This article reviews the best available DC and AC solar powered air conditioners available. The increasing costs of energy and recent innovations in solar technology make solar power air conditioners an economical option for those who want to reduce their air conditioning costs by up to 97%.
A solar powered air conditioner is a viable option for people living off-grid or homeowners who want to cut their electricity bills over the summer. There are a range of options available, including solely DC options, those that run on AC, and hybrid options available which run off both systems.
The DC solar powered air conditioner is best suited for those living off-grid and are generally small. They only function in daylight hours. However, you can purchase a fully operational DC solar powered air conditioner which includes batteries and will function 24 hours a day. However, it will be significantly more expensive than AC or Hybrid solar powered air conditioners.
The hybrid solar powered air conditioner system can be tied into the national grid system and has the benefit of not requiring a separate contract with your energy provider as it does not back feed excess energy back into the grid. It will only take energy from your energy provider when it needs it, and still potentially save you over 90% of your air conditioning bills. Since the hybrid system (similar to the DC only units) requires around 885 watts of electricity, one unit can cool around 750 sq ft in an insulated home. You can begin your conversion to solar energy easily and purchase the minimum three solar panels for your new solar powered air conditioner.
Keep in mind that the perfect solar powered air conditioner for your needs will also depend on how long you want your system to last, and the total area you would like to keep cool. We review the top five options for you to consider below, which offer you AC, DC, and hybrid system options.
Solar Powered Air Conditioner FAQs
1. WHAT IS A SOLAR POWERED AIR CONDITIONER SYSTEM?
A solar powered air conditioner system is powered by solar energy, provided by solar panels which will produce a Direct Current (DC) or Alternate Current (AC), if linked to an inverter.
2. WHAT DOES A SOLAR-POWERED AIR CONDITIONER SYSTEM DO?
A solar air conditioner uses solar energy to provide energy for your air conditioning system, at zero cost.
3. HOW DOES A SOLAR AIR CONDITIONER SYSTEM WORK?
A solar air conditioner system uses solar panels to generate electricity using the sun's energy. Each solar panel is made up of small electro voltaic cells, which transform solar energy into electricity. This electricity is produced in the form of a DC current, which can then be converted, if necessary, into AC current to supply AC electrical devices via an inverter. Since solar panels can only produce power in the daylight, excess power can be stored in batteries and will then be available when there is no sunlight, or ir can be fed back into the national grid system.
4. HOW MANY SOLAR PANELS DO I NEED?
This depends on the wattage requirements of your solar air conditioning system. Most small systems that can cool a well insulated area of 750 square metres require at least 3 60cell 250W solar panels. All manufacturers outline exactly how many solar panels you need to generate the total wattage required for your solar air conditioner. Some manufacturers and suppliers offer complete kits including batteries, panels, inverters, and solar charge controllers.
5. DO I NEED BATTERIES?
A solar air conditioner system can be AC or DC. If you require 24-hour air conditioning, an AC system may be the most convenient and reliable choice for you. If you want your system to continue to provide power after the sun goes down, and the solar panels no longer produce electricity, the DC systems needs several additional devices. A totally off-grid solar air conditioning system requires batteries, an inverter, and a solar charge controller in addition to solar panels. if you purchase batteries, which will store the electrical energy for you to use at night, you can run a solar powered air conditioner totally off-grid.
The number of batteries you need depends on the requirements of your solar air conditioning system. All air conditioning units have a clearly marked wattage requirements label on the side or back of the of unit. This will determine how much energy you need. To calculate the number of batteries needed simply calculate how many hours in kilowatt hours (kWH) you need on an average day. If, for example, you need a solar air conditioning unit to run for 8 hours a day, kWH can be estimated by multiplying the Wattage marked on the air conditioning unit by the number of hours, in this case 8, then dividing by 1000. This will give you the daily kWH you need, then multiply this number by the number of days you plan to use the solar air conditioning system, to give you your annual requirements.
Next, determine the number of hours you receive sunlight in your location. This can be checked online, by simply typing in your nearest large city or town. Since solar panels come in a range of sizes, it is best to choose your solar panels, and then approximate the total required. So, for example, if you have 4 panels at 250W each, your potential power is 1000W. For this amount of power you could use a 48V system which requires 4-12 200AH batteries, with a 20 Amp MPPT Charge controller, which will ensure your current stays stable.
