Solar Powered Room Air Conditioner

Keeping track of a load list is a tedious chore but it can be worth counting watts if you can enjoy a few hours of some cool time before you fall asleep whether you are in a tent, RV, or Camper that will really make the difference between a comfortable night sleep or a long hot humid and sweaty uncomfortable sleepless night. Now all types of Camping can be comfortable even in the dead of summer. What is a Solar Powered Room Air Conditioner?

Solar Powered Room Air Conditioners include:

  • Portable Solar-Powered Room Air Conditioners
  • Roof Top Tent Air Conditioner
  • Evaporative Coolers
  • Swamp Coolers
  • Off-Grid Dual Hose Cooler Units
  • Low Surge-Eco 5000 BTU air conditioners
  • DIY Ice Chest Air Conditioner with low Watt Fan
  • Low Wattage RV Air Conditioner 

Have you ever gone camping in a Tent, Popup, or even an RV where the temperatures were extremely hot and make the camping vacation uncomfortable.  In fact, intolerable. Throw your kids in the mix and you might have been swearing off camping forever. Those were the old days!

Portable Solar Powered Air Conditioner


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 world’s greatest Blues Guitar player. That location brought our Class C camper along with my buddy’s 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 didn’t 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 into the Camper and run the air conditioner. That was then-This is Now!

Then came Solar Power Air Conditioners.

We learned a lot about Passive cooling, in other words, try to beat the heat by camping in the shade using fans and moisture around you inside a tent or RV to get through some of those unbearable nights. Today of course with the potential of Solar Energy Systems,  Active Air Conditioners can be driven with enough Watts derived from Solar Panels to make it all happen. In fact, Camping Air Conditioners are stable in an Off-Grid or RV campsite. If you got the Watts!

The Battery Bank and Solar System would have to have at least 700 watts at peak sun-light to handle the running a standard room window air-conditioner but that would be the very least. That’s just for the Air Conditioner. That wouldn’t include the fridge, lights, and other devices that you normally operate with the system. This would make the whole thing impracticable. The truth is, you would need another couple hundred watts to oblige the Air Conditioner demand and charge the batteries and run a few other things.

The whole idea of a Solar System is to recharge your batteries every day.  If you don’t then you’ll need a generator for it to run off of. If you want to run a typical 5000-watt window air conditioner then buy a one that specifically built Low Surge with an Eco Mode for this to be the most practical for the Camping environment. Expect the load for the Air Conditioner to pull 700 to 100 watts. With the start-up being the biggest part of the surge.

Off-Grid Solar Air Conditioner


When you are running Solar, it’s when it’s the hottest part of the day and the sun is shining the brightest, that’s when you can making most of the power!  This allows you to run the AC full blast to keep your Off-Grid Cabin, RV, or Tiny house nice and cool. Even with the air conditioner on the high-powered solar panel system should still makes enough power to add Watts into the batteries. These portable Solar Powered air conditioner units use about the same as a home window 5000-watt air conditioner use about 1000 watts.  Solar Powered types should be more efficient than the standard units.

The problem with the Portable Solar Air Conditioner is that they are not all built the same. They can be the biggest load on your Battery Bank so you need them to be the most efficient. Units that have a dual hose system are the best. The condensation is released outside next to an intake hose. Most portable Air Conditioners don’t have this design.

In a regular air conditioning unit, hot air is pulled into the unit to cool the condenser that is located outside of the window unit, while cool air is pushed inside of the room cooling the room’s temperature. The Compressor and the majority of the hot working parts of the unit are already outside(the hot side). This way the air conditioner motor parts that are generating heat are insulated from the room by the front of the unit(the cool side) it’s trying to cool.

Most Solar Portable Air Conditioners have the whole unit inside. meaning the hot working side and the cool side are all together. Air from the room is pulled from the room that’s being cooled and vented to the outside. Making this way a far less efficient way of cooling the temperature. In Solar Energy, the main deal is all about efficiency saving energy that is collected by the Panels and stored in the Battery Bank.

This is less efficient for a couple of reasons:

  • The air being drawn in to cool the condenser and vented outside which means it’s dispelling processed cooled air from the room it just generated, wasting it to the outside.
  • Also by expelling air from the room it creates a low-pressure environment in whatever the space it’s in like a tent or RV. This makes the pressure from the outside greater than the inside which means the hot air outside will try to make it into the inside to even out that loss of pressure. 
  • Not to mention the noise when the compressor kicks on that noise are inside your structure

This the reason you will see 2 BTU values on the front of a Portable Air Conditioner box. They are 25 % less efficient than a 5000 BTU window unit you have at home. They are just not efficient to design. Always look for the Dual Hose System when it comes to a Solar Powered Portable Air Conditioner. If you have a choice and have an Air Conditioner that has a low surge and Eco setting use that, it will be more efficient than the Portable unit.


Solar Panel Blocking Diode

Roof Top Tent Air Conditioner


New portable Air Conditioners called an Evaporative Cooler or a Swamp Cooler use a technology that simulates air passing over a body of water creating a cooled environment. Water in the air is evaporated in the cooler and the air temperature is lowered. Designed for personal space it’s perfect for your Tent.  This device works a whole lot better than the 12 volt Tent fan that is made just to move warm air in the Tent at night cooling the inside space. The Swamp Cooler is a Fan-Air Cooler and Humidifier all in one. It can cool your tent space or any other personal space. I liked this because of the size and it did work well. Check it out on Amazon.

