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Pop Can Solar Unit
When Jim Meaney started building solar collectors out of pop cans in the 1970's, he never dreamed that 30 years later he would be selling units through 80 plus dealers in 8 countries. While it has taken a lot of time to perfect and prove his product, recent fuel spikes have turned up the heat on sales. What hasn't changed is his basic design that still uses pop cans.
"We use 250 aluminum pop cans in each unit," says Meaney. "It takes quite a bit of hand modification to form them into tubes."
It's no wonder the Newfoundland inventor has stuck with them. They work great. Independent engineers have evaluated the Cansolair Model RA 240 Solar Max and report that it will heat an 8,000 cu. ft. (1,000 sq. ft.) room, providing a complete air change in 1 1/2 hours. As little as 15 minutes of sun per hour will provide a comfortable temperature in the room. Multiple panels can be hooked together for larger areas.
The 4 by 7-ft. collector panel mounts on an outside wall facing south, southeast or southwest or on an unobstructed roof. It has 15 vertical columns of pop cans. The cylindrical shape of the cans increases the actual collector surface.
The unit includes an unbreakable lexan cover, a washable air filter and electronic controls, air valves and sensors. Controls activate a fan when temperatures inside the collector reach 110?. They shut it down when the temperature in the collector falls below 90?.
"It also shuts off when the thermostat in the room reaches the desired temperature," says Meaney.
The fan draws in cold heavy air near the floor, pushes it through filters in the collector and back into the room. The exchange of filtered hot air for cold air breaks up the natural layering of cold air near the floor.
Tests show that within 8 minutes of the appearance of the sun, the unit will have reached 100? output temperatures. The fan that pulls the cold air in and pushes the warm air out draws 31 watts of energy to do its work, but produces from 1,200 to 2,400 watts of heat energy.
Meaney says the units can be retrofitted to heat water. He suggests using a dashboard heater from a car and hooking it up with a closed loop water system.
"The system retails for about $1,995 and takes two people about four hours to install," says Meaney. "Simply cut holes and line up with the headers."
Meaney estimates that a unit will pay for itself in 5 to 6 years, depending on the price of fuel. He is in the process of developing software for prospective buyers to use.
"They will be able to use the software to match the Cansolair to any house anywhere in Canada or the U.S.," says Meaney. "You will be able to access carbon credits, payback and savings in comparison to oil, gas and electricity."
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Jim Meaney, Cansolair, Box 100, Colliers R.H., Newfoundland, Canada A0A 1Y0 (ph 709 229-4387; fax 709 229-4387; info@cansolair.com; www.cansolair.com).

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2006 - Volume #30, Issue #4