What Is a Solar Air Compressor and How Does it Work?

What Is a Solar Air Compressor and How Does it Work?

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With the advent of solar power, many different types of devices and products can suddenly be powered using the sun. What once took batteries or an external power source can now be powered directly through solar panels or solar-powered products. In recent years, companies have begun to develop solar powered air compressors, which allow you the standard utility of an air compressor but with the ability to rely only upon the sun for power.

In this article we’ll review the advances in solar powered air compressors and demonstrate some of the different options you can explore.

What is an air compressor?

Before I dive in, let’s review what an air compressor is, how it works, and its use cases. At their core, air compressors create energy by forcing air under pressure. This potential energy can then be stored and used to power devices or to fill air up into items. That means they can just as easily power a motor as they can spray air out. This makes them extremely powerful and useful as power generation and dispersal tools. 

There are a wide variety of use cases for air compressors, which range from construction to agriculture to HVAC to many others. Air compressors are generally regarded as more versatile and durable than many other machines. This has made them a staple of many industries and a stalwart of construction job sites in particular. 

How does a solar air compressor work?

So, why bother with a solar powered air compressor? Well, unlike a standard air compressor, which relies on a gas motor to power it, a solar air compressors’ power source are solar panels, which use sunlight as their power source. Thus, they are more environmentally-friendly by reducing emissions. Most solar compressors achieve this by connecting the compression apparatus with a solar panel power source. 

Solar air compressors are obviously best suited for use in environments with ample sunlight, like oil wells, farms, or other outdoor spaces. You can find many examples of folks on YouTube using them to power devices completely off the grid, no electric company needed! In particular, folks in rural areas benefit from solar compressors because they can have a dependable source of power. 

Where can I get a solar air compressor?

At this point, you might be interested in getting a solar powered air compressor! Well, while you do have a few options, unfortunately there are not too many on the market. That said, you have two primary options

Axiom Safety

Axiom Safety has been around since 2003 and is a leading manufacturer of industrial products out of Houston, Texas. Axiom has two different models of solar powered air compressor for you to choose from: a Single Solar Compressor or a Dual Solar Air Compressor. 

The Axiom Dual Solar Compressor
The Axiom Dual Solar Compressor

Credit: Axiom Safety, “SOLAR POWERED AIR COMPRESSORS,” https://axiomsafety.com/solar-powered-air-compressors/

There are a few core differences / enhancements that the Dual Solar Air Compressor has over the Single Solar Compressor:

  1. Better battery life: the Dual Solar Compressor claims to last up to 15 days without additional sunlight
  2. Expandable: you can add additional modules if you desire
  3. Air Receiver: boasts twin 9-gallon air receivers as opposed to just one

Deciding which unit is a better fit will depend upon your needs, but if battery life and expandability are key for you, I’d recommend checking out the Dual Solar model.

Trido Solutions

Another option you have comes from Trido Solutions, who are based in Colorado and who focus on sustainable technology. Their solar air compressor is designed for use around well sites. In particular, it is geared towards folks who want to reduce emissions on their well site and thus be powered by solar. 

"Trido

Credit: Trido Solutions, “Solar Air Compressor,” https://www.tridosolutions.com/solar-air-compressor

They suggest that you can benefit from faster well restart times and cleaner air supply. Also, like the Axiom module, they both have Modbus monitoring capabilities. Their model does have a lower max PSI of 90 against Axiom’s 100 PSI. 

Conclusion

A solar air compressor can be a great choice for folks who are concerned about their emissions, or who do not have consistent access to a defined power source. I will say, it is a pretty amazing thing to be able to harness the suns power to run such a versatile tool in the air compressor! Whether you opt for one of the models above or go for a standard air compressor, I hope this has been helpful!

FAQ

How many solar panels do I need to power a solar air compressor? 

Generally, you will need 1-2 solar panels to power a solar air compressor. That said, this need could vary depending upon your overall use case or power needs – the horsepower needed for a small inflation job will be completely different from that of an oil well or construction site. 

Are solar air compressors better than gas or electric air compressors?

It is undeniable that solar compressors produce less (no) emissions compared to their standard counterparts. Additionally, if you want to live off-the-grid or don’t have access to a consistent power supply, they can be a perfect fit. That said, that doesn’t mean they will always be the right choice for folks. If you have uniquely high power needs, work indoors, or are not concerned with environmental impact, you will have more buying options for standard air compressors than solar ones. 

How much does a solar air compressor cost?

Solar compressors can vary widely in cost depending upon your needs. This includes the power level desired and manufacturer. Generally you can expect a solar air compressor to start at the minimum in the low hundreds of dollars, and for industrial ones you can quickly get into the thousands of dollars.  

What is a solar compressor?

A solar air compressor is a solar-powered device which you can use to fill items with air or power a motor. It relies on the sun for its power and thus does not produce any emissions, making it a more environmental option. 

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