NOTE: the longer the panel that is exposed to the sun the hotter the air gets as it rises.
Let me explain on this page, so you understand why these panels work:
At the bottom of the panel the air will enter at room temperature and be lifted through the panel (hot air rises)... as the heated air rises, it is exponentially being heated the more it travels before exiting the panel. Additionally, the black Cinefoil is very thin which heats quickly even on days where the sun goes in and out. The longer the panel is exposed to the sun, the better it will work.
The black Cinefoil is THINNER than pop or beer cans... THAT is why these panels work so well. If you use thicker materials than the Cinefoil, by the time that material is heated enough to be beneficial, the sun may get covered again by a cloud and the panel will have to start all over again when the sun comes back out.
This panel is only 3/4 of an inch thick and weighs in at less than a couple pounds.
On a partly cloudy day the black foil collector reached about 150 degrees (during the sunny times) and on days where the sun was without a cloud in the sky, the foil reached 185 degrees. The plastic film on the front of the panel only felt warm to the touch and the aluminum flashing on the back of the panel only made it to 98 degrees.
In the video below, it was an overcast day and when I took a temperature reading... it was actually reading the plastic film which was still 143 degrees.
This type of solar panel (like most) only work if you have larger south facing windows or patio doors (which are better); and of course, a little sun helps. But the nice thing about these panels... They are VERY easy to make and hang "INSIDE" your window where you don't need to concern yourself with zoning codes or big ugly boxes hanging on the side on your house. A plus, you can take them down in the summer; also, because of their design... you can use these in apartments and condos.
The panels use no electrical or mechanical parts and they work awesome as the air is super heated through back chamber of the panel and exits out the top as if there were a blower in the panel.
To aid the distribution of the heated air that exits the panel, add a small fan (on a low setting) to circulate the heated air from the main room to other rooms in each doorway. DO NOT add a fan to blow through the panel itself... that will only serve to force cool air through the panel and not allow the air to super heat as it rises through the panels chamber.
Yet another option... turn your thermostat's fan to on so the furnace fan runs all the time; this will allow for the best circulation throughout the house... put it back to auto at night.
The only hard to find part of this panel is the Cinefoil which can be bought from my website RedbarnCrafts.com
Additionally... by using the Cinefoil, your panels will look more professional!
Check out these videos before starting the project. I explain (AND SHOW) how functional these panels really are.
Let's get started...
Step 1: Materials
Materials needed for the Window Solar Panel:
1. Screen frames and framing Corners
3. Aluminum flashing
4. Black Cinefoil
5. Heat resistant aluminum tape
6. Window treatment film (comes with double sided tape)
7. Suction cups with #10 eye screws
10. Optional two soffit vents (not shown)