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How to run an AC unit on solar power

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Experimenting with Harbor Freight solar panels. Just laying out the equipment that I got as a beginner for a system that works off the grid.

Solar Panels — Charge Controller– batteries–Inverter– air conditioner.

Renogy 100 Watts 12 Volts Monocrystalline Solar Panel affiliate link

Renogy Solar Panel 400 Watt Starter Kit 12V RV Boat 100W Mono Off Grid System short URL


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41 Comments on "How to run an AC unit on solar power"

  1. Gadget mall says:

    i could have sold you a 200watt flexible panel weights less than a pound for a dollar a watt

  2. Gadget mall says:

    but have fun. it wont run more than an hour before the inverter kicks off from low voltage. you will need to match the solar panels wattage to make it run all day of coarse . so if its a 600watt ac you need 600watts solar. actually you need another 100watts of solar to have an increase in battery volts.. i have 5000watts of solar panels i bought from ebay for 1200 dollars plus 395 freight .go ahead and take the plunge because you will be very happy. 5000watts of panels that cheap when the local Solar company charges 4 dollars a watt or 20000 dollars

  3. jonny c 2.0 says:

    You need to figure out and teach yourself if you don't know how but you can wire them in series and double your voltage and get more power hook you're batteries up in series and hook your panels up in series look up videos on YouTube how to hook up so panels and series at triples your voltage and it gives you more than what you would get

    I have a great i inverter that plugs directly into your wall of your house and runs directly off so were panels with no battery need it or charge controller and with hooking the panels up in series you can get 5 panels 12 plus 12 plus 12 plus 12 plus 12 year both dishes just outrageous buddy them great I inverters take 50 to 60 volts without a problem

  4. jonny c 2.0 says:

    You can buy a 12 volt boost inverter instead of a charge controller are used the charge controller but put the boost converter coming out of the charge controller and it will boost your voltage coming out of your solar panels up to the maximum of the boost inverter for instance 12 volts up 245 volts when you're only really getting 12 volts from the Sun there shit I get teach you

  5. sailingsolar says:

    There is a lot your NOT factoring in the equation because of your incomplete understanding of what is involved. Not your fault, just what it is.. Stop misleading yourself and thinking "it's working" when it really isn't going to do what you want effectively. By that I mean on a 90+ degree day running the AC for one hour or less isn't going to cut it. You'll still be sweating you balls off the rest of the day. So NO! 30 or 60 minutes (or the minute or two in this video) of cold air is NOT doing what you really need. Be honest with your viewers AND YOURSELF and PLEASE do a video of it running from 9 a.m. to 5 or 6 p.m. That's what you'll need it running for. "Running pretty good" for the 2 minutes you ran it in video is misleading. In a video running that much you will clearly see what I'm talking about. Yes it can be done but only if done properly. NOT with 3- 100 watt panels. Also, NO not with 6- 100 watt panels either. You'll need a bit more than that. try 2,000 watts. Remember, panel ratings are the "maximum" possible a panel could produce, not what they will produce at any given time. They are NOT what a panel will produce before 10:30a.m. or after 2 p.m. Panels producet less than their rated max. output MOST of the time during the day, my friend. If you had a clamp on AC/DC AMP Meter you could measure what I trying to explain. Again , it can be done but with way more panels than you got there and with a bit bigger battery bank. Best wishes

  6. Hey I Sub,,
    👍👌👌🤘 Wow,,, Why's isn't everyone using Solar Power to run AC?

  7. Rule of thumb is 400 sqft per ton. You need 1HP per ton. 746watts in one HP. Basically you need to look at nameplate of AC units and be able to supply the necessary continuous wattage for the duration of desired operation. That means a lot of panels to supply the necessary power continuously.

  8. Dog Lips says:

    You are an idiot

  9. Erik Garduno says:

    Shouldn't you have the panel facing the sun to get more charge power?

