A Flat Plate Collector is a heat exchanger that converts the radiant solar energy from the sun into heat energy using the well-known greenhouse effect. It collects, or captures solar energy and uses that energy to heat water in the home for bathing, washing, and heating. A solar flat plate collector typically consists of a large heat absorbing panel, usually a large sheet of copper or aluminum (both good conductors of heat), which is painted and chemically etched black to absorb as much solar radiation as possible for max. efficiency. This surface has several parallel copper pipes/tubes running lengthways across the plate which contain the heat transfer fluid, typically water.