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- Introduction – 200 watt solar panel volts, amps and watt-hours
- 200 watt solar panel how many amps?
- What Size Charge Controller For 200W Solar Panel?
- 200 watt solar panel specifications
- How much power does a 200 watt solar panel produce?
- What is the size of a 200 watt solar panel?
- How much does a 200 watt solar panel cost?
- What can a 200 watt solar panel power?
- Can a 200 watt solar panel run a refrigerator?
Introduction – 200 watt solar panel volts, amps and watt-hours
Before I begin investigating what a 200 watt solar panel will run I’m going to take some time to explain how much energy in watt-hours it represents and what are the optimum conditions for delivering it.
I’ll be talking in terms of energy in watt-hours a 200 watt solar panel can produce, instead of the power in watts at an instant in time. Energy in watt-hours is useful for matching battery output to various loads.
200 watt solar panel how many amps?
The maximum amps for a 200 watt solar panel is termed Imp (Current Maximum Power) and is given on the manufacturer’s specification sheet. The average current value is 8 amps DC for a 200 watt solar panel with Vmp of 25 volts.
The best way to see how many amps a 200 watt solar panel produces is to take it from the specification sheet, rather than trying to measure it in live conditions. An average value is about 8 amps DC.
When converting it to AC current, we have to subtract inverter losses of about 10%, if we assume the solar panel is generating full power.
If Vmp for a 200 watt panel is 25 volts, when supplying an AC load in the US we have to reduce the DC amps by the ratio between the DC/AC volts. A basic equation would be:
AC amps = DC amps x 25/120 = 8 x o.208 = 1.66 amps AC
Note that inverter efficiency depends on the load and I’ll assume it’s 90% if fully loaded. However, that would mean using a 200 watt inverter, which you would never do – still we’ll go with it for simplicity.
Inverters are always oversized to make sure they can deal the extra power requirements or surges.
Final maximum AC load current = 1.66 – (1.66*10/100) = 1.49 amps AC
Before I work out how much energy in kWh a 200 watt solar panel can deliver, I’ll review some basic specifications of some solar panels on the market.
What Size Charge Controller For 200W Solar Panel?
Let’s assume that the charge controller is charging a 12 volt battery and has a maximum current Imp of about 10 amps (see table in the next section for various 200 watt panels specs).
From the table you can see that possible output currents vary, according to the number of cells and hence Voc and Vmp. In the case of the highest current, Vmp is 36 volts.
A PWM solar charge controller will only use the maximum current that the panel can deliver, which is 10 amps.
However, an MPPT controller operates in a different way. It looks at the overall power of the solar panels and can swap extra volts for amps.
It does this by matching its internal impedance to that of the panel to track the Maximum Power Point (MPP).
This means that if a 12 volt battery is charging at 14.4 volts, then possible current is:
200 watts (solar panel rating)/14.4 volts = 13.8 amps
This is why MPPT charge controller are more efficient – they deliver between 35% and 40% more charging curent to the battery.
In either case, a 20 amps charge controller of any type would be sufficient. However, it’s always prudent to oversize controllers, just in case the system is expanded in the future. (I would use a 30A controller.)
200 watt solar panel specifications
The most useful solar panel electrical specifications are as follows:
- Open circuit voltage (Voc) – this can be verified using a multi-meter across the panel leads
- Short-circuit current (Isc) – measured by connecting a multi-meter inline with shorted leads
- Maximum power voltage (Vmp) – this is the voltage at which maximum power is produced
- Maximum power current (Imp) – this is the current that flows when maximum power is produced
Vmp and Imp are at their peak values when the panel Maximum Power Point (MPP) is reached. This is is the panel’s rated watts at STC (Standard Test Conditions).
Table – 200 watts solar panel specifications compared
# of cells
Vmp (volts max power)
Price guide ($)
60 + shipping + import tax
46 + shipping + import tax
Power at MPP
kWh/day at 4 peak-sun-hours
kWh/yr 4 peak-sun-hours
Video – How many amps does a 200w solar panel produce?
How much power does a 200 watt solar panel produce?
For an average irradiance value of 4kWh/m2 a 200 watt solar panel can generate 0.8 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy each day, or 292kWh per annum. The precise amount depends upon irradiance by location. If powering AC appliances, subtract 10% to account for inverter losses, which in turn depends on inverter loading.
Maximum Power Point (MPP) is a term that should be explained as it’s very important in terms of solar power production. The MPP is reached is when volts and current are at the right values for generating maximum power:
Power generated in watts = volts x amps
This happens when:
- the irradiance is high enough (how much of the sun’s energy falls ion the panel surface)
- the load internal resistance matches the panel’s characteristic resistance
How does solar irradiance affect solar panel power output?
Solar panel output depends upon the level of irradiance and changes throughout the day. It’s at a maximum in the four or five hours around mid-day and production is very low in early morning and evening.
