Sun-powered air conditioners

Ben Wakefield shows off the RMI Energy Office’s hybrid air conditioner that runs on power of the sun during the day and switches to grid-provided electricity overnight. Photo: Eve Burns.

EVE BURNS

You need an air conditioner that you won’t feel obligated to turn off during the day? Most families and offices use air conditioners and most eat up a lot of electricity. A lot of homes tend to turn off their AC during the day to save cash power so they can enjoy air conditioned splendor for their sleep time.

What if you can get an AC that uses solar in the daytime and it automatically switches to cash power at night, cutting your cash power usage by half? Sounds worth checking out, doesn’t it?

There is just such an AC “hybrid” in operation in Majuro, using both solar and MEC electricity.

During the day it uses only energy from the sun; it uses no electricity from MEC in the daylight hours. At night the AC has a brain of its own and automatically switches to MEC power when the sun power source has slipped over the horizon. During rainy days that there no sunlight is available, it also uses power from MEC.

The company behind this new hybrid AC equipment is Solarize Lamoren, run by Joe and Sharlynn Lang Uluitavuki. This was a two-year long-planned project that came to mind when Joe and Sharlynn were looking for ways to help people reduce their power costs. Joe is an electrician by profession and had taken an interest in solar.

The business effort was able to move forward when Ebon Mayor Marie Milne discovered it and invested in the project.

“The AC is good for the environment and families,” Sharlynn said.

So far, less than 10 homes and offices have been able to get the AC and Joe makes time to go back and check on the families that bought the AC, and make adjustments when needed.

Angeline Heine-Reimers, who heads the National Energy Office, told the Journal that the AC cuts the electricity consumption by half. She said her office is still testing out the product, but so far they have not had any problems with it.

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