How Much Solar Energy Does It Take to Run Air Conditioner

As summer heat sets in, air conditioners are running at full blast. That leaves many homeowners wondering, how much solar energy does it take to run my air conditioner? After all, the sun is shining like crazy, why not use solar panels to power my air conditioner?

In this article, we’ll explore the factors that influence solar energy requirements for home cooling, and guide you towards finding the optimal energy solution for your home.

Plus, we’ll also provide resources to find out how much solar panel could save you on air conditioning bills.


Estimate your total savings, payments, and total energy usage with our FREE solar calculator.


Air conditioning is one of the primary energy consumers in households, particularly during hot summer months. To estimate the solar energy needed to run your air conditioning system, it’s essential to consider several key factors:

1. Power Rating: The power rating of your air conditioner shows how much energy the unit consumes. The AC power rating is displayed on the unit and is rated in Watts (W). For instance, a typical AC unit consumes 1,000W. If you run this AC for an hour, it will have consumed 1,000 Watt-hours (WH), the equivalent of 1kilowatt-hour (kWh).

2. Air Conditioning Efficiency: The efficiency of your air conditioning system plays a crucial role in determining the energy requirements. Look for the SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating of your AC unit, which indicates its efficiency. Higher SEER ratings translate to lower energy consumption.

3. Cooling Load: The cooling load of your home refers to the amount of heat that needs to be removed to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature. It depends on various factors, such as the size of your home, insulation, window efficiency, and local climate conditions.

4. Daily Usage: How long and how frequently you use your air conditioner will impact the overall energy consumption. Consider both the duration and intensity of usage to determine a more accurate estimate.


To estimate the solar power needed to run your air conditioning all summer, follow these steps:

1. Assess your cooling load: Consider the size of your home, insulation, and window efficiency to determine the cooling load in British Thermal Units (BTUs) or tons.

2. Determine your air conditioner’s energy consumption: Check the manufacturer’s specifications or the energy usage data provided on the AC unit to find its power consumption in Watts or kilowatts.

3. Calculate daily energy consumption: Multiply the air conditioner’s power consumption by the number of hours you plan to use it daily. This will give you the energy consumed in kilowatt-hours (kWh) per day.

4. Consider efficiency and climate: Adjust the daily energy consumption based on the SEER rating of your air conditioner and the local climate conditions. Hotter climates may require additional cooling capacity.

5. Estimate monthly energy consumption: Multiply the daily energy consumption by the number of days in the summer season (typically 3-4 months) to determine the total energy needed for summer air conditioning.


Now that you have an estimate of your summer air conditioning energy requirements, it’s time to determine the size of the solar power system needed to meet those demands. Here’s how:

1. Assess solar panel efficiency: Solar panels have varying efficiencies. Look for panels with high efficiency ratings to maximize energy generation per square foot.

2. Consider sunlight hours and local conditions: Evaluate the average number of sunlight hours your location receives per day and any potential shading or obstructions that may affect panel performance.

3. Calculate panel capacity: Divide the total monthly energy consumption by the average monthly sunlight hours to determine the panel capacity in kilowatts (kW) needed to meet your air conditioning demands.

4. Incorporate system losses: Account for system losses due to factors such as panel degradation, wiring losses, and inverter efficiency. Multiply the panel capacity by a factor (usually between 1.1 and 1.3) to compensate for these losses.

With this info, you can get a rough estimate of how many solar panels you need to run your air conditioner for the season. However, there are many factors to consider.

To get the most accurate solar panel estimate, chat with Green Ridge Solar today. We can take a detailed look and provide a FREE solar assessment.

Contact Green Ridge Solar today!


As you can see, there are a number of factors in determining how much solar energy you need to run your air conditioner. Not only do environmental factors inside and outside the home make a difference, so do details related to the AC unit and solar panel system.

That’s why it’s important to chat with a solar professional like Green Ridge Solar. We can analyze all the factors involved and provide a free solar analysis. It will show you how many solar panels you need to run your AC, as well as power you whole home.

Chat with us today about your solar needs.


Estimate your total savings, payments, and total energy usage with our FREE solar calculator.