Haier Announces Solar AC For India Soon. 3 Reasons Why It Might Face A Tough Market

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Haier Announces Solar AC For India Soon. 3 Reasons Why It Might Face A Tough Market

It what will surely rank as one of rarest marketing moves, a product that is already established in neighbouring Pakistan is set to be launched in India as well. Yes, a Solar AC from Haier could be coming to India this summer, as the Chinese firm looks to grab a share of the fast growing cooling market in India.

As readers might be aware, cooling, and the energy demands linked to it, is estimated to account for almost 40% of incremental energy demand in India over the next two decades. That has made the need to make it more efficient, and possibly cheaper for India’s vast market a critical issue, and a matter of survival even in many parts of the country, going by some estimates. Which is where Haier’s Solar Ac makes its case.

So What is a solar AC?  Quite simply, it’s an AC that comes with its own set of solar panels, linked directly to the AC’s power system. Like regular ACs, it also comes with an indoor unit and an outdoor unit. The Airconditioner  alternates between AC power from the grid, and the DC power generated by the panels, making this a clear differentiator with hybrid power supply, versus reguklar ACs that run on Alternate Current power.  In the evenings or when the sun does not shine, it simply switches to the grid. In the daytime, in case power generation from solar is not enough, it can still use whatever is generated in combination with the grid power. Some solar acs have been built with batteries that store energy generated by the panels in case the AC is not in use, for later use. Sounds good? But there are serious challenges that Haier will have to contend with.

  1. Price: Yes, the cost savings will make up for the higher price of the panels to an extent. But in all probability, after taking into account the cost of panels, and you are likely to need at least 4 with a rated output of 540W or higher to achieve at least 2000 Watts plus, the final cost should be closer to Rs 1.25 lacs or higher. That high upfront cost for a completely new product in the market could be a serious hindrance, especially in the residential sector.
  2. Dedicated panels for AC: While the idea sounds good initially, think about it. What about days when the AC is not being used. Even if the added cost of a battery is risked, it will still mean underutilisation in say, winters. Users will probably be better off going for a regular solar plant, especially now that the PM Surya Ghar Mift Bijli Yojana has incentivised it so much with higher subsidies. A regular solar system for the whole house may or may not meet all your power needs, but it will certainly ensure you get full value for your system, and money.
  3. No major brands yet in the market. While some small startups in India have built and are pushing solar ACs, none of the established players other than Haier have announced any such plans. That will make selling an even more higher cost proposition, with high investment demands, that may not deliver the kind of returns Haier expects.


While the case is much stronger to use these ACs in off grid or where distributed solar energy is the most viable option, high costs will mean that it might need government support to make it. That will quite simply, take  time, especially if the only large seller is from China. However, Indian startups like IIT Kanpur incubated Moseta India Private Limited have been working to build local versions, and selling those as well for some time now, so one can always hope for forward progress.

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Tony Cheu

Tony is a BSc who has shifted from a career in finance to journalism recently. Passionate about the energy transition, he is particularly keen on the moves being made in the OECD countries to contribute to the energy transition.