This study compares the cost of operating the auxiliary components of an optimised standalone hot water fired absorption chiller, using mains grid electricity and an optimised standalone photovoltaic system. The cheaper source was further compared with using mains electricity to operate a conventional reverse cycle air-air heat pump. Both types of air conditioners were sized to condition the same typical Australian house in three different Australian climate zones. The life-cycle cost of the electrical subsystem was determined for a house located in both a city and for a remote (grid-free) locations; the latter assumed the new connection could sustain the energy and power demands of the air conditioner. The operation and life-cycle costs are determined using TRNSYS 17. The results show that mains electricity attracts a lower cost than an optimised PV system for the chiller case; however, the standalone PV system offers a lower cost than mains, when operating a reverse cycle heat pump air conditioner. Finally, the paper shows that investing in a chiller system is better suited to houses in remote locations and in colder climate zones.
Keywords: Solar air conditioning; standalone absorption chiller; standalone PV system.