Efforts in the development of reliability/durability tests for solar collectors and their materials have been hampered by the lack of real time and accelerated degradation data that can be correlated with in-use conditions. In 1977, the Solar Collector Reliability/Durability Test Program was initiated by the US Department of Energy at the National Bureau of Standards (NBS) to help generate the data required to develop methods for predicting the long term durability and reliability of flat-plate solar collectors and their materials. This paper summarizes the results obtained in the test program for full-size solar collectors. Recommendations are made regarding the use and limitations of thermal performance measurements and environmental exposure tests for assessing the durability of flat-plate solar collectors.

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