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Rooftop concentrating solar thermal collectors power the new air conditioning systems at Stockland Wendouree. image: Ian Wilson
17 June 2016

A $1.2 million sun-powered air-conditioning system will cool the Stockland Wendouree Shopping Centre in Ballarat, Victoria.

The project is the world-first demonstration of a desiccant air-conditioning system using roof mounted concentrating solar thermal collectors.

It was supported with $520,000 from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, and it is jointly managed by CSIRO, the Stockland Group and NEP Solar.

The closed-loop system uses two ‘desiccant’ wheels to remove moisture from the air, acting as a dehumidifier that provides controlled fresh air into the buildings. A high-temperature wheel uses solar heat for regeneration while a low temperature wheel functions without any external heat to deliver greater efficiency on a commercial scale.

The roof space required for the solar air-conditioning technology can be 40% less than a traditional single-stage desiccant system, and is expected to significantly reduce HVAC electricity usage for commercial buildings.

Story is based on information provided by the CSIRO