What Can A 100-Watt Solar Panel Run?

A 100 watt solar panel can run what?

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100 watt solar panel can run what appliances?

What will a 100 watt solar panel run?

While some homes or businesses can afford a large-scale solar installation, homeowners and business owners on a low budget would love to consider a smaller scale solar installation. Installing a small-scale solar panel leads to an obvious question, “What Will A 100-Watt Solar Panel Run?”

A 100 solar panel can run:

  • Smart Phone Recharge
  • Tablet Recharge
  • LED Light bulb
  • DVD Player
  • Satellite Dish
  • Cable Box
  • Ceiling Fan
  • Laptop
  • TV – LCD
  • LCD Monitor
  • Modem

A 100 solar panel can not run a refrigerator, AC unit or a heater. A battery is recommended to maintain the supply.

Can a 100 watt solar panel run a air conditioner?

In general, a 100 watt solar cannot run an air conditioner continuously. A home AC unit has an average running watts of 350 to 500 watts over a 24 hour period. Motor surge power can be up to 2500 watts as the compressor starts up.

This article looks at the various factors that contribute to what you can run with a 100-watt panel and discusses other related topics, such as the output of a 100 solar panel in amps and the right size inverter for a 100-watt solar panel.

This post may contain affiliate links to partner solar suppliers. Namely, SolarDirect, suppliers of quality products since 1986 and Renogy, one of the newest and fastest growing companies making a name for quality with innovation

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What can 100 watts power?

Factors that determine what you can run on a 100-watt solar panel include:

  • The type and size of solar charge controller required (if required)
  • The inverter needed to convert DC to AC household power
  • How many batteries needed for individual appliances (solar panels can’t store energy)
  • The battery size
  • How much sunlight the panel gets (irradiance)
  • Tilt angle
  • Orientation (direction the panel points to)

Other Factors Affecting The Performance Of Solar Panels

Location and Weather:

  • Where You live – Where you reside determines to a large extent the output power of your 100 watt solar panel. This is because your weather determines the amount of sunlight your solar panel receives.
  • The season of the year – This influences the amount of sunlight that your solar panel receives – it receives more sunlight during the summer than it does during the winter. Output power is directly proportional to sunshine, so you’ll be able to run more powerful appliances.
  • Energy Storage – How much battery storage you have for your solar panel is essential, as this helps store energy generated during the sunny day for when you need it, later in the night or on cloudy days.
  • Which Hemisphere? Those in the north enjoy more sunlight during the summer and less sunlight during the winter, while those in the south have more consistent energy throughout the year.

Though these factors might not seem obvious, they contribute to what a 100-watt solar panel can run, as they determine how much power your solar panel can not only generate, but how much you can store.

It’s going to be difficult to answer this question definitively, simply because there are so many variables.
However, let’s consider an example of a homeowner with a 100-watt solar panel with two batteries charged at above 50%.

How Much Power Does A 100-Watt Solar Panel Produce Per Day?

How Much Power Does A 100-Watt Solar Panel Produce Per Day?

Exactly how much can 100 watts power?

The amount of power a solar panel produces is calculated by multiplying the panel wattage rating by the hours of sunlight received per day. The power produced in a solar panel is expressed as Watt-Hours.

The homeowner will get approximately 400 to 500 watt-hours per day, based on the number of peak sun hours for his location.

If a 100-watt solar panel receives consistent high-power sunlight (peak sun hours) for 8 hours a day, the amount of power produced per day would be 100 watts x 8 = 800 watt-hours. This assumes a solar irradiance of 1000 watts/m2, which is the irradiance value used by manufacturers to rate their panels – it’s called the STC standard.(Standard Test Conditions).

GSES_PV-efficiency

In practice, such a high value of peak sun hours is very rare – it’s normally between 4 and 5 in high summer.

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What are peak sun hours?

In any location, when there is at least 1000 watts/m2 for an hour, then that is known as 1 peak sun hour. Every location as an average peak sun hour values which can be found from historical records online.

If you multiply the peak sun hours for your location by the panel watts, then the result will be the watt-hours generated per day by that panel. All locations have an average value per day averaged over the year, but it varies by month throughout the year according to the weather and the sun’s intensity.

How to find peak sun hours for your location

Use this website to find the peak sun hours for your location: Global Solar Atlas

Peak sun hours - Algarve, southern portugal

Simply find your location on the global map on the left and read the data on the right. Direct Normal Irradiation (DNI) per day in kWh/m2/day is the same as Peak Sun Hours.

For my location it is 5.654 peak sun hours per day, averaged out over the year. What’s yours? My 100 watt solar panel will supply on average 5.65 x 100 watts = 565 Wh per day.

Unfortunately, this is not the whole story, because this number changes for each month of the year as the seasons change. For my location the monthly peak sun hours look like this:

Month  - Location: Algarve, Portugal

Peak Sun Hours (kWh/m2/day)

January

2.99

February

3.28

March

4.80

April

5.79

May

5.93

June

6.69

July

6.94

August

6.74

September

5.44

October

4.14

November

2.65

December

2.35

It means that I have a possible energy output of 694 Wh in July but only 235 Wh in December. It’s pretty obvious that without battery support for energy storage there’ll be a serious shortage of power in winter.

