The solar-powered air conditioner is a great invention that will replace Conventional Air Conditioning system and it provides us the cooling system that meets the requirement as desired.
Solar air conditioning system uses solar power that could be done by passive solar, solar thermal energy conversion and photovoltaic conversion.
With huge potential and opportunity, the solar-powered air conditioner is the future and it is still unexplored.
Many things are gifted to the world by nature and one of them is Sunlight.
Sunlight is a key source of energy for earth’s climate. Everything living on the earth needs sunlight to get energy; be it human, animal or plants or other creatures.
Many forms of energy we consume in our daily lives and solar energy have become a vital part of an Energy system which seems to be going to play an important role to provide us energy as an alternative to electricity in the future.
Solar energy is a bit wider field meaning any technology that converts sun’s energy into a form of energy whereas solar power is a technology that converts the sun’s energy into electricity either directly or indirectly.
A technology that converts sunlight into electricity directly is called photovoltaic.
A technology that converts sunlight into electricity indirectly is called Solar thermal.
Now let us discuss our main point of the Solar powered air conditioner.
A solar air conditioner is an air conditioning system that converts sunlight into electricity and removes heat from our rooms and makes the temperature cool inside as desired.
Solar air conditioning system plays a fantastic role to decrease the cost of electricity to zero.
Solar AC will get you rid of paying a huge electric bill every month although the one time investments likely to be made for Solar AC are bit high the consumption of electricity from the day one will be zero and the investment will get back to you in 3 to 4 years.
Encouraging for using solar panel air conditioner to meet our Air Conditioning requirement is a step ahead to get rid of the pollution generated by a conventional air conditioning system that we face significantly in our daily lives.
There are two sources of getting energy;
Sources of conventional energy are wood, a flow of water and fossil fuels ( coal, petroleum, natural gas).
This kind of source is limited and will be depleted at a point in time.
Sources of non-conventional energy are solar energy, wind energy, biomass energy, ocean energy, geothermal energy etc.
These are renewable and will be the best source as an alternative to the conventional energy.
In this blog, I will focus on the solar air conditioner for home which uses solar energy that stands renewable and pollution free.
Solar air conditioner residential is a product of alternatives to conventional AC and will be the best for future to provide us a cooling system with no pollution while conventional Air Conditioners are not environmentally friendly and releases pollution we inhale increasing risks to our lives.
In the light of our export requirement of Solar Powered Air Conditioners, I attended a Renewable Energy India Expo lasted for three days from 20th September to 22nd September 2017 at the India Expo Centre and Mart – IECM in Greater Noida that was organized by UBM.
The expo shows products ranging from Solar, Wind, Bio-mass & fuel, Small Hydro, Geothermal and Energy Efficiency Sectors in the Power & Energy, Power & Renewable Energy and Solar Energy industries.
It was a very good experience for me to visit the expo and enjoyed a lot visiting various stalls exhibiting products pertaining to solar ACs as to meet our requirements.
What is Solar Air Conditioner?
This is similar to conventional AC in terms of cooling but the technology adopted is completely different.
An Air Conditioning system that takes energy from the sun to operate AC is called Solar AC and also known as Green Energy Air Conditioner.
Type of Solar AC
There is mainly two type of Solar Air conditioner.
1- Photovoltaic Solar powered AC
Solar Air conditioners that work on photovoltaic technology can be 100% Solar powered or conventional air conditioner as well.
The air conditioner that works solely from solar energy known as 100% solar powered air conditioner.
In this system, Air conditioner operates on DC directly from a Solar panel by the conversion of sunlight through charge controller into electricity without the solar panel. Solar AC in this case, is connected with the Solar Panel and Charge controller only.
If the requirement for air conditioning is for only daytime, battery banks are also not required.
If needed for a night as well, the battery banks are required to provide backups at the night.
By doing this, an efficiency of using solar power is great and wastage of power not converting DC to AC becomes minimal.
In this scenario, direct current ( DC ) is not required to be converted to alternating current ( AC). Thus the efficiency of powering gets improved and wastage of power for conversion is completely eliminated.
For the above, Air Conditioners are to be 100% solar powered AC that can also be connected with electricity main power in case of emergency using an additional device Power Adaptor for Main Inputs.
Conventional Air Conditioner that also operates from solar energy.
The sunlight is converted through a solar inverter from direct current -DC to alternating current-AC and used in operating the conventional air conditioner.
This is also called Solar AC but it is not 100% solar powered AC.
In this, a Solar panel is connected to a solar inverter that converts sunlight from direct current ( DC) to alternating current (AC) and solar inverter is connected to an air conditioner that supplies alternating current for daytime.
If required for a night, the battery banks are also connected with an inverter to get them charged and provide backups at night.
The conversion from DC to AC reduces the efficiency of the power since it gets wasted in the conversion process while using direct current without conversion, efficiency is great.
To have a backup for 8 hours at night, we need to have 4 batteries with 180-200 AH each unit.
In this case, Conventional AC, as well as solar powered AC, can work.
For individual houses or less consumption, 48v solar air conditioner under photovoltaic technology is recommended.
