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While we hear a lot about renewable energy, we often don’t see a lot of it integrated at a residential level. However, solar thermal panels are relatively inexpensive to build and have many variables that can be manipulated to make for rigorous experimentation. This project has been designed in such a way to give students the opportunity to design and build solar thermal panels for heating either water or air.
Students are encouraged to design the panel in such a way as to allow variables to be changed so that they can quantify the impact of each design variable. Students can finish the project by determining the most cost effective design that they tested. The time required for this project will depend on how many variables the students choose to experiment with. The document provided below is technical and explains the basic principles behind the construction of a solar thermal panel and associated variables.
You may also find our guide on Calculating Savings useful. This guides you through performing basic cost / benefit analyses to determine payback periods all the way up to complex Net Present Value analyses, as well as helping you assess the size any carbon reductions you may be achieving.