The enhancement of performance by increasing the thermal efficiency of a direct absorption solar collector based on an alumina-water nanofluid is the prime target of the present research. The base panel of the collector channel is subject to either a non adiabatic or an isothermal wall condition both of which introduce two new physical parameters. Analytical solutions for the temperature field are worked out in both cases for a two dimensional steady-state model recently outlined in the literature. The desired increase in the temperature of the heat transferring nanofluid is achieved either by slightly rising the heat transfer coefficient of the bottom panel coating or by prescribing a bottom surface temperature. As a consequence of the increase in the final outlet mean temperature, the solar collector thermal efficiency is found to be enhanced via increasing the new physical parameters as compared to the traditional adiabatic wall case. For instance, 85.63% thermal efficiency of solar collector is achievable for non adiabatic bottom panel by adding suspended aluminum nanoparticles into the pure water. Even better than this, considering isothermal base panels, 100% efficiency is attained more rapidly with lesser base temperatures in the presence of higher nanoparticle volume fractions. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.