A solar radiation model is applied to a low temperature water-in-glass evacuated tubes solar collector to predict its performance via computational fluid dynamics (CFD) numerical simulations. This approach allows obtaining the transmitted, reflected, and absorbed solar radiation flux and the solar heat flux on the surface of the evacuated tubes according to the geographical location, the date, and the hour of a day. Different environmental and operational conditions were used to obtain the outlet temperature of the solar collector; these results were validated against four experimental tests based on an Official Mexican Standard resulting in relative errors between 0.8% and 2.6%. Once the model is validated, two cases for the solar collector were studied: (i) different mass flow rates under a constant solar radiation and (ii) different solar radiation (due to the hour of the day) under a constant mass flow rate to predict its performance and efficiency. For the first case, it was found that the outlet temperature decreases as the mass flow rate increases reaching a steady value for a mass flow rate of 0.1 kg/s (6 l/min), while for the second case, the results showed a corresponding outlet temperature behavior to the solar radiation intensity reaching to a maximum temperature of 36.5 °C at 14:00 h. The CFD numerical study using a solar radiation model is more realistic than the previous reported works leading to overcome a gap in the knowledge of the low temperature evacuated tube solar collectors.

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