Solar energy and a Window Unit

orchiddude(+7b ALabama)March 13, 2007

So with all the talk about this and that, I was thinking. What would it cost to run a A/C window unit from solar power?

If I wanted to run a 15,000 btu window unit on solar energy alone, whats my investment? And can it be done.

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wetfeet101b(z9 Riverside - So Cal- USA)

Just throwing some thoughts on this, Im too lazy to do the calculations right now :)

First off, there are companies out there that specialize in outfitting homes with a solar power array that is capable of supplying power to the entire house. Of course, they can cost anywhere from $20,000 to $60,000 dollars initial investment depending on the size of the house and what options you choose.
So with that in mind, a solar powered A/C unit is not beyond reasonable reality.

You will need to determine the power consumption of the A/C unit, usually in terms of kilowatt-hours.
Then you will need to match it with a solar power system that generates an equal or greater power.
You will also want an intermediate power storage (big fancy batteries) to regulate the power coming from the solar array to the appliance.

That is an oversimplified nutshell, I'm sure some other tech folks here who have deeper knowledge of the topic can pitch in some more details information.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2007 at 7:38PM
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chris_in_iowa(4b)

15,000 btu

Is that 15,000 btu a day, a week, a month, in ten minutes or an hour?

Ummmm... solar powered window unit? not seen one of those, but I have seen quite a few solar powered chimneys.

Maybe you should start with the chimney then work your way to the window in easy stages.

Here is a link that might be useful: A start.....

    Bookmark   March 14, 2007 at 2:08AM
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orchiddude(+7b ALabama)

Thaks wetfeet, thats a start.

Chris...I meant to say kilowatt-hours not btu's, I was thinking power. I want to run an A/C unit 12 hours a day.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2007 at 6:56AM
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cottagefarmer(z4b WI)

The conversion factor is .0002931 to convert btu/hr to kilowatt hours (yes, it is kilowatt hours since the rating of the air conditioner may be 15000 btu but that is btu emitted per hour). So your air conditioner would require 4.39 kw/hrs to run. Assuming 100% efficiency of conversion and 200 watt solar panels, you would need 22 of them to run your AC. At $740 each, that would cost $16,280.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2007 at 10:00AM
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orchiddude(+7b ALabama)

Good Lord! and I was thinking maybe a bigger A/C. LOL
I guess I can skip that idea.

Thanks cottagefarmer, it would take 20 years to recoup investment.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2007 at 10:26PM
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mollyd

And this is the main reason that the average person doesn't even consider solar power as a viable option. If prices for the components were ever to come down there are many of us that would at least attempt to use this form of energy but alas the prices remain out of reach of the masses.

MollyD

    Bookmark   March 15, 2007 at 8:05AM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

Hi
I have run a window unit in the past .Only to keep the temps out of the nineties . So usually about 4 months of the year. Jumped the electric bill around 30 bucks for a month. Guess it would take at least 10 lifetimes to break even with a solar unit.lol
I found the window unit rather useless anyway as while it did lower the temps reliably it also lowered the humidity. Far better to just raise the humidity and air circulation. gary

    Bookmark   March 15, 2007 at 8:06AM
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orchiddude(+7b ALabama)

Thanks folks. I have a few ideas I am going to try in years to come, just thinking solar might work. I knew it was high, just wanted someone else to say it was.

Thanks for the input.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2007 at 10:40PM
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chris_in_iowa(4b)

""Thanks folks. I have a few ideas I am going to try in years to come, just thinking solar might work. I knew it was high, just wanted someone else to say it was. ""

Using the sun to make electricity and then using that electricity to do something that you could have got the sun to do directly is just throwing money and materials away.

garyfla has the right idea. circulate the air. Think greenhouse, one change per minute.

The best you get is a couple of degrees above the outside temp during the day. BUT at night! A whole house fan really performs.

Cool the house down at night. Minimise heat build up during the day. (Thermal mass....)

    Bookmark   March 15, 2007 at 10:56PM
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orchiddude(+7b ALabama)

Thanks Chris...I have no problem cooling my greenhouse. No problem at all. Let water do the work, water can do more than the sun can. Thats a big statement. Dont quote me on it. Water is power and power is money...lol

My AC unit project will come about in time. Its just a small area. I will show you later.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2007 at 11:01AM
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