  10. Bobster986 says:

    Those are great batteries and required no maintenance (I have a few myself), but you could save money and get more power by using marine batteries. They do require some maintenance and care, but it not really that difficult, beside, you need to check your system every now and then anyway. P.s.: your AC will drain that battery in no time.

  11. so the average i pay for utilities is about $70 dollars a month not using my window unit..shoots up to about $100 when i use ac in summer..which is about 3 or 4 months of thats a difference of about $120 per year. how much was all that equipment? ..

  12. I see a lot of comments on here saying bad things, why not help each other that is the whole idea of sharing videos. For those of you who are critical of someone's idea and willingness to try, you can just keep your fingers off the damn keyboard. In other words if your not willing to help then shut the hell up.
    Keep trying and learning and don't listen to the negative comments.

  13. Hey that's great I need to find one to use in an RV 10000 BTU any ideas?

  14. james moye says:

    I like your set up my wife and i want to get a solor panal but there to much. A BIG THUMBS UP

  15. how much did you spend i mean it might work but you could have gotten alot more for the same money

  16. The crux of any project like this is the underlying math. To be successful, first it must be possible. For your inverter to produce 2000 Watts at 120 volts, it must output: 2000 / 120 = 16.66 Amps. That is enough to RUN a moderate sized AC. Be aware that the STARTING current is typically 4 or 5 times higher than the RUN Current.

    OK, so now going the other direction, 2000 Watts requres at the input: 2000 / 12 = 166.6 Amps. This is approximately what it takes to start a moderate sized car on a winter morning. To recap, for every minute you make 2000 Watts for the AC, you also must provide 2000 Watts from the batteries and or panels. Since you have 300 watts of panels, it begins to look like you will have to restrict the AC use to somewhere around 1/5 of the charging time (2000 / 300).

    Note that the 300 watt rating is probably a peak value rather than some kind of average. I don't know, but these things tend to be exaggerated. Example, they tell you that a shop vac is 6 HP…6 x 746 Watts = 4476 / 120 Volts = 37.3 Amps. Does your 15 Amp Outlet provide 37 Amps ??? Mine doesn't…

    So I would assume until shown otherwise that you will average something less over say 10 hours of meaningful sunlight. If so, then being generious, lets say 200 watts for 10 hours = 2000 watt hours. So after a day of charging, you should expect to be able to run your inverter for 1 hour. If your AC is cycling at 50% on time, then you get about 2 hours or so. If your AC is less than 2000 Watts, then maybe you get 3 hours and so on. And if the average output for the panels is 150 watts then maybe you get 45 minutes.

    i would also caution that AC compressors don't like low voltage since it reduces the starting torque dramatically. This will be a great lesson in physics, embrace it, learn from it, and then buy about a dozen more panels! And don't be surprised if your battery dies in about a year from too many deep cycles. Oh and make sure that you have large enough wire at every point in your system and know that there may be some pitfalls in joining multiple systems together.

  17. CB IT-Junk says:

    Like the vid – and your excitement over solar. I purchased the 45 watt (3 panel) system from Harbor Freight a couple of months back, but am just now having the time to mess with it. I set it up over the weekend charging 2 small 12 volt batteries wired in parallel and just tried plugging up different devices, combining different devices just to see. My intentions with anything solar is purely for emergency situations / loss of grid power… etc.

  18. Greg Lewis says:

    Equipment is all junk, don't waste your time.

  19. Ron Powell says:

    I run one 5000 btu ac unit pretty much around the clock on solar. I have 950 watts of solar, 1500 watt inverter and 450 amp hours of AGM batteries and that barely keeps it going around the clock. There are times I use an 800 watt inverter generator to power a 40 amp charger to top off the batteries. I put a gallon of gas in it and run it from around 10 pm for 4 hours until it runs out of gas. That gets me thru the night on hot nights when I need ac 24/7. I hope this helps you size your system. Here are some pictures of my build:

  20. xNYCMarc says:

    I'll bet those cheap, tiny batteries only lasted 2 weeks under the high demand.

