UK: Klima-Therm, the expanding chiller and air conditioning specialist, has been appointed a distributor for Chinese manufacturer Gree’s pioneering photovoltaic-powered VRF air conditioning and split systems.
The announcement follows the company’s recent distribution agreement with Gree for centrifugal chillers, and means that Klima-Therm is the only UK supplier of the manufacturer’s full air conditioning range.
As part of its commitment to establish the brand in the UK, Klima-Therm will stock all popular models of Gree VRF and split air conditioning, plus spares. It is expanding its air conditioning team and recruiting new staff to support the roll-out.
Gree’s pioneering direct-drive photovoltaic-powered VRF system is the first commercially available system of its kind in the world. The hybrid solar-electric technology can save end users up to 30per cent of their cooling energy costs.
The units can be used in heat-pump mode to produce heating or hot water - a typical application being to fill a residential storage tank with hot water during the day ready for consumption in the evening.
Conventional PV-powered VRF systems collect solar energy and produce electrical power, feeding it to a DC-AC converter for use by the VRF. Gree’s system uses an advanced power management system to overcome the need for a DC-AC converter, feeding electricity from the PV array directly to the air conditioning system.
This removes the efficiency losses associated with power conversion, boosting the system’s efficiency and cost-effectiveness. When conditions allow, surplus electricity not required for air conditioning can be fed back into the grid, giving end users an income from feed-in tariff, further tilting the economics in favour of PV-powered air conditioning.
Roberto Mallozzi, managing director of Klima-Therm, said: “This latest agreement with Gree means that Klima-Therm is now the only supplier in the UK offering the manufacturer’s full range of industry-leading products.
“The Gree name may not yet be very well known in the UK. However, the company combines impressive scale as a manufacturer – now producing one in three of all air conditioning units sold in the world - with outstanding technical skills and innovation. Many of the leading air conditioning brands trust Gree to manufacture their branded products for them. It demonstrates that the company’s capabilities and quality are beyond reproach.”
Gree operates nine manufacturing plants, seven in China plus facilities in Brazil and Asia. It has capacity to produce some 60m residential air conditioners and 5.5m commercial systems a year.
A core Gree philosophy is to move from “Made in China” to “Created in China”. In pursuit of this, the company manufactures all key components such as compressors and motors. It has 52 research centres and 570 laboratories, employs 8,000 engineers, and holds more than 14,000 technology patents.
Gree spent over £410million on research and development in 2013 alone, and holds CE, UL and TUV certification.
Tim Mitchell, sales director, said: “The market for air conditioning in the UK is changing. We believe that demand for sustainable solutions, that harness renewable energy such as solar power and other sources, is set to increase significantly – not least because of the mandatory requirement to include renewable energy in planning proposals.
“Gree’s PV-powered VRF and centrifugal chillers offer a very attractive approach, on both economic and environmental grounds. And because of Gree’s clever technology, PV-powered systems can operate in UK conditions. We believe these technologies are set to become mainstream options in the very near future – indeed we already have active enquiries. Watch this space!”