Home Solar Air Con – The Reality
The term “solar air conditioner” is somewhat misleading as it gives the impression of an air conditioner unit that uses solar power to operate and thereby uses less electricity.
The reality is a little different.
Firstly we need to differentiate between commercial/ industrial air conditioner that could run on a solar solution and the residential units that COULD NOT.
SolarCool SA offer a solution that uses evacuated tubes (as found on a solar geyser) to drive the refrigerant on large industrial systems and thereby significantly reduces the energy usage by as much as 70%.
As you can see from the image above from the installation in Chingford, this system uses the evacuated tubes as a solar ‘compressor’ to drive the refrigerant instead of electricity.
Bottom line, if you are looking for a Solar Air Con solution for a supermarket, hotel or building then the Solar Cool SA solution will work for you.
If you want this for your house – IT WILL NOT.
The reason it will not is because essentially, it’s just too small a project and the costs would be astronomically high.
This brings us to the crux of this post.
Solar Air con for your home – the facts.
At this point in time (and to my knowledge) the only way to run your air cons in your home off a solar solution is to install Solar PV Panels, batteries, inverter and chargers for either a stand alone or grid tie system.
If you look at the image, it shows you how a home solar air con system would operate.
Solar panels collect the sun’s energy and converts it to electricity. Then that’s then sent to the controller, then to the batteries and then to the air con unit.
Essentially you would install a system that generates enough Kwh to run your air con units and then you would need to go for the inverter type air cons as these offer the best efficiency.
Ok -so this doesn’t sound so bad?
Well, again, the costs involved are high, very high.
The perception that this is a relatively cheap solution is basically bollocks as if you want a proper system that actually runs for it’s lifetime and doesn’t pack up every time you want to use it, it needs to GET DONE PROPERLY.
Let me emphasize that again.
IT NEEDS TO BE DONE PROPERLY.
You need to know what the specs of the units are and how long they will operate for so that the right number of panels and batteries can be calculated.
You need a site inspection to see which direction the house is facing as well as the roof space capacity and strength in the support structures to be to withstand the weight of the panels – those things aren’t light you know.
We need to look at placement of the batteries, inverters and chargers as well as the wiring it takes to link the system up.
This is a very concise process and it NEEDS to be.
PLEASE don’t get caught out by CHEAP offerings as you WILL regret it if your roof collapses because no supporting roof sub-structures were installed.
This is Long Term investment.
I am not trying to put anyone off here as I believe in reducing energy usage as much as possible, but I don’t want people to rush in unprepared as this is how rip-off artists make their money.
Understand that even if you use your air con 8 hours a day in summer and the same in winter, this is still a medium to long term investment for you- meaning you will only recover your investment in 8-15 years.
There is some good news here though.
A system like this significantly increases the value of the property, especially if you have been able to link it to drive other elements of the house as well like lighting by adding some additional Kwh capacity.
For me, I work with Titanium 1 Solar and their expertise has been used by some of South Africa’s largest industrial businesses to reduce their energy usage considerably.
They provide exceptional quality systems and components as well as vast knowledge and expertise.
Make the enquiry with Chris at Titanium 1 on email at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact him on
(016) 018 0031.