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Posted: 4/18/2010 9:17:48 AM EDT
With summer only a few more months away, I've been wondering if there's some way to turn that nasty heat into energy adequate enough to power a small air conditioner for free. Is it possible to do it cheaply with some sort of portable solar power generator?
Link Posted: 4/18/2010 9:20:14 AM EDT
The short answer is no. It cannot be done cheaply.
Link Posted: 4/18/2010 9:20:30 AM EDT
Yes. Check it out:

http://www.coolerado.com/tech-info/video-3-coolerado-solar-powered-air-conditioning/
Link Posted: 4/18/2010 9:25:18 AM EDT
Just did a quick search online, a small (8k btu) window air conditioner needs 815 watts for operation (and presumably more for startup).

To run that for just 12 hours a day you would need solar panels with at least two to three times that capacity feeding into some deep cycle batteries.......

You could do it yourself for less but if you bought an off the shelf 3kw kit online it would cost you around $15k.
Link Posted: 4/18/2010 9:27:29 AM EDT
Originally Posted By davekd7ds:
Yes. Check it out:

http://www.coolerado.com/tech-info/video-3-coolerado-solar-powered-air-conditioning/


Man, that thing is bad to the bone, very interesting video.. Thanks for the link.
Link Posted: 4/18/2010 9:31:53 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/18/2010 9:35:01 AM EDT by DragoMuseveni]

Originally Posted By davekd7ds:
Yes. Check it out:

http://www.coolerado.com/tech-info/video-3-coolerado-solar-powered-air-conditioning/


Seems like a glorified swamp cooler to me. Lets see how well that thing cools when it's 85 degress outside with 90% humidity.


Edit: Found this in their FAQ

Do Coolerado air conditioners change the humidity of the cool air they provide?

No. The cooled air provided by Coolerado air conditioners is the same humidity ratio as the outside air.



Link Posted: 4/18/2010 9:36:57 AM EDT

Originally Posted By AnticitizenOne:
Originally Posted By davekd7ds:
Yes. Check it out:

http://www.coolerado.com/tech-info/video-3-coolerado-solar-powered-air-conditioning/


Man, that thing is bad to the bone, very interesting video.. Thanks for the link.
I would love to have a setup like that.

Link Posted: 4/18/2010 9:39:45 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/18/2010 9:40:19 AM EDT by sparsedirect]
Originally Posted By MarkNH:
Just did a quick search online, a small (8k btu) window air conditioner needs 815 watts for operation (and presumably more for startup).

To run that for just 12 hours a day you would need solar panels with at least two to three times that capacity feeding into some deep cycle batteries.......

You could do it yourself for less but if you bought an off the shelf 3kw kit online it would cost you around $15k.


Good summary by MarkNH.

Details, so I don't feel like a looked this up for nothing:

Installed 2kw home system: About $16,000, very close to MarkNH's number. http://www.solarbuzz.com/solarindices.htm

A 1000 watt medium window unit, running 14 hours a day, uses 14 kw-hrs of energy per day.
Assume your cost is 15 cents per kw-hr (a little above national average).
You'll use $65 of energy per month, or $391 per year (running the unit 6 months per year)
Over 10 years, you'll spend $3910 to run that window unit.

So, $3910 over 10 years for no solar, vs. $16,000 with a solar system. After 10 years you'll be looking to do some serious maintainance on your batteries, but probably not a full replacement cost. Maybe another $5,000?

So, no, not even close. Unless you start scrounging for used batteries, panels, and can build up your own storage and inverter control system.
Link Posted: 4/18/2010 9:51:12 AM EDT
Originally Posted By DragoMuseveni:

Originally Posted By davekd7ds:
Yes. Check it out:

http://www.coolerado.com/tech-info/video-3-coolerado-solar-powered-air-conditioning/


Seems like a glorified swamp cooler to me. Lets see how well that thing cools when it's 85 degress outside with 90% humidity.


Edit: Found this in their FAQ

Do Coolerado air conditioners change the humidity of the cool air they provide?

