At times, solar panels with heat pipe technology degrade over time or fail completely. It is often difficult to detect where the problems are if the solar thermal tubes themselves are visually intact. In these cases, it is possible that the failure is due to the copper heat pipes that transfer the heat to the manifold of the solar panel.

Solar thermal heat pipes – a selection of the styles available

Solar thermal heat pipes are available in a wide variety of styles and sizes. Below is a selection of the more common types.

Solar thermal heat pipe failures

Solar thermal heat pipes contain a small amount of fluid that transfers heat to the top of the pipe as it heats up. If the heat pipe fails, the heat transfer is significantly reduced. Common failures are a leak in the seal or even a slit in the pipework as shown.