Can a solar cooling system be integrated in my building or my industrial processes? Answering this question with a simple Yes or No is not as easy as it seems. If a solar cooling system turns out to be a feasible investment largely depends on the parameters of the existing heating and cooling system, required temperatures, cooling times, and regional fossil fuel and electricity prices. To see if a solar cooling installation will be a good choice, French engineering company Tecsol is now offering a free-of-charge, online check list on its website: http://www.tecsol.fr/checklist/
By answering 20 questions on an online form, a potential investor or costumer buying a solar thermal system can find out if a solar cooling system can successfully be integrated into the respective building. The multiple-choice questions range from project planning and present building conditions to economical and technical feasibility of the investment. A certain number of points is assigned to each answer given, with some questions having greater weight on the final score than others. The maximum number of points one can achieve by filling out the questionnaire is 20. The final score is thought to provide some insight into how successful a certain project might be:
- 10 to 20 points: Not difficult to realize the project.
- 5 to 10 points: Some issues still need to be addressed, but the project is on the right track.
- 0 to 5 points: There are still some serious issues to be addressed
- If the check list result appears to be negative, the project is not suitable for a solar cooling system.
The check list was developed within the task force of the new French Solar Heating and Cooling Development Programme, the Task 38 "Solar Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration" team of the Solar Heating and Cooling Programme by the International Energy Agency (IEA).
“In order to extend the application range of our tool to other regions, we are about to feed in energy prices from other countries,” Tecsol's Daniel Mugnier explains. The tool is used to evaluate solar cooling projects whose initiators want to profit from the Fonds Chaleur. Nearly ten solar cooling projects applied for the new French Solar Heating and Cooling Development Programme, and are at different stages in the planning process: pre-feasibility, feasibility, call for tender. Mugnier is optimistic that the first successful installations will have been set up by the beginning of next year.