For anyone that lives in a country with a warm climate, air conditioning is an essential piece of technology making the most stuffy home or office comfortable to work in. Unfortunately powering such units often causes large energy bills for consumers and companies and generates a sizable carbon footprint. Not cool! Luckily, China, who is rapidly becoming the world’s leader in renewable energy development and knows all about warmer summers and freezing winters, has just unveiled the world’s first air conditioned unit powered by solar energy.
Developed by a company called Shandong Vicot Air Conditioning Co., Ltd, the solar powered air-con unit could save companies and homeowners not only masses of money but also reduce their carbon emissions, something that is essential in China which is still a heavily-industrialized country. Showcased at the World Solar-Powered Air Conditioning Development Forum, the solar-powered air conditioning unit boasts an optimal 85% thermal cooling conversion efficiency, with an ability to utilize to 27 times the amount of solar power than the average water heating unit uses.
The Shandong Vicot Air Conditioning unit also allows for 24-hour continuous cooling, heating, and supply of hot water, while natural gas can be used as a supplemental energy supply, so during periods of poor sunshine, heating and cooling can still be provided. This should be quite rare however as in terms of solar power, China’s supply is abundant. Sunlight hits two thirds of the nation’s surface area and annual solar irradiance exceeds 2,200 hours – optimal conditions for any national solar endeavor.
Furthermore, relevant statistics show that consumption of energy by buildings and other structures in China is 27.45% of the country’s overall energy consumption, so the incorporation of energy-saving measures in these structures is imminent. Heating units in particular use a lot of energy with their energy consumption accounting for 65% of usage, compared to water heating units (15%) and electricity needs (14%).
“This solar-powered air conditioning unit is the result of three years of hard work and the pioneering research efforts of Chinese and American scientists and engineers. The product is a fine example of globally cutting-edge technology. Solar-powered air conditioning units can be widely used in low-carbon buildings, and its cost is relatively low, so in 3.5 years, the unit’s initial investment can be recouped, and in 6.7, the entire investment can be recovered,” remarked Shandong Vicot Air Conditioning Co., Ltd.’s president Li Wen.
Lead image from PR News Wire