No. The cooled air provided by Coolerado air conditioners is the same humidity ratio as the outside air.





Here in the west I don't see a problem with that.
Link Posted: 4/18/2010 10:14:36 AM EDT
I believe one can make a solar powered air conditioner along the same lines as an adsorption (propane) refrigerator - replace heat from the gas with a solar collector.

Or...Solar Air Conditioning
Link Posted: 4/18/2010 10:46:40 AM EDT
Originally Posted By R2point0:
I believe one can make a solar powered air conditioner along the same lines as an adsorption (propane) refrigerator - replace heat from the gas with a solar collector.

Or...Solar Air Conditioning


A bit from that wiki article:
A less-expensive partial-power photovoltaic system can reduce (but not eliminate) the monthly amount of electricity purchased from the power grid for air conditioning (and other uses). With American state government subsidies of $2.50 to $5.00 USD per photovoltaic watt,[15] the amortized cost of PV-generated electricity can be below $0.15 per kWh. This is currently cost effective in some areas where power company electricity is now $0.15 or more.

I would very much like to see the numbers that went into that assessment, as that .15/kw-hr is the same as I used above to show that these cost numbers were still not viable.

There is the cost of the raw panels, then there is the installation cost and the power-controller and battery storage costs. Like saying "I can buy a (used) car for $5,000" but neglecting to include the costs of sales tax, gasoline, insurance, inspections, tires, oil changes, etc.
Link Posted: 4/18/2010 10:49:16 AM EDT
if you bought enough solar gear equal to 20 years of your electric bill hten yes you could power your AC with it.
Link Posted: 4/18/2010 10:49:58 AM EDT

Originally Posted By DragoMuseveni:

Originally Posted By davekd7ds:
Yes. Check it out:

http://www.coolerado.com/tech-info/video-3-coolerado-solar-powered-air-conditioning/


Seems like a glorified swamp cooler to me. Lets see how well that thing cools when it's 85 degress outside with 90% humidity.


Edit: Found this in their FAQ

Do Coolerado air conditioners change the humidity of the cool air they provide?

No. The cooled air provided by Coolerado air conditioners is the same humidity ratio as the outside air.




or 115 degrees
Link Posted: 4/18/2010 11:07:39 AM EDT
You can try doing the math and research the subject all you want, but the long and short of it is this: air conditioners are power hogs. It takes a lot of energy to just de-humidify the air let alone cool it. Look for other ways to keep cool.
Link Posted: 4/18/2010 11:10:16 AM EDT

Originally Posted By victorgonzales:

Originally Posted By DragoMuseveni:



Seems like a glorified swamp cooler to me. Lets see how well that thing cools when it's 85 degress outside with 90% humidity.


Edit: Found this in their FAQ

Do Coolerado air conditioners change the humidity of the cool air they provide?

No. The cooled air provided by Coolerado air conditioners is the same humidity ratio as the outside air.




or 115 degrees

Will not work in high humidity conditions.
Link Posted: 4/18/2010 11:20:28 AM EDT
Portable Solar? No. As above - a decent PV install will run $15-20k. Good news is, anymore, in many cases someone else will pay for it. Grants, Rebates and Tax Credits can significantly reduce the overall cost of most sytems in some areas. Fed Tax credits as well. To be cost effective it'll need to be a grid tie w/o batt backup. Works best with net metering. Its still not cost effective - even with grants. With the falling cost of PV Panels per watt and more "free" money - it might be soon,

http://www.dsireusa.org/
Link Posted: 4/18/2010 11:43:22 AM EDT
You would be better off just connecting your AC unit to your neighbors house instead.
Link Posted: 4/18/2010 11:46:06 AM EDT
It can be done. But if you have to ask, you can't afford it.

Link Posted: 4/18/2010 11:46:25 AM EDT
Originally Posted By AnticitizenOne:
Originally Posted By davekd7ds:
Yes. Check it out:

http://www.coolerado.com/tech-info/video-3-coolerado-solar-powered-air-conditioning/


Man, that thing is bad to the bone, very interesting video.. Thanks for the link.


Do want!
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