Pogue Mahone wrote:having said that, ive seen some good homemade panels, the thing is you will never be able to buy a controller, and frost protection might be a big issue, the only real saving you can make is on install, even at trade prices you cant make anything but the simplest panel for less than the cost of buying them.
if youre real keen to make a solar panel tho il give you any advice you want, but il tell you right now, you need free or cheap copper panels and a pump, cos the new cost of both is the killer.
dont make a panel from steel, seriously.
cheers. i've seen a few homemade systems too, maybe a bit more of the 'held together with a bit of no.8 wire' type than you're talking about, but it'd be worth doing properly i reckon. at one place i lived for over a year our hot water 'system' was 30 odd metres of black 25mm hose on the hillside above the 'houses' did the trick though all through the summers but the UV has properly half fucked the hose by now
i'm a couple of years off being in the situation where i'll be setting something up but who knows...