How Many Solar Panels to Run Air Conditioner?


number-of-solar-panels
Image on Flickr by Dave Dugdale and license


Solar panels are a hot topic right now, seeing how most homeowners are looking to lower their energy costs and become more environmentally friendly. However, many people have difficulty understanding how many solar panels are required to run an air conditioner. What are the facts?


It depends on the wattage of the air conditioner and the solar panel. For example, a 1500-watt AC unit will need six 250-watt solar panels to handle the load. Other factors include the placement of the solar panels and surrounding weather.


If you’re thinking about using solar panels to run your air conditioner, you need to know the facts:

  • Too little solar panels, and you’ll be stuck in a sticky, hot mess. 
  • Too many, and you might be paying more than you thought. 


Below, you will find all of the useful info regarding how many solar panels to run an air conditioner.


How Many Solar Panels Are Required to Run Different Ton of Air Conditioners?

 number-of-solar-panels-to-run-air-conditioner


There are two important factors to consider

  1. The wattage of the air conditioner.
  2. The size or wattage of the solar panels.

1) Know the Wattage Of Your AC Unit:

Before you can calculate quantity of solar panels you need, you first have to figure out the wattage of the AC unit. Each AC unit will have its specific wattage, depending on its size and functions.

However, the most common type of air conditioners and their respective wattage goes as followed:

Precaution to take:

Keep in mind that while these are typical wattage numbers for the air conditioner unit, it is not always cut-and-dry. It is important to know the exact wattage your AC requires to make sure to calculate the rise in wattage that occurs during the summer seasons. Since the AC will be running more regularly, it will require more power from the solar panels.

The air conditioner wattage is not the only wattage to factor in when deciding how many solar panels to run the air conditioner. You must also pay attention to the wattage that the solar panels provide, too.

Types of AC Units Wattages Best For
Central Air Conditioner 3500-Watts Small and Medium Offices/Homes
Central AC with Fan 750-Watts Good Sized Homes
Window Unit (S/M/L) 500/900/1440-Watts Different House Sizes


2) Decide On Solar Panel Size or Wattage:

Most common solar panels wattage: 

There are several options when it comes to solar panel wattage. The most common number is 250-watt. This style is enough to ensure most home air conditioners run efficiently. However, there is also the option for 100 to 250, which is best for small areas. Larger numbers, like 400 to 450, are reserved for larger areas such as a big business complex.

 calculation:

To get a better understanding of how air conditioner wattage and solar panel wattage go hand-in-handy, consider this: If your air conditioner unit runs with 3600 wattages, you will need at least 15 solar panels of 250-watts or nine solar panels of 400-watts.


Is Inverter AC Best to Run on Solar Panels, Or a Normal One?


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One question a lot of people ask is whether their inverter air conditioner can function on solar power. The simple answer to this is yes, your inverter air conditioner will work on solar panels. In fact, it is highly recommended to do so. The two work together as a powerhouse!

Why? Because a DC inverter air conditioner is a far more energy-efficient AC unit than a traditional, or normal air conditioner. They are readily available to use with your solar panels. Combined, you will be saving tons in energy costs over the years.

How Does It Work?

Running your inverter AC on solar panels is a wonderful investment that helps your wallet and the environment alike. But how does it all work?

Using solar energy in inverter AC:

Well, first look at the air conditioner. Air conditioners notoriously require a high amount of wattage in order to operate and the respective compressors need a high current. Although the current will vary throughout the day, a 2 or 3 kW inverter can handle the load. This inverter is connected directly to the solar panels to regulate the current.

Not only that, but you should also note that air conditioners use a lot of energy to operate, too. Air conditioners that are greater than a one-ton air conditioner will likely need 3 kW or more to run efficiently. However, a common one-ton AC can easily last on 2 kW. 

So, an inverter AC is the best choice when keeping in mind wattage requirements and deciding to run on solar panels.


How Much Do Solar Panels Cost to Run Air Conditioner?


