Solar Fans
Written by Brian B

Everything You Need To Know About Solar Fans

A solar fan or solar attic fan is an overhead fan designed to help circulate attic air. These fans are powered solely by the sun, making them a valuable investment for either residential or commercial properties. The year-round circulation these fans provide is extremely beneficial, especially in a warmer climate like Arizona. 

This post will cover everything you need to know about solar fans, including the following:

  • How a solar attic fan works
  • Popular types of fans
  • Advantages
  • Disadvantages
  • Installation 
  • Costs

How Does A Solar Attic Fan Work?

How exactly does a solar fan work to circulate your attic’s air? These fans work by efficiently pulling in cold air from the soffits. Then, the fans will push any hot air found below the fan outwards. Essentially, this motion mimics the way hot air moves naturally. Warm air always stays on top, while the cold air rests at the bottom. Attic fans are there to aid the movement and circulation of air within your home or commercial property.

Solar fans will provide a constant and efficient air flow daily throughout the attic. Stale, warm air will be vented outwards to give the area more cool air. Experts refer to this process as the “air exchange.” It may seem normal for your attic to be the warmest area of your home, but the experts say this room should never be 10-25 degrees above the outside temperature. A properly ventilated attic will undoubtedly reduce your energy costs.

Warm air will rise from the inside of the home during the colder seasons. This air will eventually collide with cooler air near the roof. Solar fans are there to prevent air from simply condensing on the surface, keeping the attic area dry. This is usually not a concern in a place like Arizona. 

Types Of Solar Fans

These are three popular types of solar fans, used in both commercial and residential properties:

  • 10-Watt Solar Attic Fan
  • 20-Watt Solar Attic Fan
  • 30-Watt Solar Attic Fan

Read about the advantages of each model below.

10-Watt Solar Attic Fan

A 10-watt solar attic fan may not be as powerful as other models, but it is certainly worth the investment as a homeowner. This model features 800 CFM (cubic feet per minute) and can efficiently remove heat and moisture from the air. The 10-watt will protect your home’s roof by reducing any premature aging of shingles. A solar attic fan will reduce attic temperatures, which will preserve the life of the room and your roof. Without a solar attic fan, your home’s air conditioning system will have to work even harder. This will cause your bills to increase wildly, especially in the Arizona summers.

  • Average Price: $200-$500+, according to Homeadvisor.

20-Watt Elite Master Solar Attic Fan

The 20-watt version, available through Elite Solar Systems, comes with an adjustable solar panel up to 1,400 CFM / 2,000 square feet. These fans are designed for homes of less than 2,000 square feet. In that size home, you can count on the fan to exchange air every 11 minutes or approximately 5.5 times per hour. These attic fans also work great for any garage ventilation needs!

  • Average Price: $200-$500+

30-Watt Elite Master Solar Attic Fan

This large solar attic fan features an adjustable solar panel up to 1,700 CFM / 2,500 sq. ft. It is the recommended size fan for a home of 2,500 sq. ft. or less. The larger fan means it is capable of working harder, especially during the hotter months. These fans can exchange air every 14 minutes or about 4.5 per hour. Save on heating and cooling costs by choosing to install solar attic fans today!

  • Average Price: $200-$500+

Solar Attic Fan Pros

Here are the advantages of having solar attic fans:

  1. Run on solar energy
  2. Cools down attic area
  3. Less expensive than full ventilation systems

Run On Solar Energy

Because these fans are powered by the sun, they are considerably cheaper than most conventional fans. This means you will need no extra electricity from your home or business to power up these fans. Saving on electricity costs and helping the environment are just two reasons why solar attic fans are rising in popularity. 

Cools Down Attic Area

Another pro in the solar attic fan checklist is the fact that these will cool down your attic area, considerably. Cooling down the attic will then translate to keeping the entire home cool. The more hot air that is kept out of the attic – the more hot air that is kept out of the home in general. Solar attic fans are also known for keeping the attic space clear of any harmful dust or dirt. Keeping your home’s temperature low will help you save money on future cooling costs.

Less Expensive Than Full Ventilation Systems

Solar attic fans are typically less expensive and easier to install than full ventilation systems. These solar attic fans require less time and a much less invasive installation process.

Solar Attic Fan Cons

  1. More expensive than motor powered attic fans
  2. Not as powerful as motor powered attic fans
  3. Need sun to operate effectively 

More Expensive Than Motor Powered Attic Fans

Since solar attic fans are newer and use more technology to blow hot air out of the attic area, they come with a larger price tag. They are also more expensive to install than a typical motor powered fan. The energy savings with these models will far outweigh the high installations costs over time, though. 

Not As Powerful As Motor Powered Attic Fans

Motor powered fans are more powerful than solar versions because they use electricity. Although, using electricity will cost more to operate than relying on the sun. So, even if motor powered fans push out more air, the additional costs do not make this a worthwhile investment. 

Need Sun To Operate Effectively 

This is essentially the only risky part of owning and operating a solar attic fan. If you live in an area with little sunlight, your fan will not operate effectively. Other areas, such as Phoenix, Arizona, provide a perfect amount of sunlight for these fans to utilize. 

How Much Does Solar Attic Fan Installation Cost?

On average, solar attic fan installation costs $675, with prices ranging from $575-$775. Wall mounted solar attic fans will cost about $650 for installation. The price range with those fans runs from $550-$770. Gable mounted fans, meanwhile, cost an average of $245 for installation.

Solar Attic Fan Installation In Arizona


Elite Home Daylighting Systems offers tubular skylights and solar attic fan installation services to the entire Phoenix east valley. Service area includes Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, Tempe & more! Contact us for a free quote today!


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