What solar panel set-up do you need for solar powered air conditioners? - $2 obo

Hong Kong


If you’ve already got other household appliances set up to run off solar power, you might be wondering whether you need additional panels to power your air conditioner. The good news is that no air conditioner specific system is required. You just need to make sure your solar system is the right size to meet your solar powered air conditioner’s power output (and other household energy requirements).

Numerous factors will determine what size solar power system you need. These include:

Your daily energy usage. Naturally, the more energy you consume, the bigger the system you’ll need. In Australia, the average solar unit size is approximately 9 kW – or enough to produce an average of 35 kWh per day. However, it’s important to select the right size system for your specific energy needs. You can find your average daily energy usage in kWh on previous power bills.

When you use most of your energy. This will influence the balance of solar and grid electricity needed to power your air conditioner. For example, if the majority of your energy consumption occurs at night, you may need to invest in a solar battery to store the surplus energy you produce during the day.

The size and orientation of your house. Both the amount of suitable roof space you have available, and the amount of sunlight it receives will influence the number of solar panels you need. For example, if your roof is partly shaded, you may need more solar panels to compensate for the ones in the shade. Similarly, if most of your available roof space is facing south rather than north (which is the optimal orientation for solar panels), you may need more panels.

Your local climate. This influences the amount of sunlight available. For instance, someone living in Melbourne, where there are fewer sunlight hours, is likely to need more solar panels than someone living in Perth.

How much mains power you want to save. The right size solar system will also be influenced by how much energy you want to save. For instance, if you want to be nearly entirely self-sufficient, you’ll need to invest in a larger solar system with a battery, whereas if you simply want to cover your daytime energy needs, a smaller system will meet your needs.

The best way to determine what solar set up is right for you is to speak with a solar retailer. This list can help you find a Clean Energy Council approved solar retailer near you.

Installing a battery alongside your solar system can further reduce your mains electricity usage (and power bills), by helping to increase the amount of time your air conditioner runs on solar power, as opposed to mains electricity.

With a battery installed, excess solar power produced during the day is stored in the battery for use at night or on cloudy days. Once this power is exhausted, the air conditioner will then revert to mains power.

It’s not essential to install a battery to power your air conditioner. However, it can be a worthwhile investment if you live in an area that receives less sunlight—particularly in winter—or the majority of your air conditioner usage will be at night when solar power isn’t being generated.

It’s also important to bear in mind that solar batteries typically won’t cover your entire energy demand.
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