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Solar Panel For Air Conditioner: Everything You Need To Know

Solar technology such as photovoltaic(PV) or solar panel system provides a clean and renewable energy solution that can help to offset the use of fossil fuels, which are a major contributor to climate change. 

Solar technology such as photovoltaic(PV) or solar panel system provides a clean and renewable energy solution that can help to offset the use of fossil fuels, which are a major contributor to climate change. 

In addition to the environmental benefits, the installation of solar panel systems can also increase the market value of your homes and be a great financial investment, providing significant savings on energy bills over the long term.

As the atmosphere continues heating up due to an increase in carbon dioxide emissions, many homeowners are looking into solar energy as an option to power their appliances, and cooling systems like the heat pump and air conditioning systems.

If you are one of those individuals who are looking for the same solution, then this article is for you. Here, we will show you everything you need to know about solar panel for air conditioners.

From knowing the wattage of your unit to calculating how much solar panel you need. We will also provide you with a solar panel installation guide, and some bonus cooling tips.

Know The Wattage Of Your Air Conditioning Unit

Here are the different ways to know the wattage of your air conditioner:

1. Go to the specification sheet of your unit and look for Watts. Power or wattage (Watts) text is usually in bold and is easily seen.

2. Go to the specification sheet of your unit and look for Ampers and Volts. After that you can calculate Power simply by multiplying the number of Ampers with the number of Volts or P(Watts) = I(Ampers) x V(Volts)

Example : P = 10A X 140V = 1,400W

3. Know the BTU and EER rating of your unit. To calculate how much power your air conditioner needs using BTU and EER, divide the BTU by EER rating

or P(Watts) = BTU ÷ EER

Example: P = 5,000 BTU ÷ 10 EER = 500W

Here is an estimate of wattage per type of air conditioner regardless of brands:

  • Central AC: 3500 Watts
  • Central AC With Compressor Off And Fan-Only: 750 Watts
  • Smallest Window AC Units: 500 Watts
  • Medium Window AC Units: 900 Watts
  • Most significant Window AC Units: 1440 Watts

How Much Solar Panel Is Needed For An AC

Calculating how much solar panel is needed to power your air conditioning system depends on a few factors, including the size and efficiency of your AC, the average amount of sunlight you get, the capacity of your battery bank, how much area you have for the solar panel installation and your budget. 

To get a rough estimate, for example, you have a 300Watts solar panel and you are using a small size Ac unit as your cooling system. 

Theoretically, a 300Watt solar panel can produce 300Watts of power under optimum conditions, and let’s assume you are located in the South-Western region of the United States where climates are favorable and you get 5 hours of sunlight.

Multiply the wattage to the hours of sunlight and you get 1,500Watt-hours. Divide this by your power requirement, which is 500Watts for a small size AC unit. With this 300Watt as solar panel, you can use your small size AC unit for 3 hours.

When you already have an existing air conditioning system in your house prior to getting solar installed, your solar installer will consider your energy consumption in building a solar system.

But if you are to get your air conditioning system after your solar panels are installed, or you are still figuring out how much electricity you need to store in a storage battery to run your air conditioning system for an unexpected power outage, knowing the wattage of your system is important.

If you’re serious about using solar power to run your AC, other than checking the pros and cons, weigh if you off-grid and don’t want to rely on grid power or on-grid, see the installation guide. The best thing to do is consult with a solar energy expert.

They can help you determine the number of panels you need and recommend the best system for your home. 

The Installation

Installing solar PV cells or PV panels is not an easy thing to do. It requires quite some understanding, experience, and expertise. So if you think you can manage it easily and all alone…fools paradise beacons you.

You are on the right page if you have zero idea and technical expertise on installing solar panels. You’ve come to this article in which we will discuss the different steps to the solar panel installation process that you could learn and follow.

Types Of Solar Panels

While most people know that a solar panel is a device that converts sunlight into direct current (DC) electricity, many people are unaware of the various types of solar panels. Depending on the types of solar panels, the installation process also changes.

There are four major types of solar panel installation. These are as follows,

1. Monocrystalline

Monocrystalline solar panels are also known as single-crystal panels. Made from one silicon crystal that’s pure and cut into several wafers, these panels are identified from their color (dark black, usually).

It is, in fact, the pure silicon that makes these panels perhaps the most efficient space-wise, and that’s not all. These are also long-lasting, but there’s only one problem. There is one high cost of opting for Monocrystalline panels.

It is the sheer wastage of silicon to even produce a single monocrystalline cell. But, of course, this alone increases the cost of the panel.

2. Polycrystalline

Instead of one silicon crystal, Polycrystalline panels originate from multiple crystals. After obtaining all the silicon crystals, the fragments are simply melted, only to be poured and molded into the trademark square shape of these panels.

Naturally, this makes Polycrystalline panels more cost-efficient, especially from the point of wastage. But at the same time, these are hardly efficient when it comes to space or energy conversion.

This is because the silicon purity of these panels is naturally less than the monocrystalline panels. Moreover, these can’t tolerate heat well, making them a bad alternative for areas with high temperatures.

3. Amorphous Silicon

The Amorphous Silicon solar cell is a thin-film solar cell that’s perhaps the best developed among other alternatives. Perfect for watches and pocket calculators, these solar panels are best used for applications that run on low power.

But if you manage to stack one on top of the other, you can also use the same for high power usage. It is said that Amorphous silicon solar panels are more efficient than either Monocrystalline or even Polycrystalline panels.

