Solar air conditioners are a recent innovation that can save you a significant amount of money. They're powered by the sun instead of your home's electricity, which allows you to eliminate a large portion of your energy bill. In addition, they're also easier to install when compared to a whole-home solar power system. To find out more about how they work and how they compare to normal air conditioners, read on.

How Do Solar Air Conditioners Work?

Solar air conditioners operate in exactly the same way as normal air conditioners. When you purchase a solar air conditioner, however, you'll also receive solar panels to place on your roof. These panels are sized to provide the exact amount of electricity needed to fully power your air conditioner during the day.

However, solar panels only generate direct current (DC) electricity. The vast majority of appliances (including most solar air conditioners) run on alternating current (AC) electricity. In order to solve this problem, these solar air conditioners contain an inverter that converts DC electricity to AC electricity, which in turn powers the air conditioner. These air conditioners can run on your home's electricity when the sun isn't out since your home's electricity is also AC.

Other solar air conditioners run on DC electricity. These are less expensive than ones that run on AC electricity since there's no need to include an inverter with the air conditioning unit — inverters tend to be quite pricey. However, they're unable to run using your home's power. If the sun isn't out, then you won't have any cooling for your home. This can be a major inconvenience if you live in an area where temperatures are still high during the night. If this applies to you, you'd be better served by an AC-powered solar air conditioner despite the added expense.

How Do Solar Air Conditioners Compare to Regular Ones?

The major benefit of having a solar air conditioner is that it's a simple way to massively reduce your home's energy usage. The solar panels are connected to the air conditioner, so you don't need to go through the trouble of upgrading your electrical panel and installing whole-home solar power in order to use the sun as your air conditioner's power source. Installation costs are much lower for installing a solar air conditioner compared to installing enough solar panels to power your entire home.

The main disadvantage of solar air conditioning is its upfront cost. Solar air conditioners are considerably more expensive than regular air conditioners since the price of the solar panels is included in the purchase price. However, you're typically able to recoup the upfront purchase cost in a few years — cooling is the largest source of energy usage in the average home, so the savings quickly add up.

Overall, solar air conditioners are a relatively recent entry to the market that provide a simple way for homeowners to save a substantial amount of money on their cooling costs. Like other air conditioners, they need to be installed by an HVAC contractor. If you're interested in using energy from the sun to cool your home or want to learn more about other air conditioning systems, contact a residential air conditioning contractor in your area.