Solar Thermal Energy

Solar thermal energy (STE) is a technology for harnessing solar energy for thermal energy (heat). Solar thermal collectors are defined by the USA Energy Information Administration as low-, medium-, or high-temperature collectors.

  • Low temperature collectors are flat plates generally used to heat swimming pools.
  • Medium-temperature collectors are also usually flat plates but are used for creating hot water for residential and commercial use.
  • High temperature collectors concentrate sunlight using mirrors or lenses and are generally used for electric power production.

STE is different from photovoltaics, which convert solar energy directly into electricity.

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