There are many differing factors that can determine the actual amount of solar panels that are required in order to power an average air conditioning unit. These factors range from sunlight, type of solar panel, and the average energy efficiency ratio when converting energy from solar sun light to electricity.
Assuming that an average is produced from the effectiveness of the solar panel and is transmitted into a battery that is capable of providing self reliant energy storage directly to the air conditioning unit, it is extremely possible to power the air conditioning unit with as few as 8 solar panels. This exact number can vary however, and under some circumstances could require three times as many solar panels depending on efficiency, performance, and energy storage capacity.
Assuming that the air conditioning unit requires 1500 waats of power, a collection of 6 solar panels at 250 waats capacity could in theory power the air conditioning unit, but a lot of individual factors can throw this number in either direction. The region that you live in and amount of sun light also plays a major factor into how efficient your solar energy storage will be, which can change the amount of required solar panels that are required to power an air conditioned.
Solar panels are optimized to face in the southward direction in the Northern Hemisphere so that the maximum amount of sun light can be retrieved for energy conversion.
Additional Factors to Consider
The location in which the solar panels are mounted can also have an impact on the efficiency of the solar energy that is being retrieved and converted to electricity. If the solar panels are stored on a southward facing rooftop, the potential for optimal solar energy conversion is high, requiring less solar panels than if the panels were mounted on a wall, or rooftop facing a different direction.
Some solar farms are actually better mounted on large open pastures and fields, mainly because the solar panels are easier to maintain and the angles can be adjusted with ease for the optimal seasons of the year as the sun transitions through the sky
From an overall perspective, powering an air conditioning unit with solar panels can be a smart idea in order to save long term money funding an air conditioning unity. There will be a significant up-front cost, but with the right thought process, a solar energy plan can be established in order to pay as little as possible to power your everyday household products like air conditioners.