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Solar Powered Air Conditioner For Camping

How Much Solar Power Does An Rv Air Conditioner Need

12 Volt Solar Battery Powered Air Conditioner for Truck Camper RV

The amount of solar energy you need to power an RV air conditioning unit depends on the BTU rating of the unit. BTU is an acronym for British Thermal Unit and refers to the cooling capacity of the RV air conditioning units. Its a measure of the amount of heat that an AC can remove from an RV.

As a rule of thumb, an RV AC needs around 20 BTUs for each square foot of the RV space. But other factors like the RV height, windows size, and your parking location might call for additional cooling power. Most RVs, however, come standard with ratings between 11,000 to 15,000 BTUs.

Most air conditioning units with 15,000 BTU of cooling capacity require around 3,500 watts of solar power to start up and about 1,500 watts to keep running. This is because electric motors require more power to start than the power consumed during running. Thus, the solar system you are using for air conditioning shouldve more watts than the start watts needed by the AC.

Having a look at the BTU rating of your AC, you can use the number to size your RV solar power system effectively.

Do You Have Electricity

Yes The majority of public campgrounds have electricity power points, but I still recommend giving the campground you plan on staying at a call just to double check. With electricity youll have no problem using any portable tent air conditioner, from small window AC units to full tower AC units.

No If you are heading off grid, perhaps on a wild camping adventure where there is no electricity, you can still bring a portable air conditioner for camping. The only difference is it will have to operate via solar energy or via battery. There are several AC units on the market that run of 12V batteries and can even be charged in your car.

Camping Air Conditioner Features:

  • Air Conditioner Product Type: Portable Unit
  • RefrigerantR-134a
  • Number of Fan Speeds 3
  • Number of cool settings 1
  • Energy Efficiency Ratio 8.0
  • Cooling Area 50
  • BTU Cooling Rating 1100 BTU
  • Working environment temperature: Lowest: 14F-Highest 120F
  • Power Consumption: 120-150 Watts Max*
  • Adapter Input: 100240V/5060Hz
  • Adapter Output: 12V-12.5A
  • LED light 250 lm, usage up to 30000 hours
  • Speaker 3W High-Quality blue tooth speaker
  • 2 USB Out Port: 5V 1A

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Nexgadget Portable Camping Air Conditioner


WHY WE LIKE IT: The smallest portable air conditioner from our research has a built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery that can run for up to nine hours and a 700-milliliter capacity tank for up to nine hours of cooling comfort.

  • Supports 60 and 120-degree fan oscillation
  • Can only run up to 4 hours between refills

If youre focused on a truly portable solution, youll like the evaporative cooler from Nexgadget. This is the smallest portable air conditioner that we found during our research thanks to the light 2.88-pound size. This is another USB-powered solution that has a built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery. While it needs three to four hours to fully charge, once charged, the brand claims you can get up to nine hours of cooling power depending on your fan speed.

How Large A System Is Required To Run Air Conditioning

Coolala Solar

This is a complex issue based on home size, AC size, climate and how much you plan to run your solar power air conditioner. A solar AC contractor or experienced sales agent can help you with exact system requirements based on a load calculation for your home.

Not all areas of the country are equally sunny, of course.

This affects the capacity of the panels needed.

As a result, the solar industry has developed something called the Solar Production Ratio of solar panels. It is a number used to determine how many hours of electricity your panels will generate at peak performance.

Your solar power contractor will determine how many kilowatt hours will be needed to run your system. The number is based on the length of the cooling season and the average number of hours per day the AC will run.

This is where Solar Production Ratio comes into play. The number of kwh kilowatt hours you need to run your solar air conditioner is divided by the Ratio to determine the size/panel capacity you need.

For an example, lets take 1,500 kWh per year. Here are system sizes youd need in various regions of the United States.


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Must We Buy A Whole Set Solar Air Conditioner From You

Actually for vacuum tube and entirety solar air conditioner the answer is yes. Because they are a whole system, and if you buy them separately, it may cause the machine not to work properly.

But for on-grid and off-grid solar air conditioner no need buy all from us. You can only buy us the air conditioner itself, then buy the solar panel, battery, or MPPT from other suppliers, that is no problem.

We suggest you had better calculate the whole set cost, and compare different suppliers for different parts, sometimes we give a discount as well.

First Lets Go Through The Fundamentals Of Rv Solar Power Systems

Designing a system to utilize solar panels as your RVs power source takes a lot of time and effort. When you want to use solar panels to power RV air conditioners, things become a little more tricky. Ill go into some of the technical aspects of how this works to assist you understand.

