A 100-watt solar panel is suitable for charging small devices like smartphones, laptops, etc., and running small appliances like fans, lights, etc. But you cannot run an air conditioner with a 100-watt solar panel. It requires much more power than that.
Wouldn’t it be fantastic if you could run your air conditioner with solar energy? It would be pretty amazing. No need to pay electricity bills; spend money installing the setup, and you are good to go.
Solar panels can run an air conditioner, but you need much more wattage than a 100-watt solar panel. An air conditioner consumes much power that one 100-watt solar panel cannot produce.
Now, you might think, how many solar panels do you need to run air conditioners? I will tell it in the latter part of this article. So, stick with me here.
How Much Power Can A 100-Watt Solar Panel Produce?
A 100-watt solar panel is a small solar system. It is smaller than a typical rooftop solar panel. That’s why it produces less energy than standard rooftop solar panels daily. You will get 300 to 450 watts of energy from standard rooftop solar panels.
But you will get 280 to 450 watts of energy per day from a 100-watt solar panel. But it depends on a lot of other factors like where you live, how you mount your panel, your battery, inverter, etc. You will get maximum output if everything is in its perfect form.
100-watt solar panels are small and highly portable. You can carry them in your RV, camps, and other off-grid places. It is compatible with a 12V battery and a converter.
Things you can do with 100W solar panel vary from charging and running small devices and gadgets like smartphones, laptops, fans, lights, etc. But you cannot run any large appliances with it.
How Can You Run AC Without Electricity?
An air conditioner is a device that provides cold air inside a room, house, or any other enclosed space and at the same time removes heat and humidity from that space. It makes the room climate cool and fresh. It can maintain a stable climate in your house throughout the day.
- Firstly, an air conditioner is a large appliance that requires electricity to run. It consumes a considerable amount of electricity to run. Generally, we use on-grid electricity to run air conditioners in our houses and commercial properties.
- Now there are alternative sources of generating electricity. You can use any of it to run air conditioners. Solar energy is one such way of running air conditioners.
- Use solar panels to produce Direct Current and then convert it into Alternating current with an inverter.
- Finally, store and use this electricity to run any electric devices and appliances, including air conditioners. But make sure your solar panel is capable enough to run an air conditioner. It requires a specific amount of wattage to run, and your solar panel must produce it.
How much power does AC consume?
An air conditioner is a device that needs Alternating Current to run. You will find many kinds of AC and each one of these types requires different wattage to run. So, you will have to be careful about what types of AC you will run with your solar panel.
You will find large and portable AC, large size windows AC, medium and small size AC, etc. All these ACs consumes a various amount of electricity. A large and portable AC unit generally needs 4100 watts of energy per hour.
On the other hand, a mid-size portable air conditioner consumes about 2900 watts of electricity per hour. Windows ACs require less energy than portable ones. You will need about 1440 watts of energy to run a large-size window AC.
A medium-size window AC consumes about 900 watts of energy, and a small-size window AC consumes around 500 watts of electricity. There are some other large and small size windows that require power accordingly.
How Much Power Does A Portable Air Conditioner Use?
Portable air conditioners are efficient and versatile. You can carry them with you. These air conditioners are available in various sizes, from large to small. And they consume a different level of electricity.
You will need 4100 watts of electricity per hour for a large portable air conditioner. A medium one will consume around 2900 watts. On the other hand, small ones will need 940 watts to 1650 watts of electricity per hour.
But a large central air conditioner uses much more electricity. Since we are discussing portable air conditioners, I won’t go there. The capacity of a portable air cooler also depends on its BTU or British Thermal Unit.
Here is a list of various BTU of portable air conditioners and their required wattage:
|British Thermal Unit (BTU)||Wattage|
|8000 BTU||667-1000 Watts|
|10,000 BTU||833-1250 Watts|
|12,000 BTU||1000-1500 Watts|
|15000 BTU||1250-1875 Watts|
|18,000 BTU||15OO-2250 Watts.|
However, some small ACs of 5000 and 6,000 BTU consume much less electricity, from 410 watts to 750 watts.
