How it works

Sundware solar Collectors are thermal solar collectors. Thermal solar is the use of light to generate energy in the form of heat. The sun constantly emits energy by radiation in the form of light. The Light can move through the vacuum of the space, When light reaches our planet it is received in two forms.
Beam radiation is radiation received from the sun without being scattered by the earth’s atmosphere.
Diffuse Radiation; this energy is received in a form that is scattered by the atmosphere. The scattering occurs when the radiation passes through air molecules, water and vapour droplets and dust.


The two forms together are known as total solar radiation.

A simple way to think of these types of light is to think of beam radiation as the light that you receive directly from the sun in a sunny day and diffuse radiation as the light that exists on a cloudy day. Each year we get about 4300 hours of light. Only some of this light is in the form of direct sunshine.

The Absorber is “selectively coated” with a special material made from aluminum oxide.


Once the heat is captured by the solar collectors on the absorber plate it conducts into the pipe work running through the panels. This piping is filled with an edible safe glycol to prevent freezing. The glycol is thus heated by light.


The pipe work forms a closed heating pipe which connects to a heating coil in the hot water tank. If we already have a traditional gas/oil central system and water heating system the solar heat circuit will connect to the lower coil in your cylinder and the fossil fuel heating system will connect to the upper coil in the cylinder. Sometimes, we need a new tank because solar tanks are bigger than normal tanks, taking advantage of the ability to store energy in the form of heat few days when there is little light energy available for the solar collectors.


The solar heat circuit is pressurised usually between 2 and 4 bar. This enables the solar system to work in very hot conditions (because pressuring the system increasing boiling point significantly) and the glycol enables the system to work even in ten degrees of frost.


Finally in Sundware Solar systems there are sensors on the top of the collectors and in the hot water tank. These sensors provide information about the state of the system to the Solar controller, which is connected to a special solar pumping station. When the solar controller touch that there is energy available in the panels and energy is needed in the tank it switches on the pump; that pushes the hot glycol in the panels around the heat circuit and into the tank, making the solar coil in the tank very hot. The solar coil conducts its heat to the water stored in the tank. When the cylinder reaches a pre set temperature level the controller switches off the pump and the system will be off.


The heat circuit is connected to a pressure vessel to enable the glycol to expand and contract without damaging the system. Some small amount of electricity is used to drive the pump; in typical installations the electrical energy used for the pump and the controller will be less than 2 % of the energy produced by the solar collectors.

It is sometimes that solar collectors are designed to collect as much light as possible and convert it to heat. This is actually not the case. When designing domestic water systems engineers know that there is no point in overheating the system because the hot water usage and storage capacity is finite and the way in which people use hot water and the times at which they use also have to be taken into account. If you make the collectors too hot they will have a very short life time and overheating will cause problems.