Check out your own seasonal variation on this site: Localized Solar Irradiance Figures by Month

What can you power with a 100 watt solar panel?

Let’s go with the average for my location i.e. 565 Wh/day – what can I run with this amount of energy?

This is enough to run an LCD TV for about 3 hours, charge a laptop, and an iPhone. It isn’t enough to power the average refrigerator, even the smallest AC unit or anything with any kind of heater inside.

We know that a solar panel needs an inverter, battery and solar charger to power even the smallest AC appliances and gadgets, but are there any items we can power directly from the panel?

renogy 100 watt solar suitcaseNot exactly, but some portable folding solar panels come with a solar charge controller with 1 or 2 USB outlets for charging portable devices direct. (Dokio range, for example.) Unfortunately, the solar controllers are inefficient PWM models, so you lose a lot of energy conversion.

100 watts is a very common size for the popular folding suitcase-style solar panels. I have an 80 watt Dokio which is noted for its panel efficiency, but the Renogy 100 watts ‘Voyager’ suitcase with MPPT controller is top of the list, according to reviews.

(MPPT or Maximum Power Point Tracking solar charge controllers are up to 30% more efficient than Pulse Width Modulation or PWM. MPPT vs PWM?)

100 watt solar panel will run what?


To know what you can power with your 100-watt solar panel, here are some common devices with their wattage:

  • CB Radio: 5W
  • Smart Phone Recharge: 6W
  • Tablet Recharge: 8W
  • LED Light bulb: 10W
  • DVD Player: 15W
  • Satellite Dish: 30W
  • Cable Box: 35W
  • Ceiling Fan: 10 – 50W
  • Laptop: 25 – 100W
  • TV – LCD: 150W
  • LCD Monitor: 100W
  • Modem: 7W
  • Sewing Machine: 100W
  • Drill (1/4 inch) 250W
  • Coffee Machine 1000W
  • Fridge 400W
  • Toaster Oven 1200W

Note:  These power ratings are not true for all appliances. Check the labeling on your appliances to know the exact wattage.

They will all run or charge except the last 3 items – the drill may struggle in winter! For example, in my location my 100 watt panel will generate 235 Wh each day in December on average. At any particular time on any particular day it might be more, but it could be much, much less.

This is why it’s always recommended having energy storage in the form of batteries – you never really know when the sun is going to shine!

Appliances such as air conditioning, electric ovens and heaters are a big ‘no, no‘ for solar power in general, unless we are talking about an installation with several kilowatts of solar panels installed.

How many amps does a 100 watt solar panel produce?

How much current from 100 watt solar panel?

A 100 watt solar panel has an open circuit voltage (Voc) of about 21 volt, short circuit current (Isc) of about 9.9 amps. The point at which the power output is maximum is when the voltage is 18.5 volts and the current is about 5.4 amps – this is the maximum amps that a the panel produces. It this combination is called the Maximum Power Point (MPPT).

For a single solar panel , an MPPT controller may supply more than I max @18.5 volts, as it cleverly adjusts the current upwards as it winds the voltage down to that required by the battery on charge. In this way it’s always ensuring the solar panel is operating at its maximum efficiency.

MPPT controllers really come into their own when solar panels with higher voltages are connected, or when two or more 12 volt solar panels are connected in series to double the voltage to 24.

How Long To Charge a 12v Battery with 100 Watt Solar Panel?

A 100 watt solar panel using an MPPT charge controller could charge a fully depleted 12 volt lithium iron phosphate battery in:

  • 20 Ah capacity – 4 hours
  • 40 Ah capacity – 8 hours
  • 50 Ah capacity – 10 hours
  • 100 Ah capacity – 20 hours

assuming peak sun hours of 1000 w/m2/h.

How Many Batteries Can A 100-Watt Solar Panel Charge?

A 100-watt solar panel can charge as many batteries as you want. The only variation here is how long it takes to charge the batteries. While you can charge a fully depleted 12-volt 50 Ah LiFeP04 battery to full capacity within 10 hours with a 100-watt solar panel, charging a bigger battery takes longer and the number of hours decreases or increases depending on the size of the battery in amp-hours (Ah).

What Size Inverter Do I Need For A 100-Watt Solar Panel?

What size solar inverter for 100 watt panel?

The purpose of a solar inverter in a solar panel installation is to convert the DC (Direct Current) electricity generated by the solar panels to AC (Alternating Current) for household use. Converting DC from your solar panels to AC is important, as household appliances only run on AC.

Knowing the right size inverter for your solar panel is important to help you convert your solar DC electricity to AC efficiently.

The video below includes quite a comprehensive explanation of inverter operation. It is more than the average user needs, but if you’re curious, it’s very interesting:

 

How Are Solar Inverters Rated?

The first step to knowing the right size inverter for your solar panel is to know how inverters are rated, which are:

  • continuous watts
  • peak watts
  • input voltage rating

Continuous watts

This is the number of watts an inverter can supply continuously. An inverter rated at 200 watts continuous means it can support 200 watts as a constant load. The more the watts rating, the more the watts the system can supply without tripping out or overheating.

