Note: The information provided below is only intended as a guide. Additionally, you need to consult a qualified Solar System installer.
The thought of using a solar-powered AC to keep your home and your loved ones cool during the hot summers using a solar-powered AC can be a fascinating idea if you receive several hours of sunshine each day.
But what does it take to run for example a 2 ton AC reliably on solar?
What kind of solar system should you use?
Is it even worth it?
Read on to find out how many solar panels you need, what solar system design you should consider, whether it is worth it, and what alternatives are available.
How Many Solar panels Can Run a 2 ton AC?
You’ll probably need a 7,000 watts solar system to power a 2 ton AC continuously (24 hours) assuming your location receives an average of 5 hours of sunshine per day.
If you plan to run the AC for fewer hours each day, for example, 8 hours, a 2,000 watt solar system is probably sufficient assuming the location receives on average 5 hours a day and the system is dedicated to supplying power only to the AC.
If the area requires fewer hours of sunshine, a larger wattage system is required. On the other hand, if you plan to run the AC for fewer hours then you can use a smaller solar system.
The exact number of solar panels depends on the wattage of the solar panels used, the hours of operation of the solar system, and the hours of sunshine your location receives.
For example, with a 320 watt solar panel, you’ll need about 22 x 320-watt solar panels.
While if you choose to use 200-watt solar panels, you’ll need a larger area for the 35 solar panels!
Solar System Size Calculation
Assuming a 2 ton AC uses about 1.3 kW, over a 24-hour period, the AC will use about 31.2 kWh, from 1.3kW x 24 hours, .
Assuming your location receives about 5 hours of sunshine per day, the solar system size will be about 6,240 watts or ~ 7 kW system from 31.2kW/ 5 hours of sunshine.
How to Calculate the Number of Solar panels
If the 2 ton AC operates for 24 hours, with 320-watt rated solar panels, the number of solar panels will be 22 panels from, 7kW/320 =21.8 panels, ~22 panels
Is it Worthwhile Running a 2 ton AC on Solar?
A 7 kW solar grid-tie system to run a 2 ton AC continuously costs about USD 15,000 (without subsidies) at current market prices.
So considering the size of the investment and the long payback period, it is probably not worth it given the alternative power sources you can use instead.
Plus, you need to make sure you have enough space to mount the 22+ solar panels!
The Payback Calculation
How much it costs to run a 2 ton AC per day?
Assuming a tariff of 12 cents per kWh, at an estimated daily consumption rate of 31.2 kWh (AC is assumed to run for 24 hours a day), it costs you USD 3.74, from (12 cents per kWh x 31.2 kWh).
The annual cost of running the AC for a year is 365 days x USD 3.74 = USD 1,366.5.
Assuming the estimated cost of the grid-tie solar system is USD 15,000 (without batteries), the payback period is about 11 years.
How Many watts does a 2 ton AC Consume?
A 2 ton AC consumes about 1,300 watts at the maximum speed setting. At lower speed settings, the power draw is less.
Can a 2 ton AC run on Solar without Batteries?
Yes, you can use a solar grid-tie solution to run a 2 ton AC. Grid-ties do not require batteries and are preferred as it can eliminate the use of batteries, save on costs and the associated space requirement for the battery bank.
All that is needed are the solar panels, solar inverter, and power optimizers that maximize the solar system performance even when some of the solar panels are shaded.
The drawback of such a setup is that it only works when the grid is available.
An example of a solar grid-tie system that you can use to run a 2 Ton AC is:
- 22 pcs, of 320 watt Solar panels
- 7000 watts grid-tie inverter
Note: This is just one example, there are other configurations you can use besides this one
Alternatives to Using Solar to Power a 2 ton AC
Besides a solar grid-tie inverter solution, you can also use a good quality 7kW (25 amps) genset or higher to power the AC.
Depending on the capacity of the genset, you may be able to power additional appliances with the surplus power available.
Compared to the grid-tie inverter solution, the genset is significantly more affordable to buy, USD 8,000 vs USD 15,000 at current prices.
However, the genset requires regular maintenance, gas and can be noisy.
You can use a 7,000 watts solar gridtie system to power a 2 ton AC for a location that receives an average of 5 hours of sunshine per day.
If you are using 320 watt rated panels, you’ll need 16 pcs but you can use panels of other wattages.
The number of panels will vary depending on the panel size used.
Alternatively, you can use a good quality 7kW genset which is considerably cheaper to buy but noisy and requires regular maintenance.