What Are The Various Solar Cooling Systems?

Summer in most parts of the United States is hot, scorching and sweltering. But today, home owners hardly realize it as they encounter it for a brief period when they move from their cooled house/office to cooled car and vice versa. It has been estimated that in the US more than $15 billion is spent on residential cooling. Approximately, 5 percent of all the electricity produced in the United States is consumed by conventional air conditioning units. This robust usage of conventional air conditioner does not go way without impacting the environment. Almost 140 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) is emitted to the environment. According to the studies, global surface temperatures have increased by 1.4 degrees F since 1920. Experts predict that temperature will shoot up by another 2 to 11.5 degrees F at the end of 21st century.

The only way to control this damage to the environment is to adopt renewable sources of energy. There are quite a few options in this such as solar energy, geothermal energy, wind, water etc. Solar energy is the most readily available source of energy. It is illimitable and clean. Today you have air conditioner that is powered by sun’s energy. There can be various ways of solar cooling such as passive solar, solar thermal energy conversion and photo voltaic conversion and more. Let’s take a look.

Passive solar design: This has simplest design. In this certain materials that are good absorbent of sun’s rays are integrated in the building or in the areas of the house which are exposed to the sun. Passive cooling has few moving parts and therefore very durable. Some examples of passive cooling are operable windows, thermal mass, and thermal chimneys etc.

Photo voltaic conversion: You can have you’re a/c connected to the solar panel, which converts the suns heat and light into electricity. You will only need to have an invert er in this case to convert the DC power to AC to become compatible with the compressor.

A hybrid system: These systems are powered by photovoltaic cells but have battery backup as well. It automatically switches between solar and battery power as needed. When the sun is shining, the electricity produced from the sun’s heat is used to run the A/c as well as charge the batteries. At night, when the when the sun is not shining, the system runs on battery backup while charging its batteries via alternating current (AC) power.

Solar-powered absorption chillers/solar thermal cooling:
This is a very efficient cooling method that is mainly used in industrial and commercial areas. The sun’s heat is tapped through solar collectors. Essentially, they use heat to compress the refrigerant in a fixed volume instead of a mechanical compressor. The rest of the cycle is basically the same; the cooling is produced as the compressed liquid as is expanded in the evaporator.

Currently both McDonald's and the United States Navy are using solar air conditioners to cut down operational cost and to conserve the environment. Purchasing and installing solar powered systems would cost you way higher than a conventional HVAC system. However, saving the planet and the cost saving in the long run could be encouragement enough.



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