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|Solar thermal cooker|
Solar thermal energy (STE) is a technology for harnessing solar energy for thermal energy (heat). Solar thermal collectors are classified 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 heating water or air 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. While only 600 megawatts of solar thermal power is up and running worldwide in October 2009 according to Dr David Mills of Ausra, another 400 megawatts is under construction and there are 14,000 megawatts of the more serious concentrating solar thermal (CST) projects being developed.
ASHRAE Self-Directed Texts
- Fundamentals of Sustainable Buildings and High Performance Systems Design (GREENGUIDE)
- Advanced Energy Design for Small Office Buildings
- Advanced Energy Design for Small Retail Buildings
Engineering Graduate Courses
- MECH 834 Fundamentals of Solar Energy Conversion for Heating and Cooling Applications, Queen’s University
- MECE E4312 Solar thermal engineering, Columbia University
- MIE515H1: Alternative Energy Systems, University of Toronto
- TEC 5628 Solar Thermal Energy Technology, Appalachian State University
- MEC 522 Building Energy Dynamics and Technology, Stony Brook University (NY)
Other Non-University Courses
- SunMaxxSolar Training
- Northern Lights College Solar Thermal Installer course
- Everblue Solar Thermal Training
Relevant Software & Tools
- RETScreen for determining the feasibility of solar thermal (and other renewable energy) projects
- The German Solar Society (2005). Planning and Installing Solar Thermal Systems - A Guide for Installers, Architects and Engineers.. Earthscan.
- Kalogirou, Soteris A. (2009). Solar Energy Engineering - Processes and Systems.. Elsevier.
- Weiss, Werner (2003). Solar Heating Systems for Houses - A Design Handbook for Solar Combisystems.. Earthscan.
- Hastings, S. Robert; Wall, Maria (2007). Sustainable Solar Housing, Volumes 1-2.. Earthscan.
- Vanek, Francis M.; Albright, Louis D. (2008). Energy Systems Engineering - Evaluation and Implementation.. McGraw-Hill.
See also: Journals
Hybrid PV/Solar Thermal collectors have the potential to produce electricity through photovoltaics while directing wasted heat to solar thermal heating systems.