How to make solar panels using old soda cans

Creating a solar pop can heater is an innovative way to harness renewable energy for heating purposes. This DIY project involves the construction of a passive solar air heater using recycled aluminum cans as the primary material. The following guide is based on a synthesis of various sources, ensuring the information is comprehensive and useful for anyone interested in building their own solar pop can heater.

Step-by-Step Guide to Making a Solar Pop Can Heater

1. Collection of Materials

bags with aluminum cans
  • Aluminum Cans: Start by collecting aluminum cans, such as pop cans, beer cans, and sparkling water cans. You will need a significant number of these cans, so begin collecting them early.

2. Gathering Additional Supplies

  • High Heat Black Spray Paint: For painting the cans, which helps in absorbing heat.
  • High Heat Caulk/Glue: For securing the cans together.
  • Wood: Including 1x4s and a piece of 1/4″ thick plywood for the back.
  • Insulation: Foam board insulation or similar material.
  • Glass Panel: A panel of glass, plexiglass, or tempered glass.
  • Drill and Wood Screws: For assembling the structure.

3. Preparation of Cans

  • Drilling Holes: Carefully drill three holes in the bottom of each can. These holes allow air to pass through the cans. Ensure all cans are clean and dry before drilling.

4. Assembly of the Heater

aluminium cans
  • Building the Box: Construct a box from the wood and plywood to house the cans. The size of the box is determined by the number of cans and the size of the glass panel.
  • Stacking Cans: Stack the drilled cans on top of each other, securing them with high heat caulk or glue.
  • Insulating the Box: Line the back and sides of the box with foam board insulation. Caulk all edges to ensure it’s airtight. Once dry, paint the insulation with high heat matte black spray paint.
  • Securing the Glass Panel: Attach the glass panel to the top of the box, ensuring a good seal to keep the unit airtight.


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