Fenice Energy

Understanding What is Solar Thermal Energy

Solar thermal energy is the technology that harnesses the sun’s heat to produce thermal energy for heating water, space heating, and electricity generation.

what is solar thermal

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Did you know that in India, over 10 million homes use solar thermal energy? They save more than INR 5,000 crores yearly on energy bills. Solar thermal energy (STE) taps into the sun’s power to create heat, changing how we get energy for our homes, businesses, and factories.

Solar thermal is different from solar panels. It turns sunlight into heat, not electricity. This system reflects sunrays onto a collector, which warms water. This hot water can be saved for later, cutting the need for extra systems to store energy.

In India, Fenice Energy leads in providing solar thermal solutions. They’ve helped customers for over 20 years, using the sun’s heat effectively and saving on energy costs.

Key Takeaways

  • Solar thermal energy uses the sun’s heat to create energy.
  • It works by reflecting sunlight onto a collector, warming water.
  • This hot water can then be used for many things without the need for extra storage.
  • It’s more efficient than solar panels since it stores energy directly as heat.
  • Fenice Energy in India is a top choice for solar thermal solutions for all kinds of customers.

Introduction to Solar Thermal Energy

Solar thermal energy (STE) is a way to use the sun for heating. It involves capturing solar energy to create heat. This is used in industrial, residential, and commercial settings.

Solar thermal systems are different from solar panels. They don’t turn sunlight into electricity. Instead, they focus sunlight using mirrors or lenses. This concentrated sunlight heats water. Then, this heated water can be used in homes. One big benefit is that this hot water can be kept for later use, meaning no extra storage is needed.

Definition and Overview

Solar thermal energy uses the sun’s heat for various needs. It can provide heat, cool areas, or help in industrial processes. Unlike solar panels, which make electricity directly, solar thermal systems use the sun’s power to warm up fluids or materials. This heat is then used to warm places up or make steam for electricity.

Difference from Photovoltaic Technology

Solar thermal energy works differently from solar panels that make electricity. Yet, solar thermal is more efficient in certain ways. Unlike solar panels, it doesn’t create electricity from sunlight. Instead, it turns sunlight into heat. This makes it perfect for heating, cooling, and making steam for power.

what is solar thermal

Solar thermal technology uses the sun’s heat for various tasks. There are three types based on the required heat level. These include low, medium, and high-temperature systems.

Low-Temperature Collectors

Low-temperature collectors work without glass covering. They warm pools or help heat up air for buildings. A solar air panel warms the air, which then goes back into the building.

It needs openings for air to flow in and out. This type is mainly used in homes.

Medium-Temperature Collectors

Medium-temperature systems use flat panels to warm water or air. They can heat up to 100°C. For higher temperatures, they rely on special designs like parabolic troughs.

These can reach extremely high temperatures, useful for various needs.

High-Temperature Collectors

High-temperature collectors focus sunlight with mirrors or lenses. They’re used in manufacturing or for making electricity. Two specific kinds are vital for these jobs: Concentrated Solar Thermal (CST) and Concentrated Solar Power (CSP).

These are crucial in industry and electricity production. They offer high heat up to 300℃.

solar thermal collectors

Applications of Solar Thermal Energy

Residential and Commercial Heating

Solar thermal energy is great for heating and providing hot water. It works well in homes and businesses. These systems use the sun’s heat for warmth. This includes how heat is collected, stored, and moved around. Some features can do several jobs. There are both simple and more complex systems. Besides heating, solar power can also cool buildings. This is done by a special process.

Industrial Process Heat

Industries can use solar heat too. They often use collectors that focus sunlight with mirrors or lenses. These can reach up to 300°C. Many industries need this kind of heat for their products. For example, it’s used in sterilization, drying, and pasteurization.

