Can Off-Grid Solar Power Air Conditioning?

Off-Grid homes often don’t have air conditioners. This is simply due to the fact that air conditioners pull a lot of power, especially when they start-up. Off-grid power systems are typically comprised of three main groups of components:

  1. Input – This is the power source which is typically photovoltaic solar panels, wind turbines, and on the rare occasion, a micro hydroelectric setup with taps a bit of a creek or river.
  2. Storage – The power source delivers, through a charge controller and other ancillary electronics, the electricity generated by the input, into a battery bank.
  3. Output – the end user taps into that reserve of battery stored electricity through 12VDC outlets and 110VAC outlets. An essential component of this part of the system is the inverter, which converts DC to AC to be used by common electronics.

When it comes to running something like an air conditioner, which has a huge appetite for power, you’ll need a lot of input and storage. This can drive the cost of an off-grid power system through the roof.

For the tiny house community, the good news is that the less physical space you have to cool and the more insulation you have, the more attainable the solar system will be.

Leading this space may be full-time RVers like Jason and Nikki Wynn. They recently ran a test with their ample off-grid system and did some research that included contacting manufacturers and RV experts.

They’ve found that it is possible to cool a small space like an RV (or tiny house!) with an off-grid system. In the video below they recap their findings. Al be sure to learn more on their Gone With The Wynns website.

If you’re looking to do something like this, I suspect checking with your local RV experts may be the fastest route to getting your calling lined up for Summer.

2 thoughts on “Can Off-Grid Solar Power Air Conditioning?

  1. Ronald says:

    Why the big headlines, of course this is possible.
    1. A lot of sun, a lot of power, a lot of air condition.
    2. A tiny house can be handled by a very small BTU ac unit, even a 5.000 or 10.000 BTU window unit.
    3. A higher SEER uses less power.

    More on solar power see my open source website.

  2. teleblue says:

    Your test is pretty flawed. You wouldn’t let your house get to 81 degrees and turn on the a/c and set it to 66 unless of course you’re stupid. Most people usually set the thermos between 73 – 75 degrees for a/c. If you started your test when the ambient air reached 76 degrees, your a/c would have run for less time and would have used much less power. Maintaining an ambient temp of 75 is much easier on the a/c and batteries if it came on when the ambient temp reached 76, using less power for a shorter time.

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