Solar powered air conditioning makes so much sense; it is hottest when the sun shines. So all the blogs are excited about LG's new "eco-friendly solar hybrid air conditioner". Slapping a 70 watt solar panel on top of a thousand watt air conditioner is certainly a help, but hardly the holy grail of solar air conditioning.
And then I noticed that ad at the top of TreeHugger for Lennox's new Sunsource System. They claim that they can cut energy consumption for heating and cooling in half.
The LG air conditioner definitely has better looking booth babes, but the Sunsource is interesting. Lennox writes in a press release:
The Lennox SunSource™ integrates solar power by using a single 190-watt solar panel which provides power to assist the fan motor that moves air across the outdoor coil, a critical component in any home comfort system. Even on days with limited sun exposure, the Lennox SunSource™ takes advantage of the available solar resources and reduces energy usage. To match the expected gains in energy efficiency, a conventional outdoor residential air conditioning unit would have to almost double in size.
But you can also make it part of a home energy system with up to 15 solar modules, and can sell the power back to the grid when the air conditioning isn't running.
We still consider air conditioning a deluded response to a design problem, but if one is going to have it, this is certainly a start on the road to real solar powered air conditioning. More at Lennox Sunsource, who I really did learn about from the ad on TreeHugger.