The operating efficiency of evacuated tubes themselves under varying environmental conditions and installation scenarios, independent of water and space heating auxiliary equipment, are not readily available values. Further, Manitoba specific data has not been established. The purpose of this research program was to measure the efficiency of evacuated tube solar collectors under various operating conditions including: the angle of inclination towards the incident solar radiation, heat transfer fluid flow rate, glazing installation, and number of evacuated tubes. The operating conditions and configurations were chosen to represent realistic or probable installation scenarios and environmental conditions. Furthermore, the research aimed to identify the suitability of evacuated tube solar collectors to each of the scenarios. These design values are of use for appropriate sizing of water or space heating systems, system configuration and optimization, and calculation of return on investment. The scope of the research project was limited to the efficiency of various configurations of a 32-tube panel, not the entire solar domestic hot water or space heating system. Thus, factors such as heat loss in the tubing, solar storage tank, and heat exchanger efficiency were not investigated. The findings indicated that efficiency varied by approximately 5% between the different collector configurations, as observed from the overlay graph of results. When the efficiency of a collector is considered within a system it is proposed that effectiveness may be a better measure of overall performance.

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Author notes


Graduate Student, Department of Biosystems Engineering, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada.


Associate Professor, Director of the Alternative Village, Department of Biosystems Engineering, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada, kjdick@ms.umanitoba.ca.