The present invention relates to an integral solar energy collector storage systems. Generally, an integral collector storage system includes a tank system, a plurality of heat exchange tubes with at least some of the heat exchange tubes arranged within the tank system, a first glazing layer positioned over the tank system and a base plate positioned under the tank system. In one aspect of the invention, the tank system, the first glazing layer an the base plate each include protrusions and a clip is provided to hold the layers together. In another aspect of the invention, the first glazing layer and the base plate are ribbed to provide structural support. This arrangement is particularly useful when these components are formed from plastic. In yet another aspect of the invention, the tank system has a plurality of interconnected tank chambers formed from tubes. In this aspect, a supply header pipe and a fluid return header pipe are provided at a first end of the tank system. The heat exchange tubes have inlets coupled to the supply header pipe and outlets coupled to the return header pipe. With this arrangement, the heat exchange tubes may be inserted into the tank chambers from the first end of the tank system.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
This application was made in part with government support awarded by the National Renewable Energy Laboratories which is a Division of the Department of Energy under prime contract number DE-AC36-99GO10337 and subcontract number NAA-2-32463-01. The government has certain rights in the invention.