Retired Aircraft Engineer Gary Reysa has published plans on how to build your own solar heating system. Complete plans and instructions are available online including detailed information about how the systems operates, how it performs and what costs are involved. The plans are complete with a list of necessary materials and some helpful construction tips on how to build and modify the project according to your home heating needs. The instructions detail how to assess your home’s needs in order to determine what size solar panels your home will require.
YouTube: Clean Power Solar Heater
Gary walks us through the building process by using his own solar barn project as an example. Gary was able to complete his project for only $350USD, using parts exclusive to his local hardware store. He further minimized costs by integrating the solar panels into his building structure using available materials.
Gary is quick to warn that the benefits of solar heating can not be utilized unless the home or building has adequate insulation. Solar energy will not perform well if there is a draft in the house. He recommends planning and installing the solar systems in new building sites in order to maximize the economic benefits. Although a propane heater would have cost a bit less than building the solar collector, paying $2 per gallon for propane over our five-month heating season would have cost $300 to $400 per year. The simple payback period of the collector is a year or two on materials cost. I haven’t needed a backup heater, which is an additional savings.
Gary’s website is BuildItSolar.com. The site is colourful, easy to navigate and contains many great resources for anyone interested in building their own home energy projects. Visit the following pages for more information:
Why solar energy projects make sense
A detailed explanation of the benefits of solar energy.
Solar Site Survey
Information to help assess your site. Does your location get enough sun? Do nearby obstacles (trees, buildings, etc.,) at your location block too much sun?
Solar Project Plans
Over 500 solar projects are listed here and including stories, diagrams and blueprints, photos, examples and a section devoted to experimental solar technology.