Solar Air Conditioner Complete Guide

Solar air conditioner system

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Nowadays, electricity shortage has become a very common issue for most countries. In India, Pakistan, Brazil, South Africa, have occurred a large scope of power outage accidents, which caused big social problems, and hit the economy a lot.

Many countries appeal to use eco-energy instead of commonly used energy sources, a large number of people and companies are finding ways to save electric power hardly, most of them focus on solar-powered products.

We have to mention air conditioner for this way, because it is an essential product in the summer, and consumes electrical power a lot as well. But due to electricity shortage, people have to reduce the time of usage, which is inconvenient for daily life, and have the risk to damage air conditioner as well.

Solar air conditioners debut in this kind of situation.

What Is Solar Air Conditioner?

For simple words: Solar air conditioner uses solar energy (instead of electricity) to cool or heat the surroundings and blow out comfortably fresh air. As they use solar power, so it is environmental protection energy, meanwhile can ease the shortage of electricity–because solar air conditioners just use a little electricity power or no need ANY electricity power to run the air conditioner.

Solar Air Conditioner Types

Generally speaking, there are 2 types of solar air conditioners:

ONE is: hybrid solar air conditioner, ANOTHER is: full solar air conditioner.

1. Hybrid Solar Air Conditioner

There are 3 types of hybrid solar air conditioners:

ONE is vacuum tube hybrid solar air conditioner,  ANOTHER is entirety hybrid solar air conditioner, LAST is on-grid solar air conditioner.

1) Vacuum Tube Hybrid Solar Air Conditioner

Has 10-15 pieces vacuum tube to collect or store the solar power, and uses solar energy to aid the compressor working when the refrigerants’ circulation at the whole systems. Electricity is used to run the main parts of outdoor unit, like electric board, fan, motor, etc, meanwhile matching the indoor unit to running.

PS: Its installation likes normal wall-mounted split air conditioner: indoor unit connected outdoor unit with connecting copper pipes and cables.

Best Feature: cheaper than other solar air conditioners, but the disadvantage is: working performance is unstable, very strictly relied on the installation surroundings—to be sun or back the sun, how many hours sunshine every day, etc. So we advise using them in tropical places, like South-East Asia (Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia), Middle East (Iraq, UAE, Iran, Yemen), Africa (Nigeria, South Africa, Cameroon, Ghana, Senegal), and some Latin American countries (Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Colombia), etc.

Please remember: the hotter it is, the better it works.

And, you should install it properly, otherwise will affect the AC performance, please Contact Us for more support.

Solar Air Conditioner Diagram

Hybrid Solar Air Conditioner Principle Diagram

Don’t understand?

Well, you have seen solar water heaters before, right? It uses solar energy NOT ELECTRICITY to heat the water, isn’t it?

Likewise, a vacuum tube solar air conditioner uses PARTIAL solar power,but not electricity, to run the air conditioner.

The power-saving level for vacuum tube solar air conditioner compared with normal air conditioner is at below: (All data is from our factory testing lab)

Solar Air Conditioner Power Consumption

You can see: the more years you operate, the more electrical power you will save. But should notice: had better not switch on and off frequently, that will affect its performance too.

Maybe you will have a question: How did he work at night? Well, the vacuum tube can store solar power, when has no sunshine (which means no continuous solar energy is stored), it will release the stored solar power ( instead of electricity) to run the air conditioner. But it can max stand 36 hours without sunshine, If no sunshine time is too long, solar air conditioner will fail and doesn’t save electric power anymore.

Please notice all solar air conditioner working principle at night is similar: will stop running (or doesn’t save electricity) without stored solar power.

2) Entirety Hybrid Solar Air Conditioner

It’s convenient for installation, no need vacuum tube to assemble, needn’t complex packages (packed like normal A/C). It uses the panel ( the outermost is toughened glass, painted by black chromium coating, then oxidize) collecting the solar energy to aim the compressor working when the refrigerant circled at the whole system. At this point, his working principle is similar to vacuum tube type. But the difference is: its performance is stable. According to the feedback from our clients, can save electricity 30-50% without issue depending on the ambient temperature’s level.

Actually, for solar air conditioners, no matter which type, tropical countries’ performance is better than other countries, that is defined.

PS: Its installation likes normal wall-mounted split air conditioner: indoor unit connected to outdoor unit with connecting copper pipes and cables.

Entirety Hybrid Solar Air Conditioner Outdoor Unit

3) On-grid Hybrid Solar Air Conditioner

Use solar panels (Also called PV) to collect solar power, it’s more efficient (saving 80-90% electricity bill) than the other two hybrid solar types, but of course, its price is higher.

