Solar-powered Commercial Air Conditioning Systems bringing Winds of Change in Global Market

Air conditioning has gone from being a luxury to necessity over the last few decades. However, considering the rate at which fossil fuels are depleting, it could go back to being a luxury very soon. Unless, of course, we find ways to run air conditioners on new and renewable energy. The widespread adoption of renewable energy sources will ensure that this is not a very far-fetched idea. The air conditioners market has already witnessed the launch of several solar-powered residential and commercial air conditioning systems over the last couple of years, and new products are in the pipeline.

Transparency Market Research said in a recent study that the global commercial air conditioning systems market will have a CAGR of 5.2% between 2013 and 2019 globally. At this growth rate, the market is expected to rise to US$10.2 bn by 2019, up from its 2012 revenue of US$7.2 bn in 2012. The share that solar-powered air conditioning occupies in this market is showing noticeable growth year on year.

Emboldened by Multimillion-dollar Opportunity, Companies Launching Innovative Products
From combining solar power with ice cooling to using powerful solar batteries, the competition in the solar air conditioning market is beginning to get more intense. Ice Energy, a California-based company, has developed the solar-plus-ice concept for air conditioning that takes the load off the grid by enabling companies to completely shut down their electricity-powered air conditioners for as many as six hours at a stretch. Enticed by the prospect of saving substantial sums of money, several commercial building managers have decided to invest in these rooftop systems over the past few months.

Another Singapore-based company, Solaire World International, currently has a seven-product strong portfolio of solar air conditioners meant for both residential and commercial use. These air conditioners are available in different configurations, ranging from wall mounted to ducted to floor standing.

In scenarios where more flexibility with cooling is needed, solar powered portable air conditioners are making their presence felt on the market. A case in point would be Evapolar, a Russian company that has launched a range of portable air conditioners fitted with powerful solar batteries.

Pricing is a pivotal part of the success of solar powered commercial air conditioning systems, as that’s the only way to attract more consumers. 

Peak Load Shifting is Greatest Incentive for Adoption of Solar Commercial Air Conditioning Systems

The use of renewable-energy powered air conditioning systems helps shift loads during peak load hours, thereby reducing both pressure and reliance on the grid. Depending on how efficient a solar air conditioning system is, it is possible to either reduce the consumption of electricity for cooling or eliminate it altogether. Commercial air conditioning, especially, could benefit from the use of solar air conditioners given that air conditioning costs can easily constitute about 50% (or more) of the total energy costs of a building.

The uptake of solar commercial air conditioning is expected to increase noticeably in developing countries where sunshine is abundantly available. In India, for instance, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy grants subsidies on solar air conditioners. While there is a palpable demand for solar air conditioning in growth markets, it is the supply that is lacking.


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