Solar Thermal Power Generation

Solar thermal energy can also make electricity. These systems turn sunlight into hot steam. This steam powers a turbine, which turns a generator. This produces electricity. The heart of this system is a field of reflectors and a receiver. They work together to gather sunlight and heat a fluid. This fluid then makes the steam that runs the turbine.

Solar Thermal Technologies

Solar thermal technology uses the sun’s energy to produce heat for different needs. It includes flat plate collectors, evacuated tube collectors, and CST systems.

Flat Plate Collectors

Flat plate collectors are mainly for heating spaces. They warm air in a solar panel and then send it into buildings. These systems work best when the solar air is hotter than indoors. They are often found in homes.

Evacuated Tube Collectors

Evacuated tube collectors are a special kind of solar collector. They have glass tubes with a vacuum inside to trap heat. This design lets them reach higher temperatures than flat plate collectors, up to 200°C. They are more efficient in cold weather because the vacuum reduces heat loss. These collectors are used for heating water, spaces, and in industry.

Concentrating Solar Thermal Systems

Concentrating solar thermal (CST) systems focus sunlight using mirrors onto a receiver. The receiver heats fluid that can generate steam for electricity. Types of these systems include parabolic troughs, Fresnel reflectors, power towers, and dish/engine setups.

Solar thermal technologies

Thermal Energy Storage Systems

Storing thermal energy well is key for using solar heat widely. This is where thermal energy storage (TES) systems come in. They help separate the time of solar heat generation from when we can use it. There are two main types: sensible heat storage and latent heat storage.

Sensible Heat Storage

Sensible thermal energy storage (STES) works by heating up a substance without making it change form. This is done by heating up things like water, molten salts, or rocks. You can then take the heat back out to use it. STES is simple and cheap, but it doesn’t hold as much energy as latent heat storage.

Latent Heat Storage

Latent thermal energy storage (LTES) uses materials that change from solid to liquid or liquid to gas to hold heat. These materials can store a lot of heat at a certain temperature when they change. LTES can store more energy than STES. But, it’s harder to set up and costs more. Also, there are some issues like picking the right materials, supercooling, and keeping the materials from separating.


Solar thermal energy is both versatile and efficient. It uses the sun’s energy for heating, cooling, and power. Fenice Energy leads in clean energy solutions in India. They provide solar thermal systems for all, from homes to big industries.

Fenice Energy has solutions for every need, from low to high temperatures. Low-temperature systems heat spaces and water. Medium ones work for homes and businesses. And high-temperature systems are for industries and power. All these are designed for high efficiency and low energy costs. This makes them great choices for those who care about the environment.

The need for renewable, green energy is growing. Solar thermal plays a big part in India’s energy future. Fenice Energy’s focus on innovation and quality means its customers benefit. They help make our future more sustainable for everyone.


What is solar thermal energy?

Solar thermal energy (STE) turns sunlight into heat. This heat is used in many ways, like in industry and for heating water in homes. It is different from solar panels, which make electricity from the sun.

How do solar thermal systems work?

These systems focus sunlight using mirrors onto a spot that heats up. This heat is then used to warm water. That water can be kept hot until needed.

What are the different types of solar thermal collectors?

Collectors are grouped by how hot they can make things. There are ones for heating spaces and water. Others work for things like making electricity and for big industrial uses.

What are the applications of solar thermal energy?

Solar heat is used in many ways. It warms homes and water. It also powers some electrical systems.

What are the advantages of solar thermal energy?

Solar heat is efficient and can be saved for later use. It’s good for many areas, from homes to big industries.

How does solar thermal energy differ from photovoltaic technology?

Photovoltaic technology makes electricity from the sun. Solar thermal technology makes heat. This heat is used in many ways, like heating or cooling.

What are the different types of solar thermal technologies?

There are several kinds of solar technology. Some catch lots of sunlight. Others focus sunlight to make it very hot.

How does thermal energy storage work in solar thermal systems?

Solar systems can save heat in water, salts, or other materials. This lets them work even when the sun isn’t shining. It makes the systems work better.

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