Solar airconditioning is an emerging renewable energy technology that is technically proven and suitable for wide scale deployment. Unfortunately, solar airconditioning cannot compete on a level playing field with other renewable energy technologies because it is not eligible for government rebates such as those awarded to solar photovoltaic electricity or solar hot water systems. In addition, the potential complexity of solar air-conditioning systems, and the lack of a clearly defined and readily compariable method of assessing their performance under typical operating conditions, are both likely to make the process of selecting a solar air-conditioner difficult for the consumer in the future marketplace.
Both these factors point to the need for the development of a solar air-conditioning standard which can be used to both benchmark competing solar a/c products, and to provide a realistic measure of any energy savings in comparison to maintanence of the ‘status quo’. No such standard exists at present. Thus, Standards Australia have supported the development of “AS5389 Solar cooling and heating systems – calculation of energy consumption”, which is expected to be released as a provisional standard in the first quarter of 2013. Presently this document considers only solar desiccant based cooling and solar air heating systems, though inclusion of other technologies is expected in the future. Here an overview of the technical development of this standard is described.