This robust, low-cost solution allows for homes to be heated reliably and cheaply in challenging high-mountain regions like the Argentinian and Bolivian Altiplano, Ladakh and Kargil in the Himalayas.
Based on proven technology, a simple solar air heater circulates air through a rock bed below the floor in a closed loop. The floor provides under-floor heating, creating an ideal temperature distribution in the room. Due to the big thermal capacity of the rock bed, rooms are heated 24h per day, even during 1-2 days without sun. No more searching for fire wood, or buying gas, no more smoke in the rooms which contributes to respiratory diseases or carbon monoxide incidents.
Key features for a positive impact on quality of life
- Air is used as heat transfer medium - no anti-freezing agent, no pressure at stagnation temperature in summer, no corrosion. Small leakages do not affect performance. No electronics used.
- Modularity allows adaptation to many consumer needs from collector sizes of 2 m² to 120 m²
- Easy to transport and assemble, due to sturdy modular design at low weight. Glass is placed during installation.
- Rocks are available in many regions at low cost which is permitting big storage heat capacity, so the heat demand can even be covered for 1-2 days without sun
- Minimal user operation required. Just a on/off switch for the automatic fan operation in heating season.
- Depending on the region, the system saves up to 90% of the conventional fuel used for space heating, translating to 370 USD/year per home in Ladakh and Kargil.
- Initial investment is paid off within 4-5 years.
- Locally sourced and produced materials allow for easy maintenance and job creation in the region
solar space heating for a school in the Argentinean Altiplano
transport of locally fabricated collector segments for solar space heating in Argentina
roof integrated installation
video about the project in Ladakh
video about the proejct in Argentina