Solar Air Conditioning FAQ
Everyone knows the Californian summer is great- time to get away to beautiful beaches, develop your tan and plenty of sunshine- they don’t call California the Sunshine State for nothing. But summer in San Luis Obispo can also bring temperatures and humidity that can make everyday life unbearable. Indoors, this can of course be solved with air conditioning, and of course using solar power in San Luis Obispo County can keep your air conditioning costs down. Learn first how you can maximize your solar energy specially if you are connecting an air conditioning unit to your solar system. You can make the most of the California’s sunshine and save money at the same time.
How Many Solar Panels Will I Need?
If you’re thinking about installing solar to cover your anticipated electricity needs for air conditioning and more, you’ll need to determine how much extra electricity you may need and how many solar panels are necessary to produce it.
The number of panels you will need to add onto a solar panel system to cover this usage depends on how much sunlight exposure the panels receive. This varies enormously depending on the exact position of your roofing, the type of installation, your exact location, the efficiency of the current systems and its configuration. So this will be different if you’re in downtown Paso Robles than, for example, a ranch on the Salinas River.
Contact us at Smart72 for a precise quote for your property, but here’s a way you can create a quick estimate yourself.
1.Gather your data
This isn’t a straightforward calculation, but Smart72 is here to help. The cost depends on the rate you pay for your electricity, how often you use the air conditioner, the size of the air conditioner, and its associated power usage.
Look at the name plate of your air-conditioning unit. This should give its power rating, normally a number given in watts (W) or Kilowatts (kW, a thousand watts). This can be a number anywhere between 800W and 3000W (or 3kW).
2. Calculate your annual usage
For example suppose it says 1400W on your AC unit and you think on average you use it 24 hours per day at your providers rate of $0.25per kW. Then your total usage in a day is:
(1,400 W*24 hours)/1000=33.6 kWh
Where a kWh is a Kilowatt-Hour. The cost every day of use is then:
Using this as your starting point, you can work out your spending for the whole year. If you think you only use aircon 3 months of the year, multiply up for 90 days.
3. Calculate how many additional watts you need
Let’s say you’ve calculated you’ll need an additional 4,000 kWh annually. The calculation here
goes like this:
Additional watts needed = Anticipated need in electricity (kWh) / Production ratio
Production estimates and ratios are very specific to your solar panel system design and property and its location. In cloudy climates like the Pacific NW the ratio can be as low as 1.1. In Southern California it’s more typically 1.6.
So, to generate 4,000 kWh in Santa Barbara where we have lots of sunshine you’ll need 2,500W. Read more about how solar works.
4. Calculate how many panels you need
The next step is to estimate how many extra panels you’ll need. Solar panels come in a range of sizes; most on the market today are between 250-365 W. The higher the Watts per panel the fewer panels you’ll need.
This number will be the number of solar panels necessary to cover your air conditioning needs.
Number of panels = Additional watts needed / Watts per panel
Therefore, continuing our example, to generate an additional 2,500 W using 300W panels mean you’ll need between 8 and 9 panels. (2,500W / 300 = 8.333). If you go for a more efficient panel at 365W you’ll need between 6 and 7.
Installing Air Conditioning After a Solar Installation
If you’ve already installed solar panels and are struggling with the heat, it’s not too late to examine your home cooling options.
Once you install an air conditioner– your electricity usage will inevitably increase. Your current solar panel system may not be able to cover 100 percent of your new electricity bill after your AC installation. If you have the space to install additional panels, your solar installer may be able to add a few more panels to your existing arrangement to cover your additional energy consumption.
But don’t panic if you can’t add onto your solar panel system because of lack of available space. Now is the time to contact Smart72 for an Energy Audit. and look to make energy efficiency improvements to your home that will decrease your baseline energy consumption. You may be able to decrease your electricity usage in other areas so that it more than offsets the costs of a new air conditioner.
Solar always pays off
You don’t have to suffer from high electricity bills this summer or the next. Solar energy is an effective way to generate renewable energy for your air conditioner to use, while also providing power to the rest of your appliances. Over 25 years your solar array will pay for itself and outlast your air conditioner plus all the other appliances they power. So start talking to one of smart72 solar experts and be guided on how to power up your air condition while maintaining your energy supply at home.