There is no clear-cut answer when it comes to solar panel pricing. That’s because each area of the United States will have different costs. You must also take into consideration the efficiency and capacity of the solar panels. However, the average price for an average-sized home ranges from $11,000 to $14,600.

When installing solar panels, expect to pay around $13,000 after certain tax incentives in the United States. However, also keep in mind that smaller systems can easily land you at around $5,000 while larger systems can pass $40,000 easily. 

Most of the cost goes towards installation and the equipment necessary, such as an inverter.


How Much Do Solar Panels Save?

Yes, solar panels are quite an investment upfront - they aren’t cheap. But the payoff is well worth it in the long run. But how much do solar panels really save?

For most individuals, switching to a solar energy system cuts their energy costs by up to 75%. Of course, the savings have a wide discrepancy as it depends on the climate and area you live in.

Panel Output Factors

Knowing the wattage of the air conditioner and solar panels are key to success. But there are a few other key elements that can stand in the way of your perfect projection. Here are some of the common panel output factors to consider when deciding how many solar panels to run your air conditioner.

  • Hours of sunlight - The more sunlight, the fewer panels necessary. Remember - solar panels work off energy from the sun, so having access to plenty of sun rays will be beneficial. That said, consider your climate. If you live in a sunny area like Phoenix, Arizona, you will need fewer panels than in Seattle, Washington.
  • Placement of panels - Placement is also key. It does your solar panels no good to sit in the opposite direction of the sun all day. Ensure the solar panels are located in an area where they will receive plenty of sunlight to energize your air conditioner unit.
  • Type of solar panels - There are also different types to consider. For example, some solar panels come without grid lines on the front. They tend to absorb more sunlight than the conventional model. They are also more prone to fending off peeling in the long run, which means less cost in the future on maintenance.



Final Thoughts:

Figuring out how many solar panels to run your air conditioning unit doesn’t have to be a struggle. It all depends on how many watts your air conditioner unit produces. From there, you can base your number on the respective wattage of the solar panel.

Don’t forget to make sure that your solar panels are placed in an area of ample sunlight. And hey - just because the upfront price might be hefty, always remember that you will be saving up to 75% on your energy costs. It all equals out in the end!

How to Keep Solar Panels from Being Stolen?

4 Prevention Tips from Solar Panels Theft:

solar-panel-theft-prevention

Solar panel theft isn’t an uncommon crime in the U.S. The number of reported stolen solar panels was extremely high years back when solar panels were just introduced, and the prices were high. Today, while the prices have dropped, the U.S. still records cases of solar panel theft.

Solar panels are not cheap, and like the fate of other expensive items, solar panels are vulnerable to theft. What makes them a more target for thieves is that they’re installed outdoor.

Hence, if not properly protected, thieves have eyes on them and can easily detach them within a few minutes and be on the run.


Why You Should Worry About Solar Panel Protection?

According to the available data, solar panels in remote locations are more target for thieves. This means that the chances of your solar panels being stolen are higher if you reside in a remote and insecure location than in a city. Hence, the security of your solar panels is key.

Another reason to worry about solar PV protection is if your neighbors are not always around to notice anyone working on your solar panels and give you a call regarding it.


Here’re tips to prevent solar panels from being stolen:



1) Don’t brag about your solar panels:


bragging-solar-panel

It’s even common to get an item stolen moments after bragging about how much it is worth. The same applies to your solar panels. Bragging about how much you bought them attracts thieves. 

People when first bought their solar panels and install them on roofs or backyard tend to take pictures of how they are installing and where they are placing the panels. Then they post these pics on social media like Facebook, WhatsApp, etc So, their friends, relatives can know how they are going green and saving energy but sometimes they brag too much-sharing prices and how much it costs them and they can afford such expensive panels which can attract some suspicious people who may tend to ruin your solar journey by stealing them.

Hence, when talking about your solar panels, ensure you skip the part that talks about how much they’re worth and also avoid sharing prices and other confidential information in big social groups.


