Comparing Solar Absorption Systems to Solar Desiccant Systems

Solar absorption and solar desiccant systems are two ways to use solar to cool your home. I know what you are thinking right now how can the Sun’s energy, usually thought of as heat, be used to cool my home? Well the technology does exist for you to cool your home with solar energy, and since the average American home spends half of it’s energy heating and cooling the home, there is a huge potential for reducing those high energy bills by installing such a system.

Solar power cooling systems use thermally activated cooling system (TCAS) technology to cool your home and typically come in two types: absorption or desiccant technologies. These are both still emerging technologies that have been yet to hit mainstream but both show promise as viable ways to effectively cool your home.

Solar Absorption Systems

Without getting too technical, the way these systems work is that they use a refrigerant fluid which after being boiled in your solar collector is condensed and evaporated to generate a cooling effect on the air pumped into your house. The system works just like a typical absorption refrigerator system by changing the physical state (liquid to gas to liquid again) of the refrigerant to generate a cooling effect.

Solar Desiccant Systems

These systems use a desiccant vice a refrigerant, to generate a cooling effect. The desiccant removes moisture from the air which is passed through evaporative stages into the house. These systems don’t necessarily cool the air but rather remove all the humidity from it such that it feels cooler.

Solar cooling systems will run between $4,000 and $8,000 per ton and have the added bonus of reducing the consumption of harmful refrigerant like HCFCs and CFCs which deplete the planet’s ozone layer. Another option to aid in cooling your home without installing an elaborate system is by installing a solar fan on on your roof to remove excess heat that may get trapped in the higher parts of you home. Check out how a solar fan works here.