OK, yeah, we need to make solar panels cheaper, but this is ridiculous. While double-layerd, monocrystaline, silicon wafers hold records for efficiency, they lose when it comes to cost per unit of useful energy captured. So, moving to the complete opposite end of the spectrum, we have this...pool toy?
OK, apparently the "Solar Store" is an advanced solar thermal collection device - but it sure looks like a pool toy. The device, patented by a British company, IDC, will be mass-produced and sold for $200 a piece. It can be packed into a very small area, but inflates into a two-meter square panel. Water, running through the panel, is heated by the sun before exiting the panel and being stored in traditional hot water tanks.
Initial use will be in developing nations, but because the device is so cheap, IDC says that they provide significantly faster ROI than current solar water heaters installed throughout the developed world. Though it looks to me like they're going to have to do some work proving that the panel is durable (it doesn't look like it is) and effective, it seems like it has promise to me.
The questions I'm left asking, if it's going to be on my roof, are :
- What is going to keep it from being damaged?
- How expensive will it be to integrate it into my current hot-water system?
- What will my neighbors think?
Keep reading for an illustration of how the heater works.
written by matt, April 29, 2008
written by bradleyjones, April 30, 2008
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