Welcome to the website of Denis Croombs

Solar panels:-

            Based on http://www.builditsolar.com/Experimental/CopperAlumCollector/CopperAlumCol.htm

            Which is the best value for money option based on the results of http://www.builditsolar.com/Experimental/PEXCollector/SmallPanelTests.htm



  • 2.4mt x 1.2mt flat plate collectors set at 74 º (optional for winter energy)
  • Support frame assembly to be much stronger than above example to cope with the winds that we have been seeing in our garden.
  • Each 2.4mt x 1.2mt panel has an effective collector area of 2.310mt x 1.110mt = 2.5641 Square metres
  • I plan to build 4 solar panels (10.26Sq Mt total) in 1 bank first to ensure the panel design works and to test out the thermal store and control system.
  • The second bank of 8 panels (20.52Sq Mt) will then be built to increase the collection capacity ready for the winter period.
  • If at any time the thermal store cannot accept the heat available in the solar panels the control system changes the position of a control valve, starts the pump for that circuit and the heat is dumped into a radiator mounted in the open air at the back of the boiler shed.
  • I am going to make the panel slightly different by fixing the tubes/plates to a 30mm x 12mm strip of timber on top of the 1” thick foil insulation and the ply sheet behind that, this will allow hot air behind plates increasing the energy surface area and reducing the thermal links to outside the solar panel.


Build details from the www.builditsolar.com website:-

How Long Does It Take?

  • I did not time everything, but here are some actual timings and some estimates:
  • Cutting, cleaning, and soldering the manifold -- about 2 hours.
  • Pounding out the 28 2 ft long fins took 15 minutes.
  • Attaching all the fins to the absorber board, including caulking and stapling took 1 hour and 45 minutes.
  • Painting -- half an hour.
  • Building the frame -- half an hour
  • Installing the insulation panel -- 15 minutes
  • Glazing the collector -- 45 minutes for all steps.
  • This adds up to 6 hours -- probably closer to 7 with some think time -- probably closer to 8 with some coffee breaks --but you may be faster.
  • A group of people could put a bunch of these together assembly line style very efficiently