1.5 ton AC with Solar Panel: In Detail

Can you run a 1.5 ton AC with solar panels? Of course, you can, but there are some catches that you should know about before you try.

What is essential is that a process will allow a 1.5 ton AC and a solar array to play nicely together.

In this article, we discuss:

  • Whether you can run a 1.5 ton AC unit using solar power
  • The thought process behind calculating solar energy production
  • Why Grid-tied and Solar Batteries are essential for this project

So keep reading as we go through that process, and we will give you some essential information. 

Air Conditioning Condenser
Air Conditioning Condenser

Can You Run A 1.5 Ton AC Unit On Solar Power? 

You can. The problem is that solar energy from an array is not consistent throughout the day.

To compensate for that, you need to have a solar battery backup system that is large enough to run the 1.5 ton AC unit throughout the day and the night. The energy from the batter should be consistent. 

If you run an AC unit directly on the energy from a solar array, you will likely quickly burn out the AC unit. The constant ebbing of power will damage the unit. 

If you want to go solar to cut down on the massive electrical bills to run a 1.5 ton AC unit, you may need a hybrid system.

Solar Panel FAQ Video x
Solar Panel FAQ Video

A hybrid system is a grid-tied system set up to run both solar energy and grid energy (DC and AC) through an inverter at the same time. 

Can 1.5 Ton AC Run on Solar Panel? 

Yes, a 1.5 Ton AC can run on solar energy from solar panels. Here is what you will need to connect that system. 

  1. 10-12 250 watt solar panels – sufficient to produce between 3kWH and 5 kWh of energy. The exact number will depend on the watts needed to run the AC unit. 
  2. Solar Battery Back up that can hold 3-5kWh of energy. 
  3. A Solar Regulator to protect the batteries from overcharging 
  4. A solar inverter to change the DC voltage to AC voltage OR
  5. A hybrid inverter capable of running DC and AC voltage at the same time 
  6. Optional — A grid-tied solar array to supply the AC unit should the batteries not hold enough energy to power the AC unit. 

When running energy-guzzling appliances such as a large AC unit, we recommend a grid-tied system.

When your home or business remains tied to the grid and has solar energy, your home uses the energy produced in the solar array first.

If there is not enough energy to meet the demands of the home or business, energy from the grid floods the lines, and your home or business appliances continue to function. 

When there is not enough power from your solar array, and you do not have a solar battery backup system, your home or business undergoes a brownout.

That is a dangerous situation because the low power can burn out electronics in appliances, computers, and anything plugged into a wall socket. 

So, big appliances require a constant supply of energy when they operate. Without that constant supply of energy, you risk damaging them or burning up their motors. 

Can I run a 1.5 Ton AC on Solar without Batteries? 

You certainly can connect a 1.5 ton AC unit to a solar array without a solar battery backup system.

The trick is to remain tied to the grid so that the grid power supplements the solar array and helps to power the AC unit when the solar array is not producing energy. 

A solar battery backup stores the energy from the solar array and feeds it to the home or business when energy is needed.

Without a battery backup, any excess energy from your solar array goes into the local utility grid or is wasted. 

If your goal is to save money on your utility bill, you probably will not save that much without a battery backup system.

The reason is that the solar array will only produce a portion of the energy needed to run a 1.5 ton AC unit. In the morning hours, it may not produce enough energy to power the AC unit without the help of energy from the grid.

It would need to be a significantly sized array to do that. The same is true in the evening hours. As the sunrise and as it sets, the amount of sunlight striking the panels drops. 

The array would not produce enough energy to power the AC unit without grid electricity without a battery backup system. That fact means that your energy will drop somewhat, but not much. 

How Many Solar Panels Does it Take to Run AC?

When people ask, “how many solar panels does it take to run the AC,” they are in for a shock. Unfortunately, there is not a magic number to give them as an answer.

Instead, the answer is calculated based on Several Factors, which include:

  1.  How many hours of direct sunlight will the solar panels receive each day?
  2. How many are the maximum watts the solar panel is rated to produce for each hour of direct sunlight? 
  3. How many watts of electricity does the AC unit require to run safely? 

We start with how much energy the AC needs to run safely. You will find that information in the AC unit’s manual. Sometimes there is a metal tag near the compressor on the unit’s frame. 

A 1.5 ton AC will likely consume 1,500 watts of electricity per hour.

So that is where your goal for energy production begins — 1,500 watts of energy per hour. However, you will need more energy than if you plan to use energy from a battery backup system.

You will also need more energy than 1,500 per hour because a solar array may only produce at peak energy production for a few hours per day.

So your goals here are twofold:

  1. To produce enough energy to power the AC unit with the solar panels.
  2. To produce enough energy to power the AC unit and fill the solar batteries, the batteries must hold enough power for the AC when the solar panels are not producing energy. 

If the solar array is tied to the grid, then the power from the grid will fill in the gaps. While that seems like great news, it is going to cost a lot of money each month to power the AC Unit. 

How much energy can the solar panel produce in one hour? 

The amount of watts a solar panel can produce in an hour is listed on the panel. If the standard panel produces 250 watts of electricity in an hour, and you need 1,500 watts, how many panels do you need?

The answer is six panels. In an hour with direct sunlight, the six panels will produce 1,500 watts of energy, providing nothing is shading them.

So, that was easy. Not so much because the solar array will only produce 1,500 of energy for as long as it receives full sunlight. 

That’s the big catch. Your solar array must produce enough energy to run the AC unit for 24-hours. That means you need a solar battery back or a grid connection, or both. 

What you need to know is how much energy your array will produce per day. That is the number of watts x the number of direct hours of sunlight.

So, for example, if your array receives four hours of direct sunlight and each solar panel produces 250 watts of energy per hour of direct sunlight, each solar panel will produce 4×250 watts or 1,000 watts, which also equals 1kWh.

Once you figure out all of this, you need to hedge your bets because there will be days when the solar array will not produce energy at peak efficiency.

However, adding additional solar panels will produce enough energy to run the AC unit and fill the batteries. Figuring all of that out requires data. 

Can AC be Operated with Solar Panel? 

AC units can be operated with solar panels. It is best if you have an AC unit designed for solar energy.

Some appliances are sensitive to the subtle differences in AC voltage. A solar panel produces DC voltage, which a solar inverter must convert.

A solar energy AC unit can be more forgiving of that process. 

Sources

How-To Solar Panel FAQ

Sol Voltaics is an affiliate and an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases - at no extra cost to you.

FIND WHAT YOU'RE LOOKING FOR

Sol Voltaics Logo Icon green white
SOL VOLTAICS

Sol Voltaics
1043 Garland Ave
Unit C #737
San Jose
CA 95126-3159