If the requirement for the cooling system is huge, thermal and hybrid AC will come into the picture and they are more suitable for Industrial and commercial usages.
2- Solar Thermal AC
We need to understand the basic concept here for Photovoltaic (PV) and Solar Thermal.
Photovoltaic acquires sun rays and convert it into electricity while Solar thermal collects sunlight and transforms it into heat that is stored and that heat is transformed into electricity later on.
A solar thermal air conditioner is also known as a hybrid solar air conditioner.
One more interesting technology related to solar technology is passive solar.
Passive solar collects solar energy, stores and distributes heat in the winter and protects room and building from the heat in summer. The building, windows, and walls are designed in such a way that these start working as passive solar depending on the weather.
Designing buildings for passive solar are very expensive, such technology is rarely found in India and other countries as well.
100% Solar powered air conditioner gets power directly from the solar panel and works on DC at daytime and no inverter is required to transform from DC to AC.
Solar panels are connected to a solar charge controller that converts sunlight into electricity directly and provides power to AC as well as charges batteries that operate AC at night for 5-8 hours depending on batteries backup capacity.
Solar thermal ACs does not work directly from DC, thus solar inverter is required to convert from DC to AC to run solar AC and the technology used for conversion is completely different from the photovoltaic.
For Solar Thermal AC and Hybrid Solar AC, heat generated by sunlight is collected by a solar collector and transformed into electricity and later on it is used to run AC.
This is what the same is called thermal solar air conditioner as well as solar air conditioner hybrid.
In this technology, a conventional air conditioner is used and it consumes converted solar energy as well as electrical power if required.
Let us understand a few more related points here, they are;
Off Grid Power System – The supply of power generated by our solar system is not connected to the electrical grid and the power generated is for consumption of individuals only.
On Grid Power System – Extra power above the consumption of individual is supplied to the electrical grid so that the power can be used by others also.
Components used in Solar AC
Parts used in a Solar AC are following;
Solar control charger
Air conditioners can be 100% solar powered, hybrid, thermal and conventional AC.
Air conditioners to be used depend on technology and requirement of usage.
If the requirement is for individuals, 100% solar power air conditioner for home is suggested. If the requirement is huge for commercial, the thermal and Hybrid solar AC is to be chosen.
For 100% solar powered AC, Photovoltaic Solar is used and for thermal and Hybrid Solar AC, a Solar collector is used.
Photovoltaic is a new invention and good technology to power solar AC. It converts sunlight into electricity directly.
Thermal Solar Technology is a bit old technology collecting heat from the sunlight, storing heat and then converting it into electricity.
how many solar panels are required to run an air conditioner
A number of solar panels depend on the capacity of air conditioners. The panels required for solar powered room ac units is below for example;
- 3 panels of 250 watts for 0.75 TR
- 4 panels of 250 watts for 1 TR
- 5 panels of 250 watts for 1.25 TR
- 6 panels of 250 watts for 1.5 TR
Solar charge controller
This is nothing but a device that converts sunlight into electricity as well as charges batteries. This is connected with the solar panel and battery banks.
Solar charge controller also controls power fluctuations and supplies as per the requirement.
A solar inverter is used to convert direct current – DC to alternating current -AC to power air conditioner if the AC is not 100% solar powered AC. This is also used for charging batteries.
The solar inverter also works as a controller to balance power fluctuations.
Solar Battery Banks
These are used to store energy to provide backups for the air conditioner at night.
These batteries are charged from sunlight at daytime and provide backups at night.
There are two type of batteries used in solar air conditioning system;
Lead Acid Batteries also are known as deep cycle batteries- These batteries are starter batteries and less expensive. They charge and discharge from 45% to 75% of its capacity depending on quality.
Lithium-ion Batteries- This seems to be best in terms of charging and discharging that can reach up to 100% of its capacity. This is also very lightweight.
Lithium-ion is used in mobile and best for the solar air conditioner as well but it is very expensive compared to deep cycle battery.
Comparison between Solar AC and Conventional AC
Solar Air Conditioner works completely on solar power with zero electricity consumption and provides your cooling system with no pollution.
You can enjoy cooling as well as the clean energy that will make you healthy.
In Solar AC, ultimately, you would be enjoying the clean energy and you would be helping your neighbors and the world to get pollution free air conditioning.
A conventional Air conditioner will get you the huge burden of paying electricity bill repeatedly over the years till you keep using this.
Moreover, this produces pollution that is hazardous to the health and will keep your health deteriorating over the years.
In this conventional system, you would be enjoying cooling system but you are increasing risks for your health as well as no contribution to the world to get pollution free.
Cost of Solar AC and Conventional AC – an overview of cost-effectiveness
As regards to the price, conventional air conditioning system is surely damn cheap and affordable in terms of one-time investment but for a longer period of usage, it becomes costlier than Solar AC.
For example, you can buy a conventional AC of 1 ton in a range of Rs 15000 – Rs 20000 in India and will connect with the electric power and will start enjoying cooling.
Contrary to this, solar ac unit cost is a bit expensive and will demand you to make a sizable amount of investments. Let`s say around Rs 1,14,000/- at a time but it will pay you off during 3-4 years and you can start enjoying cooling system completely free of cost later on.