It uses DC compressor, DC fan motor, DC solar panels to run air conditioner, which means maximum saving the electricity power.

It is also called AC/DC hybrid solar air conditioner but differs from the regular DC inverter air conditioner: During the daytime, it runs directly on DC power from solar panels, with intelligent power management technology, this system can directly utilize the DC power from solar panels, no longer need an inverter, controller or battery. During the sunshine day, when solar power generated is bigger than air conditioner power consumption, AC/DC hybrid solar air conditioner can get more power from the solar panels; its efficiency is high up to SEER36 ratings. This unit can be connected with up to 380V/10A solar DC power, and designed for hybrid operation by utilizing the solar to provide all the power required during the sunshine hours. And this system primarily uses solar power and mixes it with normal 220V-240V AC power if needed.

You can choose how many pieces solar panels are needed, for tropical countries usually use 2-4 pieces are enough (for 9000-12000btu), for temperate countries or colder countries need more panels depending on air conditioner capacity.

How the DC inverter technology of solar air conditioner can save power

ACDC solar air conditioner working diagram

On-grid Solar Air Conditioner System Working Diagram

PS: The solar panels need skilled workers or service companies to install or contact us, and we will support you.

2. Full Solar Air Conditioner

Also called off-grid or 100% solar air conditioner, who does NO NEED ANY electricity. It switched on the air conditioner by battery energy ( one battery is DC12V, normally use 4 pcs battery, totally DC48V ), and collect the solar power at daytime ( with sunshine )  to run the air conditioner, excess solar energy will be stored in the whole systems. At night, can be released to operate the air conditioner normally. It is the best solution to use air conditioner in places without electricity at all, like deserts, mountains, uninhabited regions, camping, RV (Recreational Vehicle), etc. But the disadvantage is: much higher prices, also the battery has a limited lifespan. Every 3-5 years should replace all the batteries.


Well, the working principle is simple, just like: solar power to charge the battery, battery-run the air conditioner, no need ANY electricity.

Tips: Full solar air conditioner is really the best choice for RV (We can customize it as your requirements), please see the video following:


1) There is backup (which means no sunshine, how many hours the stored solar power can run the air conditioner ) from 6-24hrs for solar air conditioner, they have different (pieces) solar panels, batteries, MPPT PV charger, etc.

2) The battery normally used is PbAc (Lead-Acid battery), if you want Li-battery ( Lithium-ion battery), the price should triple.

Please see the below photos to better understand this system:

Off grid solar air conditioner manufacturer

The solar panel installed TO THE SUN

Solar Panel Framework

MC4 Connector( connect each solar panel )

Off grid solar air conditioner diagram

MPPT Solar Controller

Battery Pack

Whole Set

Small Tips: Some suppliers have another classification method for solar air conditioners: One is called solar thermal ( as vacuum, entirety ) air conditioner, another is called photovoltaics (PV) air conditioner which uses solar panels to run the air conditioner ( like on-grid and off-grid).

Although the classification methods are different, the main products are the same as those listed above.

Could Solar Air Conditioner Heat the Room?

Absolutely Yes!

You should remember air conditioner not only can cool room but also can heat the room. Based on this, many temperate zones like Europe, North America, North & East Asian countries are suitable areas to heat the room with solar air conditioner.

For these areas, the heating effect is even better than the cooling effect. We have clients from USA who said the heating function can maximum save 50-60% electric power, meanwhile cooling function can only save 40-50% energy power.

Could Install the Unit By Ourselves?

For entirety solar air conditioner, it’s easy like the normal wall split air conditioner, you can install it by yourselves if you are skilled person.

For vacuum tube type, as you need install each tube carefully, so had better find an expert company for the installation.

For on-grid and full solar air conditioner, each solar panel should connect correctly, the MPPT, battery, etc also need to be connected to each other without issue, so we recommend you find a professional installation company locally.

Or, can ask us for help, and we will give you some technical support or find a skilled installation agent for you.

Could You Customize a Solar Air Conditioner for Me?

Actually can’t.

Because the whole system is different. If you really want to convert normal air conditioner into a solar air conditioner, the cost is even higher than just buying a new one. So it isn’t a good way.

How Many Pieces Solar Panel Should I Choose for My Backup Time?

Firstly, this question is about full (off-grid) solar ac.

Please see the technical specification below, it lists the details of the main parts needed due to different backup times, and you must notice more backup times, a higher price!