Solar panels as a source of RV electricity for an air conditioner is more complicated than you would assume. Before the electricity can operate the A/C, it must go through a series of processes. From start to finish, the steps are as follows:

  • Panels made of solar energy Solar panels operate by enabling light particles to release electrons from atoms, allowing energy to flow.
  • A battery bank for an RV This energy is channeled into the battery bank. Once within the battery bank, every ounce of energy is delivered.
  • The DV side of the RVs electrical panel is 12 volts. The batteries are connected directly to the RVs DC power source .
  • Inverter. An inverter is also powered directly by the battery. The battery provides 12 volt direct current to the inverter. This energy is converted into AC power via the inverter.
  • Side panel for the air conditioner. The AC side of the RV is supplied with power after the inverter transmits the energy.

All of the features of a typical RV power system are feasible when the solar panels feed the electricity to the batteries. All power troubles may be attributed to the batteries. However, there are challenges when it comes to size.

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How Much Does A Solar Powered Air Conditioner Cost To Operate

Anywhere from $0 to a few dollars a month.

Why would it cost anything? In some systems, electricity is needed to run the fan in an indoor unit in a ductless system or similar.

Another way to put it is that you can reduce your energy consumption for air conditioning by 80% to 100% based on your system type.

What Is Eer For Air Conditioning

Solar / Tesla Lithium Battery Powered Air Conditioner for Camper Vans / RVs / Tiny Homes. Pet Safe.

EER stands for energy efficiency ratio and is a measure of how well an AC unit cools. Divide the air conditioners BTU value by its electrical consumption in Watts to give a ratio indicating efficiency.

A very efficient AC unit may have an EER of 12. Units with a rating of 10 or more are recommended for hotter climates. EER assumes an outdoor temperature of 95°F and inside temperature of 80°F at humidity of 50%.

Its more common now to use the SEER rating, which takes into account an AC units cooling power over a range of outside temperatures the S stands seasonal. The table below shows the SEER/EER for 6 popular home AC units.

Lennox are making particular gains in supplementing their designs with solar panel supportand this will probably become the industry-standard in the not-too distant future.

Brand and Model

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Some Advantages To Rv Solar Energy:

  • Its a renewable energy source. Solar energy is 100% renewable. As long as the sun is present, solar energy is possible and can be used throughout all parts of the world.
  • Reduces the cost of electricity. Energy needs are taken care of with solar energy and therefore, you are not required to pay for electricity.
  • Diverse applications. Solar energy can be used for a variety of things. It is possible to use it for any electric purpose. It is also capable of heating.
  • Low costs for maintenance. Solar panels do not require you to maintain them very much. If you clean them off a couple of times a year, you will be set.

Other Heating And Cooling Options For Camping

The most common heating option when camping today is a diesel heater. We actually use a portable diesel heater, which works amazingly, and it draws very little power. It also consumes very little fuel, making it the perfect way to stay warm on a cold night.

Our portable diesel heater in use

In regards to cooling, the most common option is to install some fans, as these are extremely energy efficient. The Sirroco fans are highly rated, but are quite expensive too, or there are plenty of other cheaper options on the market. We just use a Ryobi 18V Fan, which is portable and does the job for now.

Camping is changing at a rapid pace, and Im super excited to see where battery technology takes us. What do you use for keeping cool and warm when camping?

Sharing is caring!

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Icybreeze Portable Camping Air Conditioner


WHY WE LIKE IT: A multipurpose option that combines the practicality of a cooler chest with an evaporative cooler for an intuitive device thats perfect in a variety of locations.

  • Limited runtime before batteries must be recharged

If the idea of adding extra gear to your camping supplies that can only serve one purpose sounds terrible, then youll like the IcyBreeze portable AC unit. This ingenious pick combines a traditional cooler chest with a portable evaporative air conditioner to serve as a dual-purpose piece of essential camping gear. This pick features a lithium-ion rechargeable battery that promises to run up to six hours on the lowest setting without needing to be recharged.

This cooling pick promises to reduce temperatures up to 35 degrees below the current ambient temperature thanks to the ice or water inside the cooler. Youll get 38 quarts of space in the cooler, along with a three-speed fan. The design is ergonomic so that its easy to lift or move the cooler, along with large sturdy wheels that can work on a variety of terrains. Theres also a large drain so that you can easily empty the contents when your camping trip is over. For an auto-drain feature, you should also have a look at the best portable air conditioner and heater.

Portable Solar Powered Air Conditioner

Coolala Solar

About 10 years back my family and some friends decided to take a vacation down south to look for the Crossroads of Music. The Crossroads is famed guitar master Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil so that he could be the worlds greatest Blues Guitar player. That location brought our Class C camper along with my buddys family and their Popup Camper from Bucks County Pennsylvania to Mississippi to Memphis to Nashville to New Orleans and finally, a well-deserved trip to Disney World in Florida.

