SM20: Research into PV cells powering small-scale air-conditioning units

Oliver Rowe, TAFE NSW Higher Education

With electricity prices on the rise and temperatures reaching record values due to climate change, it is becoming ever more apparent that a reduction in the electricity consumption of air conditioning systems is required. Our project ‘Stand-alone Solar Powered Air-Conditioning System’ aims to address this problem by analysing the feasibility of running a system with renewable energy that is generated on-site.

The system uses a Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) and inverter which allows the research team to collect data in real time. This data shows how the system performs when influenced by external factors such as weather and temperature. From this, we are then able to determine what the minimum requirements are to adequately cool and heat the building.

Our results will provide good indication of what the future may hold for PV powered air conditioning systems, for both small-scale (residential and light commercial) and large-scale applications.


Oliver Rowe is a student at Sydney TAFE undertaking an Associate Degree of Applied Engineering (Renewable Energy Technologies). Once completed, he has plans to further his study and finish a Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical). Oliver has a keen interest in electronics and works part-time as an Electronics Technician, manufacturing electronic components for buses.

The Associate Degree of Applied Engineering (Renewable Energy Technologies) prepares students for a career in the rapidly evolving renewable energy industry. On completion of the Associate Degree students may then further their studies by continuing on to the third year of the Bachelor of Technology (Renewable Energy Systems) at the University of Newcastle. The incorporation of applied research projects into the course curriculum has aided in the development of valuable technical skills required for a career as a renewable energy professional.


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