How Many Solar Panels to Run Air Conditioner?


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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?

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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:

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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:


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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:


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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:


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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.