Did you know that about 5 percent of all the electricity consumed in the United States is used for air conditioning? Most air conditioning units are inefficient electricity hogs but in the 21st century, air conditioning is considered a necessity during the warm months.
This got one man from South Carolina, Jamie Edens, thinking about ways he could pair solar technology with air conditioning to create an affordable solar-powered air conditioning unit for the general public. He approached truck equipment company Kingtec who already had experience in manufacturing highly efficient a/c units that run on batteries; truckers use Kingtec’s models to cool their vehicles when stopped for sleeping.
Edens successfully built a solar prototype which Kingtec then agreed to turn into a real unit. The designer even recently traveled to China to see how the unit was developing:
“The new air conditioner blows three times harder and has twice the BTU output,” he told Treehugger. “The efficiency is there and it is ready to change the world. It’s not a toy- the beauty of this air conditioner is that all of the solar components are installed in the air conditioner and the engineering is done for you. All you need to do is plug in your solar panels and turn the unit on…”
At 16,000 BTUs, the unit is not the same size as most residential air conditioning units. A unit that size is designed to cool about 600 SF.
But advocates for the system argue that it is intended as part of an overall energy-efficient design. Paired with a sustainable design, efficient windows and insulation, the unit is plenty capable.
“Air conditioning doesn’t need to burden to the grid, our finances and contribute to global pollution,” Edens said. “It can contribute a new start to clean things up and sustain the earth for the long run.”