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How Many Solar Panels Do I Need to Run an Air Conditioner?

Written by K. Miller / Fact checked by J. Fussell

how many solar panels do i need to run an air conditioner

During summer, air conditioners serve a vital role in cooling our homes and workplaces; however, we should expect increased electric bills. This is why you can’t help but question, how many solar panels do I need to run an air conditioner?

The answer to this question largely depends on the air conditioner’s wattage. Generally speaking, you will need 1 to 5 solar panels for a 100-watt unit.

In this post, we’ll explore solar panels for air conditioning units so that you won’t have to spend lavishly on running your air conditioner.

How Many Solar Panels Do I Need to Run an Air Conditioner?

As mentioned earlier, the number of solar panels needed to run an AC will primarily depend on the wattage of the air conditioner. You’ll generally require one to five solar panels for a 100-watt.

Usually, if you pick a 250-watt solar panel, one solar panel is adequate to run the AC. However, you’ll need three solar panels if they are 100W. An AC usually comes with 1500-watt, so you’ll require six solar panels with a 250-watt capacity.

For you to obtain an accurate estimation, it is vital to look into the indoor and outdoor units.

More about Solar Panel to Run AC


Can you run an AC with solar power?

Yes, you can run an air conditioner with solar power. Indeed, opting for a solar panel for air conditioning is a less expensive approach. You can make this possible by using a functional and robust converter system and solar panels.

You can choose between off-grid or grid-tied connectivity. Note that these systems will enable you to operate an air conditioner using solar power. Such an approach will help minimize your electric expenses instantly.

  • Grid-tied Utility System

This system will provide you with energy backup all through dusk or when sunlight is unavailable. In addition, batteries are not necessary for this type of system.

This type of system calls for the use of batteries for additional backup. This unit is suitable for an air conditioner because you should operate the device at dusk. Fundamentally, it enables you to run the cooling system even during power outages.

Please keep in mind that there are many factors to consider when using a solar panel that can power an air conditioner. Such factors include production capacity, efficiency, and running time to obtain reliable service.

What are the Determining Factors for Your Air Conditioner Power Consumption?

To figure out how much power an air conditioner utilizes, you need to consider factors such as the following:

The temperature outside

For example, when the temperature is 40-degrees Celsius outside, an air conditioner will utilize more energy to cool down than when the temperature outside is 30-degrees Celsius.

The number of people inside the room

Humans emit heat; as a result, the more occupants present inside a room, the more power the air conditioner consumes. For instance, compare one room with ten occupants and one room with eighteen occupants. Of course, the room with eighteen occupants will require a more oversized air conditioner to cool the room.

The location where you reside

Let’s say you currently reside in Colorado; typically, you might call for higher cooling requirements compared to someone living in Texas.

Furthermore, in terms of the location where you live, you need to consider if the place is shady or not. This is because if your residence is covered with sunlight, then your cooling requirements will also be higher than a house without shade or trees.

Do you own or use several electrical appliances?

In general, your air conditioner will need to work harder to cool a place that has multiple electrical appliances.

The number of windows you have

Windows are appropriate for allowing air to go inside and out of your place, but they are also a critical factor to consider for the size of an air conditioner.

Windows allow the air to get inside and keep your place cooler in the summer. But during the winter months, you can lose a significant amount of heat through the windows. As a result, this will heighten your air conditioner requirements.

How Long Can You Run Your Air Conditioner on Solar Energy?

On average, an AC can run for roughly four to five hours, which is indeed the average run time for air conditioners. Be reminded that this is merely a rough assessment; things can be different for you, depending on the determining factors we have discussed above.

Essentially, if you prefer to run your air conditioner for an extended period, opt for a system designed with a higher capacity of approximately three up to four kilowatts. The solar battery bank will provide the power needed by the air conditioner.

The solar battery bank contains several solar batteries that are connected. These batteries generally cost as much as 40% of the total expense of the solar power system. This is why you initially spend more on solar panel systems, but they’re undoubtedly economical options since they could run for such a long time.

How to Compute an AC’s Power Consumption and Its Cost?


To compute manually your AC’s power consumption:

Look into how much heat energy the AC removes from a room. In doing so, you can determine the air conditioner’s cooling capacity.

To accurately compute the power usage of the air conditioner, you need to check:

  • Consumption in hours

Examine the number of hours the air conditioner is running.

  • Air conditioner wattage

This one refers to the power consumption rate per hour.

  • Electricity tariff

Determine the amount your electricity provider bills you per unit.

For instance:

An average household in the US consumes 318-W per hour, so this adds up to a total of 228 kilowatt-hours monthly. Thus, if you compute it at a $0.12 kilowatt-hours electricity rate, it goes like this:

You multiply 228 kilowatt-hours by $0.12, so the product is $27.36.

Moreover, an air conditioner comes in distinct tons of cooling. Let’s say you could acquire 3 tons, 2 tons, 1.5 tons, and 1 ton of cooling. A 1-ton AC consumes between 991 and 1,333 W. Hence, the amount of energy you consume after 30 days is between 92 and 122 kilowatt-hours.

To compute the cost:

Example: 92 kilowatt-hour multiplied by $0.12, that is a total of $11.04 in one month

You can also do the math by referring to a Kill a Watt meter:

A Kill a Watt meter can help you precisely measure the power usage of your home appliances.

To get started, plug your air conditioner into the device. Afterward, link the meter to an electrical outlet. Finally, get the air conditioner running.

Observe the meter for one week to obtain excellent results. You can make a reading of the final value at the end of the week.

What are the Different Types of Solar-Operated Air Conditioners?

AC Solar Air Conditioner

This type of solar-powered AC is also referred to as an inverter air conditioner. It mainly requires an inverter to convert DC to AC power. It is possible to add batteries to this plan to keep the excess energy.

One specific advantage of this model is that it is less expensive than most DC alternatives. It allows you to power the air conditioner by simply pulling energy from the grid on cloudy days.

DC Solar Air Conditioner

It is effortless to link this type of solar-operated AC directly to the solar panels without conversion. Please take into account that you can solely add batteries to this model if you have excess energy. One specific benefit of using this AC is that it is smooth sailing to maintain.

On the cons, it requires an inverter and batteries where sunlight is unavailable. Hence, it is not regarded as the most excellent off-the-grid choice, particularly at dusk.

Hybrid Solar Air Conditioner

This type of solar-powered AC allows you to directly obtain energy from the sun during the daytime or utilize an inverter at dusk. What makes this an ideal option is that it does not require batteries. On the drawback, you don’t benefit from net metering.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, we have answered your question about how many solar panels do I need to run an air conditioner clearly and succinctly in this post. Now that you’ve uncovered the number of solar panels you need to use to run your AC, you can make better decisions.

Again, please remember that to determine the solar panels required to run your AC, you need to:

  • Decide if you’ll go for the off-grid or on-grid option
  • Compute the amount of power your air conditioner consumes

Lastly, if you find this article informative and applicable to your needs, please don’t hesitate to share it with other readers.

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