Residential Solar Powered Products & Information


Water Heaters



Solar Shower - Standard Cream Lacquered Steel Frame, Straight Body. Model 530220


Top 5 - Best DIY Solar Power Projects


Solar Water Heating Systems

[Thermosiphon Diagram]

Residential solar water heating systems can be used in any climate and the power they use is free!  All systems include tanks for storing water and solar collectors.  The two types can be active or passive.


Active solar water heating systems can either be direct or indirect circulation.  Direct circulation is used in areas that tend not to get below freezing.  Indirect systems use a heat transfer fluid & an exchanger to heat the water prior to distribution throughout the house.  These are needed in regions where temperatures get very cold.

Passive solar water heating systems are typically cheaper and last longer than the active ones but are not as efficient.  There are also two types.  Integral collector-storage passive systems are uses in locations that rarely freeze and are designed for households with large hot water requirements.  Thermosyphon systems use a tank above the collection unit & the warmer water rises to the tank.  These are usually more expensive than the Integral style system.  Due to the weight of this type of system potential buyers need to be aware of the load bearing capacity of their roofs.  One major benefit is that passive setups require very little maintenance.

Both of the system types above contain a solar collector.

If you live in a colder, more northern climate, read about drain back systems.

There are three main types of collectors:


Flat Plate -

Glazed, insulated and weatherproofed boxes containing a dark colored plate under glass or plastic.


Integral Collector / Storage Systems (aka Batch System) -

Black tank within an insulated box that is glazed.  This type preheats water prior to sending it to your conventional backup water heater.  Shouldn't be used where freezing temperatures occur frequently.


Evacuated Tube Solar Collectors -

These are most commonly used in commercial installations.  They are a series of glass tubes, within tubes and attached to a solar absorbing fin to heat the water.


Solar water heating system facts:

  • A complete system can totally pay for itself in as little as 3 years.

  • The Department of Energy calculates that 12% of the average American utility costs are from heating water.

  • An electric water heater uses the single largest amount of energy of all residential appliances.

  • Solar water heaters do not expel any pollutants into the environment.

  • Direct current (DC) water heating elements are available and can be used with photovoltaic solar panel systems (or wind turbines) and fit in many standard electric water heaters.


Determining the appropriate solar water heating system will depend on the cost, climate of application and hot water demand.  Area building codes and laws also need to be taken into account. has a "What to look for when buying" webpage that you may find useful.


Great Video for General Information



If you are the do it yourself kind, the Make blog has how to make a DIY thermal water heater for less than five dollars.  (You will need access to some commonly discarded items.)


GOBI 408 Solar Water Collector, Set of two 4 x 8 collectors

Solar Camping Hiking Outdoor Survival Bath Bags


Unique shape gives more to stretch and turn, yet offers nearly the same thermal efficiency as a style bag. The soft and subtle material makes this range of outdoor survival bath bag a must-have for any camping trip. It is easy to clean or wash and has a high quality lining to make it highly suitable for a variety of camping adventures. You will love the warm camp shower!