Building a Solar Water Heater in Colombia

Building a Solar Water Heater in Colombia

I biked to a casa de ciclistas, or a bike hostel, located in San Antonio de Prado in Colombia. The owner of la casa, Manuel, is one of the more fun people I have met in my life. After telling him about my interest in renewable energy, he asked if I could build a solar water heater. After several design changes and help from other cyclists that came through the house, I managed to build a functioning solar water heater. It was a great experience to harness the power of the sun and water that flowed from the Colombian mountains to provide hot showers for cyclists from around the world. If you have ever considered a solar water heater for your home, give it a try. Constructing a DIY system is easier than you might think, and there are plenty of affordable commercial systems available as well. Check out for design ideas.

Turbo, Colombia to San Antonio de Prado, Colombia 5/3 to 6/4 2016

Steps to Building a Solar Water Heater

IMG_05401) So you start by building a box... (while enjoying a Colombian beer and soda pop concoction. Maybe 1 part miller lite, 2 parts cherry 7up if you made it back in the States)


3) Next you untangle 100 meters of black PVC...

IMG_06246) Close the box with plastic...


Thermosiphon physics experiment with hot water

IMG_0744Shout out to Origon and Celine for all their help!


Source of water for the bike hostelIMG_0886Finished product, designs 1 and 2


IMG_05582) You then paint it black with a metal bottom...

IMG_05704) Then wrap the PVC in the box...

IMG_05745) You proceed to tying the PVC to the box..

IMG_06427) And put it on the roof!


DSCN7216Thermosiphon system #2

DSCN7206Making connections to the hot water tank