Solar Panel Heater

A few posts ago I mentioned that I was building a solar panel heater ( also known as a soda can heater or solar space heater). Well, I finished the project, but have run into a small problem.

The solar heater actually works very well. Air gets pulled in through the bottom and circulated through the black aluminum cans and exits as hot air. It works just like it’s supposed to.

The problem I have is that attaching it to the house has proved more difficult than I thought. The area I originally planned to put it doesn’t get quite as much sunlight as I thought. Unfortunately, the house is made of concrete, so attaching it to the house and adding holes is very difficult. I am currently looking at mounting it in a different location and using long pipes to run it into the house.

Until then, here are some of the pictures from the building process.

Solar Heater (soda can heater)

Over the last few days, the big news has been that Lowe’s will start carrying solar panels for sale for people wanting to install the panels themselves. While you can build your own solar panels for much cheaper, this is definitely a win for solar panels and green energy.

However, since winter is almost here, I have been working on the solar space heater (also known as a soda can heater, or beer can heater) and it is almost done. I am just waiting to collect a few more cans.

soda can heater

I watched a number of videos on how to connect the tubes, but finally decided that the best and easiest way was to cut off the bottoms of the cans and push one into another. At the other end I cut a hole in the bottom of the can and and put it in backwards to the others. This gives me can tops at both ends.

solar space heater-cans

For the intake and exhaust pipes I used expandable aluminum piping. This isn’t ideal as it is pretty weak when it expands, but it should help raise the temp a little more. Square rain pipe would be ideal, but it isn’t available here where I live.

solar space heater-intake

solar space heater-intake

Check out the pictures and leave comments if you have any questions. I will make another post once it is finished.

Solar Panels For Sale- Solar Panel and Energy Books

solar energy evil genius 50 green projects evil genius home energy diet

A few days ago I ordered a three of books about solar panels and green energy: Solar Energy projects for the Evil Genius, 50 Green Projects for the Evil Genius, and The Home Energy Diet: Ho to Save Money by Making Your House Energy-Smart. Two are for myself and one is a gift for a friend.

Once they get here I will post review on the books and of course any of the projects that I complete. I live in Japan, and the books will be coming from the US, so it might be a week or two before they arrive.

My hope is that these books contain some serious green energy and solar panelĀ  projects and not just science experiments. I have mentioned before that there are a lot of pre-made solar panels for sale, but that you can make your own much cheaper (you can find more information on this by clicking the ad in the sidebar) and I am hoping these books will also include various methods to create other cheap green projects.

**Update: Since I posted this post this morning, I found out that the books have arrived in the US and will be shipped to me tomorrow. If all goes well I should have them within a week

Solar Space Heater: Using Solar Power To Heat Your House in the Winter

A full sun eclipse - 3d render

The focus of Solar Panels for Sale is to discuss how to purchase, find, or make solar panels for your house. However, since we are now coming into the coldest months of the year, I wanted to talk a little bit about heating your house. If you already have solar panels or are in the process of building them, then they will be able to run an electric heater to keep your house warm. Lately, I have come across another way to use the suns energy to heat your house, a solar space heater (also known as a beer can heater or soda can heater.

The basic idea of s solar space heater is to use the sun to heat up a air as it which can then be fed into your house. In this case, soda cans are spray painted back to catch more of the suns rays and as the air passes through them it is heated. Since hot air rises, cool air is automatically pulled in from the bottom and hot air is pushed out from the top. A lot of people also use fans to pump additional air.

I have started making mine, and overall the projet has cost about $15 in supplies. This is buying everything new here in Japan. I think it could be built for much less in the US and especially if you have scrap materials laying around. Here is my frame so far. Now I am just waiting to collect more cans. ( I have been encouraging my friends to drink more…it’s for the environment right?).

Fram and backing for solar space heater
Frame and backing for solar space heater

The pine frame cost about $5 and the backing is piece of corrugated plastic. I choose it because it was cheaper than wood and I am hoping will provide a bit of installation. I will continue to keep taking pictures and give more details once it is built. I will also give the results once I have it hooked up to the house (just have to get those cans).

In the meantime, check out the videos below for details and ideas. If you have built your own or are going to give it a try please post comments and let me know how it goes.

I think this one is particularly well made and designed.