The number of batteries you use will depend on the Voltage of each battery. 48V batteries are recommended for domestic use as they are the most efficient. However it is important to remember that to maintain their efficiency, batteries should not be allowed to discharge below 50%. So the Total amp hours may be between 640AH and 960 AAH for one 12V battery if Watts = Volts x Amp hours. There are many online solar calculators which will help you determine the optimum number of solar panels and batteries required for your off-grid system, one of them can be found at:
6. WHERE CAN YOU BUY A SOLAR AIR CONDITIONER SYSTEM?
A solar air conditioner system is not widely available, but can be purchased directly from manufacturers.
HOW WE REVIEWED
The following products were reviewed based on the following parameters: Features, Pros & Cons, Price, Where to Buy, and Warranty. Top consumer sites were reviewed for recommendations and customer reviews were also taken into account. Individual solar air conditioning unit prices are given, and a price for complete kits when they are provided by manufacturers. Transportation costs can be minimized if solar panels and batteries are purchased locally.
OVERALL PRICE RANGE OF THIS PRODUCT (AND SIMILAR PRODUCTS)
Solar powered air conditioner prices range from $1700 to $5000 for complete kits. Completely off-grid options are more expensive as they entail the purchase of batteries, inverters and solar charge controllers.
WHAT WE REVIEWED
SolAir World offers three different sizes of its completely off-grid solar air conditioning system. Their 48V Off grid Solar Air conditioner uses batteries for storage so you can have solar air conditioning day or night. They supply a complete system which includes solar panels, solar air conditioning unit, inverter, batteries and solar charge controller.
This product can be found online for around $1700. They have distributors in California and Fontana.
1 year labor guarantee and 3 years on parts.
This unique product does not need any other power sources and runs on DC power. It requires an additional battery system to ensure steady constant operation. It has a variable speed, alterable capacity and you can also control the refrigerant air flow. Solar panels, charge controller and batteries are needed to run this unit. Assuming that you are living in an area where you have at least 5 hours of sunshine, 4 250W solar panels and four 12V 130aH Deep cycle batteries, will provide you with 10 hours of solar air conditioning per day.
This product can be found on for around $2000, with a complete kit costing up to $5000.
Full system installation by Event Horizon Solar offers fixed warranties.
Key Features of this Hybrid System are that it has 780W DC power requirement which can run on AC or DC. It can cool an area of 750m square and is highly efficient. Possible to run on 2 solar panels, with no need for batteries.
This product can be found for around $2000.
1 year labor, 2 year parts.
GREE solar air conditioning unit is a Hybrid system that runs on DC power, and can be directly plugged into solar panels with no need of a separate inverter. Efficient and effective, it can save up to 97% of your energy bill on air conditioning.
This product can be found for around $1,800.
1 year labor, 3 years parts.
Hybrid system which can provide a full off-grid solar air conditioning solution during the day. It can be connected to the mains to provide air conditioning when you need it. For a fully off-grid operation during the day, 3 290W-375W 72 cell solar panels are recommended, or a minimum of five 60 cell panels. No batteries are required as energy is also used from your AC home electrical energy provider. Ozone friendly coolant R104a is used, and provided with the unit. It has a solar heat pump so can also provide heating in the winter.
This product can be found for around $1800.
1 year on parts and 3 years on compressor.
Before you decide on the best solar air conditioner for your needs, it is essential to determine the living area you wish to keep cool whether you need a solar air conditioner at night. Once you have established your requirements it is essential to decide whether you want a completely off-grid system or an AC/DC system which gives you access to the energy from the national grid.
Solar powered air conditioners, which run on DV during the day, and AC at night are the most economical to purchase and easiest to self install, depending on the refrigerant liquid used. Completely off-grid solar air conditioning unit systems are more expensive because of the need to purchase batteries to store electricity, at night, if you require the solar air conditioning to function during the night.
A complete solar air conditioning system, for off-grid systems, which includes batteries, panels, and solar charge controllers, and which can be completely installed by the supplier, may be the best option for complete newcomers to solar power. An Event Solar air conditioning unit would be the best choice for you in this case.
Smaller, less expensive solar air conditioning systems which can be self -installed easily with AC and DC options are the best option for those not completely ready to go off-grid and who prefer the back up of AC energy grids. In this case, a GREE solar powered air conditioning system unit is the best option.