The bigger the unit the more air is cooled down by this technology. Perfect for tent camping, garages, and RVs. Some have built-in Air Filters to remove the dust and unhealthy particles while the air is moving through the Cooler. Evapolar EvaSMART Personal Evaporative Air Cooler, Purifier and Humidifier, Portable Air Conditioner EV-3000 with Alexa support – Opaque WhiteWhile this perfect-sized device is removing humidity from your tent, it’s also removing spores and molds that are built up in the space of your Camping Tent, RV, Camper or even a Cubicle at work all small areas where you spend time in.


DIY Tent Air Conditioner

Speaking of a Solar Tent Fan When I saw this Solar Air Conditioner DIY video I had to try this and actually this cooled or tent down the fastest. Yup, the ice melts so keep the lid closed but what a creative DYI idea that simple to make. A solar Tent fan can be used which will pull almost nothing with minimum watts. I ran this on a 100 Watt Solar panel system all weekend with one 20 pound block of ice.


Low Wattage RV Air Conditioner


Most RVer’s will tell you that if you are looking to run an Active Air conditioner in your RV, you probably don’t have space on the rooftop to accommodate enough Solar Panels to make enough power to keep an Air Conditioner running for your RV. Unless you can make some adjustments and adding some type of generator to the system. But if you are planning to use the Air Conditioner for shorter lengths of time and not continuously there are some things you can do to lower the load on your system

A Solar Power Air Conditioner can do the job if your Battery Bank is full and you can generate enough power from the Solar Panels to keep the deficit consumed from the batteries low enough. As an example, if the Air Conditioner consumes 1000 watts and your Solar Panels are producing 800 watts then the load on the battery would be 200 watts at that time. The Air Conditioner will be able to run for some time before it stops.

Solar Power Air Conditioners are possible appliances that you can add to your Solar power system as long as you size the number of watts on your panels, diverter along with the amount amps you’ll need on your batteries. Check for Volts Amps or Watts of your air conditioner like you would any device you going to run and then calculate how many hours per/day you will run the device. If the Watts is not listed on the electrical device then you can easily calculate it by multiply the Amps x Volts and that will get you the Watts. 

Most Appliances or devices don’t run 24 hours a day. They may only run 1 hour or maybe 12 hours per/day. The Air Conditioner may be rated at 1200 Watts and will say it runs for 3 hours per/day. You can get the load from the Battery. 1200 x 3.0= 3600 Watts. Most Campers that use Solar Power efficiently might run the air conditioner a few hours per day to cool things down.

Adding up all the devices in RV or Camper seems to be overkill. On the other hand, If you need to run other devices along with the Air Conditioner that pulls a large amount of load from the system, it needs to be done. It will give you an exact idea of what you are going to need. Inverters will be very important when it comes to the initial surge that is needed to accommodate whatever size Air Conditioners unit you have. With the right equipment, it can be done. Buy the right stuff.

In case there’s a problem then do what most RVers do. Use a Generator and always keep it around as a failsafe for spare energy that will come in handy and easily push an Eco mode-low surge Air conditioner that you’ll need and charge your battery bank if you need it. It’s a great tool to have around.

Always have one around if you are Boondocking or off-grid. We have Honda EU1000i Inverter Generator, Super Quiet, Eco-Throttle, 1000 Watts/8.3 Amps @ 120v (Red) that comes highly recommended by many Off-Grid Solar System operators, Preppers, and owners of cabins, and in a pinch, the Honda EU is highly dependable.

According to Professional Installers and Engineers, if you want Solar Power Air Conditioner on your Camper or RV,  you can do it. You CAN power an Air Conditioner off of Solar Power. It takes a minimum of around 1000 watt system which is a more realistic amount, but it can be done. It’s also very helpful if you buy this a low-draw, low start-up, Energy Star rated, 5000 BTU AC  that contains the low surge starts with an ECO capability that uses fewer watts of power.



Choosing the right Inverter for your RV Solar system depends on accurately calculating your electrical loads and usage patterns. The size of the inverter you need is based on your ‘peak load’ requirements – all the AC loads that could be turned on simultaneously. If you have a device that has a pump or a compressor like an Air Conditioner with an initial surge that demanding then you need the Inverter that can handle that requirement.

For example, if you will be using the 1500 watt microwave, while also running 100 watts of lighting and running a refrigerator that will draw 500 watts of power, you will need an inverter that can handle at least 2100 watts (1500 + 100 + 500). Once you have identified a minimum wattage, you will select a style that has the same nominal voltage as your battery bank (12, 24, or 48 VDC).

The most common type of motorhome, RV or Camper Inverter is called a Sine Wave also called a true sine or pure sine inverter. The best RV inverters use this modern technology because it is the strongest and most advanced design.

This Inverter through Amazon will handle peak surges and also an inverter/charger Meaning you can use shore power to charge your lithium battery bank with this device. AMPINVT 3000W Peak 9000W Pure Sine Wave Power Inverter DC 12V to AC 110V Output Converter with Battery AC Charger 60A max Adjustable, Off-Grid Low-Frequency Solar Inverter for Camping RV

If you are new to Solar Power check out an earlier article I wrote on it explains how adding a generator when you need a little more power or your Solar System is failing for whatever reason called How Much Solar Power Do I Need For My RV

Happy Trails!


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JimGalloway   Author/Editor





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