Solar thermal on top of the shops
Today, members of ASTRI from CSIRO visited a major shopping centre in Newcastle to take a look at how a solar cooling system, powered by parabolic troughs, could help keep the shoppers crisp. It was interesting to see the way a business presents its case for more environmentally friendly energy options, particularly when it makes sense financially. The solar cooling system has been installed to work in parallel with a trigeneration gas powered system that is currently providing the electricity and air conditioning for most of the centre. The group who runs this centre had a mandate to reduce the emission of the building, and the solar powered cooling will help them achieve this.
During the tour, we learned that there have been some hiccups in setting up the solar cooling. The development of the CST sector and necessary skills in Australia will help create more dependable design, installation and operation of CST technologies. ASTRI has been recruiting many researchers into CST work and its project to develop CST education in Australia is now well underway. ASTRI will therefore help concentrating solar thermal become a more dependable investment for companies in the future.