Can you Run a 1 Ton AC on Solar? Find out How?

Note: The information provided below is only intended as a guide. Additionally, you need to consult a qualified Solar System installer.

if your area receives several hours of sunshine a day then you might be drawn to the idea of powering your 1 Ton AC using solar to keep your living areas cool during the summers.

So, while you can use solar to power the 1 Ton AC, Unfortunately for such large draw appliances, it is usually not possible to get an off-the-shelf solution.

So, you’ll need to figure out, for example, how many solar panels, and batteries you need. Even whether it is worth it.

So, this post discusses the different setups that are available to use – how many solar panels, other solar system components, and whether it is worthwhile using solar for your AC.

How Many Solar panels to Power a 1 Ton AC?

You’ll probably need a 5,000 watts solar system to power a 1 Ton AC continuously assuming your location receives an average of 5 hours of sunshine per day.

The exact number of solar panels will depend on the wattage of the solar panel used and the hours of sunshine your location receives.

BLUETTI Generator Review
BLUETTI Generator Review

If the area requires fewer hours of sunshine, a larger wattage system will be required.

For example, with 320 watts, you’ll need about 16 x 320-watt solar panels. With 200-watt solar panels, you’ll need 25 solar panels.

So, it depends on the capacity of the solar panels used.

The Math

Solar System Size Calculation

Assuming the AC uses 1 kW, over a 24-hour period, the AC will use about 1kW x 24 hours, about 24 kWh.

Assuming your location receives about 5 hours of sunshine per day, the solar system size will be 24kW/ 5 hours of sunshine =4800 watts, or a 5 kW system.

How to Calculate the Number of Solar panels

If using 320-watt rated solar panels, the number of solar panels will be 16 panels from, 5kW/320 =15.6 panels, ~16 panels

What Solar System Setup to Run a 1 Ton AC?

For such a s large solar system you should use a grid-tie solar system instead of an offgrid solar system to avoid or limit the the number of batteries which can increase the number of solar panels substantially.

How Many Watts a 1 Ton AC Uses

A 1 Ton AC has an estimated continuous power draw of about 1kW watts at 115V.

At startup, the power draw can be momentarily as high as 3-5 times the continuous power draw.

So, you should select an inverter that can handle the power surge.

(Check the AC technical specifications or contact the manufature for the surge power rating of your AC model).

Alternatively, to limit the surge power draw, you can use an inverter AC instead. Inverter ACs consume less power and run quieter than the non-inverter ACs.

Additionally, they also have a minimal surge power draw so that you can use an inverter with a lower surge power rating.

Is it Worth it to Use Solar?

From a financial perspective, it is not worth it considering the size of investment required to run the AC off grid.

Even with a grid-tie, at estimated current equipment price of USD 10,000 (including solar panels and grid-tie inverter), the payback period may be as long as 10 years without any subsidies.

The Payback Calculation

How much it costs to run a 1 Ton AC per day?

Assuming a tariff of 12 cents per kWh, at an estimated daily consumption rate of 24 kWh (AC is assumed to run for 24 hours a day), it costs you USD 2.88 from 12 cents per kWh x 24 kWh to run the AC a day.

The annual cost of running the AC on the grid is 365 days x USD 1.44= USD 1,051.2.

Assuming the estimated cost of the grid-tie solar system is USD 10,000 (without batteries), the payback period is 9.5 years.

What are the Alternative Power Sources to Run your AC?

You can use a good quality 3kW (25 amps) genset or higher to power the AC instead of a solar gridtie inverter solution.

Depending on the capacity of the genset, you may be able to power additional appliances with the surplus power available.

Compared to the gridtie inverter solution, the genset is significantly more affordable to buy, USD 2,500 vs USD 10,000 at current prices.

However, the genset requires regular maintenance, gas and can be noisy.

Can you Run a 1 Ton AC without Batteries?

Yes, you can power a 1 Ton AC without batteries. You’d need just the solar panels, solar inverter and power optimisers that maximize the solar system performance even when some of the solar panels are shaded.

Running the system without batteries significantly reduces the investment you’d otherwise need to make with solar and shortens the payback period.

The disadvantage of such a setup is that it only works when the grid is available.

A solar grid-tie system setup you may consider for powering the 1 Ton AC can include:

Note: This is just one example, there are other configurations you can use besides this one

  • 16pcs, of 320 watt Solar panels
  • 5000 watts grid-tie inverter

Final Thoughts

You can use a 5,000 watts solar system to power a 1 Ton AC continuously assuming your location receives an average of 5 hours of sunshine per day.

To setup such a system using 320 watt panels, you’ll need about 16 x 320 watt solar panels. This is just one panel size (watts) you can use. The number of panels depends on the solar panel wattage used.

Altenatively, you can use a good quality 3kW genset which is considerably cheaper to buy but noisy and requires regular maintenance.

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