Passive solar window panel

I got this idea from YouTube but improved upon it I think. Here in the Pacific NW our winters are grey and wet and we have the heat on from October to May.  I’m pretty frugal and turn the heat off when I can to save some money, but have been thinking hard about how to be warm for cheap! So voila! Passive solar to the rescue. These can go in the west and south windows of your home.

How it works: Black things get hot in the sun, and heat rises. Leaving a space at the top allows the rising heat to escape into your room.

These will work even on an overcast day. Because these are so light and portable,  you can remove them whenever you want and store them under the bed or in the back of the closet.

What you need:

Inside window frame measurments

Wood or PVC to build a frame

Corner fittings if you’re using PVC

Black plastic (trash bags, tarp, roll from the hardware store)

Duct tape

Piece of string and a nail or screw (optional)

Build your frame to the size of your window opening. Be sure to factor in the size of the fittings. A little narrow is OK. Go place it in the window to see if it fits. Crucial – DON’T SKIP THIS STEP.

PVC frame for window


Lay your black plastic under the frame. Carefully fold the plastic over the frame and secure with duct tape.  Black plastic duct tapedReinforce the corners with more duct tape so the plastic doesn’t tear.

Reinforced corner

Your completed panel should look something like this. That white stripe was on the edge of the plastic – whatever!  Gives it a racy sporty feel.

Completed window panel

Now go put it in your window.

Panel in windowMy plastic has silver on the back so I can flip it around in the summer to reflect the heat.

The top needs to angle out towards the room so the warm air can escape into the room.  Mine is staying in place because of the curtains. Otherwise, find the center of your frame and tie an 8 inch piece of string to it. Put in a hammer or screw in the center of the window frame. Attach the string to it.

That’s it! Super easy.

3 responses to “Passive solar window panel

  1. Everything is very open with a really clear description of the
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