A split system air conditioner is a type of air conditioning unit that is separated into two parts. The inside part of the unit, also known as the air outlet unit, is mounted on an interior wall and this is where the cool air passed into the room. The outside unit is the condenser and contains a compressor. These units can be separated by some distance. They are commonly seen mounted back-to-back, but they can actually be placed many meters apart from each other. This means that the outside unit can be placed in a less conspicuous position and in an area where the noise from the unit isn’t going to be an issue. Another major benefit of this type of air conditioner is that up to eight inside units can be run from a single outside unit! Many models also contain a heat exchanger and can also be used for supplying heating in the cooler months. What many people don’t realise is that many split systems can be run directly from a solar panel installation and some are even designed with low energy usage for this situation.
Hybrid Split Systems – Thermal UnitA hybrid solar split system is a fairly new development in the world of solar powered air conditioners. These units feature a thermal collector (pictured here), which looks just like a solar panel. The thermal collector uses the heat of the sun to super heat and pressurise the gases. This takes over from the compressor unit and reduces the amount of time the compressor in running (and power it is drawing). This means that less power is used as less energy is required to run the compressor. These systems are not fully solar powered, but can cut more than 50% of the power usage compared to a standard split system!
Dual Power Systems
These are very similar to hybrid systems but, instead of being a product designed for solar input, they use a standard split system. This system is then professionally installed to run on both solar and mains power. This means that the upfront costs are reduced, a standard split system can be purchased for as little as $200, while retaining the ability to run the unit on both forms of power. The downside of this type of solar air conditioning installation is that it requires a professional installer, along with an already existing solar installation, which is more complex and far more expensive.
Inverter and Low PowerThese split systems are designed for those who require a quality air conditioner without the normal power usage. Inverter air conditioners have become standard for most newer split systems on the market. These use a variable speed compressor to match the air temperatures more closely and regulate the power required. This means lower temperature changes and a more comfortable home. They use about 30% less energy and are also more efficient at heating and cooling. These make excellent air conditioners for running from a solar panel installation. In addition to this, some manufacturers are now producing ultra low power split systems (again based on inverter technology). These can be run directly from a solar panel and can even be used in caravans and motorhomes. Both of these options cost a little bit extra in the initial outlay, but they are one of the best options for solar powered split systems.
Fully Solar Powered
These are the latest in models in the range and feature a complete solar powered split system. These come with the unit as well as a dedicated solar panel to run the air conditioner unit. These are the most expensive in initial cost, but are also the cheapest to run in the long term. The only other downside, other than the initial cost, is that they will only run while the solar panels are receiving enough light. This means that they wont work for heating your house in winter after dark!