Subscribe Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Let the Sun Shine In

Let the Sun Shine In

Let the Sun Shine In

I haven't been here for long. Only a month. But it is long enough to comment on the

climate in Cambodia. This is a tropical country. We have an abundance of sunshine

even in December. However, to my disappointment, I haven't seen any solar heaters

utilizing the sunshine in Phnom Penh. Instead I have seen (at some hotels) electric

heaters. While those imported electric heaters are bought with much-needed hard currency

and are powered with imported fuel, a solar heater can be locally made with local

materials and local labor.

You may think of a solar heater as "a system" made up of a solar panel

and an insulated hot water tank with an electric heater backing it up for a rainy

day, and coming with sensors and automatic this and that. But a simple solar heater

is nothing but a flat water tank placed on top of the roof. The size of the tank

depends on how much hot water you need. A tank can be made of iron, wood, heavy-duty

plastic bag or even brick-anything works as long as it is watertight and remains

watertight. The flatter the tank, the better the heat absorption. Paint the top black.

Fasten a pipe to the bottom of the tank. Such a simple tank can be made by locals

and installed by a plumber or a do-it-yourself-homeowner.

At morning you fill the tank with cold water. At evening you can empty hot water

from the tank. In my experience in Tokyo, water was heated to about 70 degrees Celsius

in an iron tank during summer. Here you can expect comparable temperatures even in


If you are thinking of buying an electric heater, check with a local plumber instead.

Once he gets the basic idea, he can probably make a better solar heater than the

one I have described.


  • Kak Channthy, Cambodian Space Project frontwoman, killed in crash at 38 [Updated]

    Updated 5:05pm, Tuesday, March 20, 2018 Kak Channthy, frontwoman of popular The Cambodian Space Project, was killed Tuesday morning in a traffic accident in Phnom Penh. She was 38. Channthy, the internationally recognised singer-songwriter also known as “Srey Thy”, was reportedly travelling in a tuk-tuk on the city's

  • Australians protest Asean summit visit by PM Hun Sen

    Hundreds of protesters gathered in Sydney’s Hyde Park on Friday to protest against Cambodian strongman Hun Sen, who claimed to have been gifted millions of dollars by the Australian government ahead of a special Asean summit this weekend. An estimated 300 protesters, the majority of

  • One Australian, one Cambodian killed in explosion at military base

    Updated: 5:20pm, Friday 16 March 2018 An Australian tourist and a Cambodian soldier were killed in an explosion on Thursday afternoon at an army base in Cambodia’s Kampong Speu province. The Australian, whom the government initially identified as a technical demining expert in his 40s, and

  • Peeling back layers of prehistory in Battambang

    When the man passed away, he had not yet reached 50. He belonged to a tribe that had settled near the Sangker River in Battambang province, likely cultivating the fields and raising animals. On the side, they hunted for boars, and even turtles, one of which