However, these require twice as much space for the same output that you can get from the Monocrystalline panels. At the same time, even though space is an issue, in terms of flexibility and temperature tolerance, these are any day better.

4. Cadmium Telluride

The Cadmium telluride solar cells are blessed with similar benefits to the Polycrystalline solar panels from the environment. These Photovoltaic cells are based completely on the cadmium Telluride.

Installing Solar Panels: A Step By Step Guide

When thinking about installing solar panels, there are many things that need to be kept in mind. For example, the positioning of the solar panel, whether it should be placed vertically or horizontally on the roof or whether you should simply place it on the slope of the roof, impacts the installation of the panel.

There are some nitty-gritty things that you need complete and comprehensive knowledge of. So let’s follow a step by step direction when you go on to install your solar panels:

Pre-Installation 

You need to follow certain steps to start installing the Solar PV cells. This stage is the Pre Installation Stage.

Step 1: Site Survey With An Engineer 

Once you have decided on the site where you are going to install the Solar PV Cells, call the solar installation company for your home. Sign a contract with the company. Now call the company’s engineer to decide on the various aspects of the installation. But, first, get your electrical system.

See that the system design you have planned goes hand in hand with the existing electrical system. This will be followed by a roof installation. After ensuring that your roof is sound, the Engineer will propose a mounting system for a flat roof.

Step 2: Sweating To Get The Permits Done

Now you will have to initiate the process of seeking permission from the concerned authorities. You need to get all the right permits and documentation to ensure the legality of your solar panel installation. This will take quite some headache on your part.

Let me give you one good news… your solar company handles most of the burden regarding paperwork and permits. They bear some of your burdens to facilitate the smooth initiation of the installation process.

Installation 

Now let’s come to the practical aspect of the overall Installation guidelines.

Step 1: Installation Of The Mount   

The solar panel mounting brackets need to be installed first. This acts as a foundation to provide support and stability to your PV Cells. The most suitable direction to place your solar panels in the NorthEastern Hemisphere is in the southern direction.

There is a lot of sun. And the direction for the country in the southern hemisphere is in the north. The angle or tilt of fixing the mounting framework needs to be at an angle from 18 to 36 degrees.

Step 2: Fixing The Solar Panels On The Mounted Structure 

You will have to fix your Solar Panels on the mounting structure and use nuts and bolts. Ensure that you fix the Solar Panels in the right place and fix them properly to become durable and last long.

Step 3: Installation Of The Electrical Wiring 

Now the most important aspect is electric wiring. During the cabling, you need to use connectors like MC4.

MC4s may be used with any type of solar panel. You can use both Series Connection as well as Parallel Connection as a sequence of electric connections to be made between each panel. You may initiate here connection of the system to a charge controller.

Step 4: Connect The Solar Inverter To The System

You have to make sure you connect the entire system to the solar Inverter. Do not make things extremely complex while initiating the connection.

The solar’s positive wire is to be linked with the Inverter’s positive terminals. The same goes with the negative wire.

Step 5:Connect The Solar Inverter To The Battery

Solar panels produce direct current (DC) electricity, but most air conditioners require alternating current (AC) electricity to function. To run an air conditioning system off of solar power, you’ll need an inverter to convert the DC electricity from the solar panels into AC electricity.  

Now, to generate the power, you must connect the inverter with the solar battery. Depending on the battery power, you might need additional batteries for bigger needs.

Here, you connect the battery’s positive terminal to the Inverter’s positive terminal. Then, in the same way, you join the battery’s negative terminal with the negative end of the Inverter.

If you are not making the connections properly, it might cause issues with the link. So take the help of some expert without doing it all alone.

Step 6: Linking The Solar Inverter To The Power Grid

Now that your Inverter connections are ready connect them to the grid. Use a standard plug while connecting the main power to the switchboard.

The electric board that is used to deliver electricity is to be linked to an output wire.

Step 7: Your Connections Are Ready! Turn On Your Inverter 

You have completed your cabling. You have completed your connections. Everything is set. Turn on the switch. Your Inverter will include the digital display. The displays show the generation and consumption of Solar energy.

And finally, all your hard work, hassle, and headaches win you your much-awaited and anticipated Free Renewable Green Energy !!

Cooling Tips 

  1. Set your programmable thermostat as high as is comfortable in the summer, and raise the setpoint when you’re sleeping or away from home.
  2. Clean or replace filters on air conditioners once a month or as recommended. This should not be missed as part of effective service maintenance.
  3. Turn off kitchen, bath, and other exhaust fans within 20 minutes after you are done cooking or bathing; when replacing exhaust fans, consider installing high-efficiency, low-noise models.
  4. During summer, keep the window coverings closed during the day to block the sun’s heat.
  5. Select energy-efficient products when you buy an air condition or new cooling equipment. Your contractor should be able to give you energy fact sheets for different types, models, and designs to help you compare energy usage. See the efficiency standards for information on minimum ratings, and look for the ENERGY STAR when purchasing new products.

Conclusion

Choosing the right solar panel system for a residential, commercial, or industrial setup can be a daunting task, but with a little research, it is possible to find a system that meets your needs and budget.

The most important factor to consider when choosing a solar panel system is the amount of sunlight that your home receives as this will now serve as your main source of power and how large your cooling system is or will be. This will determine the size and capacity of the system you need. 

Other important factors to consider include the product warranty, the proximity of your area to a solar provider or utility grid, the cost of the system and the available incentives, tax credit, and rebates offered by the government in your area.  

With a little bit of planning, choosing a solar panel system for your home air conditioning system can be a great way to save money while helping the environment.