Solar Powered Air Conditioners
It is quite ironic that air conditioners, which keep our homes nice and cool, are in fact busy warming up the planet. The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy estimates that homeowners in the U.S. pay $15 billion in electricity bills every year to power their ACs, which release about 140 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. While a traditional AC requires power from your utility, a solar powered air conditioner can run on free energy from the sun, which reduces your dependence on the grid, brings down your power bill, and saves the environment from harmful emissions, in other words, a win-win for everyone!
The bigger issue with a fossil fuel-powered air conditioner is that it traps us in a loop where resulting CO2 emissions increase global temperature, which then increases demand for air conditioning. A recent study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences states that AC adoption is going to keep going up throughout this century, which will increase world electricity usage by 83%.
Obviously this is a huge challenge; more ACs will put a great deal of strain on the nation and the world's power grid, as well as the environment. But all this is assuming an AC requires a grid connection in the first place, which is where the solar air conditioner steps in. One could even say the sun and solar air conditioning are a match made in heaven; after all, you need a AC most when the sun is shining!
Solar air conditioning traces its origins back to the early 1900s when a combination of ammonia and water was used for cooling. Many solar ACs today utilize lithium bromide and water to recreate the same effect. Primarily, there are two kinds of solar air conditioning available:
Hybrid solar AC: These are regular air conditioners that use solar panels with photovoltaic cells feeding DC electricity to them. Hybrid solar air conditioning works by harnessing electricity from the sun via solar panels when the sun is shining, and switching to a battery backup when it isn't. They can also power the batteries through AC current from the grid.
Solar powered evaporative coolers: A solar powered evaporative air conditioner (AKA absorption chillers) works by evaporating and condensing water. An evaporative solar AC is essentially a large fan with water saturated pads in front of it. As air is blown over the pads, it cools down and is vented into the room.
Both ACs have their respective advantages and disadvantages. While an evaporative cooler can bring the cost of cooling down to nearly zero, they require a regular water feed, which may increase your water bill. Hybrid solar ACs reduce your power bill, however they are far costlier than a regular air conditioner as they need solar panels to work.
It is worth noting that while a solar powered air conditioner is more expensive, it pays itself back over the course of a life via reduced dependence on the grid. Also, while the cost of a solar air conditioner is high, its final price will be significantly lower thanks to a 30% federal tax credit, as well as various state sponsored solar rebates and incentives. In fact, you can easily go solar for zero down today.
Are you excited about solar power yet? Why not get a free solar quote and see how much you can save on your electric bill with solar? It will only take a few minutes, and you'll find out how solar power can help you and your family.
What Can You Save With Solar?
With no end in sight for soaring electricity rates, your switch to solar will secure affordable power for your home & family for years to come.