How Does Solar Air Conditioning Work?


How Does Solar Air Conditioning Work?

Jan 3, 2012 by Jaclyn Fitzgerald
Topic: Air Conditioners.
Nobody likes to sit inside the home and swelter during the long hot summer months, so the air conditioning tends to go on as soon as the mercury rises. What if you could choose a form of air conditioning that is cheap to run and good for the environment? Yep, it’s possible and it’s in the form of solar air conditioning. Here’s what you need to know! For more information or to see if it’s a good idea for your home, speak to your local air conditioning professional.

About Solar Air Conditioning

Solar air conditioning operates through a process known as sorption. Sorption is a thermo-chemical process where a liquid or gaseous substance is attached to a solid, porous material (adsorption) or taken in by a liquid or solid material (absorption). The sorbent, such as silica gel, is heated by the solar heater and dehumidified. After the sorbent has been “dried” (through the process of desorption), the process is repeated in reverse. The air conditioning processes depend on if they are closed refrigerant circulation or open systems, or if the sorbent material is exposed to the atmosphere.

If this all sounds a bit technical to you, there is a simpler way to put it! In solar air conditioning, fans pull the outside air over pipes or coils filled with a sorbent material such as silica gel. The sorbent pulls the heat energy and moisture from the air, leaving cool air that is used for air conditioning the home. When solar energy (the sun’s heat) falls on the coils or pipes, the moisture is drawn back out of the sorbent (silica gel) and the heat goes with it. The process is repeated over and over to keep the air conditioning running.

The Benefits of Solar Air Conditioning

Solar air conditioning is a great choice for many people as it’s so environmentally friendly. You don’t have to use electricity to power your air conditioning system so you are not using fossil fuels nor pumping emissions into the environment. As well, it’s also a cost effective solution, as you are using the free energy from the sun to cool your home. Your electricity bills will be much lower, and the solar air conditioning system will pay for itself over time in the form of reducing cooling bills.

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