Solar Powered Air Conditioning

Some of the Drawbacks to
Solar Air Conditioning

Thinking of making the switch to solar powered air conditioning for your home?

Investing in a solar powered air conditioner is an excellent decision, but you should be aware of both the benefits and the challenges associated with owning and operating one of these units.

Solar air conditioning could be the right choice for cooling your home or you could discover it's simply too high of a cost for you versus the savings.

Solar air conditioners operate by utilizing the energy of the sun, which means they're very energy efficient and can save you money. The sun's energy is captured by the solar panels connected to the unit and then used by the unit to cool your home.

Benefits of Solar Powered Air Conditioning

  • Energy efficient - could potentially save you hundreds of dollars per year

  • Environmentally friendly - no electricity is used to operate a solar powered air conditioner

  • No worrying about power outages - you'll still have AC

  • Works without sun - can operate off backup batteries on overcast days

  • Gives homeowners the ability to go off-grid if desired

  • Reduces carbon footprint on environment

  • Solar energy to power the unit is free and it's a clean power source

  • Increases the value of the home

Drawbacks of a Solar Powered
Air Conditioning Unit

Solar technology is still relatively new and with every new technology, there are naturally challenges that have to be considered. Yes, solar air conditioners offer excellent benefits, but the challenges and cost of switching to this technology also need to be weighed before making the decision to switch over.

Homeowners need to be aware of everything that goes along with a solar AC unit. First, solar panels must be installed on the house so that the unit has a power source.

Homes with more square footage to cool will require more solar panels to power a larger air conditioning unit. This could increase the cost of the entire project.

You'll need to decide whether you want a hybrid system or an evaporative cooler system. If you choose the latter, you'll need to install a water storage tank and a water line dedicated to your AC unit.

The downside to the evaporative cooler system is that you will see an increase in your water bill while you see a decrease in your energy bill. The result may be a complete wash, which means you haven't saved money at all.

Solar Air Conditioning at Night?

An additional drawback to a solar powered air conditioner is that it will not operate at night unless you outfit the unit so it can be powered by electricity as well as solar energy.

This can be a very significant drawback if you live in a very hot, humid environment where it is still relatively hot at night!

One way around this is to invest in a capacitor - a storage unit for solar energy, which will allow you to continue cooling your home throughout the night.

Installing a Solar AC Unit Can Be Costly

The cost of installing a solar AC unit can be prohibitive for some homeowners. You should plan for at least $2,000 for the unit plus the cost of solar panels, plus the capacitor, plus the cost of having a professional contractor hook up the water lines and connections between the air conditioning unit and the solar panels.

Potential Solutions to the
Challenges of Solar Air Conditioning

The cost factor is one challenge that stops many homeowners in their tracks when it comes to making a decision to switch from a traditional AC unit to a solar powered one. The solution is to look into the rebates and tax incentives available to see if the cost can be defrayed at all.

It's like anything else you want in life - begin saving for the number of solar panels you need to adequately cool your home and add them on as you can do so financially.

Roof vents installed strategically could potentially help your unit to work more efficiently by reducing the heat in the upper areas of the home.

Research all the options and have a good handle on the total cost of the unit, installation, and anything else that goes along with the solar AC unit.

Many places in the United States require that a solar professional install your new AC unit, so be sure to check on the guidelines on that in your area. It may actually be illegal to hook it up yourself.

Even after discovering the challenges associated with solar powered air conditioning, you may still decide it's worth the investment to make the switch!

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