You can read my post on 3d solar panels


2) Invest in Alarm System:


solar-panel-alarm-system

One of the best means to prevent your solar panels, especially portable solar panels used on outdoor trips, from being stolen is to attach an alarm system.

What scares most solar panel owners away from investing in this means of PV protection is the price. Most people believe that alarm systems for solar panels come at the same prices as ones meant for vehicle protection. This is not true as alarm systems for PV are available at lower prices.

Some of these alarm systems are excellent for protecting solar panels by making an automatic call to the owner when they notice any movement around the solar panels.

Some models work using a camera that records every movement and action of the thieves trying to steal the PV.

3) Engrave Your Name on Them:


solar-panel-name-engraving

One great means to stop thieves from stealing your solar PVs is to engrave your name on the frames. This is similar but more effective than recording your solar PVs’ serial numbers.

Engraving your name on your PVs has no effect on their performance but lessens their chances of being stolen.

Thieves are wary of stealing items with the owner’s name on them. This is because it’s difficult to sell items with names on them, as it’s easy for owners of such items to quickly identify their items immediately they spot them.          

4) Block Access to the Panels:


solar-panel-fence

How accessible your solar panels are, determines how susceptible they’re to theft. Thieves usually target items with easy access.

Depending on where your solar panels are, find a means to block access to them. If your solar panels are ground-mounted, secure the perimeter for security purposes.

Investing in a simple fence for your solar panels will stop thieves attempting to steal your solar panels, as this will require more time and energy to have access to the panels and detach them.

How Much Energy Does a Solar Panel Produce per Square Meter?

Solar Energy Produced per Square Meter:

solar-energy-produced-per-sq-meter

Solar panels are heading to the forefront of modern technology regarding renewable energy and cost-saving electricity generation. By transforming the sun's thermal energy into usable energy, solar panels can limit the use of fossil fuels and other environmentally hazardous energy sources around the world.

But how many will you need to buy to get your desired energy output?


"Solar panels produce about 150 watts of energy per square meter since most solar panels operate at 15% efficiency this translates to 15 watts per square foot."


Solar energy is widely available and is use for different purposes like warming and keeping cool houses, provide light to public spaces, and even power high-capacity commercial buildings when installed in relatively sunny locations. 

To learn more about how solar panels work and how much energy they produce per square meter, continue reading below.


solar-energy-per-square-meter


Solar Energy per Square Meter:

Regardless of their exact material makeup, most solar power panels tend to operate at a total of 15% efficiency. With a lifespan of around 20 years, this means that they typically produce around 

Convert calculator here


Total Energy Produced Per Sq Meter:

Since each residential home has around a minimum of 263.25 per sq foot or 24.45 square meters of solar panels installed, this equals at least 3.95 Kilowatts of total energy per sq foot or 3.67 Kilowatts of total energy per sq meter. 



Calculations:

Residential One Solar Panels Size:

Typical residential solar panel dimensions:

17.55 sqft        Feet to sq feet convertor

1.63 sq meter   sq feet to sq meter convertor


Amount Of solar panels needed:

The required amount of most residential solar panels:

15 minimum   

Calculate here how many solar panels are needed for your house 

( 17.55*15 =  263.25 ) per sq foot

(1.63*15 =   24.45 ) per sq meter


Total Energy:

15watts per sq foot or 150 per sq meter:  

15*263.25 = 3948.75 Watts Total energy per sq foot

150* 24.45 = 3667.5 Watts Total energy per sq meter

Watts per sq meter to kilowatts per sq meter calculator

3.95 kW Total Energy per sq foot  or  3.67 KW Total Energy per sq meter 



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Efficiency calculate:

To calculate the true efficiency of your solar panel’s solar cells for more accurate energy estimations, you can use the following equation:

Efficiency = Pout / Pin. To calculate Pin (input power)



Factors That Affect Solar Energy Produced per Square Meter:

Solar Energy Affected:

Regardless of the type of solar panels you choose to use, it is crucial to understand that there are many outlying factors and uncontrollable weather patterns that can affect both the electricity amount and the performance of your solar panels. These include:


