Solar Air Conditioner – What is It?
One design of a solar air conditioner is based on absorption chillers which are powered by heat (hot water). Thousands of these units have been installed using gas boilers or waste heat from other sources, including generators.
Believe it or not, thermal powered air conditioning is a well established technology that has been used in air conditioning in hotels, hospitals, and office buildings for decades. It has been used commercially in the United States since the early 20th century. Absorption chiller AC units are very popular in Asian countries like Japan, where up to 40% of all commercial air conditioning tonnage is made up of this type of unit. The reason for the popularity of these units is the high cost of electricity.
A solar air conditioner is powered by solar energy, which is collected in evacuated tube solar thermal panels. Glycol, a simple antifreeze solution, delivers thermal energy to the solar powered chiller through a carefully designed system of pipes, pumps and controllers. These solar powered air conditioners are not only simple in design, but are very dependable and safe. They use no harmful CFC (Freon, etc.) and some of these units don’t even have moving parts. The absorption chiller AC units are the lowest in cost to operate, and have the best return on investment of all air conditioning systems in the world.
As with any air conditioning unit, heat has to be exhausted. A small cooling tower is typically mounted on the roof or on the ground to remove the heat. To further the idea of going green, some cooling towers are constructed of corrosion-proof recycled plastic, however, a standard cooling tower can also be used. What is nice about this type of system is that it can also actually be used in the winter months to actually heat your home. We hope you now understand the answer to the question, what is a solar air conditioner?