Passive solar water heating (SWH) is a convenient method to meet domestic hot water requirements in rural areas, where electricity may not be available or fuel supply might be limited due to difficult access. In this work, a low-cost thermosiphon flat-plate solar collector alternative is presented. The design was purposely limited to materials and recyclable products widely available in the local market, such as Tetra Pak, plastic bottles, and polypropylene (PP) fittings and pipes. Since PP is a thermoplastic polymer, a poor heat conductor, it was necessary to ensure a suitable system isolation to obtain an optimum thermal performance, comparable to commercial solar collectors. The design was built and tested in Guayaquil, Ecuadorian coastal city. Six inexpensive temperature sensors were placed at the entrance and exit of the collector, on the flat-plate and inside the hot water storage tank. Data was recorded using an Arduino single-board computer and later analyzed with the data gathered via weather station. The implementation costs of the system are approximately US$300, the overall performance during January 2017 fluctuated between 54% and 23%, and the storage tank temperature range varied from to 46°C to 33°C. Due to its reliability and affordable cost, the SWH system is an attractive alternative to an Ecuadorian commercial solar flat plate collector, which price is set between US$600 and US$700, it has an efficiency around 60%, and the average annual storage tank temperature is 62°C.

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