Every year, more people are turning to solar energy to power their homes either because they want to reduce large power bills or because they want to lead a more sustainable lifestyle. As you begin to learn about solar energy, you’ll see that 100-watt panels are one of the most popular in the market, especially among newbies or people who can’t afford larger residential panels.
It is easy to understand their popularity: they’re conveniently sized, come at affordable prices, and are portable (which also makes them perfect for camping or other outdoor activities.) But besides thinking about all the advantages, there’s one question that you’ll want to address first: what will a 100-watt solar panel run?
Since 100-watt solar panels are small, they store enough energy to power appliances that don’t consume much electricity, like laptops or wifi routers. However, how much and for how long your panel will run different devices depends on several factors.
After reading this post, you will have all the information to understand how panels work and how much power a 100-watt solar panel produces. You’ll also learn how to calculate the energy consumption of your appliances to determine how many panels you’ll need to run them.
How Much Power Does a 100w Solar Panel Produce?
The maximum energy this panel produces is 100 watts (1 kilowatt-hours/day). However, how much a 100-watt solar panel can power will depend on two main factors: if the solar panel is placed at the correct tilt angle and direction and receives peak sun.
How much sunlight (irradiance) your solar panel receives is crucial since it determines the amount of power the panel will produce. The amount of sunlight that solar panels receive vary according to locations and weather conditions. As a general rule, most locations don’t get optimal sunshine conditions all the time. Also, for most of the day, the sun isn’t shining at its maximum value. On average, your panel gets around 7 hours of daylight a day, and of that average, only 4 or 5 (during noon) are peak sun hours.
This means that when your solar panel doesn’t get peak sunshine, it produces less than 100 watts. To check how many peak sun hours you get, you can see how much sunlight each state receives and calculate the amount of power your solar panel will produce depending on where you live.
Calculating How Much Power You Need
To calculate how much power you need, first, you have to calculate how many kilowatts per hour your appliances require. Then, you have to compare that to the amount of power your 100-watt solar panel produces. (Further reading: What can a 300-watt solar panel power?)
You have two ways to figure out how much power your appliances need. You can check the power bill to see how much energy your appliance consumes each month and then divide that amount by the days of the month to see the daily consumption. If you do not have the bill handy, you can multiply the power rating (watts) of the appliance by the amount of time (hrs) you use it and divide by 1000 to calculate its kWh.
As we said before, a 100-watt panel receiving optimal sunlight will produce almost 1 kilowatt-hour per day or 30 kWh per month.
So now, you need to compare the output per day or month of the solar panel with your appliance’s energy needs. For example, a laptop uses an estimated 0.06 kWh per day or 1.8 kWh per month. Divide the laptop’s monthly electricity usage, 1.8 kWh, by 30 kWh, and you get 0.06 kWh. To run your laptop, you will need one 100-watt solar panel.
What Can a 100 Watt Solar Panel Run?
One of the questions that always pops in the mind of anyone interested in buying a 100-watt solar panel is: what can a 100-watt solar panel power?
Due to its small size, a 100-watt solar panel will work best to supply power to small appliances.
What will run on a 100-watt solar panel:
- Laptops, notebook, or netbook
- Ceiling fan
- Certain lamps and lighting
- WiFi Router
- Smartphone charging
- Game console
- LCD/LED display or TV Screen
- DVR player
- Alarm clock radio
- Cordless phone
- Incandescent light bulb
- Charging power tools
- LED light bulbs
How Many 100 Watt Solar Panels Do You Need?
At this point, you’ll notice that 100-watt solar panels do not produce enough power to run larger appliances, or at least not in a convenient way since you would need more than one to run them normally on a day-to-day basis.
The average refrigerator uses about 6.44 kWh per day and you already know that a 100-watt solar panel will produce 1 kWh per day. If you divide the fridge’s 6.44 kWh by 1 kWh per day, you get 6.44 kWh, which means you’ll need seven 100-watt solar panels to power the refrigerator.
Most Central AC units use 3500 watts of power for an average of 8 hours a day during the hotter months. Per day, this appliance has usage of around 28 kWh. Considering the panel’s output, you will need twenty-eight 100w solar panels to keep your Central AC unit running.
To power a water heater, you will need many solar panels as well. Typically, a water heater consumes around 4000 watts and runs for 3 hours a day, so it needs 12 kWh. If you use a 100-watts solar panel, you will need at least twelve panels to power this appliance.
Other Considerations with 100 Watt Solar Panels
If you want to buy your first solar panel, there are two options: you can buy a 100-watt solar module alone or get the complete kit, including brackets, a charger, the module, and cables. Depending on your needs and budget, there are many types of brands and prices from which you can choose.
Another thing you should consider if you get a 100-watt panel is purchasing a battery, too. Unlike big solar panels, the 100-watt ones can not store extra energy, so the energy you don’t use is wasted. The batteries will allow you to capture the excess solar energy and use it at night or on cloudy days. Like the panels, there are many types of batteries in the market. The two most common are lead-acid batteries and lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries. Both can store energy effectively, but the lithium-ion battery technology is superior to lead-acid due to its reliability and efficiency. (Read More: What Size Solar Panel Do I Need to Charge a 100ah Battery?)
100-watt panels are a great option if you’re just getting started and want to get acquainted with how solar energy works. These panels also work wonders for campers and people who want to reduce their daily energy consumption since panels allow them to power up smaller devices.
However, they are not really worth it if you want to power up larger appliances or if you plan to run your whole house on solar power. Although you can power larger devices and your home with 100-watt solar panels, it is not financially convenient since both scenarios demand such high amounts of energy. So, before purchasing one, keep in mind what will run a 100-watt solar panel run and what won’t to make the right decision. After all, solar systems are supposed to reduce costs, not increase them.