This paper presents the findings of a field study and performance analysis of a solar thermal cooling system located in Phoenix, Arizona. This system is compared to conventional air conditioning equipment, as well as conventional air conditioning equipment powered by solar electric (photovoltaics). The design of the solar cooling system, which incorporates solar-generated hot water and a single-stage absorption chiller, is discussed. Capital and maintenance cost estimates, including auxiliary electric load and water, are also provided. Operational problems are reviewed together with the design modifications that were required to resolve these issues. Performance of the system and the individual components was determined based on field data collected. Using this data the solar cooler energy savings over conventional air conditioning equipment was determined (Figure 1).

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