Solar water heater

Hot water for everyone

A solar water heater designed for emerging markets

Its unconventional design is affordable, low tech, compact, and easy-to-install. We believe affordable clean energy is a key ingredient in lifting people out of poverty. It is also a good business opportunity and important in securing the health of the planet. It is estimated that approximately 160 million people join the developing world’s “emerging middle class” each year. Therefore, this group’s spending and energy demand will double between now and 2030, making it a critical social and economic factor. A world with more middle class people must wrestle with the implications of carbon emissions. In 2017 alone, the global energy demand grew 2.1% and the energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions rose by 1.4%.
Heating water requires about one third of the total energy used in a household. Therefore, we believe solar thermal technology can play a major role in the eminent clean energy transition.
We are confident that the global addressable market for an affordable solar thermal water heating unit like Suntap is over one billion users.

Year Since 2015
Brand Suntap
Discipline Design Research, Industrial Design, Prototyping, Design Strategy
Designer Martin

User Research in Mexico

Most families we talked to had gas stoves for quick meals and reheating. The stoves were not used for daily cooking due to the high cost of gas. Outside wood fireplaces were used for cooking tortillas, beans and to heat water. Currently families bath every 3rd day. With more hot water available they’d bath every day and wash dishes with hot water. As seen on this photo houses are equipt with gravity fed water tanks. Suntap can be attached easily and in a cost effective manner.


The energy comparison

How much energy does a Suntap heater really generate? On a sunny day it captures energy from the sun that is comparable to: 1) 2 kg of wood but wood fires cause indoor air polution and are messy, 2) 250ml gas canister but gas is a fosil fuel and too expensive for most people 3) 3 squaremeters of solar cells but solar is far too expensive for the majority of the population.


First market test (literally)

Over the course of the project we have researched user needs in India and Mexico. One day in Mexico we showcast Suntap on a market square and got a lot of good response.
People were intregued, understood the benefits and signed up for a future pilot test. The market for simple solar thermal products is still in its infancy so there is large growth potential.