Cost-effectiveness of Solar Cooling for Office and Hypermarket
Air-conditioning consumes electricity intensively in Thailand and it is desirable to investigate if less intensive means of cooling is viable. This paper presents results of assessment of financial viability of application of solar cooling employing single-effect absorption chiller to a large office building model and a hypermarket model under Thai context. The well-known TRNSYS program is used to simulate operation of solar cooling system in the two building models under a solar autonomous mode and an electric chiller-assisted solar cooling mode. Multiple simulation runs with variation on the size of hot water tank and solar collector area were conducted to obtain the solar autonomous configuration and the electric chiller-assisted configuration that offers lowest life cycle cost (LCC) for each building type. The LCCs for both types of buildings under electric chiller-assisted mode at optimum configuration are lower than that from electric cooling. Payback periods for optimum solar cooling mode are all positive for both building types, although relatively long, at 24 and 26 years. If solar equipment is subsidized under a 30/70% scheme, payback periods could be reduced to 14 and 16 years. The prospect for solar thermal cooling is positive.