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Solar panels are more efficient in sunny regions, but even in places that receives less sunlight, there are hot days when electricity consumption peaks because of air conditioning.

More sun = warmer day

So I am wondering, is there a rough formula, possibly latitude invariant, that can tell you how many square meters of solar panels do you need to power air conditioning for given venue area?

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    efficient is not the issue--they are less productive, or have a lower capacity factor. Another concern is direction of solar panels, and shading, which depends on locality. – LShaver May 22 '17 at 15:12
  • You'll get plenty of relevant hits if you Google for "Photovoltaic watts per square meter." – Solomon Slow Jun 25 '17 at 18:44
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The two main things that need to be considered are the power requirements of the air conditioner (in kW) and the power that each type of solar panel can provide.

From that you can determine how many solar panels are required to operate a given air conditioner. The number of panels multiplied by the area of each panel will give the area required for that particular type of solar panel to supply the air conditioner being considered.

The tricky part is deciding on whether you want the solar panels to provide all the electricity required to operate the air conditioner and if so how to account for the variable amount of electricity generated because of varying sun conditions.

If you only consider the power output during sunny periods you risk not having enough power to operate the air conditioner when it is hot and cloudy. If you design using the power output for totally overcast conditions you then risk having an over supply of electricity during totally sunny periods and you then need to consider what to do with the excess electricity. If you have battery storage you can choose a midway point and even out electricity supply and demand that way.

  • This covers all the major points but it would be useful to give some numbers. I think it's also useful to point out that the solar PV output will be greatest at midday, while AC demand is highest from 5-6pm, when people arrive home from work. Using a thermostat on a timer can solve this problem. – LShaver May 22 '17 at 15:14

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