The Andean Equatorial Region, due to its geographic location, shows great potential for using solar energy. Solar thermal energy is of interest in the residential sector in Ecuador and other Andean countries as a method to avoid fossil-derived fuels consumption. However, previous learnings of the operation of solar water heating systems in other latitudes cannot be used in the conditions of Ecuador. Thus, the performance of the solar thermal energy systems in this geographic region deserves further study that consider typical high levels of cloudiness and fast climate oscillations. The objective of this work was to investigate the effect of the orientation of solar thermal plates on their energy efficiency and model the behaviour of these systems to predict their operation under Equatorial Andean climate conditions. For the F-Chart calibration different slopes angles were used, according to the typical roofs slopes in Cuenca, Ecuador. Results showed a monthly solar fraction, contributed by an evacuated tube collector is 26% higher than the flat plate collectors. The results also depict that, in the conditions of Cuenca, the greater solar water heating occurs when the collector is inclined 14° and facing towards the south. These findings can be used to predict the best operational conditions for using solar thermal energy collectors to produce hot water in the residential sector under equatorial highland altitude conditions.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by Dirección de Investigación de la Universidad de Cuenca, DIUC. It is part of the “Calibración de modelo F-Chart para colectores solares térmicos con parametrización y validación acorde a disposiciones típicas para integración arquitectónica en climas ecuatoriales andinos” .The authors also appreciate the support of the Energy Research Group (GIE) of the Universidad Politécnica Salesiana.
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- Andean cities
- Evacuated tube collector
- Flat plate collector
- Solar energy