Solar thermal energy systems use the Sun’s infrared radiation to heat water for use in homes, schools, etc or, in countries nearer the Equator than Scotland, to make steam to drive turbines and generate electricity.
Its principle is very simple. A liquid (normally water, anti-freeze or oil) flows through pipes exposed to direct sunlight so the Sun can warm it up, then transfers that heat into an insulated heat store, normally a tank of water, wax or salt, until it is needed. This could be hours, days or even weeks later.
The video below shows you step by step how solar thermal energy works.