A basic design of a flat plate collector consists of copper pipe, absorber plate and insulation all housed in a aluminium box with a glass cover.
As solar radiation penetrates the glass of a collector, heat is trapped inside much like within a glasshouse. The absorber, plate made from either aluminium or copper, soaks up much of the trapped heat inside the collector.
Bonded to the absorber plate is a series of copper tubes (or risers) with water flowing within.
Cold water enters the base of the collector and is heated as it travels through risers to the top of the collector where it exits the header tube as hot water.
The cover of the collector is manufactured with low iron tempered glass which is approximately 4 times as hard as regular (or annealed) glass. Toughened glass is used as it needs to withstand all weather conditions and damage from hail etc.