A Solar Thermal Panel is a solar panel structure designed to heat water or another working fluid. The Utilihab Solar Thermal Panel kits employ the latest in domestic solar thermal technology in the form of evacuated tube collector arrays that are mounted in a manifold integral to a frame. Evacuated tube collectors use series of borosilicate glass tubes connected to an end manifold unit which allows arrays to be freely scaled to any size. The Utilihab Solar Thermal Panel employs a T-slot profile based manifold allowing the arrays to be integrated into many structural configurations, though the usual arrangements are based on retrofit frames resting flat against a southerly-facing pitched roof or mounted on a pitched frame upon flat roofs or in free-standing collectors. These collectors can be used in three basic ways, offered as three kit types;
•Passive systems that employ an insulated water storage tank on the top of the manifold and rely on thermo-siphoning to move water between the array and the tank. Usually used for specialized or supplementary heating systems such as for heating the water of an individual shower or a hot tub.
•Active Indirect systems which employ a glycol anti-freeze working fluid actively pumped between array and a heat exchanger in a collective hot water storage tank. Commonly used for multi-source heating systems.
•Active Drainback systems that are similar to the Indirect system but feature a drain-back tank so that, in extreme freezing weather, the working fluid is drained back into a storage tank to prevent damage to the solar system.
All three kit types use the same hardware in different multiples and can be scaled from small supplementary systems to commercial/induatrial high temperature hot water systems.
Note that the same frame and manifold components used for the Solar Thermal Panel also have potential use for vertical and pitched algaeculture bioreactor tube arrays.