Cyberhouse - Renewable Energy Solutions

Future Developments in Solar Energy

Although solar thermal is considered a fairly mature technology, with a proven record over several decades in many countries, modification and improvement of existing products and systems continues as does the quest for its application in new areas. Collectors have continuously improved, with new selective absorber coatings and non-reflective glass coatings for flat-plates. While competitive challenges from new manufacturing areas has brought the price of evacuated tube collectors close to parity with flat-plate collectors. New simpler system typologies have been developed, some of which remove the need for glycol and decrease maintenance. Along with this has come the application of polymer materials to un-pressurised store designs, drain-back and direct system pipework and even to some collector designs. New phase change materials are being investigated, which may eventually displace water as the storage material and possibly offer more compact or long-term storage.

Solar thermal is being used to construct thermal power stations in sunny countries and to drive combined heating and cooling systems in commercial and industrial contexts. With all the increased interest in this oldest of technologies, the future of solar looks bright!