Let us say if 1 TR AC consumes 2 unit of electricity for Rs 7.5 per unit, the calculation can be as below;
Rs. 15 per hour ( Rs.7.5*2)
Rs 225/- per day if used for 15 hours on an average a day ( Rs.15*15).
Rs. 6750/- per month ( 225*30)
Rs. 54,000/- for 8 months in a year ( Rs 6,750*8) if 4 months excluded for winter.
Rs. 1,62,000/- in 3 years excluding 12 months for winter of 3 years ( Rs. 54,000*3)
In a span of 3 years, the one time investments seem to be coming back and no further expenses required although expenses for payment of electric bills even after 3 years in case of using conventional AC will continue.
If a person uses solar AC for 6 years and another person uses conventional AC for 6 years, Rs. 162,000 can be saved in case, solar AC is used.
solar air conditioner advantages and disadvantages
There are various advantages of the usage of Solar AC. Few of them are mentioned here
- It provides green and clean energy with no pollution
- It is completely independent and no electrical power is required so it can work in a remote area as well where no electric power is available.
- Zero electricity consumption and zero electricity bill
- Solar AC depends on sunlight, there would an issue in cloudy and rainy days to get solar energy enough to operate AC.
- Solar AC is expensive and it requires a good amount of one time investments and later on, it will become free of cost
- More spaces are required for components to get installed like a solar panel, control chargers, solar inverters and battery banks.
Difficulties in installation
Installation process as informed by the engineers and technicians is quite easy but you need to have skilled labor to get the job done or you need to learn how to install them.
I will try to make a video later on installation that would educate us how to install and get it done without skilled laborer from our own.
A trend for Solar AC
A trend for 100% solar powered air conditioner is on upwards and demands are on the rise. People are keen on using such solar ACs to save themselves from the brunt of paying the huge electricity bill and to save the environment from pollution.
Being capable of getting operated with naturally accessed energy, Solar AC is the future.
Availability of Solar air conditioner
The solar AC available is 0.75 TR, 1 TR, 1.25 TR, 1.5 TR and 2 TR.
The energy to run solar air conditioner is least in use and the demand for energy usage is on increase.
The energy to obtain conventionally to meet the increased requirement of energy is to increase more burden on authorities to provide supplies since the conventional sources will be depleting gradually, the demand for solar power and solar ac will be automatically increasing.
The potential of solar AC is huge and it is still unexplored. The market for solar AC is increasing 17% every year and market size of it is 0.05% (2112 Mw ) of Conventional AC market ( 4.75 million Mw)
This data shows a huge potential in India itself. At the moment, even 1% of conventional ac market is not yet explored.
For more on this, you can read this article Market Potential for Solar A/C in India
This is a right time to work upon on solar AC to explore the market and make it available in the market at a reasonable price for potential users.
The prices of Solar AC is quite high at the moment as a one-time investment, but it may go down as soon as technology gets simplified.
Which countries are using Solar ACs
Countries with harsh weather are more likely to be using Air Conditioners so Solar AC will find its existence in those countries.
Few countries with harsh climate are showing more interest to use solar air conditioners like China, India, Indonesia, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, Pakistan, and Africa.
China is one among countries to use solar AC most and also more capable of supplying overseas as well.
At the moment, China is largely enjoying to export Solar ACs to most of the countries demanding Solar ACs in their region.
India seems to be on second as users of Solar AC. India has started exporting quality products for Solar AC.
India is stepping ahead fast in manufacturing solar ACs in-house to cater its huge domestic demand as well as export orders.
As an exporter, we receive a good amount of inquiries for export order from GCC countries and African countries most.
Top Countries importing Solar AC from India
Soar Air Conditioners manufactured in India are widely consumed in the domestic market as well as being exported to the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Oman and African Countries.
Solar Powered Air Conditioner Prices in India
The prices mentioned here are for 48 V DC air conditioner and the prices provided below may differ based on quality and manufacturers.
- Price for 0.75 TR solar AC: Rs 70,000/-
- Price for 1TR solar AC: Rs 75,000/-
- Price for 1.25 TR solar AC: Rs 80,000/-
The above prices do not include accessories like solar panels, Battery banks, and solar charge controllers.
The prices provided below include all accessories required for solar powered AC.
- Price for 0.75 TR solar AC with panels of 750 watts, 4 batteries, and charge controller: Rs 1,54,500/-
- Price for 1 TR solar AC with panels of 1000 watt, 4 batteries, and charge controller: Rs 1,95,500/-
- Price for 1.25 TR solar AC with panels of 1250 watt, 4 batteries, and charge controller: Rs 2,30,000/-
All the prices mentioned above are approx
Solar Air Conditioner is slowly getting momentum in India and overseas. In future, it may replace conventional air conditioner to some extent. As regards to health perspective and clean energy, Solar powered air conditioner is the most desired.
In terms of prices, it is very expensive compared to the conventional AC. I hope, the prices will go down as soon as technology gets advanced.
Users can go with solar AC if they are able to invest required amount at one time else keep using Conventional AC.