Let the Sun Keep You Cool
A new application of solar technology has been gaining popularity: The Solar Powered Air Conditioner. One of the leading companies is Silicon Valley startup Chromasun, who has developed a rooftop version of the solar air conditioner. Large building consume enormous quantities of energy, especially in the effort of heating and cooling its floors. By finding new ways to control the temperature of these buildings, we can hope to great more energy efficient and sustainable structures. One of the most popular options for rooftop temperature control is to construct a green roof, though the weight of the soil requires a building’s support columns to be reinforced to handle the additional load. For places that don’t generally need to heat their buildings, Chromasun’s rooftop cooling reflectors are a good and efficient alternative. Once they have been installed, the units perform their function automatically.
As Michael Kanellos at Greentech reports, “The company has created a rooftop system that collects heat from the sun with reflectors and transfers it into a fluid, similar to the process that large-scale solar thermal systems in the desert use. But instead of using the heat to make steam and turn a turbine, the heat is pumped into a double-effect chiller that, through a series of phase-change reactions and heat exchanges, results in cold air. Naturally, the solar system will work hardest at the peak of a hot summer day, providing some relief to the energy grid.”
And with heavy summer use, the system should pay for itself in 2 to 4 years. Not bad. Not bad at all.