PV-Powered Auto AC, Answer To Our Prayers

Ah, sweet, sweet air conditioning. How do we love thee? We love your cool, cool air on hot summer days, on long road trips and when stuck in traffic.  Truly, air conditioning, you are one of civilization’s greatest inventions. Unfortunately, AC, you suck power like a vampire. You rob our electric vehicles of range. You kill our gas mileage. You pollute our air. Alas, these are your tragic flaws.

Now, thanks to a collaboration between the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and Green Power Industrial, we all may soon be able to enjoy the deliciousness of air conditioned awesomeness powered exclusively by solar power.

solar power ac

image via Hong Kong Poly

The new solar air conditioning system, dubbed the solar-powered air-conditioning system for vehicles (SAV), allows motorists to bask in cool breezes without turning on the car’s engine. The SAV utilizes photovoltaic technology and intelligent power control to switch the on-board air-conditioner to solar power when the gasoline engine shuts off. The switchover, according to the company, is automatic and seamless. The system helps extend the operation of air-conditioner for up to two hours.

The SAV not only increases an automobile’s efficiency, it’s also great for the environment. When a car idles, it not only fouls the air, but is also bad for the engine as it might contaminate engine oil and accelerate the deterioration of engine components due to higher operational temperature and unnecessary prolonged operation. According to recent statistics, leaving a vehicle on idle for as short as 10 minutes a day will consume an average of 100 liters of fuel in one year.

Become a Green Earthling Deal email subscriber by Friday, October 28, and you could win a wireless solar keyboard from Logitech! Either Mac or PC, it’s your choice.

Steve Duda lives in West Seattle, WA with three dogs and a lot of outdoor gear. A part-time fly fishing fishing guide and full-time writer, Steve’s work has appeared in Rolling Stone, Seattle Weekly, American Angler, Fly Fish Journal, The Drake, Democracy Now! and many others.

    • ray allen

      My question is if this can this be retrofitted to existing vehicles?