City University of Hong Kong Department Name



Solar thermal system


The application of solar thermal power system is positioned the first place in the renewable energy power technology. The solar radiation in any location undergoes daily and seasonal variations. In some periods, the incoming solar energy may not be adequate for the intended purpose and so an auxiliary power supply is needed. On other occasions the solar input energy may exceed the immediate demand and the design decision is then either to store or to dump the energy in surplus. This has to be evaluated on individual case basis for achieving the best outcome. For a domestic hot water (DHW) system, the acquired heat energy is usually stored for only a few hours. Therefore the “total system” concept, including the overall system control of the heat load, the solar heat collection, and the auxiliary heating provisions, is required to be analyzed all together. On the other hand, the centralized solar DHW heating and distribution system for groups of houses or apartments can be considered. In a high-rise residential building in Hong Kong, arrays of flat-plate collectors that occupy the south and west façades can provide the complimentary effect. Unlike the building-integrated photovoltaic (BiPV) systems, the economic benefit can be visualized today, not in the future.


Centralized solar DHW system for a high-rise residential


Monthly thermal gain of arrays of solar


Average hot water temperature of thermal storage calorifier throughout 8760 hours


Alternative solar heating devices like the different evacuated tube designs and solar-assisted heat pump technologies should be well analyzed for applications in different climate zones.


Related publications :


Book chapters:

Chow TT. Solar energy for building applications in the warm Asia Pacific region. In: Trends in Solar Energy Research, Chapter 4, Nova Science Publishers, ISBN: 1-59454-866-8, New York, 2006, pp.77-106.

Fong SKF, Chow TT, Lin JZ, Chan ALS. Application potential of solar thermal technologies for buildings in Hong Kong. 太陽能熱技術在香港建築的應用. In: Building Design and Technologies: Experiences in Hangzhou and Hong Kong, China Architecture & Building Press, 中國建築工業出版社, ISBN: 978-7-112-10388-1, Beijing, China, 2008, pp.250-259. (in Chinese)

Chow Tin-Tai, Dong Zhaoting. Energy performance of solar water heating systems in subtropical Hong Kong. In: Essays on Environmental Studies, Chapter 14, ISBN: 978-960-9549-75-2, Athens Institute for Education and Research, Athens, Greece, 2012, pp.139-150.

Journal articles:

Chow TT, Fong KF, Chan ALS, Lin Z. Potential application of centralized solar water heating system for high-rise residential building in Hong Kong. Applied Energy, 83(1), 2006, 42-54.

Fong KF, Chow TT, Hanby VI. Development of optimal design of solar water heating system by using evolutionary algorithm. ASME Journal of Solar Energy Engineering, 129(4), November 2007, 499-501.

Chow TT, Pei G, Fong KF, Lin Z, Chan ALS, He M. Modeling and application of direct-expansion solar-assisted heat pump for water heating in subtropical Hong Kong. Applied Energy, 87(2), 2010, 643-649.

Chow Tin-Tai, Li Chunying, Lin Zhang. The function of solar absorbing window as water-heating device. Building and Environment, 46(4): 955-960, 2011.

Chow Tin-Tai, Dong Zhaoting, Chan Lok-Shun, Fong Kwong-Fai, Bai Yu. Performance evaluation of evacuated tube solar domestic hot water systems in Hong Kong. Energy and Buildings, 43(12), 2011, 3467-3474.

Chow Tin-Tai, Chan Lok-Shun, Fong Kwong-Fai, Tan Richard, Dong Zhaoting. Experimental study of evacuated-tube solar water heaters in Hong Kong. Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers Part A - Journal of Power and Energy, 226(4), 2012, 447-461.

Chow TT, Bai Y, Fong KF, Lin Z. Analysis of a solar assisted heat pump system for indoor swimming pool water and space heating. Applied Energy, 100, 2012, 309-317.

Chow TT, Bai Y, Dong Z and Fong, SKF. Selection between single-phase and two-phase evacuated-tube solar water heaters in different climate zones of China. Solar Energy, 98, 2013, 265-274.

Conference papers:

Chow TT, Fong KF. Façade-integrated solar systems for Hong Kong: PV or thermal technology? Proceedings of International Conference on Alternative Energy, Hong Kong, China, Jun 2005, pp.101-108.

Fong KF, Hanby VI, Chow TT. Effective paradigm of evolutionary algorithm for system design of centralized solar water heating for high-rise residential building. Proceedings of Renewable Energy 2006 International Conference and Exhibition, Chiba, Japan, Oct 2006. (CD-ROM)


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