The present work presents a thermodynamic performance analysis of a solar dryer with an evacuated-tube collector. Drying experiments for apples, carrots and apricots were conducted, after a preliminary stage of the investigation which included measurements for the determination of the collector efficiency. These results showed that the warm outlet air of the collector attains temperature levels suitable for drying of agricultural products without the need of preheating. Thus, the present collector was used as the heat source for a drying chamber in the frame of the development of a novel, convective, indirect solar dryer; given the fact that in the literature there are only a few studies about this type of collectors in conjunction with solar drying applications. Thin-layer drying models were fitted to the experimental drying curves, including the recent model of Diamante et al.  which showed good correlation coefficients for all the tested products. Drying parameters such as moisture ratio and drying rates were calculated. Furthermore, an energetic/exergetic analysis of the dryer was also conducted and performance coefficients such as pick-up and exergy efficiencies, energy utilization ratio, exergy losses were determined for several configurations such as single and double-trays and several drying air velocities. On the other hand, an optimal collector surface area study was conducted, based on laws for minimum entropy generation. Design parameters such as optimum collector area were determined based on the minimum entropy generation number. The mass flow number, along with the maximum collector and fluid exit temperatures were studied in relation to the minimum entropy generation. The energy/exergy analysis proposed, provides a useful tool for the evaluation of this type of collectors regarding their effectiveness as part of a solar drying system. Moreover, the results of the present study showed that the proposed solar dryer has a capacity for drying larger quantities of the products than those considered (in the frame of the experimental study) given the high efficiency of the collector. In general, the proposed system provides an interesting option for the penetration of this type of collectors in large-scale applications in the agricultural and industrial sector.