I'm going to install a small system and have the workshop facilities
available to make up my panels.
Are there any resources out there on design principles etc etc.
There are some plans for building your own flat plate collectors here:
Have a look at the ones by Kris -- really nicely made.
You did not say what the system is for, but if its for space heating, I'd also
consider air collectors. They are simple, cheap, easy to make, and low
maintenance. Some here:
This is a good (free) book on air collectors:
For references on design procedures, there are quite a few good books -- here
are two I like:
Solar Thermal Engineering, Lunde
Active Solar Collectors and Their Application, Ari Rabl
The Duffie and Beckman, Solar Thermal Processes gets widely referenced --
personally, I don't find it as useful as the Lunde book above.
Some more here:
"Build It Yourself" Solar Projects
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Ordered a copy of Lunde and a couple of other books. Starting to work
on design issues now and hopefully it'll end up in an installed system
in a couple of months.