The question “How Many Solar Panels to Run an Air Conditioner?” is implicit and incomplete, because the following information is missing in it;
- What is your cooling demand from AC?
- How many hours per day AC would be used?
- What is your estimated latitude?
- Will you use a battery backup system along with your solar panels for supporting your system in case of sunlight gets down or weather becomes cloudy?
AC needs continuous power to run, which solar panels usually do not provide. What you would need to do is run AC off on batteries, plus location and weather matter and might interrupt your AC running.
So we are going to assume some factors and gauge the power and number of solar panels.
So without further ado, let’s straight dive in;
1 ton of cooling power means heat removes by a 1 ton AC in an hour, that is rated/expressed around 3517watts.
Different stars ACs have different ratings that are following;
- 1 Star AC – 1302watts
- 2 Star AC – 1212watts
- 3 Star AC – 1134watts
- 4 Star AC – 1065watts
5 star AC
We will consider here 5 star AC, whose Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) is equal to 3.1.
Now let’s assess AC power input would be 3517/3.1 = 1134.516w.
Now suppose you run your AC 8 hours a day so Total electricity consumption would be 1134.516w * 8 = 9076.12wh.
Battery along with a charge controller would make the entire solar panel system energy self-reliant.
Assume you have 48V Lead-acid Battery and efficiency of 90% is chosen plus Charge controller with 95 % efficiency.
After all these components with following efficiencies, solar panels would be generating 10610 Wh total unit of electricity.
And ampere-hour would be required = 10610/48 = 221.04 Ah
After components, let’s assume sunshine presence in that specific area;
We assume sunshine would be available a minimum for 4 hours (taking the minimum possibility.)
Value of current required = 221.04/4= 55.26 A
Another assumption would be: 80 Wp solar panels of Voc= 24 V and Isc = 5A are to be used.
11 solar panels of 80 Wp would be connected in parallel (to make 55 A). Such sets are connected in series to make 48 V.
So 22 solar panels of 80 Watt are required to run 1 ton AC throughout the year.
We have considered low wattage solar panels to show series-parallel connections in a better way. However, you can even go with 250 watts panels or above.
Conclusion: How Many Solar Panels to Run an Air Conditioner
You simply divide the power AC required by the sum of wattage of total solar panels
So here is an example;
Suppose 1 ton AC needs around 1.2W of power to function, so 1200w/250w = 4.8 panels = 5 panels. Here we have considered panels of 250w, but for running AC, off-grid is better and more reliable.
You can ask more questions on Quora.
And how are your solar panels performing? Read here how to clean Solar Panels.