Can I Use Air Conditioner With 100-Watt Solar Panels?
We already know that a 100-watt solar panel can produce 280 to 450 watts per day. On the other hand, a large portable AC consumes about 4100 watts per hour, and a large window AC consumes 1440 watts.
Similarly, a small portable AC requires at least 940 watts, whereas a small window AC consumes about 500 watts of energy. As you can see, all these various types of air conditioners require much more electricity than a 100-watt solar panel can consume.
So if you want to run your air conditioner, you need more than one 100-watt solar panel. You can mount these solar panels in series. First, determine how many watts your air conditioner requires. Then install 100-watt solar panels accordingly.
You will need a lot of space to install this many solar panels. So, if you want to run your air conditioner with solar energy, you should use larger watt solar panels.
How Many 100-Watt Solar Panels Are Required For Running Air Conditioner?
From the previous discussion, we learned that one 100-watt solar panel is not nearly enough to run any air conditioner. You need multiple 100-watt solar panels to run any of the air conditioners.
The amount of energy you need depends on the size of your AC. If you have a large windows AC, you need 1440 watts per hour. We know that a 100-watt solar panel can produce 280 to 450 watts daily. So, you will need at least 15 100-watt solar panels to run this air conditioner.
A large central AC generally consumes about 3500 watts. So, you will need about 35 solar panels of 100-watt capacity. Again, a large portable air conditioner consumes 4100 watts of energy. In that case, you need 41 100-watt solar panels.
As you can see, with a 100-watt solar panel system, you will need a lot of solar panels to meet the requirement of an air conditioner. So, I suggest you go with 250 or 300 watts to save a lot of space.
How Many AC Can Run In 3kw Solar System?
3 KW means 3000 watts of energy. We already know that air conditioners consume a wide range of wattage, starting from 500 and going up to 4100 watts. So, now you should understand how many AC you can run with a 3KW solar system.
If you use medium-size window AC, you will require 900 watts per hour. So, you can run 3 ACs with 3KW power. Again, if you have large-size window AC, you can run two of them with a 3KW solar system.
On the other hand, a 3 KW system can run at least 5 to 6 ACs. But unfortunately, you cannot run any large portable air conditioners with this system. However, you can use one medium and small-size portable ACs with it.
What Size Inverter Do You Need To Run An Air Conditioner?
An inverter is an essential element for a solar energy system. It converts DC into AC. To run your AC with solar energy, you must choose the inverter carefully. Your air conditioner might require 6 to 7 times more wattage than its running one.
For example, if your AC requires 1300 to 1500 watts, it might jump up to 7500 watts when starting. So, if you want to run this air conditioner, you will need an inverter rated between 3000 watts and 4000 watts.
So, you must consider two factors while choosing an inverter for your AC. How much power does your AC draw while running, and how much does it draw when starting.
So, it’s clear that a 100-watt solar panel is nothing compared to it. But if you are adamant about using 100-watt solar panels, you will have to use many more solar panels, which will take up a lot of space.
So, take my suggestion and install 250 watts or 300 watts of solar panels for running air conditioners. It will reduce the number of panels and space.
Gugulothu, R., Somanchi, N. S., Banoth, H. B., Banothu, K. (2015). A Review on Solar Powered Air Conditioning System. Science Direct, 361-2367.
Huang, B., Hou, T., Hsu, P., Lin, T. (2016, April ). Design of direct solar PV driven air conditioner. Retrieved from Researchgate: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/285647952_Design_of_direct_solar_PV_driven_air_conditioner
Eng. Matthew Joseph Nandirio is the Founder of walkingsolar.
After graduating from the University of Houston in 2002, matt started working as an electrical and electronic engineer for several multi-national solar energy companies.
He has a wide range of experiences including solar system requirement analysis, planning, maintaining, debugging and even solar device development through research.
He now shares his 20 years of expertise through his articles on the walkingsolar website.
Further, he is also the author of two books on Solar Technology, “Solar Power for Villages” and “DIY Solar System for Dummies”.