Solar Thermal – Air-Conditioning Systems use the sun's energy to heat water or antifreeze. This captured heat is then used to power thermally activated cooling systems to provide air conditioning.
Solar Air Conditioning
It can be confusing to associate "solar thermal" technology to provide air-conditioning for homes or businesses.
Solar collectors are used to collect heat, which is then used to cool air, and lower the ambient temperature inside buildings.
While the underlying technology is well proven, commercial products have only become available over the last decade.
Solar air conditioning has been in use since the 1970s.
A few thousand units are installed each year in the U.S.
Solar Thermal air-conditioning systems are generally designed to provide hot water throughout the year and potentially space heating in the winter.
They reduce the cost of cooling your home or business by up to 60%.
The two systems currently in operation are solar absorption systems and solar desiccant systems.
Solar absorption systems
use thermal energy to evaporate a refrigerant fluid to cool the air. The water heated by solar energy is used to initiate a thermal dynamic process involving low-pressure chambers that chills water to around 44 degrees Fahrenheit. The chilled water is then brought to a series of copper pipes that efficiently cool air blown through the pipes and into the home. Except for a few pumps, the system is entirely passive, has no moving parts and requires no electrical input.
Solar desiccant systems
use thermal energy to regenerate desiccants that dry, and thereby cool the air.
Federal government allows homeowners and commercial property owners to deduct 30% of the net cost of the system from their income taxes. This tax break is available through 2016.