Concerned about heating costs this winter? Do you like to actually be *warm* in your house and not a chilly 67F? Do you have a south-facing window? Do you have ANY window?

Then this easy project may be for you!

Solar != (High Tech || Expensive)
Unfortunately, it is a common misconception that solar energy has to be an unbelievably complex undertaking that is not feasible for the average home owner. This is so far from the truth.

There are 2 basic kinds of solar energy, active solar energy (think solar panels and exploding batteries), and passive solar energy (the kind that happens when you wear black in the middle of summer). Active solar energy, while still a viable option in certain applications often requires specialized knowledge, expensive equipment, and a lot of (human) energy. Not so with passive, or with the following project.

Portable solar window heater
Ok... materials:
Plywood (amt. depends on the size you want to make your panel. Bigger = more heat)
Aluminum flashing or similar material (size depends)
Plexiglas panel (size depends)
Flat black paint (or special solar absorbing paint)

Step 1: Build a box wide enough to fit over a south facing window in your house. Leave the front of the box open, with plywood only on the back and sides. This box should be at least 6 inches deep for air circulation. For most applications a 2.5'h x 2'w x 6-8"d does nicely.

Step 2: Cut the flashing so that it covers the inside back of the box. Screw it down.

Step 3: The air needs to be trapped in the box for a little while to heat it. Do this by building "chambers" in the box with the rest of the plywood. . . Screw them in.

Step 4: Cut a hole in both the bottom and top of the box either on the back, or on the top and bottom side panels. The holes should be about 4" square or so. This lets the cool air in and warm air out.

It should look like this (front view):

|             O | 
|  -------------| 
|               | 
|               |
|------------   | 
|               |
|               |
|   ------------|
|             O |

Step 5: Paint the entire thing with the flat black paint, including the flashing.

Step 6: Cut the Plexiglas to the right size and screw to the front of the box

Last but not least, place or mount in a sunny window of your choice. This should (quoting a friend of mine), "make the room hotter than hell". . . or at least warm ya up a bit.

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