available to enable us to recommend to customers only the products with the highest levels of efficiency and reliability.

Whilst we're always happy to install and maintain installations according to the customers' wishes should you be in the market for a solar thermal system please give us a call before investing in any equipment purchased elsewhere to ensure you're getting the right parts for the job!

Flat Plate Collectors

Image of a twin flat-plate collector

Flat plate collectors are relatively robust and low profile, and can at a distance look similar to Solar PV panels. They consist of copper tube sandwiched between a front glass plate and a rear insulator, housed in an aluminium frame. Flat plate collectors are typically robust but care must be taken to orient them toward the sun which can be a factor in their installation. System fluid is circulated through the copper tube in the plate which is heated by the sun's energy. The heated fluid then flows back to the system storage tank where it heats the domestic hot water supply.

Key Benefits

  • Robust panels are typically less prone to environmental damage
  • Slightly cheaper than evacuated tubes as it is an older, more established technology
  • Good in areas with typically good weather and warmer ambient temperatures
  • Aesthetically low profile
  • Can be used on flat rooftops where an incline is not possible

Evacuated Tube Collectors

A standard array of evacuated glass tube collectors

Evacuated tube collectors come in a variety of forms but typically consist of a long glass tube containing an energy absorbing element which transfers heat either directly to the system (Direct flow) or indirectly via a 'heat pipe' which connects to a manifold at the top of each panel. PG Plumbing have tested a variety of different collectors and now favour an indirect evacuated tube with what is known as a "Curved absorber", which maximises thermal efficiency throughout the day and speeds up installation.

Due to the nature of the heat pipe within the collector it is necessary to install evacuated tube arrays at a 25° incline or greater, something we will advise you on when visiting the site to put together a quote.

Key Benefits

  • High efficiency in low-sunlight conditions such as the UK's cloudy days
  • Curved collectors increase efficiency when full-South orientation is not possible
  • Design of the heatpipes inside the collector acts as a maximum temperature protection feature
  • Should a problem arise with a collector, it can be replaced in-situ without draining the system
  • No water flows through the collectors so no maintenance issues arise from corrosion or blockage