Solar Cooling Kits for Europe

Solar Cooling in MaltaSolar cooling for an office building in Kordin, Malta: The Chillii Solar Cooling Kit PSC10 uses 30.5 m² flat plate and 7 m² of vacuum tube collectors to generate 10 kW of cold in an ammonia/water absorption chiller. Photo: Solarnext


There is a huge market potential for solar cooling in Europe. But so far, only a small number of companies develop and offer standardised small-scale solar cooling systems - up to a 30 kW cooling capacity. The market pioneer in this segment seems to be Solarnext, a company based in southern Germany. “At present, we have already realised over 20 small-scale systems worldwide - in Canada, Europe, China and Australia”, says the director of the solar cooling division Dr. Uli Jakob. The Solarnext cooling kits include solar thermal collectors with attachments, hot water storage, pump-sets, sorption chiller, re-cooler, partly cold water storage and a system controller. “The great challenge is to integrate the cooling system into a standard solution”, says Jakob.

And prices are still fairly high. Until now, the specific total costs of the installed solar cooling systems of Solarnext in Europe have been between 5,000 and 8,000 €/kW cooling capacity. “In 2008, we reached average system costs of around 4,000 to 4,500 €/kW depending on the application and the site”, confirms Jakob. “To reach a reasonable payback time, an all-season use of renewable energy sources for domestic hot water, space heating and solar cooling is indispensable here.”

The Austrian solar cooling kit provider Solution Solartechnik GmbH also strives to reduce costs. “Our guiding price is between 2,900 €/kW (30 kW) and 3,900 €/kW (7.5 kW), but does not include the re-cooler.” Up to now, Solution realised only four commercial systems.

The attached table includes two other German solar cooling kit suppliers: SK Sonnenklima from Berlin and Schüco International from Bielefeld. The average value of specific collector surface of listed kits is 4.2 m2/kW cooling capacity. Solarnext supplies the biggest collector areas with 4.5 m2/kW, Schüco the smallest areas with 3.2 m2/kW. “Solar fraction for the solar cooling system should be more than 70 %”, gives Jakob the reason for the chosen dimensions. The average value of all installed small to large solar cooling systems in Europe until the year 2006 was 3 m2/kW.

More information:

Solarnext AG:

Schüco International KG:

Solution Solartechnik GmbH:

SK Sonnenklima GmbH:

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