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Published on September 17th, 2012 | by Nicholas Brown


Affordable Solar-Powered Air Conditioner in a Neat Little Package is Finally Here

September 17th, 2012 by  

Kingtec Solar* has developed affordable solar-powered air conditioning in a relatively neat package. Here are some of the key details:

  • Price: $2,895 USD.
  • Cooling capacity: 16,000 BTU (4.7 kW of cooling capacity).
  • Power consumption: 850 watts.
  • SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio): 22.5.
  • EER (Energy Efficiency Ratio, which is a measure of the BTUs of cooling capacity per watt of power consumed): 18.8.
  • Weight: 200 pounds (This is tremendous for a window air conditioner of this size! But it does contain extra parts for the solar setup).

Why Solar Panels Are Not Integrated Directly into A/C Units

A/C units tend to be shaded by the roofs of houses, as well as awnings, so they are usually not exposed to direct sunlight, and they shouldn’t be. It is best that they are kept as cool as possible.

This single issue is a big one, but as long as the solar panels can be a decent distance away, this isn’t a problem.

Main Benefits of Solar Air Conditioning

Normally, to solar power an air conditioner, you would have to buy an air conditioner, then a separate inverter, separate batteries, solar panels, and hire both an electrician and a building contractor to set up the system for you, and that costs a fair bit of money.

Home solar power systems tend to cost $7 per watt in the United States (without tax credits), and around half of that cost is installation alone — this is because you have to hire contractors to set up the electronics such as the batteries, panels, etc. by hand.

However, for situations where it works, there are some big advantages.

The second benefit: Solar panels tend to generate more electricity at the same time that air conditioner power consumption increases. The fluctuating power consumption of air conditioners (caused by weather variation) is a problem for the electricity grid because power plants are not able to adjust their power production quickly enough to meet power demand spikes.

Cutting Your A/C Use

Finally, while this is a clever invention which can take advantage of economies of scale (due to factory production), unlike traditional hand-built solar setups, you can substantially reduce your air conditioner usage using simple measures such as closing window blinds on some windows, opening other windows to facilitate ventilation, and much more.

One of the greatest conservation tips of all is to use less energy (not reduce your standard of living, just turn things off when you aren’t using them — you don’t have to use them less to conserve energy), then go about obtaining energy from more sustainable sources, in general.

Source: TreeHugger
Photo Credit: Kingtec Solar

*This article was financially supported by Kingtec Solar (after it had already been written and published). 

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About the Author

writes on CleanTechnica, Gas2, Kleef&Co, and Green Building Elements. He has a keen interest in physics-intensive topics such as electricity generation, refrigeration and air conditioning technology, energy storage, and geography. His website is:

  • Jeremie Nevill

    Does it have a heater built into it for winters?

  • willy

    I would like to know where I could go to get info on “how to” myself, cost, materials, and how to intergrate it in my systems

  • john258

    This sounds great. Is it coming to South Africa?

  • Is this a standard AC powered air conditioner with a solar inverter/battery power source and AC line input option? Or a 48VDC compressor & fan with an AC line power supply input, but runs off batteries?

  • Nick…….First, the average going price per watt isn’t $7, it’s $5.00
    Second, 1/2 the cost isn’t installation. For the typical 10,000 watt system….usually about 42 panels, it takes an average of 2 guys working for 2 1/2 days. Please note the math:
    10,000 watts@$5=$ 50,000
    2 workers charged out @ $1600 per da. for 2 1/2 days ( pay rate of $50 per hr per man=$1000 per man x 2 men= $2000, plus company overhead and labor profit of $2000, for a total install cost of $4000. All the physical costs of small “shop items” are already included in the $5.00 per watt, as are the permits and inspection fees..most contractors either ARE licensed electricions, or have an arrangement with one for a flat fee to sign off on it…..and let’s not forget, the salesmen’s commission, typically from .15 to .25 cents per watt ($1500 to $2500 on a 10K system)
    Typically, the sales organization makes about $15,000 on a 10,000 watt system @ $5.00 per watt, and on a price of $50,000, the customer receives a 30% tax credit =$16,700, for his net expense of $33,300.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Stan, how about taking that another step or two?

      What sort of financing options are people finding? Term and rates.

      How much of the loan payment is covered by electricity bill savings? Payoff time.

      Does it take a 10k watt system to carry AC in hot climates?

    • think $7 is the avg residential solar rate, no? (of course, not in NJ)

  • I am not sure why this is called affordable at all.

    Either I am missing something or this is a simple air source heat pump which uses solar PV panels as its main power source.

    Why is this any better than a normal air-source heat-pump and a grid-tied PV system.

    A simple 4.7KW air-source heat pump can be purchased for cheaper than this (at least here in Hungary).

    • Ronald Brak

      In Australia, Germany, Brazil, Italy and lots of other places solar panels are a cheaper source of electricity than grid electricity, so a solar power air conditioner/heater can be a money saver. Now personally I’d rather have a normal roof top solar system and run my air conditioner off that so I could still use the electricity generated by the solar panels when I don’t want heating or cooling, but I can see a dedicated unit appealing to some people.

      What may take off in the future is a different, non PV solar air conditioner that cools the house, extracts water from the air and heats it to supply hot water. In a dry country like Australia a systemm that does that could be very useful, but we have to wait and see if the people working on it can bring their costs down.

  • Ronald Brak

    As I presume it is a normal heat pump air conditioner it could also be used for heating during the day in winter.

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