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The aim of this report is to introduce the concept of cooling with concentrating solar panels (CSP) and compare solar cooling via CSP with photo-voltaic (PV) systems. CSP harnesses a much larger portion of the sun’s energy than PV systems do; however, CSP drives the absorption refrigeration cycle while PV can drive vapor compression cycles with a higher coefficient of performance (COP). Comparing the combined efficiencies of solar harnessing and coefficient of performance, both CSP and PV become virtually equivalent from a solar cooling perspective. The balance tips in favor of CSP systems due to its many advantages over PV systems such as cost per ton, energy payback time, and recyclability at the end of panel life. PV systems have the advantage of an essentially free storage system (the public utility grid); however, solar cooling systems’ economics dictate that they only be sized for transient peak loads and storage is not a significant advantage when that factor is taken into account.


Citation: ASHRAE Conference Papers, 2010, vol. 116, pt. 2, Albuquerque, NM