Research Papers

Comparative Analysis of Solar Thermal Cooling and Solar Photovoltaic Cooling Systems

[+] Author and Article Information
N. Fumo

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Texas at Tyler,
Tyler, TX 73799
e-mail: nfumo@uttyler.edu

V. Bortone

Johnson Controls, Inc.,
9850 Legler Road, Lenexa,
KS 66219-1263
e-mail: Vicente.Bortone@jci.com

J. C. Zambrano

Decanato de Investigación,
Universidad Nacional Experimental del Táchira,
Av. Universidad, Táchira 5001, Venezuela
e-mail: jzambra@unet.edu.ve

Contributed by the Solar Energy Division of ASME for publication in the Journal of Solar Energy Engineering. Manuscript received October 24, 2011; final manuscript received August 24, 2012; published online November 21, 2012. Assoc. Editor: Werner Platzer.

J. Sol. Energy Eng 135(2), 021002 (Nov 21, 2012) (6 pages) Paper No: SOL-11-1230; doi: 10.1115/1.4007935 History: Received October 24, 2011; Revised August 24, 2012

The Energy Information Administration of the United States Department of Energy projects that more than 80% of the energy consumption of the U.S. by 2035 will come from fossil fuels. This projection should be the fuel to promote projects related to renewable energy in order to reduce energy consumption from fossil fuels to avoid their undesirable consequences such as carbon dioxide emissions. Since solar radiation match pretty well building cooling demands, solar cooling systems will be an important factor in the next decades to meet or exceed the green gases reduction that will be demanded by the society and regulations in order to mitigate environmental consequences such as global warming. Solar energy can be used as source of energy to produce cooling through different technologies. Solar thermal energy applies to technology such as absorption chillers and desiccant cooling, while electricity from solar photovoltaic can be used to drive vapor compression electric chillers. This study focuses on the comparison of a solar thermal cooling system that uses an absorption chiller driven by solar thermal energy, and a solar photovoltaic cooling system that uses a vapor compression system (electric chiller) driven by solar electricity (solar photovoltaic system). Both solar cooling systems are compared against a standard air cooled cooling system that uses electricity from the grid. The models used in the simulations to obtain the results are described in the paper along with the parameters (inputs) used. Results are presented in two figures. Each figure has one curve for the solar thermal cooling system and one for the solar photovoltaic cooling system. One figure allows estimation of savings calculated based the present value of discounted energy consumption cost. The other figure allows estimating primary energy consumption reduction and emissions reduction. Both figures presents the result per ton of refrigeration and as a function of area of solar collectors or/and area of photovoltaic modules. This approach to present the result of the simulations of the systems makes these figures quite general. This means that the results can be used to compare both solar cooling systems independently of the cooling demand (capacity of the system), as well as allow the analysis for different sizes of the solar system used to harvest the solar energy (collectors or photovoltaic modules).

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Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Schematic of reference system

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Fig. 2

Schematic of the solar thermal cooling system

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Fig. 3

Schematic of solar photovoltaic cooling system

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Fig. 4

Savings based on PV and energy reduction

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Fig. 5

Savings based on PV and energy reduction with no export of electricity from the solar PV system




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