Running a solar-powered air conditioner on your RV

Solar power has gained popularity today. More and more appliances, like air conditioning units, are being run by solar electricity. Even vehicles and tiny houses on wheels can be operated by using solar energy.

Solar Panel for RV
Solar power is the conversion of solar energy to electricity. Solar electricity is preferred by most people because it is environment-friendly. Its use is not only limited to homes, but it is also used by big industries and businesses.
According to the SEIA (Solar Energy Industry Association) in the U.S. the solar energy is  very abundant and it's considered cleanest and renewable.

Air conditioning

We have heard of appliances being run by solar energy. The most common appliances which use solar energy are LED televisions, lamps, and a lot more. But have you heard of an air conditioning unit being run by solar electricity?

It may seem impossible before, but today, it is possible. Air conditioning units may now function using solar energy.

Let us learn more about the air conditioning unit first...

Conventional Air Conditioner

A conventional air conditioner has a compressor. It cools down the air coming from the outside. The air passes through the condensing coil then through the evaporating coil. This makes the air cold.

Traditional air conditioner

 The cold air is then distributed into the room by a blower or a fan. This is how the conventional air conditioner works.

Air Conditioner Which Uses The Inverter Technology

Inverter technology allows an air conditioning unit to run as needed. Meaning, its power consumption increases or decreases depending on the need of the user.

The speed of a conventional air conditioner is standard and fixed. But with air conditioner using the inverter technology, the air may be more powerful. This feature of the inverter technology makes it more energy efficient.

The inverter technology can make you save more energy compared to the conventional type.

The Solar Air Conditioner

The solar-powered air conditioner is being run by solar energy. A solar-powered air conditioner is good for the environment. It does not emit harmful chemicals or materials which can do harm to the environment.

Aside from being environment-friendly, you can save a lot when it comes to energy consumption. No need for you to pay expensive electric bills.

The wonderful thing about solar energy is that you can have unlimited use of energy without thinking about bills. Or maybe you still do have to think about bills, but not that much anymore.

With solar energy powered air conditioners, you can have a cool and comfortable room for a longer period of time. And you can have a lower electric bill.


The popularity of solar energy has increased. The cost for solar panels and solar energy installation have decreased. This is why a lot of people have turned to solar energy for their homes and businesses.

Air conditioners are one of those appliances that are high on wattage. The air conditioner is running this kind of an appliance on solar energy can mean big. Big savings on electricity for its users.

Running your air conditioner using solar power will depend on the installation you have. There are systems which can run your air conditioning unit and other appliances at the same time.

There are solar energy installations which cannot accommodate all or several appliances running at the same time. If this happens, you need to turn off other appliances so you can run your air conditioner.


The most obvious benefit of using solar-powered air conditioners is, of course, energy consumption. You will be able to save a lot because you will be using energy that is readily available for free – solar energy. Your energy consumption using electricity will be reduced.

Aside from big savings, air conditioners run by solar energy is harmless to the environment. Because it does not emit harmful things, it is safe to use. Not only is it harmless to the environment, but to people as well.

Solar powered air conditioners do not have harmful chemicals or smoke. If you are concerned with the environment, then using a solar-powered air conditioner is for you.

 Maintenance of the solar-powered air conditioner is less compared to standard air conditioners. Solar air conditioners use less moving parts and materials. This makes them cost-effective and friendly to the environment.


Yes, you can use solar energy to power your recreational vehicle’s air conditioner. How? Have a solar energy system installed in your recreational vehicle.

The size of your solar panel(s) or array, inverter, and battery determine the amount of solar power which will be available for your use. The bigger they are, the longer you can use the solar-powered air conditioner of your recreational vehicle.

The Solar Array

The solar array is comprised of solar cells, panels, and modules.  A single or more photovoltaic cell is the totality of every component of the solar array. Photovoltaic is a unit of potential electrical energy. It means voltage from light.

The process of photovoltaic converts energy from light into an electrical current. Photovoltaic cells are commonly and popularly called solar cells.

Available consumable solar energy depends on the size and number of solar panels installed. The larger and the more solar panels there are, the more solar energy is available. This may be used to power your homes, buildings, recreational vehicles, or any structure, for that matter.

The Solar Battery

The solar battery is a battery charged with energy from sunlight. It receives energy from the sun via the photovoltaic cells. Solar energy is stored in the solar battery.

Energy stored in the solar battery may be used during times when sunlight is not available. Using the stored solar energy will depend on when the user will turn it on. But in some cases, it is set to turn on automatically.

The Solar Inverter

The device called a solar inverter converts DC into AC electricity. The DC energy that solar panels generate is converted into AC energy which is being used by most home appliances. This is made possible through the solar inverter.

Three Types of The Solar Inverter

  • Back-up Battery Inverter – this type of inverter draws energy from a battery, manage the charging of the battery and export excess energy to the utility grid.
  • Stand-alone Inverter – this type of inverter is used in isolated systems. It draws energy from batteries charged by photovoltaic cells.
  • Grid-tie Inverter – this inverter shuts down automatically when utility supply has been exhausted. Power backup is not available in the grid-tie inverter.

    You can make your own solar air conditioner. Yes, you read it right – make your own solar air conditioner. Let us face the reality of life. Not everybody can afford to have solar energy systems installed.

    Man, by nature, is creative, innovative, and resourceful. He can invent things which can make life easier and more comfortable – without spending too much.

    Copper Tubing Coil

    Copper tubing coils may be used to make a solar powered air conditioner. How? Attach the coiled copper tubing to a solar fan. With a vinyl tube submerged in ice water, the water is pumped to the copper tube, making it very cold.

    Turn on your solar fan so the cold air courtesy of the coiled copper tube will be distributed throughout the room. You now have an air-conditioned room.

    The Ice Chest Air Conditioner

    You will need a small solar powered fan, an ice chest (with ice inside), and a PVC pipe. Make two holes on top of the foam ice chest. One hole must be big enough for the fan and the other for the PVC pipe. The fan must face the inside of the ice chest. The PVC pipe will act as an “exhaust”.

    Turn on the solar fan, and presto! You now have a solar powered air conditioner. The fan blows air on the ice inside the chest, making the air coming out of the PVC pipe cold, thus cooling the room.

    The Bucket

    The simple thing called a “bucket” can be made into an air conditioner powered by solar energy. It takes a foam bucket lined with three PVC pipes, and a solar-powered mini fan placed face down on the hole on top of the foam bucket.

    Naturally, the foam bucket must have ice. You are, after all, making an air conditioner. Turn on the solar-powered mini fan and enjoy the cold air coming out of the PVC pipes attached to the foam bucket.

    Now, who says air conditioning is only for the “rich”? If you cannot afford to have a real air conditioner, then try out these do-it-yourself ones. It may not be as flashy as the expensive ones. But you will have the experience of having a cold room on a hot day.

    In conclusion

    Air conditioning units are one of the essential appliances needed in a home, a building, or even in a recreational vehicle. But having an air conditioner running the whole time may mean a big hole in our pockets. Energy consumption wise, an air conditioner can eat up a lot of electricity.

    Not good for our budget. And we really do need air conditioners, especially on hot weather. The solution? Have A solar energy system installed and power your air conditioner with it. Not only is it environment-friendly, but a big saving on energy and on our budget.

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