Accurate modeling of solar collector system using a rigorous radiative model is applied for the glass cover which represents the most important component of the system and greatly affects the thermal performance. The glass material is analyzed as a non-gray plane-parallel medium subjected to solar and thermal irradiations in one dimensional case using the radiation element method by ray emission model (REM2). The optical constants of a clear and low-iron glass materials proposed by Rubin have been used. These optical constants, 160 values of real part n and imaginary part k of the complex refractive index of such materials, cover the range of interest for calculating the solar and thermal radiative transfer through the glass cover. The computational times for predicting the thermal behavior of solar collector were found to be prohibitively long for the non-gray calculation using 160 values of n and k for both glasses. Therefore, suitable semi-gray models have been proposed for rapid calculation. The temperature distribution within the glass cover shows a good agreement with that obtained with iterative method in case of clear glass. It has been shown that the effect of the non-linearity of the radiative heat exchange between the black plate absorber and the surroundings on the shape of the efficiency curve is important. Indeed, the thermal loss coefficient is not constant but is a function of temperature, due primarily to the radiative transfer effects. Therefore, when the heat exchange by radiation is dominant compared with the convective mode, the profile of the efficiency curve is not linear. It has been also shown that the instantaneous efficiency of the solar collector is higher in case of low-iron glass cover.
ASJC Scopus subject areas