Techno-economic analysis of solar-assisted air-conditioning systems for commercial buildings in Saudi Arabia

A. A. Al-Ugla*, M. A.I. El-Shaarawi, S. A.M. Said, A. M. Al-Qutub

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


Air-conditioning systems in Saudi Arabia consume approximately 65% of the electrical energy used in the building sector. Most air-conditioning systems in operation are of the vapor-compression variety. The use of solar energy to power such systems may save a large amount of electrical energy. Large-size commercial buildings in Saudi Arabia consume particularly high levels of electricity. This review compares three air-conditioning systems (conventional vapor-compression, solar LiBr-H2O absorption, and solar photovoltaic (PV) vapor-compression) using a techno-economic analysis for a typical large-size building under a constant cooling load during daytime. The study utilizes the two economic methodologies, payback period (PBP) and the net present value (NPV), for a commercial building in Khobar City, located in the eastern province of Saudi Arabia. The purpose of this paper is to exploit the results achieved in the analysis to develop viable recommendations in mitigating the electrical peak power demand in Saudi Arabia by utilizing solar cooling technology in commercial buildings as well as to establish the tangible economic benefits from applying such technology. The results show that a solar absorption system ismoreeconomically feasible than a solar PV-vapor-compression system. Moreover, the feasibility of both solar-powered systems improves as the size of the commercial building and the electricity rate increase.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1301-1310
Number of pages10
JournalRenewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


  • Absorption LiBr-HO
  • Photovoltaic
  • Solar
  • Techno-economic
  • Vapor-compression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


Dive into the research topics of 'Techno-economic analysis of solar-assisted air-conditioning systems for commercial buildings in Saudi Arabia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this