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It's great to spend time with enthusiastic students who are trying out new skills for the first time. This is what happened at Whakatane High School recently when a group of keen environmental students from Whakatane Intermediate School got to build their own solar hot water systems.

Apricus donated a few miniature collectors the schools to see how they could be used to demonstrate the effectiveness of solar water heating. We never expected the students to go so far with them though! Two teams were formed to make their own "thermo-siphon" hot water systems. These operated using the Apricus collectors without a pump or controller, harnessing the power of the sun to both heat and circulate the water.

The students built their own hot water cylinders!!! Yes, you read that correctly. It was super impressive to see the skills they picked up over a three day intensive with most of the work being completed in under two days.

The finished systems worked extremely well, gaining 5 degrees of temperature every time water passed through the mini collector. They had a race to see which system could gain the most energy and both collectors go the water up to over 50 degrees from a 25 degree start.

All the students said they had a great time. The only complaint came from Dave Dobbin, Technology teacher at Trident High School, who is now really worried about how his practicals and the curriculum are going to keep up when these guys are in years 12 and 13!!!