Industrial Scale Solar

A transpired collector on the NREL Research Support Facility in Golden, Colorado A transpired collector on the NREL Research Support Facility in Golden, Colorado

 SOLAR PROCESS HEAT technologies provide heat for industrial-specific applications, including ventilation air preheating, solar process heating, and solar cooling. Large commerical and industrial properties can take advantage of solar process heat where it would be impractical for a small home or business. 

Transpired collectors consist of a thin, black metal panel mounted on a south-facing wall.  The panel absorbs the sun's heat and is perforated with many small holes so that air can pass through.  As air passes through a transpired collecter, it is preheated and then sucked into the building's ventilation system.  Preheating air can significantly reduce the amount of energy necessary to heat a building in the winter.

Solar water-heating systems can be used to heat water for homes and to provide hot water on a larger scale for non-residential buildings.  Industrial solar water-heating systems use solar collectors, a heat exchanger which transfers heat to stored water, and large storage tanks.  Industrial-scale solar collectors can operate very efficiently at high temperatures. Large solar water-heating systems often used an evacuated-tube collector or a linear concentrator.  Evacuated-tube collectorsarea series of modular tubes, mounted in parallel, each of which contains an absorber tube. Sunlight passing through an outer glass tube heats the absorber tube contained within it, and a vacuum between the two tubes insulates the inner tube to help retain heat.  Linear concentrators use long, curved mirrors to focus sunlight on fluid-filled tubes.

Thermally activated cooling systems can be driven by solar energy and use thermal energy to cool air.  Learn more about thermally activated cooling systems from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.


  • Cooling
  • Water or Space Heating


  • Commercial
  • Industrial



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