You would expect a 100 watt solar panel to work perfectly with a 100-watt inverter. Your inverter rating determines the power of all connected appliances you can run simultaneously. If the total watt rating for your appliances is much more than your inverter watt rating, it will trip out.

For example, while it’s ideal to mate a 120-watt inverter with your 100-watt solar panel, running appliances with a total watt rating much above this figure is not ideal.

Surge watts

Another way solar inverters are rated is in peak watts. This value defines how much above its continuous rating the solar inverter can go for a short time. This is necessary for appliances that require more watts to start than they require to run.

For example, while a motor can require 100 watts to run, it might require up to 150 watts to start. Hence, it needs a solar inverter with 150-watt surge watts.

You need to consider the surge watts of all the appliances you plan to run on your solar panel to know the right size inverter for your solar panel. While you can check this on the label on your appliances, the value is usually given as 2 to 3 times the continuous watt rating of each appliance.

If 150 watt is the highest surge watts for your appliances, you’ll need to look for an inverter with 150 surge watts or slightly more.

Input Voltage

Another rating to consider when choosing a solar inverter is ‘input voltage’. The right input voltage for your solar inverter must correspond with the input voltage for your solar panels and battery storage.

The input voltage of an inverter usually depends on the watt rating of the inverter. For our example, a 100-watt solar panel, the right voltage is 12 or 24 volts.

100 Watt Solar Panel Output on Cloudy Day

There is a misconception that solar panels don’t function on cloudy days. This is wrong, as solar radiation can still penetrate clouds to reach the earth surface. However, the efficiency of a solar panel depends on the amount of sunlight penetrating the cloud and reaching the panel.

There is usually a drop in efficiency between cloudy days and sunny days of up to 65%, depending on the quality of the solar panel and the cloud cover.

Other Things to Know About a 100-Watt Solar Panel

How Big It Is And How Much Does It Cost?

A solar panel size depends on design and efficiency. Typically, a 100-watt solar panel has a dimension of 47 x 21.3 x 1.4 inches.

Prices vary according to models, quality, efficiency, and any control other equipment or connection boxes that come with the package. While you can buy just the module, it’s best to get a complete kit that comes with cables, brackets, and a charge controller.

A standalone 100-watt solar panel come with a price tag of just over $100, while a complete kit costs over $300.

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Renogy Solar Kits

Why Is Pairing Your 100-Watt Solar Panel with A Battery Important?

A solar battery is important as it ensures you can save excess electricity produced during the day for later use in the night when there is no sunlight available.

Solar batteries are available in different chemistries, with Lithium-ion and Lead-acid as the most popular types. Lithium-ion batteries are more recommended as they have more advantages over their lead-acid counterparts.

For example, while a Lithium-ion battery can have up to a 90% discharge rate, most deep-cycle lead-acid batteries have less than a 60% discharge rate.

Can You Connect Multiple 100-Watt Solar Panels?

You can connect multiple 100-watt solar panels together for higher total output.

For instance, if you have only a 100-watt solar panel but the output isn’t sufficient to satisfy your energy needs, you can just add more panels. Merging two 100-watt solar panels theoretically gives you 200 watts, while combining 3 panels of this rating gives you 300 watts. Of course, output depends on the other factors discussed in the post.

Connect 100 watt solar panels in series or parallel increase watts

If you connect two 100 watt solar panels in parallel the current doubles and the voltage stays the same. If connected in series, the voltage doubles and the current stays the same (see above illustration).

Is 100-Watt Solar Panel Suitable For Powering A Home?

You could power your home with 100-watt solar panels, but this doesn’t work very well financially.
Homes have high energy needs and this requires high solar panel array that can easily reach 5-10kW.

These are high values that require many 100 watt solar panels to connect up. For example, providing a home with a 10kW solar energy supply require coupling up 100 x 100-watt panels!

There are many reasons why this might not interest you. Installing separate panels involves extra racking, framing, and fasteners, which would be complicating. This also means a less reliable system due to more electrical connections.

The financial aspect of such an installation is also ugly. This means that the watt per dollar you get with the installation is less to what you get with larger panels, which are typically between 225 to 300 watts.

Web Story – What Can A 100 Watt Solar Panel Run?

What Can 100 Watt Panel Run?

People also ask …

What can a 100 watt solar panel operate?

Solar power is a great source of renewable energy because it harnesses the sun’s rays to produce electricity. A single 100-Watt Solar Panel can provide enough juice for several small devices, including cell phones lamps, wireless router and even laptops! Larger appliances such as heaters or TVs require more than one panel but solar panels are very durable so they’ll last you years if maintained properly.

Can a 100 watt solar panel run a refrigerator?

The average refrigerator consumes between 350 and 400 watts of power. A 100 watt solar panel is not going to be enough to run your fridge, but you can supplement the energy with a battery or generator.

How long does it take for a solar panel to charge a 12 volt battery?

It could take around 5 – 8 hours to fully charge a 12-volt auto battery with a 20 watt solar panel, but this will depend on the size of the battery and it’s state of discharge. The charge period should be monitored with a solar charge controller to prevent overcharging.


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