RV air conditioners are a great way to keep cool while on the road, but they can be power-hungry. Solar panels provide a renewable and environmentally friendly way to generate energy for your devices, so it’s natural to wonder if you could also use them to run an RV air conditioner.
This article will examine how RV solar panels work and whether you can use them to run an air conditioner. We’ll also explore what size solar system you need to run an air conditioner and whether it’s worth using solar for your RV air conditioner.
Can You Run an RV Air Conditioner on Solar Power?
The short answer is yes; you can run an RV air conditioner using just solar power. Solar panels convert sunlight into electrical energy, which you can use to run devices like air conditioners. They’ll reduce the cost to keep your RV up and running (and comfortable) and have a low maintenance cost, so they can be a great way to keep cool on the road without breaking the bank.
However, there are a few things to keep in mind if you’re planning on using solar to run your RV air conditioner.
You’ll need a solar system that is large enough to generate enough energy to run your air conditioner. The solar system size, in this case, isn’t about the dimensions but the battery capacity.
The capacity you’ll need will depend on several factors, including the size of your RV air conditioner and the amount of sunlight you get each day. If your RV is large and you want the cool air blasting 24/7, the solar system you’ll need will require a higher power rating. The dimensions go hand in hand, meaning the unit might take up more of your (already limited) space.
It’s also important to note that solar panels generate more energy when the sun is out. You’ll only be able to use your air conditioner if your solar system has enough access to sunlight during the day. If you are in an area with cloudy, rainy weather, the power you’ll get from your solar panels may not be sufficient.
How RV Solar Panels Power an RV Air Conditioner
Using solar panels to run your RV air conditioner might seem a more complex process than you initially thought, especially if you have never installed a solar unit. Let’s review how it works when using EcoFlo Solar Generators so you can decide whether it’s the right solution for you.
Solar panels feature individual photovoltaic cells that convert sunlight into electrical energy. This process generates electrical energy that the unit stores in batteries. You can use this energy to run devices like air conditioners.
The stored energy in the battery bank is consumed by your RV air conditioner when it’s turned on to keep your vehicle’s interior cool. With a 3600W output, EcoFlow’s Power Kit can supply enough energy needed to keep an RV A/C system up and running.
What makes our Power Kits different from most RV solar panel systems is that there are four ways to generate energy, including three alternative methods to solar. Even if you don’t have sufficient access to the direct sunlight you need for solar-only energy, you can still get the power you need through a hookup for your vehicle’s alternator, an input for a backup generator, or a shore input to plug directly into your campsite’s electricity hookup.
Standard solar panel systems for RVs can take up tons of your valuable space. Our Power Kit is a space-saving solution. It’s much smaller than traditional models, using components like thinner wires, stackable batteries, and conveniently concealed equipment. The result is a robust portable power solution that keeps the wiring and other components out of sight and out of mind.
Components Needed to Run an RV Air Conditioner with Solar
Running your RV’s air conditioner with solar requires more than just solar panels. You need an entire solar power system, which requires several different components.
The solar array refers to the solar panels themselves. The number of panels in your array will depend on the size of your RV and the amount of energy you need to generate.
For example, suppose you want to run your air conditioner in your RV for around 8 hrs a day. A good general guideline is to look for an array and system that can generate about 1800 watts of solar plus about 700-800 amp hours (AH) from your battery bank.
The battery bank is usually a lithium-ion battery bank that can hold and store the energy that your solar array generates. The larger your battery bank is, the more power you’ll be able to store and consume between charging times.
Our Power Kit’s battery banks are modular and stackable, so you can outfit your system with whatever batteries you need.
Your battery bank will produce DC (direct current) energy. However, RVs run on AC (alternating current) power. An inverter will turn that DC energy into AC energy your RV can use.
EcoFlow’s Power Kit battery bank uses 48V power. It is safer and produces less heat than 12V, reducing energy loss. The battery bank transforms it into AC power, so you can charge appliances that require AC, including your air conditioner.
The hub makes EcoFlow’s Power Kit different from other models on the market. It’s a small, single unit that holds all your inputs and outputs in one place.
The EcoFlow hub combines a battery charger, two solar charge controllers, an inverter charger, and a converter all in one compact device.
Power Kit Console
The control center for your setup is the Power Kit Console, which features a user-friendly touchscreen. You can monitor your usage, control your inputs and outputs and manage everything in one place via a simple ethernet cord.
What Size Solar System You Need to Run an RV Air Conditioner
To figure out what size of system you’ll need to run your RV air conditioner, you’ll need to know the power requirements of your air conditioner. Most RV air conditioners will have a rating of watts (W) or amps (A).
You can find the power rating of your air conditioner in the owner’s manual or on the manufacturer’s website. Once you have this number, you’ll need to multiply it by 1.25 to account for any inefficiencies in the system. This calculation will give you the total energy that your air conditioner will use while running.
For example, say your RV air conditioner has a power rating of 1000W. You’ll need a system that can generate at least 1,250W to keep it running:
1000W power rating x 1.25 efficiency margin = 1250W continuous output
Is It Worth Using Solar for Your RV Air Conditioner?
Now that we’ve covered how to use solar power to run an RV air conditioner, you might wonder if it’s worth using solar for your RV air conditioner.
There are a few advantages of using solar to run your RV air conditioner that you should consider when making this decision:
- Renewable resource— more environmentally friendly than a gas generator
- More convenient and requires less maintenance than gas generators
- Quieter than gas generators
- More cost-effective in the long run
On the other hand, there are several reasons why using a traditional solar system to run your RV air conditioner might be challenging:
- Solar power isn’t always readily available; power generation can be weaker on cloudy or stormy days
- Some solar systems can be expensive and bulky
- Not all RVs are suitable to be outfitted for solar
EcoFlow’s Answer to a Solar System for RV Air Conditioner
If you’re ready to install a solar power kit and enjoy the benefits of sourcing the sun’s energy to power your RV air conditioner, EcoFlow has two solutions: the EcoFlow Power Kit and the EcoFlow Wave Portable Air Conditioner.
EcoFlow Power Kit
The EcoFlow Power Kit is a compact, modular, and fully customizable solution for RVs and tiny homes. It’s designed not to take up too much space in your already limited area and features a plug-and-play setup that makes customizing your energy easier and quicker.
It includes every component you’ll need and allows you to generate power in more ways than one. With this unit, you’re never limited to just solar. It’s perfect for rainy days or when you want to tap into your campsite hookups to create energy.
EcoFlow Wave Portable Air Conditioner
The EcoFlow Wave Portable Air Conditioner offers quick cooling, a long run time, and sustainable charging options designed for off-grid life. It’s specifically designed for RVs, campers, and small spaces and can run for up to 12 hours, depending on your battery.
Connect it to an EcoFlow Solar Generator, like the DELTA Pro, and your RV’s solar array to keep it topped up. You can use it whenever and wherever you need cool air.
While there are some obvious benefits to using solar, the installation can deter many RV owners. EcoFlow has two great options that make it easy: the EcoFlow Power Kit and the EcoFlow Wave Portable Air Conditioner. The Power Kit is a more compact and modular option that you can customize to suit your needs. Meanwhile, the Wave Portable Air Conditioner offers quick cooling and sustainable charging options.You’ll no longer have to depend on anyone for energy and cool air when on the road or camping—it’s all yours with the help of EcoFlow and solar power.