  • Orientation of the tilt: If your solar panels are tilted facing directly north or south, they might not experience as much sun exposure as solar panels facing straight up or tiling to the east or west.
  • Pollution: Cities and regions with extreme amounts of pollution, such as valleys that experience emissions inversions or metropolitan areas like Los Angeles, might not receive the same amount of energy from their solar panels as places with cleaner air.
  • Regional location: It is best to install solar panels in a region that experiences warm weather throughout the year.
  • Time: The amount of time you’ve had your solar panels will dictate how much energy reserve you can accumulate.
  • Weather: On particularly cloudy, stormy, or rainy days, your solar panels will generate less power.

If you keep these factors in mind when installing your solar panels, you will be able to make informed choices and create realistic expectations for the amount of energy your solar panels will be able to produce.



Solar Energy Produced per Square Meter Effecting Electric Bills:

Electric Bills Affected :

If you have solar panels installed on your home that generate electricity, this electricity will most likely contribute to lowering your electric bill.

Calculation:

By using the number of kilowatt-hours produced by your solar panels and subtracting that number from any kilowatt-hours you may have used from the general power grid, you will receive a final billing number at the end of every billing cycle.

  • If you have generated more electricity than you use, your power bill will reflect zero payments due..0
  • If you have leftover power that you don’t use during a billing cycle, it will roll over to power your home for the next cycle until you no longer have a surplus of generated solar energy.
  • If you are left with kilowatt-hour credits at the end of the year, ask your city about money-back programs in exchange for your solar power.

When filing taxes each year, those using solar power on their homes or businesses can receive a federal tax credit of up to 30 percent.



What’s in a Solar Panel, and How That Affects Efficiency of Energy Produced per Sq Meter:

solar-panel-efficiency
image on Flickr by Avinash Kaushik under license

Efficiency Affected:

Solar panels are created out of a material that converts regular light from the sun into usable electricity. This material is a semiconductor commonly known as silicon. In addition to silicon, some solar panels are also made of cadmium telluride, with new solar panel materials being invented and tested each year.

Silicon Wafer Technology:

The most common material for solar panels to be made of is silicone. This silicone comes in the form of monocrystalline and polycrystalline wafer panels. To make one of these silicon wafer panels, little slabs of silicon are placed in columns and tidy rows to make the shape of a rectangle. This rectangle is then fitted overhead with a glass sheet and secured with a frame-like device.

Most silicon wafer solar panels made from monocrystalline look like small and flat black building blocks. Due to the way that the sun’s light beams down on them, depending on the time of day and how it responds to the pure silicon crystal material, they can often look somewhat black, gray, or charcoal colored.

Cadmium Telluride:

When it comes to thinner solar panels called thin-films, cadmium telluride (CdTe) is the material of choice. Unlike monocrystalline or polycrystalline panels, these cadmium telluride panels are created by placing a thin transparent layer of CdTe in between conducting layers. This helps the conducting layers attract more sunlight molecules. On top of the conducting layers and cadmium telluride insets typically sits a pane of glass for protection from dirt and other weather elements.

Cadmium telluride has become a favorite material for homeowners in communities with Homeowner Associations or gated residences because the flat and thin technology allows for a more discreet solar panel aesthetic. Since the cells inside of each CdTe panel are slimmer than silicon solar panels by about 350 times, they are less easily seen from street level.



Benefits of Different Solar Panel Types:

There are a few different kinds of solar panels with varying degrees of efficiency and aesthetic appeal. Some of the benefits and characteristics of these different solar panel types include:

  • Monocrystalline silicon

     High efficiency/performance

     Higher costs for a longer lifespan

     Low cost

  • Polycrystalline silicon

     Lower cost for lower efficiency and performance

     Fast installation

  • Thin-film or cadmium telluride

     Portable and easy to move

     Flexible and lightweight

     Discreet appearance

     Lack aesthetic to match dark rooftops

     Lowest efficiency with low cost


While each of these three solar panel types has both pros and cons, they are all considered highly effective at harnessing the sun’s energy and turning it into reliable and usable energy for residential and commercial properties alike.



