How many solar panels to run an 8,000 BTU air conditioner?

An 8,000 BTU air-conditioner needs at least 1-2 pcs of 300W solar panels or more (to cater for days with fewer hours of sunshine) to generate enough power to run it. This assumes:

  • the air conditioner has an estimated daily energy consumption of between 1.3-1.5 kWh.
    If the air conditioner is not properly installed air conditioner or properly maintained, for example, has blocked air filters, it is likely to use more energy.
  • the solar panels receive about 4.5 sunshine hours per day. A location with fewer hours of sunshine may require more solar panels or fewer hours of operation of the AC to prevent the batteries being drained.

How many kW of solar to run an air-conditioner?

To run the 8,000 BTU air-conditioner, your need between 300 – 600 W of solar panels to generate sufficient energy to power the air-conditioner.

In addition to the solar panels, your solar system will require the following components:

  • 30A – 40A solar charge controller for optimum charging of the battery ( for 1 -2 pcs 300W solar panels)
  • About 600Ah of deep cycle battery assuming 4.5 hours of operation per day. For more hours, a larger battery capacity will be required.
  • at least a 2.5kW pure sine-wave inverter with 115V AC out-put

How much electricity does the air conditioner consume (kWh)

An 8,000 BTU air conditioner usually in a window or portable format can use a 480-560 kWh (estimated) per year depending on its energy efficiency ratio.

At a combined energy efficiency ratio (CEER) of 10.5, the air-conditioner’s estimated power consumption may be as high as 560kWh per year and about 480 kWh/year for a CEER of 12.5.

The estimated daily and monthly power consumption values for an 8,000 BTU air conditioner are:

  • 1.31 – 1.55 kWh per day
  • 39.3 – 46.5 kWh per month

Should you run your AC on solar?

You should run your AC on solar if you must.

Whereas using a solar system to power your air conditioner has the benefit of keeping the noise levels of the power source to a minimum, using a generator tends to be much more affordable compared to using a solar system

I have compiled and compared indicative solar equipment costs for powering your 8,000 BTU AC with solar power vs using a generator.

Solar system costs for 8000 BTU air-conditioner

  • 1 x 300W solar panel ~USD 300
  • 1 x 30A charge controller ~USD 51
  • 600Ah (3 pcs) of AGM battery ~ USD 1,100
  • 1 x 3 kVa inverter ~ USD 375

Total ~ USD 1,826

Solar system costs for a 2kW generator

  • 2kW generator ~ USD 500

Total ~ USD 500

From the comparison above, the main equipment costs for a solar system are more than 300% of the cost of a generator!

Besides solar power, you can use gas-powered generators for your air conditioners. The table below shows generator sizes (kW) for selected air conditioners (BTU/Ton)

Indicative generator sizes for 8000 BTU, 10,000BTU, 12,000BTU, 14,000, 18,000, 24,500 BTU AC

No.BTUTonEstimated power consumptionEstimated CEERIndicative generator rating (kW)

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