Buyer’s Guide: Best Solar-Powered AC Units of 2021

If you want to stay cool this summer, you may be looking for a new air conditioner. Whether you are looking for a standalone AC unit or a central heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system, choosing one of the best solar powered AC units can help you reduce your carbon footprint. and save money on energy bills.

In this article, we’ll discuss the basics of solar AC units, including installation tips, the benefits of solar HVAC, information about the best solar air conditioners on the market, and frequently asked questions.


Why switch to a Solar AC Unit or Solar HVAC Unit?

Air conditioners and HVAC systems extract heat from the air in your home through cooling and recirculation, which allows warm air and moisture to be expelled outside. Solar AC units work the same way – without pushing up your electricity bill in the summer.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, AC costs represent:
12% of energy costs at home in the US, ranging from 5% in very cold climates to 27% in hot and humid climates.

A residential cooling system can be used to lower the temperature of one or a few rooms in the house or the entire house. Central air conditioning is used to cool the entire house, while a stand-alone AC unit is usually used for smaller spaces. According to the EIA, in 2015 there were about
60% of US households relied on central air conditioning, while 23% used an AC unit; about 5% of households relied on both central HVAC and a supplemental AC unit.

Conventional Air Conditioning Systems
cost more than $29 billion a yearaccording to the US Department of Energy. In addition, the DOE says that AC units and systems release about 117 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year. This means that, despite their convenience, conventional AC units cause a good amount of air pollution, especially in warmer regions.

The good news is that you can reduce both your home energy costs and your carbon footprint by choosing a solar energy system.

A solar AC unit is a good option for homeowners who don’t need a full solar panel installation, such as those with small roofs, who live in condominiums, or want solar-powered RV cooling. However, it can be more cost-effective for homeowners to install a whole-home solar AC system to achieve the best energy savings and a more substantial return on investment.

Types of Solar AC Units

If you’re ready to move to clean energy, you’re probably wondering how to find the best solar AC unit for your home. Before looking at specific products, it helps to understand the different types of solar technology on the market.

The three main types of solar air conditioners are direct current (DC) solar air conditioners, alternating current (AC) solar air conditioners, and hybrid solar air conditioners.

Direct and alternating current refers to the way energy flows: DC only flows in one direction, while AC often changes direction. These flows are often used in different applications. Home energy grids use alternating current, while batteries use direct current.

Here’s how these types of currents work in solar AC units:

  • DC solar air conditioners: Direct current solar air conditioners use the direct current produced by photovoltaic panels. Because these systems do not require an inverter to convert the power to alternating current, they are optimal for off-grid applications.
  • AC Solar Air Conditioners: AC solar air conditioners are designed to work with your home’s existing electrical grid. This means that the direct current collected by the solar panels is converted into alternating current for use with the solar air conditioner, which can be used on the grid.
  • Hybrid solar air conditioners: Hybrid solar air conditioners use a combination of grid electricity and solar energy to reduce the overall cost of cooling your space or entire home. More specifically, a hybrid AC/DC system uses electricity from the utility grid to run the unit’s fans, but solar energy to run the compressor.

Pros & Cons: Find the Best Solar AC Unit for Your Home

Now that you know how these solar panels work to cool your home, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each option:

Type of solar energy

AC unit

Pros

cons

DC Solar Air Conditioner

– Can be used off grid

– No inverter needed when used as a standalone system

– Cannot be connected to the home energy system without an inverter

– Requires a battery bank to store energy for cooling at night or in low light conditions

AC Solar Air Conditioner

– Works seamlessly with the existing power grid

– Always need an inverter

Hybrid Solar Air Conditioner

– Can lead to higher cost savings without installing a whole-home energy system

– Does not require a solar battery as it can be supplemented from your mains power

– Can limit the number of devices you use at the same time

– May be more expensive than other types of solar panel systems

5 Best Solar AC Units

Currently, the following HVAC manufacturers and top solar companies make the best solar air conditioners and systems on the market:

SolAir World

Whether you want to go completely off-grid or invest in a smaller solar air unit, SolAir World has some of the best solar AC solutions available. The company offers hybrid solar air conditioners and 100% off-grid systems. In addition to solar air conditioners, SolAir World also sells solar panels, solar refrigerators, ceiling fans and batteries.