Final Conclusion: Money-Back Earth-Friendly Power

Solar panels are not only convenient for their ability to save money and remove dependency on the power grid, but they are also beneficial to the health of the environment. Whether you are considering solar panels for your home or your commercial business, 

remember that at nearly 150 watts per square meter of clean energy, a 15% efficiency rate, and a total solar panel lifespan of around 20 years, solar panels can pay off in more ways than one.

How to Check If Solar Panel Is Charging Battery ?

Ways to check if solar panel is charging battery:


solar-panels-charging
Image on Flickr by Hepburn Wind under license


One of the most important things in owning a solar panel is to make sure that the solar panel itself is charging the battery correctly. As environmental-friendly practices become an integral part of everyday society, many have looked into solar panels for a solution to an energy source.

 

Owning and installing solar panels is one thing, but to make sure they function and charge properly is another. Therefore, this article will provide several tips to make sure that your solar panel is charging your battery correctly. 


This will include checking the battery, the solar panel, solar regulator, solar panel inverter, and finally, the wirings.



1) Checking the battery:


Battery:Corrosions,Disconnections,and Measuring Voltage


solar-battery-check
Image on Flickr by Ajay Tallam under license

If you have a home solar panel system, then you will likely have a battery that will store power from your solar panel.

 

Measuring the voltage in your battery is vital to know if your solar panel is properly charging and storing energy.

 

 Below are steps to follow:

 

  • Always make sure that the wires from your solar panel are disconnected before measuring the voltage of the battery. Once you measure the voltage, write what is displayed by the multimeter on paper.
  • Next, reconnect the wires of the solar panel to the battery so it can charge the battery throughout the day. At least leave the solar panel to charge the battery for a few hours. Afterward, measure the voltage again and compare it to the previous voltage measurement you made before reconnecting the wires.
  • Your solar panel is charging properly once you see that the voltage of the battery has increased compared to the previous notes you made. The increase in voltage indicates that the solar panel is charging the battery properly.
  • Another common issue to look out for is loose battery connections or corrosion. For loose battery connections, simply reattach and make sure it is not loose anymore. For corrosion issues, make sure you thoroughly clean them and then clamp them properly once more.

 

Always make sure to maintain the quality of your battery by adequately cleaning it of any build-ups and dirt. If the battery is installed outside, be sure to have a cover to keep it away from extreme weather and conditions.

 

2) Checking the solar panel:


The Solar Panel: Check for Damages and Measuring Voltage


solar-battery-check-multimeter


The solar panel itself is the primary and most important component of the whole solar panel system.

 

Below are steps to make sure that your solar panels are functioning properly.

 

  • Place your multimeter’s red probe on your solar panel’s positive terminal as well as your multimeter’s black probe on your solar panel’s negative terminal. One of the best times while doing this is to see If there is sunshine directly on the front of the solar panel.
  • When your solar panel is in direct contact with the sunlight, the meter should display a DC voltage between 10 volts to18 volts. The voltage display means that the solar panel is working correctly and can continue to charge the battery or any equipment it is connected to.
  • If the multimeter does not display any voltage measurements, then make sure to carefully check that each of the connections on your solar panels is in place.

 

If you have double-checked the connections on your solar panels and everything seems like they are in their place, then most likely, your solar panel needs repair.

 

Also, be aware if there are any physical damages to the solar panel. Since solar panels are placed outside, several factors can damage your solar panel, such as:

 

  • Physical Damages from Animals
  • Falling Debris from Storms
  • Hail Storm

 

When you live in an environment with wildlife or that has strong weather conditions, make sure to constantly check your solar panel. Another idea is to put some form of protection, such as mesh fence cover, to keep your solar panels safe from the aforementioned.


