Common control strategies used to regulate the flow of liquid through flat-plate solar collectors are discussed and evaluated using a dynamic collector model. Performance of all strategies is compared using different set points, flow rates, insolation levels and patterns, and ambient temperature conditions. The unique characteristic of the dynamic collector model is that it includes the effect of collector capacitance. Short term temperature response and the energy-storage capability of collector capacitance are shown to play significant roles in comparing on/off and proportional controllers. Inclusion of these effects has produced considerably more realistic simulations than any generated by steady-state models. Simulations indicate relative advantages and disadvantages of both types of controllers, conditions under which each performs better, and the importance of pump cycling and controller set points on total energy collection.

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