This is solar professionals use the average hours of irradiance in a day and use this number to work out the average watts a panel generates over time.
The value is different according to geographic location and can be found in historical databases on websites like Global Solar Atlas.
The image below shows the irradiance level in kWh/m2/day for the city of Houston, Texas.
Also known as ‘peak-sun-hours’, this value can be used to calculate solar panel power output per day or year.
Solar panel characteristic resistance (internal resistance)
Every electrical device has internal resistance that can be measured and for solar panels it’s known as its Characteristic Resistance.
Maximum power is generated when the resistance of the attached load matches the internal resistance of the panel, which obviously doesn’t happen in the normal course of things.
There are controllers that automatically adjust their own internal resistance to simulate optimum power conditions. They are termed MPPT chargers or MPPT inverters.
How much will a 200 watt solar panel produce?
In terms of kilowatt-hours, the power generated can be found in this way:
Solar panel rating x peak-sun-hours/day = watt-hours (hW)/day
Using Houston as an example, a 200 watt solar panel can produce:
200 watts x 4.254 = 0.85kWh/day = 310.5kWh/year
What is the size of a 200 watt solar panel?
The physical dimensions of a 200 watt solar panel depends upon the size and number of solar cells it’s made of, and how efficient the cells are.
An average size is 1640mm x 992mm and the panel thickness varies according to the thickness of the EPA and covers used by different manufacturers.
The solar cells are a standard throughout the industry but the layers of EVA plastic, panel backing material and the glass cover thickness can vary.
Average thickness is between 35mm (1.38”) and 40mm (1.58”) thick, and an average weight is 11kg to 12kg.
How much does a 200 watt solar panel cost?
As a general rule, quality often determines price and the country of manufacture is another factor.
Renogy is based in USA and their 200 watt panel is considered great value at $300. (Disclosure: I’m an affiliate.)
Many Chinese manufacturers are producing very good quality 200 watt solar panels at well under $o.3 per watt. Shipping and import taxes have to be accounted for and it may or may not be a good deal, but it’s your choice.
You definitely get what you pay for and using an unknown supplier is a bit of a gamble. I have purchased panels from the EU and also from China and I have to say the experience wasn’t that good.
However, I have purchased lithium iron phosphate batteries from a big supplier on Alibaba and the quality/price is top-notch.
The price of solar panels per watt has been moving down fast for the last decade to domestic prices of about $0.85/watt.
When you take shipping and taxes into account, there’s hardly any need to shop elsewhere than in your home country, particularly considering you may need product support.
Conclusion: There are some great bargains to be had in the solar marketplace, but buyer beware!
What can a 200 watt solar panel power?
Can a 200 watt solar panel run a refrigerator?
300 watts is probably the minimum size needed to run a small to medium fridge, in combination with a 120Ah lithium iron phosphate battery and a 500 watt pure sine-wave inverter.
Work it out like this: a 200 watt panel typically generates around 292kWh/year and an efficient (read ‘new’) small fridge can use between 2ookWh to 300kWh/year.
It seems possible to power a mini fridge with a 200 watt solar panel, assuming it consumes about 250kWh/yr fridge – but will it?
A refrigerator operates over 24 hours, but solar panels only produce power when the sun shines. This means you need a battery to supply night-time energy equivalent to 50% of the energy required i.e. 125kWh.
During daylight hours the 200 watt solar panel has to provide 125kWh throughout the year to power the fridge and another 125kWh to recharge up the battery ready for night-time operation.
It might be OK, but it will be close – what about those cloudy days …
Can you use solar panels without batteries?
You can use solar panels without batteries, and actually this is how grid-tie solar systems work. The solar panels directs power to the utility grid when there is over-production.
If you want to use a solar panel directly to power an appliance, I wouldn’t recommend it. If clouds passe over and block the sunshine then output will fall substantially.
Fridges, like heat pumps, freezers and air conditioning units, cycle on and off, which causes particular problems for a solar supply.
When starting up, a fridge can use up to 3 times more watts than when running at a constant load. This extra load could be more than the solar panel can provide.
This is why energy storage or some kind of a battery is required to supply the extra power required by compressor motors running, stopping and re-starting.
How many 200 watt solar panels needed to run a house?
The average US household has an energy consumption of 11,000kWh/year.
A 200 watt solar panel can produce 292kWh/year with average irradiance, but solar system losses also need to be subtracted. These can be as much as 23%.
# of 200 solar panels = annual home energy use/solar system production-10% losses
One panel can produce: 292kWh*23% = 292-67 = 225kWh
Number of 200 watt solar panels to power a home = 11000kWh/225kWh = 48 panels
Note: Use the irradiance value at your location to calculate a more accurate number.)
RENOGY are fast becoming the preferred source for solar panels, kits, batteries and solar control accessories. Based in the US, where the products are manufactured, they are widely known and respected for innovation and quality.