The prospect of clean, renewable energy, capable of not only free energy, but enough to make a profit from, can be exciting. Solar energy is an investment that will certainly pay for itself in time. However, not everyone can afford such an investment straight away. Or perhaps you’re skeptical, and want to evaluate how you feel about it and see for yourself how solar can work for you. That’s why starting a step at a time can be a worthwhile decision.
Solar A/C can greatly improve savings while lowering your environmental footprint. It can be cheaper to implement than a solar system for your entire home, and can offer a range of other benefits, not only for your energy use, but for you air conditioning system as well.
Florida is the perfect place to go solar, and what’s not better to implement it on first than Air Conditioning? Climate control for your home can account for nearly 40% of your utility bill, and more than 80% of Floridians use central air conditioning to cool their homes.
SEER and Solar A/C
SEER, or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, is a means of providing a rating to the efficiency of air conditioning systems. SEER can tell you how well your system can cool the air with a single watt-hour’s worth of energy. Simply going up 4 SEER rating can increase energy savings by around 20% to 30% or more (depending on how low the initial SEER value was).
Although many solar A/C units initially had too low of a SEER to be energy efficient, current systems can achieve up to 20 or 30 SEER rating with up to date technology.
Geothermal and Inverter Systems
Photovoltaic solar A/C units are relatively simple. A solar system supplies power to a typical A/C unit, providing most of the power throughout the day. Most of these rely on conventional compressor systems. Until recently these systems have been expensive, since the units themselves required a lot of solar power to make them worthwhile.
However, new heat pumps, like a geothermal heat pump or a reverse inverter DC heat pump have lessened the costs and power requirements of these systems dramatically, greatly improving the SEER rating. A reverse inverter DC heat pump alone can bring a system to the 20-26 SEER range. This in turn requires less solar panels and battery storage to power throughout the day, making it more affordable to purchase.
A geothermal heat pump uses the earth as a heat sink during the summer, transferring heat from the air to the soil, which is typically much cooler than the air. A reverse inverter DC heat pump improves normal by regulating the speed at which refrigerant flows through the system, instead of wasting energy stopping the refrigerant and forcing it to move again. Normal systems have to stop and go when the desired temperature is needed, or when it has been achieved.
Non-Compressor Electric Cooling
Even newer A/C systems, such as non-compressor electric systems are already adding more and benefitting from solar energy. Such systems like the phase-change indirect evaporative systems use only electricity and water to cool the air in humid climates, which is perfect when used with solar in such solar-rich environments.
Solar Open-Air Desiccant Systems
Solar open-air systems now have the option to use solar energy to pass air over desiccants, or solids/liquids that absorb or repel water, taking humidity out of the air and using it to cool your home.