  21. These harbor freight systems are a complete waste of money. My first company I bought solar from was renogy and they have not dissapointed. Reliable, durable. Their 100 watt panels take up 50 percent less space then these pieces of shit. Not to mention the renogy panels can be mounted anywhere you like. For what you bought you could have got 300 more watts of solar panels for half the cost. Such a shame

  22. Take my advice when I say, return what you bought. Spend the money on renogy panels, deep cycle batteries or even 6 volt golf cart batteries wired in series. even lithium of you have the $$.

  23. The only way you can run AC unit using an inverter is if you have at least 500 Amp from marine batteries being charged at the same time by close to or more than 1,000 Watts of solar energy. Meaning, those huge panels on top of roofs, usually around 20 or so panels. Panels that carry so much wattage can be tied off grid and can run appliances without using the batteries as it charges. Unit starts around $7k for a small set up up to $125K to power an entire house off grid

  24. " not getting good sun right now " lmao saying that while the panel is facing away from the sun * dead *

  25. How many "BTU's" is your A/C putting out?

  26. peter brick says:

    Hope you learnt something !

  27. brandon defa says:

    You need to find a way to run solar panels to a plug one-by-one slowly until the whole house is converted I've been kind of planning it but I'm not too good with wire so your video was very useful thank you

  28. lee steven says:

    You need to install a soft start kit compressor at start up will trip your solar charger ….hard start kit will work as well price around 20 to 50 dollars compressor at start up pulls only half after installed

  29. If you intend to run your AC units all day when it's hot if your AC units are using a lot more watts than what you're bringing in then you're going to be draining your batteries the whole time until they're dead and they will die out very quickly, for example if your AC uses a thousand Watts but you're only bringing in 300 watts then you're at a massive deficit so you need to have enough panels that bringing more watts than what you're using and when the Sun goes down your battery bank has to be big enough to run whatever you want to for as many hours as you need use without running your batteries out quickly, I would recommend having 6 or even 8 would be better of these 100 watt kits and have them running just a small portacool portable water cooler because then you'll be bringing in more watts during the day then what you're using with the cooler because the cooler on low will only use 150 watts and on high 215 and if you're bringing in say 300 to 400 watts even if you're running a TV also you won't be draining your batteries during the day you will actually be charging them a little bit which will allow you to run your portable water cooler all day when it's really hot and an HDTV also and even watch TV late at night and even run the cooler for a little while before your batteries drain too low, I know because I do this every day.

  30. So dumb you need around 150 watts for every 100 btus and you need a proper mppt controller not that shitty pwm one

  31. BadRobot says:

    If you need your camera steady, people with motion sickness will greatly appreciate.  The content is great but the video is amateur.

  32. Ka Yang Thao says:

    I wonder how long your AC lasts with you using it on the Centech Inverter… It's not a Sine Wave Inverter, so meaning it will damage AC Cooler, and Charging Batteries like Cell phone or Powerdrill batteries…. It even says it in the Manual if you don't believe me.

  33. Matt King says:

    Everyday i say to myself,there has got to be a better way to run heavy appliances than to hook up solar panels and batteries or generators.
    If only i could skip ahead 300 years and grab an electronics book from that time,it would be sooooo useful.

  34. Jen Allen says:

    So NO that charge control will not handle 6 panels will barely handle the 4 in kit. Also even 4 batteries in parallel not enough battery bank at 35 amp hr to really do the job you are asking of them.

  35. I would have spent more time planning.

  36. tlt40s&w 70 says:

    Won't last long but your trying and that's what counts. People who make stupid comments well your stupid. Just update your batteries to deep cycle and maybe bring back the inverter, it won't last. All in all keep trying g brother.

  37. Jonn Bravo says:

    Keep up the good work. We all had to start somewhere. Even the haters.

  38. bigshotdadz says:

    I'm just dyin' to hear how rude your awakening to REALITY was!
    Please update us!!!

  39. yes, but for how long? your battery bank will not be able to maintain this level of output for long, leading. I noticed at one point the battery reading 11.8 which means your killing your battery.

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