March 20, 2007 4:00 AM PDT

Using solar energy to keep homes cool

(continued from previous page)

Another low-power option for cooling that Little uses is an evaporative cooler, which is a water basin and fan that blows evaporated water vapor. These systems, which have been installed in the Middle East, generally work well in lower humidity areas, but the SolCool system could work "just about anywhere," he said.

Other companies and some researchers also tout a system in which ice is created at night and stored in an underground tank. The vapor then wafts off in the daytime to cool a building.

The company is looking to sign on distributors who are either experts in air conditioning or are renewable energy installers looking to distribute new products.

The back-up power feature is compelling for off-grid applications or when people need to keep cool in their home during a power outage for health reasons, Little said.

"You don't (worry about) a return on investment, if you have to have oxygen," he said.

The price of the units will be between $2,600 and $3,000 before installation, which could run another $500, Pruitt estimated.

That's substantially more than a standard air conditioner, but Pruitt said the energy savings can help pay for the unit, particularly in areas like California with high heat and steep electricity fees. The product is also eligible for state-run rebate programs that promote energy-efficient products, he added.

"This is our fifth year doing it. When we started, it was hard because nobody wanted to be the first to try it," Pruitt said. "But in the last year, I think consumers are coming around to it."

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9 comments

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What we really need.
Is a storage system with high heat capacities. We pump heat out during the summer and pump the heat inside (or burn gas, or run electric heater) during the winter. Since it is too late for existing homes to be rebuilt with walls of annual averaging thermal properties, perhaps a bigger heat storage system can be used. Imagine using up all the stored summer heat during the winter, and then using all the cold media from the winter.

We can then use the electricity from solar for other things. The way things are being marketed right now is that they are pricing the system like this one so that whatever money you will save is equal to the mark-up price. I hope it would go much lower than that, like at par or slightly higher with current air-conditioning systems, then that would truly help us all, including the planet.
Posted by Joe Real (1217 comments )
Reply Link Flag
SolCool
I think it's the greatest thing since the light bulb.Can you imagine not having to pay for air conditioning. Well my friends the choice is yours I know it works, and I am so excited for eveyone who get's one and does not have to stress over the cost of running it. This machine runs off pixie dust.So take your savings and try to enjoy life a little more,remember we as humans have really hurt this planet and now we have to fix it for the future of our children,if we don't than who will!
Posted by superdawg1 (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
SOLCOOL
That IS the the greatest thing since the lite bulb, but now we have the CFL's, which are even better! Let's hope everyone sees the light, before there 'ain't' none! ;-)
Posted by Charlene L. (1 comment )
Link Flag
People will buy anything....
Solar cooling is certainly possible, and even practical, but to do it with photovoltaics is sheer stupidity. PV panels have low conversion efficiency. The soloution is ages old already: Ammonia Absorbtion Refrigeration. This form of cooling can use *any* heat source, including thermal solar energy. It has no moving parts, it is proven technology, and it is extremely reliable. Power an A/C system from PV panels? That's just stupid.
Posted by timinraymond (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
u r right but..
Posted by anil_bharti (3 comments )
Link Flag
Would like to know what is the best type of solar energy on the market currently? I plan to open a business.
thanks.
Posted by sunshineman2008 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
sunshineman2008 - so do I... did you ever receive an answer to this question. I am trying to position myself to provide 90-100% green energy with utility backup to a specific type of buyer soon. I am doing research and have the same question.

What is the best type of solar solution for mainly cooling, then lighting and then small appliances. I am also open to wind farms and hydro/wave farms.

Going for efficiency and this ac unit is attractive but as you pointed out has its limitations and CONS.
Posted by hrhkee (4 comments )
Link Flag
Very intelligentelly designed product! If you still need to refine it further .. just give me a call.. 09463495098
Posted by anil_bharti (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
People will buy anything....
by timinraymond July 16, 2007 11:20 AM PDT

You are absolutely right, but ammonia vapor absorption system is quite toxic and dangerous for homes unless you install scrubber along with it. Let them do the experiment. Necessity is mother of invention! One day it will be possible.
Lets makes things better... just help them!
Posted by anil_bharti (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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