This would be the trip of a lifetime. The one only concern was we were doing it at the beginning of August, which is by our estimation hotter than Georgia Asphalt

It didnt matter we went and you know how people claim that down South people disappear in the summer. They do! The worst part of the journey was Memphis and New Orleans where the Temperature reached over 100 more than a few times. There was no way to escape the heat but climb back in the Camper and run the air conditioner. That was then-This is Now!

Then came Solar Power Air Conditioners.

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Lg 10000 Btu 115v Window

The LG window air conditioner is a 10,000 BTU model.

This review details unique features for the model. In truth, most window/space air conditioners are quite a lot alike.

How it Works:

It functions like most room or window air conditioners. See the Frigidaire AC review above for details.


3 fan speeds, Remote, Dehumidifier mode for damp days when you want to get rid of humidity without cooling the air. Timer and digital display. In short, its fancier than the Frigidaire model above, and hence the cost difference.


This is a quality room AC that will keep tents cool with 3-6 people in them, depending on outdoor weather conditions. Fan-only mode moves air when the temperature is OK, but the air is getting stale. The fan makes for great white noise too. When taking little ones camping, that comes in handy. Its Energy Star certified for lower energy consumption .


Youll pay more than if you buy an evaporative cooler but youll get genuine air cooling regardless of the climate.

Best Use/Bottom Line: If you prefer a digital AC that gives you the benefits of a timer, this is a good choice.

Zerobreeze Portable Air Conditioner

The ZeroBreeze is the ultimate in portable air conditioners. From the ground up it was designed to go camping or any other outdoor activity where there is no power.

It runs of its own internal battery and on a low setting it will last for 3-5 hours . If power is available the 12v-charging adaptor can be used to save battery life. The air conditioner uses a rotary compressor for cooling and is powerful enough to cool a 50 sq./ft. space to 44 deg F. The 3 speed seeting helps to control battery life in any condition.

All of this by it self would have made this our top choice, but ZeroBreeze has added some amazing features. It has a build in 3W Bluetooth speaker, a LED light and has 2 USB charging port to charge any device.

The ZeroBreeze is perfect for a tent air conditioner although its a bit expensive, for a complete review of the ZeroBreeze portable air conditioner have a look here.

  • Can run on battery or 12v power
  • Lightweight and Portable

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First The Basics Of Rv Solar Power Systems

There is a lot of work behind designing a system to use solar panels as your RV power source. It gets more complicated when you want solar panels to power RV air conditioner units. To help you understand, I will discuss some of the technicalities behind how this works.

Using solar panels as RV power source for an air conditioner is more complex than you may think. There are many steps that the power has to go through before it can run the A/C. The steps from beginning to end look like this:

  • Solar Panels. Solar panels work by allowing particles of light to free electrons from atoms, which gives the flow for electricity.
  • RV battery bank. That energy transfers over to the battery bank. Once in the battery bank, every bit of power is supplied.
  • 12 volt DV side of RVs electrical panel. The batteries transfer directly to the DC power side of the RV .
  • Inverter. The battery also directly supplies the power to an inverter. The inverter receives 12 volt DV electricity from the battery. The inverter transfers this energy into AC electricity.
  • AC Side panel. After the inverter transfers the energy to the AC side of the RV, the AC side is supplied with electricity.
  • When the solar panels supply the energy to the batteries, all capabilities of any regular RV powering system are possible. From the batteries, all powering issues are possible. But issues occur when we turn to the problem of sizing.

    Solar Inverter Working Principle The Basics


    Solar panels generate direct current whereas domestic appliances us alternating current , therefore we need a device to convert from d.c. to a.c.

    This is called an inverter, a mysterious box filled with electronic circuits and MOSFETS which chop up the direct current into pulses and re-shape them into a smooth sinusoidal waveform.

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    Using An Rv Alternator

    An alternator is a generator that converts mechanical energy into alternating current. When running, the RVs engine spins the alternator and charges the battery, which powers the electrical appliances. However, the alternator isnt a reliable way of producing power since it quickly wears out with usage. Hence, it should be used only as a backup option.

    Charging A Battery With A Solar Panel Circuit

    What is a solar charge controller?

    A solar charge controller is a device that regulates the voltage and current passing from a solar panel to charge a battery. The battery may also be connected to an a.c. load through an inverter to make a complete working solar system with energy storage.

    There are two main types, PWM and MPPT . MPPT type is the most efficient as it tracks the point at which the solar panel generates the most power. Of course, they are more expensive but worth it over the long term, which for a domestic PV system is 25 to 30 years.

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    Is Running Rv Ac On Solar Power Worth It

    Running your RV AC on solar power isnt practical for most people. Planning your travels to follow cooler temperatures can be a great alternative. You can then carry a portable generator and fire it up as needed. However, if you want to enjoy peace and quiet, the investment might be worth it.

    Are you planning to invest in powering your RV AC with solar power? Drop a comment below!

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