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Home » Solar Products » Evacuated Tube Solar Collectors

Evacuated Tube Solar Collectors

Apricus AP evacuated tube solar collectors convert energy from the sun into usable heat. This energy can be used for hot water heating, pool heating, space heating or even air conditioning.  

 

Product Overview

Apricus AP evacuated tube solar collectors are available in a range sizes.  Note: some models may not be available in your local market

 

  AP-10 AP-20 AP-22 * AP-30 / AP-30C
Length 2005 mm / 78.9" 2005 mm / 78.9" 2005 mm / 78.9" 2005 mm / 78.9"
Height 136mm / 5.35" 136mm / 5.35" 136mm / 5.35" 136mm / 5.35"
Width 796mm / 31.34" 1496mm / 58.9" 1636mm / 64.4" 2196mm / 86.45"
Peak Output ** 650 Watts / 2,210 Btuh 1,296 Watts / 4,422 Btuh 1,425 Watts / 4,862 Btuh 1,944 Watts / 6,632 Btuh
Aperture Area 0.94 m/ 10.1 ft2 1.88 m/ 20.23 ft2 2.07 m2 / 22.3 ft2 2.83 m/ 30.46 ft2
Gross Area 1.59 m/ 16.95 ft2 3 m/ 32.3 ft2 3.28 m2 / 35.29 ft2 4.4 m/ 47.4 ft2
Gross Dry Weight 35 kg / 77 lbs 63.5 kg / 139.8 lbs 71.3 kg / 156.8 lbs 95 kg / 209.44 lbs
Fluid Capacity 310 ml / 10.5 fl oz 550 ml / 18.6 fl oz 600 ml / 20.3 fl oz 790 ml / 26.7 fl oz
Ideal Flow Rate 1L/min / 0.26 USG/min 2L/min / 0.53 USG/min 2L/min / 0.53 USG/min 3L/min / 0.8 USG/min

 

* AP-22 collector only available in some markets.  Not available for sale in North America.
** Data from ITW report 09COL805.  Calculated at midday (trans IAM = 1), G=1000W/m2, ∆T (tm-ta)=0

Apricus APSE evacuated tube solar collectors for solar water heating

 

Construction

Apricus evacuated tube solar collector

The AP solar collector is comprised of four main parts:

Evacuated Tube (ET)

Absorbs solar energy and converts it to usable heat.
Vacuum between the two glass layers insulates against heat loss.

Heat Pipe (HP)

Copper vacuum pipe that transfers the heat from within the ET up to the manifold. 

Manifold

Insulated box containing the copper header pipe. The header is a pair of contoured copper pipes with dry connect sockets that the heat pipes plug into. 

Mounting Frame

Strong and easy to install with various options to match different mounting methods.

 

Apricus evacuated tube solar collector basic system operation

Operation

Step 1:  The absorber coating on the inner glass tube absorbs sunlight and converts it into heat. 

Step 2:  Steam forms inside heat pipe which transfers heat rapidly up to the manifold. 

Step 3:  A pump circulates water or heat transfer fluid through the header pipe, carrying heat back to the storage tank.  Gradually throughout the day the tank is heated up.

The tank can be boosted by an electric element, gas/oil boiler, or the solar tank can simply feed an existing water heater tank with solar pre-heated water.  

 

 

 

For more information about Solar System Design, click here

For more information on Evacuated Tubes, click here

For more information on Heat Pipes, click here

 

Collector Mounting

Apricus AP solar collectors can be mounted on a roof, wall or even on the ground.  The key is ensuring optimum exposure to the sun through the day.  For examples of residential installation photos click here

The video below shows the typical mounting method for an AP-30 on an asphalt shingle roof.  Different mounting hardware is available to suit a wide range of roofing materials. 

 

Design Advantages

Evacuated Tube Efficiency

The vacuum space in the evacuated tube greatly reduces heat loss.  This greatly increases the conversion efficiency at higher water temperatures or when the outside temperature is very cold.   For a thorough understanding of evacuated tubes, click here

 

Passive Tracking

The round absorber surface of the evacuated tubes passively track the sun throughout the day, so no mechanical tracking device is required. This allows optimum surface area exposure from 7am to 5pm which covers the majority of the solar radiation each day.  The Apricus evacuated tubes receive >20% more solar exposure compared to a flat absorber, allowing more solar energy conversion to heat each day.

Apricus evacuated tube solar water heater passive solar tracking

The passive tracking feature also allows the collector to be installed at directions East or West of equator pointing (North or South) without too much reduction in output.  A comparison completed for an Apricus AP-30 system installed in Sydney, Australia showed an annual reduced output of only 5% for N-E or N-W, and 16% for E or W direction (% reduction may differ in other regions).  This provides a great degree of flexibility when selecting a suitable location for the collector on a building.

Apricus AP evacuated tube solar collector effect of installation at different directions

For a more detailed explanation about passive tracking and incidence angle modifiers (IAM) click here.

 

Evacuated Tube and Heat Pipe

The Apricus evacuated tube and heat pipe are assembled differently to any other product on the market. Rather than a centrally located heat pipe with heat transfer fins radiating out to the glass wall, the heat pipe is positioned directly against the glass wall, where the sun is striking. The aluminium heat transfer fins are tightly held against the top inner wall of the evacuated tube as well as the heat pipe with a set of specially designed clips.  This is an important design feature as over time with the high temperature, Aluminium will soften, and so the clips ensure long term tight contact, which is essentially for optimal performance.  

Apricus evacuated tube and heat pipe assembly diagram

 

Header Design

The header pipe in the AP series evacuated tube solar collectors is designed for reliability. Large fluctuations in operating temperatures from day to night cause thermal expansion and contraction of the metal, which, combined with high operating pressures, places a huge amount of stress on brazed connection points.

In contrast to most other header designs that have 2 brazing points per heat pipe (60 for 30tube collector), the Apricus design uses a twin contoured header pipe design that allows "dry" connection ports that don't penetrate the header pipe. This means the header only has 4-6 brazing points in total (depending on inlet/outlet configuration). The result is an extremely reliable design that is able to withstand the rigors of daily thermal cycling. 

Apricus evacuated tube solar water heater header pipe

 

Manifold Casing

The manifold casing is made of a strong but lightweight aluminium alloy that is folded to form a strong protective enclose.  In addition the glass wool insulation is literally baked like a cake to form a complete structural shell around the header pipe.  This design minimises the amount of metal used in the casing, reducing embodied CO2, and making it very lightweight, a feature that installers value when carrying onto the roof.  An AP-30 manifold is only 9.2kg / 20.24 lbs, despite being 2196 mm / 86.45" long.

Apricus evacuated tube solar collector manifold

 

Weatherability

Living outside means that all the components of the collector must be able to withstand all that Mother Nature delivers, from freezing conditions, to the extreme heat and UV radiation of desert locations. Apricus collectors are design with this is mind. A good example is the use of silicone rubber instead of plastics for the tube caps, rubber header seals and manifold covers.  Silicone rubber is extremely durable, staying flexible in a wide temperature range, able to withstand over 200oC / 392oF, and extremely resistance to damage from UV light. 

Apricus evacuated tube solar collectors are durable in extreme climates

 

 

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