18 March 2011

Solar thermal cooling – technologies and market situation

Solar thermal cooling technologies are based on the smart idea of using solar energy – which is what produces
the very need for cooling in buildings – to create ‘cold’. Present-day designs use refrigerants which are
environmentally friendly. Using energy from the sun – which also has the benefit of being free of charge –
helps to save primary energy and therefore also helps to ‘keep the globe cold’. This article points out the growing
need for cooling in general, describes opportunities to convert solar irradiation into cooling, describes the
most common thermal technologies in more detail, together with their current market situation, and presents
worldwide installation statistics. The article concludes with a discussion of the current market situation and
obstacles to widespread market penetration, followed by an outlook for the coming years.