CapacityBackup Time (hr)Solar PanelLead-Acid BatteryMPPT PV Charger
9000btu8250w*3pcs12V100Ah*4pcs48V 30A
9000btu12250w*4pcs12V120Ah*4pcs48V 30A
9000btu18300w*4pcs12V200Ah*4pcs48V 40A
12000btu8250w*4pcs12V120Ah*4pcs48V 30A
12000btu12300w*4pcs12V150Ah*4pcs48V 40A
12000btu18250w*6pcs12V200Ah*4pcs48V 40A
18000btu8300w*4pcs12V150Ah*4pcs48V 30A
18000btu12300w*6pcs12V250Ah*4pcs48V 40A
18000btu18250w*8pcs12V150Ah*8pcs48V 60A
24000btu8250w*6pcs12V200Ah*4pcs48V 40A
24000btu12250w*8pcs12V150Ah*8pcs48V 60A
24000btu18300w*8pcs12V200Ah*8pcs48V 70A

Off-grid Solar Air Conditioner

PS: For cost consideration, you can lessen the quantity for battery or solar panel, but the performance will be affected accordingly.

Must We Buy The Whole Set Solar Air Conditioner from You?

Actually for vacuum tube and entirety solar air conditioner the answer is yes. Because they are a whole system, and if you buy them separately, may cause the machine not working properly.

But for on-grid and off-grid solar ac no need buy all from us. You can only buy us the air conditioner itself, then buy the solar panel, battery, or MPPT from other suppliers, that is no problem.

We suggest you better calculate the whole set cost and compare different suppliers for different parts, sometimes we give a discount as well.

Could Use Solar Air Conditioner for Commercial or Industrial Purpose?

Theoretically: yes. But you should consider the cost.

For vacuum tube and entirety solar air conditioner normally used for home or small areas. For PV solar air conditioner, you can use it in larger areas, but you have to add on many pieces of solar panels, and higher capacity air conditioner, which is a huge cost for your project, so we don’t believe that is a good choice at all.

How Much to Buy a Solar Air Conditioner, and Worthwhile?

To buy a hybrid solar air conditioner, usually cost 360-1,200usd depends, vacuum/entirety is cheaper relatively compared to the on-grid hybrid solar air conditioner, but only can save 30-50% electricity bill; On-grid hybrid solar air conditioner has a higher price but can save 80-90% electricity. Mostly we don’t recommend a full solar air conditioner, because its minimum cost is 1,250-1,500usd (Fob China seaport price) per set, which is very expensive for most clients, only suitable for special places indeed have NO ANY electricity. But the precondition is you can afford the cost.


Well, finally we want to say: the solar air conditioner is a very good substitute for ordinary air conditioner, and has brilliant future trends. But as its higher price, lower awareness, still have a long way to go.

One day, some manufacturers can invent certain kinds of solar air conditioners at cheaper and affordable price, it will subvert the future of the entire air conditioning industry.

Any comments?

Welcome leave a message or repost.


About Author

Vic Cheung
Vic Cheung

Hi, I'm Vic! Start working in HVACR field since 2008, our main products included: air conditioning, cold room refrigeration system, water chiller, ice machine, commercial dehydrator, dehumidifier, heat pump, electric motor, and all accessories. Since joined China Speedway Group in 2012, I worked in here more than 10 years, as the general manager of export department, we have established 50+ agent in different countries and areas.
As our experience and strong technical support, we can solve your issue once you have, and our chief engineer has worked in HVACR field since 1997. I am so proud of our knowlege is more and more popular not only for engineer, and for HVACR business new comer, DIY lovers. Hope you are enjoying our articles, if any question or comments just welcome to send me marketing at

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China Speedway Group is a professional HVACR products’ manufacturer and wholesaler, we customize different HVACR products and spare parts, especially refrigeration products and parts. Such as air conditioning, refrigeration equipment, cold room solution, ice machine, dehumidifier, electric motor, heat exchanger,copper coil, etc.

As worked in HVACR field since 2010, we have more experiences can provide you unique products and solutions, also will supply life-span free charge of technical support. Warmly welcome inquiry us with your sample, drawing or design, our aim is making your idea come true and benefit you. 

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8 Responses

  1. Hi;
    That is a good explaination.
    But in my oppinion, we live in a bad condition because corruption.
    But I prefer the second and the third one
    Types will be profit for alot people have the ability to buy.
    My country in yemen South [Aden].
    Has hot climate and humidity.
    We can reach to a good penifit if
    There is a good desire.
    Thanks alot fo ur cocern.
    Mohammed Noman.

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