Recently, the traditional energy types have failed to satisfy the human needs because of their limited quantity as well as their negative environmental impacts. Conventional cold producing machines that are based on vapor compression principle are primary electricity consumers and their working fluids are being banned by international legislation. From this perspective, solar powered cooling systems as a green cold production technology are the best alternative. Absorption refrigeration is a mature technology that has proved its applicability with the possibility to be driven by low grade solar and waste heat. In this study, we present a comprehensive literature review on absorption based refrigeration and air conditioning systems that are powered by solar energy. Various systems along with their thermodynamic operating principle are presented. Moreover, the previous experimental and numerical simulation studies for these systems are discussed.