The Southeast Asian region is known for its hot and humid weather all-year-round. For example, Singapore experiences temperature ranges of 24-34°C and average humidity of 77%. The AC is the biggest entry in the energy bill. The National Environmental Agency of Singapore found in a study that the aircon accounts for 24% of the bill in an average Singaporean household. This comes to around SGD 318 per year.
How Does a Hybrid Solar Air Conditioner Work?
The ordinary air conditioning unit is a complex appliance that runs on the simple premise of absorbing heat using a refrigerant. The cooling liquid (refrigerant) runs through pipes over which heated air blows and cools down. The refrigerant absorbs the heat and carries it outside, and the cycle repeats until the desired temperature registers on the thermostat.
The air conditioning unit uses power to run the compressor, which turns gas into a liquid. It also consumes power to run the blower fans that circulate the air in the house. In hot weather, the AC’s compressor and fans work harder, using up more power. Many homes in southeast Asia run the AC for more than 6 hours a day, the reason for the AC being the biggest power consumer.
A pure direct current solar air conditioner uses solar power instead of grid mains power, which comes with one big disadvantage. The photovoltaic cells don’t work very well when the skies are cloudy. A pure off-grid solar power AC would not work very well in southeast Asia, where the skies can be overcast, but temperatures remain high.
A hybrid solar air conditioner Singapore installation solves this problem by combining solar DC power and switching to the mains AC when solar power is below optimum. Solar energy is collected using a solar vacuum collector and used to heat the inside medium. The refrigerant passes through copper coils in the collector and does the heat exchange.
An energy efficient solar air conditioner can realize savings of 30-50% on the entire power bill. This is very realistic in Singapore, where the sun shines on an average of 5 hours year-round. Assuming the AC is switched off at 7 pm, it would require the AC to draw power from the mains from 8-11 pm, the hours at which many households go to bed.
A hybrid solar air conditioner Singapore installation can be beneficial to a commercial premise if it is usually empty at night. The AC switches off when people go home, so there is a minimal need for the AC to use the mains power. In this instance, the AC can realize savings up to 90% on AC power bills. It can make a big difference to a small business operating on thin margins.
A hybrid solar air conditioner offers an added advantage in running when there is a power outage. It is a self-contained unit that does not require human intervention to switch the power source. It switches automatically between the two modes.
Does a Hybrid Solar Air Conditioner Require Special Equipment?
Unlike a pure off-grid solar air conditioner, a hybrid unit does not need batteries, inverters, and controllers. It makes it less expensive than an off-grid unit. The main components include;
- AC/DC outdoor AC unit
- AC/DC indoor AC unit
- Solar panels
- Remote control console
- Fuse protection
- Lightning arrester
- Air Switch
Does the House Require Modifications?
You do not need to modify the building to accommodate the hybrid unit. Both indoor and outdoor units are designed to house both the AC and DC components. It looks like the standard AC unit.
Can It Be Used in Large Houses?
Hybrid solar air conditioners are designed to achieve the highest efficiency during the day and achieve SEER ratings as high as 21. The average unit hybrid unit works well with two 230W solar panels. For a very large residential unit, an array of three 300W solar panels will be adequate.
The AC operation hooks into the ordinary mains power line rated 220V (50/60Hz). The air conditioning switches intelligently from solar to AC power when it senses there is inadequate solar power.
The hybrid solar power air conditioner is a groundbreaking invention in energy use. It solved the disadvantages that came with either pure AC or pure off-grid systems. It runs as long as the sun is shining and continues to run under overcast skies or at night.
The latest hybrid solar air conditioners in the market come with intelligent controls, just like conventional air conditioners. It comes with remote control for easy controls
A hybrid solar air conditioner eliminates the need for expensive batteries needed by off-grid solar air conditioners and reduces power bills from running an AC air conditioner for long hours. The hybrid solar air conditioner can save the average Singaporean household as much as 90% of the AC power bill. It is probably the best investment a homeowner can make to improve the comfort levels of a home.