Extruded Plastic Solar Thermal Panel Case

It occurred to me that solar thermal panels could be produced for much less that the $150 USD per square meter that current panels cost. This can be done by extruding the case and filling it with insulation at the same time. This reduces the cost for the case to $15-$20 USD.

Using plastic instead of glass reduces the cost even further. The cost per 48 x 96 inch sheet is between $65 and $100 USD depending on thickness.

Aluminum tubing and coil runs from $1.5 to $2.0 per pound. Large rolls of aluminum coil are $1.50 to $2.00 per pound. The amount of aluminum used for both the heat collector and the piping is under 10 pounds.

Total cost for a 4 x 8 foot (3  m^2)  panel is approximately $100 to $140 USD. Making the cost per square meter $33 to $47 USD. Making these extruded panels cost less than 1/4 of the current commercially available panels.



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7 Responses to Extruded Plastic Solar Thermal Panel Case

  1. pretty good idea. have anyone seen mass production ofnthese solar panels any where?

  2. john says:

    I have a better panel design I’ve just not been motivated to complete (sitting in the basement for years now) which has goals to yours. If your project moves forward let me know and I can take care of your panel aspect of it for about the same price but with better performance, longer life, more recyclable, and easier to mass produce.

    NOTE: 300F is the max for this kind of panel, your plastic has to handle that as does your foam – which limits your choices a little. Also, proper solar paint doesn’t work on plastic – but ok for the Al tubing. Plastic over glass is an option, but one should consider the IR on whatever is used since that is the largest part of the sunlight on cloudy days. I also have the special solar paint that is hard to get unless you are biz or edu.

    At the moment i’m holding onto the details… depends on the project and publishing options with my edu.

    Off topic- You have interesting projects; your interests are similar to mine. 3D printing I’m not so keen on, played with it already. Thing with 3D printing is the material science of the “ink” -everything else is not a problem.

    • admin says:

      I already have the solar thermal panel design done. It has been done for ~20 years now. It is now just a matter of figuring out and kludging the automated high speed production.

      Perfect is the enemy of finished. Right now I am no longer going for perfection, just finished.

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