GREE

GREE makes a variety of conventional air conditioning solutions, including a Solar Hybrid Hi Wall Inverter Air Conditioner. This heat pump is easy to set up and use, but you need to buy solar panels separately from the AC unit, as GREE only manufactures the air conditioners. This way you can choose the best solar panels for your budget and energy needs. And because it’s a hybrid unit, it will draw AC power at night or on cloudy days, without the need for a battery bank.

LEZETi Hybrid Solar AC

The LEZETi Hybrid Solar AC is manufactured by Thomas Edison Solar. Although it is a hybrid air conditioner, it runs directly on DC power from a solar panel. As a result, you do not need an inverter or charge controller and the device has a high efficiency because the power does not have to be converted to alternating current. You also don’t need a backup battery, as the unit is plugged into your main power source for low-light use.

Lennox

Lennox, a leading manufacturer of air conditioning and HVAC, also offers high-quality AC units suitable for solar energy. The air conditioner and heat pump models in the Dave Lennox Signature® collection are all equipped for solar connection. These are some of the most energy-efficient models the company makes, and by pairing them with one of the most efficient solar panels, Lennox says you can cut your total energy bill by up to 50%.

HotSpot Energy

HotSpot Energy sells a variety of clean energy solutions such as solar AC units, chillers, solar pool heaters, solar batteries and solar water heaters. In residential heating and cooling, the company has a few hybrid models for on-grid use and DC-only models for off-grid applications. In addition, you can purchase a hybrid inverter from HotSpot that can turn any AC unit (or other AC device) into a solar-powered unit.

FAQs about solar HVAC units

Here are a few frequently asked questions about the best solar AC systems:

How does solar air conditioning work?

Solar air conditioning works just like conventional air conditioning – it draws heat from the air in your home, releases it outside to cool your indoor space – but runs on renewable energy. A solar powered AC relies on sunlight to power the system. Using photovoltaic panels, also known as solar cells, solar AC systems convert the light energy from the sun into electricity that is used to power the air conditioner.

How many panels do I need to run a solar AC unit?

The number of solar panels you use to power your AC unit determines its ability to cool your home. In reality, the number of solar panels you should use depends on your exact solar air conditioner and how much power (usually measured in watts) it uses. According to The Phoenix Sun, you’ll need:
one to five panels for a 100 watt solar AC system. Most AC systems rely on about 1,200 watts, which would require: about five panels, according to Easy Solar Guide. A solar-powered central alternating current would require much more – 3,000 to 5,000 watts.

In short, the number of solar panels you need depends on your cooling needs. A larger AC system requires more solar panels, while a smaller AC unit requires fewer panels. Be sure to assess your cooling needs to ensure your solar AC system has the correct power source.

How much does a solar HVAC unit cost?

Compared to regular air conditioning systems, solar HVAC systems are a lot more expensive – about $2,000 before installation costs. If you add in the installation cost, the price rises to about $5,000.

While a solar HVAC can be a big investment, the payoff in terms of energy bill savings and reduced carbon footprint can make it worth it in the long run. You can also check if your locality or state offers incentives for installing solar AC.

Do I need a battery for my solar AC unit?

A solar battery system ensures that your solar AC will still work at night, on cloudy days, or when the sun isn’t hitting your panels directly. This is useful because, in the event of a nighttime blackout or low light, your solar AC unit can still run on backup battery.

Is a hybrid solar air conditioner different from a standard heat pump?

Yes, as a hybrid solar air conditioner can operate both as a direct DC system (which can be used as a stand-alone unit for off-grid application) and as a hybrid DC unit (which draws power from the grid when there is no sunlight).

Final Thoughts: Is Solar Air Conditioning Worth It?

Whether investing in one of the best solar AC systems is worth it for your home depends on many factors, including your energy needs, the local climate, your budget, and whether your home is optimized for a solar system.

Solar air conditioning is best suited for places that get very hot and humid and therefore need a lot of AC. If you have a home that is optimal for a full solar system, it may be better to do a house-wide installation (you can get a free quote for your home below). However, if you don’t, a solar-powered AC unit can still be a good option for clean energy in your home.

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