Small-Scale Solar Powered Air Conditioning is Here

Thailand is one of the leading Asian countries in the adoption of renewable energy. In 2018, renewable energy made up 15 percent of total power consumption in the country. The country’s solar energy accounts for about 3,300 MW halfway toward its 2036 solar target of 6,000 MW.  The capacity has doubled since 2014 due to government support and private sector investment.

But is the ordinary consumer able to access the benefits of solar energy? Air conditioning is the biggest consumer of electricity across the country. Most homes and businesses have to cool the indoor all year round due to the balmy conditions. This requires a large amount of electricity which is costly. The development of a small-scale solar air conditioner is a big step towards helping ordinary Thais benefit from cleaner energy.

For a long time, people in this country viewed solar energy systems as suitable for large commercial buildings. This perception is now changing with the development of small-scale solar air conditioners.

If you’re a homeowner, this is the perfect timing to embrace solar-powered air conditioning for your home. These units can also work for small offices across the country due to the abundance of sunlight. This article breaks down how these systems work to help you make an informed decision.

Demystifying Solar Air Conditioning

For many residents, solar energy projects are complex and expensive. This perception has persisted due to the commercial use of solar power systems. Luckily, the development of small-scale solar-powered units makes it possible for homeowners, renters and office owners to finally leverage the benefits of solar power in cooling their spaces.

The most common solar air conditioners for small scale use are:

  1. Solar photovoltaic air conditioners:  They work like typical split systems but instead of relying on grid electricity, the photovoltaic panels on a rooftop convert sun’s rays into electricity.
  2. Solar Thermal Hybrid Air Conditioners: These systems work through a compressor. Solar energy aids the functions of the compressor in compressing and heating up fluid. This saves power which also reduces overall electricity costs.
  3. Solar PV Hybrid System: This system transforms the sun’s energy into electricity through photovoltaic technology with a storage battery component added into the mix. The electricity charges batteries and while the power is not sufficient, the system switches to grid electricity.
  4. Evaporative Solar Powered Conditioners: These are the most energy-efficient and eco-friendly solar air-con, this system works through heat exchange. By eliminating the need for a compressor, the unit lowers your power bill and helps save energy.

Benefits of Small-Scale Solar Air Conditioners

Whether your solar air conditioner in Thailand converts generates electricity or helps run the compressor, there are myriad benefits you get. Manufacturers design small scale air-cons with homeowners and renters in mind.

Unlike the commercial solar power systems used by large business premises and factories, these are smaller units which nevertheless offer many benefits. These benefits include:

  1. Lower cost of air conditioning: Conventional air conditioners are costly to run and maintain. By harnessing the sun’s energy, you reduce reliance on the costly grid electricity.
  2. Reliable air conditioning: Power outages are common in the country and if you rely on a conventional AC, this can make your home uncomfortable. Using a solar-powered air conditioner averts this problem as your system continues running despite the grid outage.
  3. Increase your home’s value: Homebuyers look for features added by homeowners, especially those that lower the cost of home maintenance. Your solar air-con can boost your home’s valuation.
  4. Clean energy: You can now make a contribution to the environmental conversation by investing in a small-scale air conditioner. Whatever type of system you choose, it reduces fossil fuel extraction and burning. This, in turn, cuts on emissions and leads to a cleaner/healthier environment.

Your air conditioning unit is a significant investment that eventually pays off within a few years. It is a low-maintenance system that your installer only checks once in a while. With government invectives and increased innovation in the solar energy industry, the cost of equipment and installation continues falling.

Is Small-Scale Solar Powered Air Conditioning for you?

Before you rush to buy and install a solar air-con, it’s advisable to consider the following:

  • Availability of sunlight in your area
  • Location/ orientation of your home. Which direction does your home face?
  • Type/shape/pitch of the roof
  • Your home’s air conditioning requirements (how much energy do you need?)
  • The reputation of the solar installer you want to use
  • Warranty of equipment you buy
  • Availability of tax incentives on your solar power project
  • Licensing or regulations guiding solar panel installation in your area

Working with an experienced solar installer in Thailand is the best way to get the best out of this project. These professionals have the expertise, resources and technology to help you maximize on solar energy. This makes your home more comfortable at a lower cost and what’s more, it’s all clean energy.

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