CHESAPEAKE – Solar Panels Plus (SPP) announces that the SplitCool DC-18 solar air conditioner has passed its TUV product safety testing and now carries the CE mark. Customers can be assured that electrical, fire, and mechanical safety issues have been properly addressed and that the SplitCool unit fully complies with global product safety standards.

The SplitCool system design allows for operation between 5,000 BTU and 18,000 BTU, meaning that capacity, refrigerant flow and compressor speed are variable and are dynamically adjusted in real time to match the current conditions and heat load. The system is designed to use the lowest possible amount of electric power so as to reduce the number of solar panels needed to operate the system. The base configuration requires only three solar panels.

The SplitCool solar air conditioner uses a hermetically sealed permanent magnet brushless DC compressor for maximum service life. Specially designed controls and a digital frequency driver send power to the compressor using alternating pulses of DC current at a rate between 25 Hz and 125 Hz, depending on requirements, matching the compressor capacity to the operating conditions. By contrast, a normal air conditioner with a fixed capacity must run at a steady 50/60 Hz AC and must continually turn itself on and off to satisfy the thermostat, wasting energy. The 48 volt SplitCool design avoids the use of a DC-AC inverter, and eliminates the rectifier circuits found in normal high efficiency AC systems, thus avoiding up to 23% of power conversion losses that would occur when running a high efficiency air conditioner from solar power or other DC source through an inverter.

According to John Williams, Chief Operating Officer of SPP, “The SplitCool solar air conditioning system was designed for off-grid solar applications, for example on a mountain top, in the desert, on an island, or anywhere that cooling or heating is needed and power is a problem.” Williams also noted that the high efficiency system is appropriate for non-solar applications like telecommunications or data center equipment cooling, where 48 volt DC power is the industry standard. “We are also seeing a fair amount of domestic U.S. residential inquiries, which was not expected, but we are happy about it,” said Williams.

A working prototype of the SplitCool solar powered air conditioner was first demonstrated at the Solar Power International conference in late 2009 and since then a number of pre-release systems have been deployed around the world in trials and demonstration installations with highly successful results. The SplitCool DC-18 solar air conditioner will begin shipping in April to Solar Panels Plus wholesale customers in the U.S. and worldwide and will be available to end users through SPP’s dealer network. SPP invites solar and HVAC organizations around the world to inquire about distribution opportunities.