Solar Cooling

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In thermal energy, we reviewed the principle of operation of a refrigerator (or an air conditioning system). Cooling occurs as a result of a refrigerant removing heat from the refrigerated (air conditioned) space and becoming vaporized (step 1). The vapor is then heated to a high temperature and pressure by a compressor (step 2); it then enters a condenser where it is condensed and becomes liquid (step 3). Finally the liquid is expanded in an expansion valve, allowing the refrigerant to cool to the evaporator temperature (step 4). The refrigerant is now ready to remove additional heat and repeat the cycle. The point to remember is that some energy in the form of electricity or heat is needed to carry out step 2. The source of this energy can be natural gas, oil, or in this case, solar energy.



(1) Toossi Reza, "Energy and the Environment:Sources, technologies, and impacts", Verve Publishers, 2005

Additional Comments

Further Reading

Markvart, T., and Castanar, L., Solar Cells: Materials, Manufacture and Operation, Elsevier Publishing Company, 2005.

Galloway, T., Solar House, Elsevier Publishing Company, 2004.

Stine, W. B., and Harrington, R. W., Solar Energy Systems Design, John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 1985.

Solar Energy, Direct Science Elsevier Publishing Company, the official journal of the International Solar Energy Society, covers solar, wind and biomass energies.

External Links

National Renewable Energy Laboratory: Solar Research (http://

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy: Solar Energy, US Department of Energy (

American Solar Energy Society (

Solar Electric Power Association (

California Solar Center (