The Advantages of Solar Air Conditioning
Air conditioners are fast becoming a standard requirement for comfort during summer in many countries. As the world is developing, becoming richer and urbanizing, their rate of adoption is escalating fast.
Massive numbers are currently installed in developing economies such as China, India and Brazil, where air conditioners have become increasingly affordable on account of the rise in disposable incomes.
Air conditioners consume more energy than any other standard household item. But think about it: the more the sun shines, the hotter it gets, the more cooling you want. Wouldn’t it be nice, if we could use the sun’s energy – trough PV panels or through a solar thermal system – to cool our homes and offices? That would be solar air conditioners.
But what exactly are Solar Air Conditioners?
Well, the key difference between a solar air conditioner and a conventional unit is that the former is powered not from grid electricity (at least during the day) but by electricity generated from solar photovoltaic panels. To understand the principle behind air conditioning, click here.
And therein lies its first advantage. In most regions of the world, electricity demands are at their highest during the morning to late afternoon (coinciding with industrial and commercial activity). Purchasing electricity from the grid at these times is expensive, and consumers have to pay an additional “demand charge” over and above their baseline electricity consumption.
Grid based electricity can also be highly unreliable, especially in India, as evinced by frequent power cuts in most states of the country.
Solar air conditioners can be of immense help here as they enable the consumer to produce his/her own free power at the site of consumption, thereby freeing him/her of the dependence on the central grid. Doing so also results in a much smaller electricity bill, as now the consumer does not have to pay (daytime) demand charges.
Solar Air Conditioning for Reduced Emissions
Since coal/thermal power is the primary source of energy in most countries, the second – and equally important – advantage of solar air conditioners is that they will displace many tons of carbon emissions that would have otherwise been released into the atmosphere.
This is an especially significant as air conditioners are one of the most power hungry household appliances, consuming as much as 30% of a home’s total electricity demand.
However, despite their distinct advantages, solar air conditioners are still a novel commodity in the domestic appliances category. Due to their limited numbers, they are sold for prices that are as much as 4 times higher than those of conventional air conditioners and there is a definite lack of consumer awareness about the technology.
These barriers need to be overcome. However, with continually rising temperatures and the escalating prices of conventionally generated energy, solar air conditioners will certainly gain momentum.
To read more about solar air conditioners , click here.