Does Solar Powered Air Conditioning Really Work?
We need our air conditioners most when the sun is highest in the sky. It only makes sense to harness the power of the sun in our air conditioning! At least, that was the logic the world used when we made our air conditioning units solar-compatible about ten years ago. Despite the logical sense of this connection, many question whether or not solar powered air conditioning is truly effective. The truth is that solar air conditioning units work just as well as conventional ones, and they can cut a homeowner’s energy bill for cooling in half, also saving the environment half of its usual expenditure for the cooling of our homes!
Do Solar Air Conditioners Really Save…Anything?
The average American is one cool cat. We spend more than $15 billion per year on home cooling! This cooling releases an estimated 140 million tons of CO2 (carbon dioxide) into the environment each year, something that makes our climate…not so cool. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. Since 1950, the carbon dioxide level on earth has increased almost 100 parts per million, a healthy reminder to us that we need to curb our use of systems and processes that release this greenhouse gas into the environment.
Depending on the number of solar panels used and the nature and efficiency of the solar air conditioning unit chosen, solar energy can contribute half of the energy needed to operate a home air conditioner. This not only cuts the homeowner’s energy bill for cooling in half, but reduces their carbon footprint by half as well!
Many list the cost of a solar air conditioning setup among their reasons to stick with a conventional model. Although it is true that solar air conditioners cost thousands whereas conventional air conditioners cost only hundreds, solar air conditioners are the only models that have the ability to pay off their initial setup cost in savings over time. In addition, solar panels are continuing to decrease in price as technology advances and demand increases for alternative sources of energy to protect the environment, making solar air conditioning cheaper every day!
How Solar Air Conditioners Work
Solar air conditioners produce the exact same results as conventional models; if it’s cooler air that you want, cooler air is what you are going to get. The only differences lie in the source of the energy and how it is converted into the cool air that you crave on a hot and humid day. There are three kinds of solar air conditioners, absorption chillers and two varieties of hybrids.
Solar thermal hybrid air conditioners use solar energy to aid the compressor in the refrigeration process. Electricity is used to run the fans and the electric control components.
Solar PV hybrid air conditioners switch between solar power and battery power as needed. When the sun is shining brightly and producing plentiful energy resources, the hybrid air conditioner takes the opportunity to charge its batteries. When the sun is not available, the hybrid runs on its battery back-ups while charging batteries using alternating current (AC) electricity.
Absorption chillers use solar energy to power the fan and the motor in a heating and cooling process that uses water evaporation and condensation to produce cool air. Absorption chillers can be plugged in to run off of electricity or they can run off of batteries if desired.
No matter which solar air conditioning model you choose, the results are the same; all save energy, money, and ultimately the environment! If you are interested in harnessing the power of the sun during the heat of the day to cool your home, contact a local HVAC professional like Moore Heating & Air Conditioning. At Moore, we offer solar-ready Lennox air conditioning units that get higher ratings, save money on energy costs, and even qualify for government tax rebates!