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Air Conditioning Unit To Harness Solar Power, Hot Water For Lower Costs

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(courtesy PRNewsFoto/Southern California Gas Co.)

(courtesy PRNewsFoto/Southern California Gas Co.)

DOWNEY (CBS) — An experimental rooftop unit could soon turn the sun into a cheaper way to keep your home cool during the summer months.

KNX 1070’s John Brooks reports on a new system with solar collectors that produce electricity and hot water at the same time.

The solar photovoltaic system installed on the roof of the SoCal Gas Energy Resource Center in Downey produces both renewable electricity and hot water simultaneously, according to Denise King of SoCal Gas.

The solar heated hot water is then used in place of electricity or natural gas to power the air conditioning process.

“It’s good on all fronts because we’re using a renewable source of energy,” King added.

Cogenra Solar of Mountain View designed the technology, which uses mirrors and a tracking system capture the sun’s energy and focus the sunlight onto an array of photovoltaic solar collectors to produce electricity and hot water at the same time.

The hot water is then harnessed instead of electricity or natural gas to provide enough power to cool two average-sized homes.

King said the utility is constantly looking for new ways to help both residential and business customers save money, especially when air conditioning often makes up over half of a building’s electrical usage.

“We’re very involved in the research, development and demonstration of technology that helps our customers reduce their energy costs,” said King.

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