Once considered a far-off future goal of energy conservationists, solar powered air conditioning may be soon coming into its own. With the price of gas and electricity rising every year due to procurement as well as political issues, solar powered air conditioning may soon become a necessity sooner than we anticipate.
Although current technology exists to provide cooling of indoor environments with help from our solar system’s star, the cost of applying it remains one of the only remaining roadblocks to its execution.
The demand for solar powered air conditioning remains critical with nearly half of electricity generated in the United States going toward the cooling of homes and businesses. Different types of collectors, used in conjunction with power blocks and thermal chilling devices can now be effectively employed to produce cooled air via solar power. Shaving the bottom line during peak demand periods using solar powered air conditioning in this way may mean the solution to alleviating the soaring cost of energy.
Successful examples of solar power air conditioning currently exist in the United States, Asia, and European countries. One of these includes a geriatric hospital in Toyama, Japan. The system employed at this facility not only provides solar power air conditioning in summer months, but heating in winter months, as well.
Eighty-eight solar vacuum collectors provide necessary heat to an absorption chiller, which in turn, provides space heating in winter and air conditioning in summer. Built on the roof of the building, the system is fully automated and employs gas turbines as a backup.
Although successful as an example of solar power air conditioning (and heating), the cost of the system at this facility makes this example impractical economically for widespread usage.
Once scientists and engineers work out the few remaining obstacles to solar power air conditioning, we may soon see this type of system proliferating worldwide. In the meantime, it will bode well for us all to keep this issue at the forefront of our global consciousness to encourage it. Solar power air conditioning should ultimately benefit not only those wealthy enough to afford it, but work as a blessing to us all.