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Solar Cooling

Combination solar cooling and water-heating system at the Crow Canyon Medical Center in Danville, Calif.

Few people realize that besides heating water and other fluids, solar thermal technology can reduce air-conditioning and industrial cooling costs. Solar cooling systems use concentrating solar collectors and absorption chillers to drive the cooling process. These systems are ideal for cooling hotels, office buildings, data centers and other large commercial buildings.

Solar cooling systems save money for building owners because electricity rates are often tiered, meaning that the more electricity a building uses during peak hours, the higher the rate charged for that electricity. Peak hours often occur on hot sunny days when the air conditioning load is highest. Installing a solar cooling system can result in big savings since the system reduces electricity use during peak hours. What’s more, the same concentrating solar collectors used for cooling can also heat water for the facility.

How Does Solar Cooling Work?

Concentrating solar collectors use mirrors to focus the sun’s energy on a tube containing fluid. The mirrors follow the sun, heating the fluid to very high temperatures. Absorption chillers operate by using this solar-heated fluid, rather than fossil fuels or electricity, to drive the refrigeration process. Using solar energy with absorption chillers reduces site-generated greenhouse gases as well as the emissions created when fossil fuels are burned to create electricity.

There are multiple alternatives to compressor-based chillers that can reduce energy consumption, with less noise and vibration. Solar thermal energy can be used to efficiently cool in the summer, and also heat domestic water and buildings in the winter. Single, double or triple iterative absorption cooling cycles are used in different solar thermal cooling system designs. The more cycles, the more efficient these systems are.

Contact SunWater Solar today to learn more about how a solar cooling system can help your facility reduce its cooling costs.

More Information

Making hot water from the sun...

SunWater Solar is a design/build company based in the San Francisco Bay Area, specializing in solar water heating systems. The company provides these systems for many types of commercial projects. More»

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