Air conditioners can add much-needed comfort to a home during the hot summer months. Yet in order to keep cool, you will need a dedicated power source as it consumes a lot of power. This article takes a look at some of the best solutions for running an air conditioner off-grid and how they can help you stay cooler when you’re camping. A typical 10,000 BTU air conditioner is enough for a small room or even a cabin. This air conditioner will have a wattage of around 1000 watts.
A Portable Solar Generator is an off-grid power system for appliances. It harnesses the power of the sun to provide a continuous supply of electricity to a range of applications. Air conditioning makes it much more comfortable to spend time in the house during the hottest months of the year.
So can you run an air conditioner off a solar generator and what air conditioner can you run off the air conditioner? We answer these questions and more in the following article.
What Size Solar Generator for an Air Conditioner
The most important thing when choosing an air conditioner is to make sure that it will cool down your space without using too much energy. If you plan on using solar panels and batteries to power your home, then you’ll want to use as little electricity as possible so that your batteries last longer.
An Air Conditioner’s power depends on the BTU. BTU stands for British Thermal Unit, a unit of measurement for energy. It is the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of 1 pound of water by 1 degree Fahrenheit. BTU is used in air conditioners to measure the cooling capacity. The higher the BTU, the more cooling capacity the air conditioner has.
The BTU will determine the wattage of the Air Conditioner. This is usually by a factor of ten or 10% depending on the EER Rating. For example, the Domestic Brisk II Rooftop Air Conditioner will have a BTU rating of 15000. Its wattage will be anything between 1500-1700 watts.
You will need an inverter in order to convert the DC power from the Air conditioner to AC power. Because of inefficiencies from Inverters, it is a must to oversize the system. You will need an Inverter that is rated at least 1500 watts.
To run a 1,000-Watt Air Conditioner you’ll need a 2000-Watt Solar Generator
How Long Will a 1500-Watt Solar Generator Run a 1000-Watt Air Conditioner?
The amount of energy used by an appliance is measured in watt-hours. The time it takes to use that appliance dictates how much energy it uses. This is calculated by multiplying the wattage of your air conditioner by the number of hours you will run it.
Watt-Hours = Watts X Hours
If you want to use an air conditioner for 1 hour, you will need 1000 Wh
A 1500-watt solar generator with a 1500Wh capacity will have a battery 24v 70Ah battery. With a lithium-ion battery, you can pull 100% of the battery in an hour but the operating voltage will be around 21V. This means you can operate at a max of 70 amps at a voltage of around 21V.
This means the solar generator can only provide a maximum of 1400 watts per hour and a 1400Wh capacity.
To calculate the running time of an air conditioner, you would use the following formula:
Running Time = Solar Generator Watt-hours/operating power of the device
For example to get the running time for a 1000-watt air conditioner
= 1.19 hrs
A 1500-watt solar generator can run a 1000-watt air conditioner for around 71 minutes (1 hr 11 minutes)
How Long Will the Solar Generator Run the Air Conditioner with a Solar Panel?
A 70Ah 24V battery will need 15 amps of DC power to charge. A 400-watt Solar panel can provide 15 amps to charge the battery in around four hours. This will depend on the availability of sunlight. 4 hours of sunlight in an ideal situation should provide 1600Wh enough to fully recharge the solar generator.
The good news is that the solar generator supports pass-through charging meaning you can use it while it’s getting charged.
With an extra 400 watts going to the battery, this should add a couple of minutes to the run time.
= 0.34 hrs
A 400-watt solar panel should add an extra 20 minutes to the run time. You can also run the air conditioner for 20 minutes without depleting the solar generators capacity and run other appliance on the solar generator.
If you are looking to run the air conditioner for longer you could go for a 3000-watt solar generator. With this solar generator it could run the air conditioner for at least 3 hours and with good sunlight conditions with a 900-watt solar panel it could last 6 hours. Opting for a smaller AC like 5000 BTU can be less costly to run but it limits the room that you can run it in (200 sq ft). However, it will be portable and you will be able to move it around. This unit will need around 800 watts of power. To run this unit for 3 hours will need around 2400 watt-hours almost half the power of the bigger unit. For this, you can use the Blueetti AC200P LiFePO4 Solar generator. With a 2000-watt inverter and a 2000Wh battery, it can run the unit for three hours and is even more supported by Solar panels.
Another option would be to buy a battery-operated 12-volt Air conditioner. This is one of the coolest inventions. Pun intended. It’s a portable, battery-operated evaporative AC that draws water from the air to cool it. It’s mostly used for camping – you can use it in any situation where there is no power source available.
It may not be enough to cool down a whole room but it is suitable for one user; people or pets. And this appliance can be easily powered through solar with no problem whatsoever of putting a strain on your battery bank. On the flip side, it may require some DIY wiring.
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