3) Checking Solar Regulator:


The Solar Regulator: Faulty Regulator Stops Current


check-solar-panel
Image on Flickr by Mike Lee under license

The primary function of solar regulators is to maintain stability and regulate the current from the solar panel to the batteries without overcharging and damaging them. Additionally, a solar regulator will help to monitor if the batteries are fully charged. Once it is, the solar regulator will automatically stop or decrease the amount of current flowing from the solar panel.

Checking a Faulty Regulator:

The easiest way to see if your solar regulator is faulty or not is by disconnecting the solar regulator from the solar panel and the battery. Afterward, directly connect the solar panel to the battery. If you can measure current from the solar panel directly to the battery, then it is highly likely that your solar regulator is faulty.


4) Checking solar panel inverter:


The Solar Panel Inverter: Check the Lights!

solar-invertor-light

The primary purpose of the solar inverter is to convert the solar energy generated by your solar panels from DC to AC so that your home and utility grid can use the power produced by it.

Checking your solar panel’s inverter is incredibly simple since it has a display to show you if there are errors. To check on your solar panel’s inverter, look at the colors lighting up on the display during daylight hours. This is when the system is meant to be operating.


Checking for a Faulty Solar Panel Inverter:

For the most part, the solar panel’s inverter will display three colors that will indicate the status of performance. Below are the colors as well as the descriptions, which are:


  • Green: Solar Panel Inverter Functioning Properly and Operating
  • Blinking Green: Low Light/Stand By
  • No Color: No Light (Night, Storm, Blizzard, etc.)

Orange/Orange/Yellow: Inverter not operating properly, hence, error code. Make sure to call the manufacturer or technician if this color does occur/

If your inverter displays the Error Code colors, then the issue can originate from the inverter itself or anything connected with it. This includes:

  • Solar Panel
  • Wiring
  • Battery
  • Solar Regulator

If you checked everything above and there were no issues, then the problem originates from its inverter.

What is helpful when checking on your inverter is to have a diagram of it. The inverter diagram will display all the contact points to check on. Do this by testing the voltage. If the contact points seem good, move on to the rest of the components until you find the weak point. Afterwards, purchase a spare part for it and change or replace the component.


5) Checking The Wirings:


The Solar Panel Wiring: Damages or Misconnections

 

solar-panel-wiring-check

Once you concluded that the solar panel is not the issue, you can now use your digital multimeter to measure the voltage on the wires where the solar panels are connected to the solar regulator and then the battery. This is to test the current within the wires coming from the solar panel. But beforehand, make sure you have the wires disconnected from the regulator and the battery.

 

The digital multimeter measures the differences in voltage between the two wires. The measurements on the voltage should be approximately the same, if not a little less than what you measured on the solar panel.

 

If the case occurs where your digital multimeter does not show any voltage measurements, then double-check the wires and see if there are any damages to them or if they are connected to the wrong ports. Damages on the wires can significantly disrupt or completely halt the flow of the solar panel’s current.


Final Tools Required:


Digital Multimeters, Tools Used with Solar Panel Problems


The most common and easiest way to see if your solar panels are charging your batteries properly or if the rest of the solar panel components are working is to purchase a digital multimeter. A digital multimeter (also known as a multi-tester) is a device that can help you measure multiple electrical properties, such as voltages, resistance, and current of an electrical device or equipment.



Affiliate Disclosure:

This part of the post contains affiliate links which means we may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that we recommended  at no additional cost to you Full disclosure Thank you



Below are some top multimeter brands that you can consider purchasing:





Now you want to use your digital multimeter to measure the voltage of your solar panel’s output. Do this by turning on your multimeter and adjust your multimeter’s dial setting. You will need this vital tool to check every component of your solar panel system.




3d-solar



 

Conclusion – Check the Battery, and Check Everything Else

 

When charging your battery with your solar panel is the issue, the problem might not be the battery. Since the full solar system panel comprises several components and devices, it is essential to check every single one of them for faulty issues.



Read My post on What Size Solar Panel to Charge 100ah Battery?