Solar Air Conditioners{16}


As I’ve researched Solar Energy for our eventual move to Samal Island, one of the more intriguing items I’ve come across is the solar air conditioner (aircon). While this, for the most part, seems to be an idea whose time has not quite arrived, there are various implementations that hold promise for future applications.

Solar air conditioning seems a natural for the Philippines, and really most places for that matter. The time cooling is needed the most is the the time when it is hottest, with the most sun. As I’ve tried to calculate the amount of kilowatts I’d need to provide to get by, the biggest obstacle always comes down to the aircon.

The Naval Research Lab (NRL) is installing solar-powered air conditioners in a remote research site, which will operate grid free most of the year. They are using GreenCore 10200 solar powered air conditioners to accomplish this. For now it seems that GreenCore is only selling to commercial applications. We’ll have to see how that might change down the road.

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SolCool also has a couple units, and supposedly was coming out with a smaller unit that got a lot of press a year or so ago. I don’t see that on their website, so I don’t know if it ever made the light of day.

In Europe there is another smaller unit that is being installed. It’s unclear how widespread these are, or if they have only been used in a test environment.

So the real question is (or will be), do these actually provide any benefit over using a regular air conditioner within your solar powered home system?