How to Make Heating Solar Panels


Heating solar panels made with 180 soda cans ? It’s possible, as Daniel Strohl from Hemmings Garage once dit. He made his solar panel out of need for heating his garage with a lot of ingenuity and whatever he had laying around. Is it your best solution? Let’s find out.

Make Your Own Solar Panels

I am on a greenhouse, gardening and garden crafts – kick! And so I followed Daniel Strohl. He wanted to tinker in his garage, but it was too cold there in Winter. So, he created his own heating system. After 3 years of refining his solar heating project, here it is:

I love Daniels’ practical approach of just finding a key element and then adjusting all the other elements to match. For this version of his solar panel, he found an old glass sliding door, and then used that as his measuring stick for all the other materials. He cut his 2×4’s and back plywood to that size for the box. He just filled it up with cans. It turned out, there are 180.

His DIY Solar Panel Effectiveness: How Much Heat Does it Produce?

Daniel recorded temperature differentials up to 120 degrees in full sun and up to about 80 degrees in a mixture of sun and clouds.  Not enough to boil water (almost), but sure enough to heat up a garage, greenhouse or garden guest house.

Daniel Strohl described the full details of how to make heating solar panels on this page,, but has since removed it as perhaps his solar power adventure got him diverted from his car repairs, as that’s his main business. I wish I had made a copy of this page, but I didn’t.

So now here we are: Solar power 2022. Things have move on a lot since; Daniel did his project in 2010. Today’s solar panel are not made from cans but from ultra-efficient silicon solar cells instead. Technology has moved on so far that efficient solar panels on the market now can be very inexpensive. Very probably less expensive than 180 cans of coke, plus the cost of the glass, the frame, etc.

Buy Solar Panels Online

You can get solar power panels for home, RV, sheds, or off the grid situations, for just a couple of hundred bucks. (Yes, you can spend several thousands for either ‘cosmetic’ features as well as more capacity). This is a good choice:

This Inexpensive, durable kit is by HQST (High Quality Solar Technology). It’s made to last for decades. It is easy to install and suitable for beginners with solar energy. (#ad)

It includes 2 pack 100 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Solar Panel, 30 Amp 12V/24V PWM Solar Charge Controller with LCD Display, 20Ft 10AWG Solar Panel and Controller Connector Cables, 8FT 10AWG Controller and battery Connector cables,2 Set of Mounting Z Brackets.

garden shed potting table

This kit can be used in various off-grid applications that include 12 volts arrays, water pumping systems, signalling systems and more. Great for off-grid applications, such as RVs, trailers, boats, sheds, and cabins. Like my garden shed! We won’t always be able to do potting outside….

Going Solar … is a Journey

Once you start looking solar cells, other than recycled beer cans, at some point you’ll wonder: Is polycrystalline or monocrystalline better? And the answer is: Nope! Monocrystalline solar cells are more efficient because they are cut from a single source of silicon. So, go for that. Which is why I’m pointing to the very product I’m pointing at, which has monocrystalline cells.

How much do solar panels cost?

Surprisingly little, really, compared to typical energy bills. This entire kit with panel and associated required elements that you’ll need to make it work, is just about $250. Have a look here into your various solar system solutions out there. (#ad)

Make Your own Solar Panel

‘Making your own solar panel’ today is maybe better put as ‘installing your own solar panel’. OK. It does not sound as much ‘fun’ as playing with soda cans,… or beer cans… but it’s much more likely to get you the energy results you’re after!

And, it is important that we go solar / start using renewable energy. These panels are a great way to heat up the garage as Daniel used to do, and more!

Method #2 of making your own solar panel: with old fridges

Update 2022: So I received some ‘resistance’ to my conclusion that in today’s world it makes sense to actually buy you panels. So, if you’re of this opinion and really truly want to recycle, consider this second idea, explained in a clear how-to video:

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