How to Make a Solar Powered Air Conditioner

Lawrence Bonk Profile image

Written by:

Updated May 15, 2023

If you are learning the ins and outs of cooling systems, you may wonder how to make a solar-powered air conditioner. Even the best air conditioners, after all, use a whole bunch of energy during those summer months, and solar power is just what the doctor ordered. To generate enough power for a solar-powered air conditioner, first figure out how much energy you need and choose the right solar panels. Put the panels in a sunny spot, angled correctly, and connect them to a charge controller. Pick a solar-powered air conditioner and connect it to the charge controller and batteries. If it needs AC power, use an inverter. Also, install batteries to store extra energy for cloudy days or nights. Set up safe wiring and circuit breakers. Keep an eye on the panels, batteries, and connections to make sure they’re working well. It’s best to ask a professional or follow the manufacturer’s instructions for help.

By using portable solar panels or connecting to an existing solar setup, you can power your AC without causing your power bill to rise.


  • Air conditioners use a whole lot of power, so many consumers look for solar energy options.
  • Use a portable solar panel or a roof-bound panel to provide power to the AC, so long as you have a battery bank and charge controller.
  • You can also build a simple ice chest AC using a large block of ice and a fan.

Why a Solar-Powered Air Conditioner?

The main reason to attempt to build a solar-powered air conditioner is to save money on utility bills. You use the AC during the hottest and brightest months, after all, so you may as well get some use out of that ever-present sun. Besides learning how to make your current AC more efficient, using solar power is the best way to reduce those energy costs. Alternatively, making a bucket AC powered by solar energy is a great way to keep your home cool while saving on electricity bills.

Besides, having solar power can help you with electrical issues, such as when the lights dim with an AC startup.

Insider Tip

You can save on AC-related energy bills by simply turning the unit off when it is not needed to cool your home.

How to Make a Solar-Powered Air Conditioner

There are a few ways to get there, like when you are learning how to make a portable air conditioner or figuring out how to make an air conditioner with a fan. It can be done! Here are a few of the best methods for approximating a solar-powered AC unit.

Method 1 – Use Portable Solar Panels

Portable solar panels are a good option for powering a standard window-mounted air conditioner.

  1. First of all, not every portable solar panel is powerful enough to successfully juice an air conditioning unit.
  2. Make sure the AC unit requires decreased power when compared to other units or make sure the solar panel boasts sufficient wattage.
  3. Once that is done, simply plug the solar panel into its affiliated generator and allow it to soak up the sun per instructions.
  4. Plug the air conditioner into the same generator and reap your reward. You should have several hours of use.

Method 2 – Plug Into Large Solar Panels

Large homebound solar panel setups can run multiple appliances at once, including air conditioners.

  1. You’ll need to have a pre-existing solar panel setup, otherwise use the above method.
  2. Allow the panels to charge for a day.
  3. Plug the air conditioner into the generator and it should receive adequate power.

Method 3 – Make an Ice Chest AC

While not technically a solar-powered AC, ice chest models have become all the rage to save on those energy bills.

  1. Place a large block of ice in an ice chest and position a fan to blow over the ice and into the room.
  2. Plug the fan into a solar panel for a completely free option.


Can you run an air conditioner on solar power?

You can use solar energy to power an AC, but it depends on the energy needs of the window air conditioner and the energy output of your photovoltaic panels.

What affects solar panel output?

The sun level impacts solar air conditioners, but so does the level of grid power available and the battery storage available.

How much does it cost to run a portable AC?

The cost of running a portable air conditioner varies depending on a number of factors such as the type of air conditioner it is, the battery power, and the overall energy demand.

STAT: From just 0.34 GW in 2008, U.S. solar power capacity has grown to an estimated 97.2 gigawatts (GW) today. (source)

Lawrence Bonk Profile image