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Solar Water Heater

Neil Noble

Are there any plans for low cost solar water heating designs that would be suitable for Eastern Uganda? The commercial solar water heating systems are very expensive in Uganda so an alternative approach is required. This is for a small charity working in the region.

2 Answers

Neil Noble

Practical Action doesn’t have any plans of their own for a simple and cheap solar water heating system. However, there are a few organisations that have worked on this technology and they may be able to provide something useful.

If you look on the Practical Action website you will see an introductory fact sheet on solar water heating which could be of interest There is also a design from Ben Dana who was working at AIDG at the time and was not part of Practical Action work

WOT has also produced a design of solar water heater that can be accessed through their website. They are a non-profit organisation working in the field of small scale sustainable energy, based at the University of Twente.

WOT - Werkgroep Ontwikkelingstechnieken (Working Group on Development Techniques) Vrijhof 205/206 P.O.Box 217 7500 AE Enschede The Netherlands Tel: +31 53 489 3845 Fax: +31 53 489 2671 E-mail: Website:

Their water heater design can be found at:

There are some hints at a low-cost solar water heating design in the VITA document. This is a very old document but there may be something of interest.

VITA has now been incorporated into Enterprise Works.

Enterprise Works Worldwide, Inc. 1828 L Street, NW, Suite 1000 Washington DC 20036 USA Tel: +1 202 293 4600 Fax: +1 202 293 4598 Email: Web:


There is an idea here from the REUK website.

There are other websites with loads of designs but I have them marked on a different machine and have not brought the list of favourites with me. Amongst the options I've seen are the simple approach of direct heating a black cylinder in a wooden box with a glass panel. The cylinder is sat on insulation to reduce heat transfer.