A friend of mine bought the parts (fins, headers, glass) direct from the
manufacturer and built it himself. He saved 50% and was able to build a pair of
collectors for $000 Canadian.
Now the tanks can get expensive - $000 iirc. Myself, I pulled out the
electrical elements from a water heater. I bought 1/4" copper plates, drilled a
hole and brazed a pipe through the middle. I circulate plain water, and saved
the cost of a commercial tank. Obviously, I shut down for the winter. But that's
where the tank on my wood stove takes over. :-)
By the way, a friend of mine used a patio door and put 100' of black plastic
piping under the glass. He gets about 30 seconds of hot water every 10 mins. No
Bite the bullet and make/buy a proper collector. You won't be sorry.
THANKS for all the replies. I guess I'll just experiment. Buying a
commercially available unit is out of the question. I could build one the
size of a football field for what they want for a 4x8.
Steve Barker LT wrote:
On the make your own front, in addition to what Jeff mentions, here are a couple
All listed on this page:
The "Maine Solar" one looks like it would go together fairly easily, and avoids
the brazing of the risers into the header. I understand that quite a few of
them have been put together at Maine Solar workshops -- you could contact
Richard K. directly with any questions.
Its worth having a look through "Kris's Collector" -- he does some really nice
work, and has lots of pictures.
JC Solar Homes has a book on building a serpentine collector. John C. is very
active in the Yahoo Groups SolarHeat group. A number of people in that group
have experience with this collector and can answer questions.
I opted for buying the absorber plates for my collectors, and then building the
rest. The way I did it, this worked out to about $ per sqft (but read the cost
breakdown carefully). This compares to about $0 per sqft for commercial
collectors. I used the absorber plates sold by SolarEnergy.com -- these are
all copper and selective coating. SunRay.com also makes some inexpensive ones
with alum fins mechanically bonded to copper risers.
Mine is described in excruciating detail here:
(see the Shed and Collector sub link)
"Build It Yourself" Solar Projects
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