Prediction of optimum angle of inclination for flat plate solar collector in Zaria, Nigeria
Keywords:solar radiation, solar collector, angle of inclination, renewable energy, solar energy
A flat plate surface solar collector of dimension 0.5 m2, hinged on a horizontal support for quick adjustment of inclination from 0to 90o was fabricated, marked out at 1o intervals on a telescopic leg graduated in degrees. Measurement of the solar radiation, varying degrees of inclination were taken between 12:00 noon and 2:30 pm for 4 days at clear sky hours, within the week of nth day of the year. The measurements were made for each month of the year in Zaria, Kaduna State, Nigeria. At each degree of inclination, the solar radiation intensity was replicated three times and the average value was taken. The flat plate was set truly facing south with an engineering prismatic compass. The result showed that the optimum angle of inclination of a flat plate for maximum collection of solar radiation intensities are 26.5, 24.5, 10.0, 19.5, 26.0, 30.0, 24.0, 21.0, 11.5, 19.5, 27.0 and 30.0o, in the months of January to December, respectively. This work also revealed that the average angle of inclination at which a flat surface solar collector will be mounted at fixed position in Zaria is 22.5o. The analysis indicated that when a flat surface was located at the predicted optimum angle of inclination for each month of the year, an average annual increment of 4.23 % solar radiation intensity was achieved, when compared with the yearly average solar radiation intensity harnessed by the same flat plate collector on horizontal position, and under the same condition. This percentage increase amounted to annual average solar energy gain of 370,670 MJ/m2, at no extra-cost, other than positioning the solar collector at the identified optimum angle of inclination. Comparison of the measured and calculated optimum values of angle of inclination of a flat plate surface for trapping maximum solar radiation intensity for each month of the year indicated a high correlation with R2 of 0.97.