You’re thinking about buying a solar panel kit, but you ask yourself what can a 100 watt solar panel power. The list of devices is long, so we’ve shown you how to calculate for yourself if the solar panel can give you enough power.
A 100 watt solar panel requires a battery to effectively power anything. The size of the battery and how often it is used will tell you exactly what a 100 watt solar panel can power. However, here’s a small list of appliances that the solar panel could power:
- LED lights (30 watt-hours)
- Laptop computers (75 watt-hours)
- Cooling fans (40 watt-hours)
- 35 inch televisions (90 watt-hours)
- Tablet and phone chargers (10 watt-hours)
- Internet modem and router (13 watt-hours)
There are plenty of other appliances that could be powered by a 100 watt solar panel. We put together a how-to guide to show you how to calculate it yourself.
What Can A 100 Watt Solar Panel Power?
There are a couple of factors that determine what a 100 watt solar panel can power. We’ll share the list of the variables that go into calculating this out. Then we will show you an example using assumptions for a typical house. First up, here’s the list of factors:
- How much sun the solar panel gets impacts how much energy it produces. This includes the length of time it is receiving sunlight and the intensity of the sunlight.
- The capacity of the rechargeable battery impacts how much energy can be stored from the solar panel. If the battery is undersized, the solar panel will not be able to produce as much electricity as it could.
- The rated wattage of the appliance being powered by the rechargeable battery. Obviously, there is a maximum wattage that the solar panels can support. For typical use, that maximum wattage should be roughly the same as the solar panel wattage. In this case, it is 100 watts.
- Lastly, the time the appliance is being used. This includes the length of time it is being used. On your energy bill, this is called the electricity consumption. The units are typically kilowatt-hours. It also includes when the appliance is using the electricity. If it is during daylight hours, the solar panel will replenish some of the electricity in the battery that is used by the appliance.
How To Calculate What A 100 Watt Solar Panel Can Power
Below is a step-by-step guide to figure out what you could power:
- First, determine how much energy a 100 watt solar panel generate in a typical day.
- Then determine the energy demand for all of the appliances running off the solar battery.
- Lastly, calculate the amount of time you can run each appliance.
How Much Electricity Can A 100 Watt Panel Generate?
A 100 watt solar panel can produce up to 100 watts of energy. This requires maximum sunlight and clean solar panels. The installation of the solar panels matter, too. They need to be installed at the right angle and the right direction to ensure maximum sun exposure.
Since solar panels are installed to point directly at the sun around noon, it will get less than optimal sunlight the rest of the day. Then you have to factor in your location. States like Arizona and Colorado receive great sunlight for over 300 days a year. Other states like Washington and Maine will have cloudy weather more often. This impacts energy generation from your solar panel.
You can use this tool called Project Sunroof from Google. It will estimate how many usable hours of sunlight your house will get in a year. Below is a map that shows the coverage the tool has for determining your sunlight hours. If your address does not show up, try another address nearby. It should have similar usable hours of sunlight.
A 100 watt solar panel produces electricity throughout the day. The total amount of electricity that a solar panel produces is called the power and is measured in watt hours. Here is a quick reference for how much power a 100 watt solar panel generates based on region:
- Northeast United States: 300-340 watt-hours
- Southeast United States: 380-400 watt-hours
- Midwest United States: 280-300 watt-hours
- Southern United States: 410-420 watt-hours
- Southwest United States: 430-480 watt-hours
- Northwest United States: 300-320 watt-hours
How To Determine Energy Demand Of Your Appliances
The first thing you will need to do is write down all of the appliances you would like to connect to the solar battery. Then copy down the following information for each device:
- Wattage. This should be found on a label on the device.
- Voltage. This can also be found on a label on the device.
- Expected hours of runtime per day.
Before doing any calculations, we should eliminate any device that uses more voltage than the battery or solar panel can provide. The voltage is the wattage divided by the amperage. Typically, a 100 watt solar panel can support devices up to 15 volts.
Next, you you multiple the wattage by the expected hours of runtime per day. This will give you the watt-hours for each appliance. Add them all together to determine the overall energy consumption.
Lastly, compare the overall energy consumption against the expected power generated by your 100 watt solar panel. If the calculated energy consumption is higher, then you will need to remove some appliances.
Here is a quick calculator that will help you determine what kind of energy your devices will consume.
How Big Is A 100 Watt Solar Panel And Where Can I Install It?
A standard 100 watt solar panel is roughly 4 feet x 2 feet and two inches in depth. There are more compact 100 watt solar panels that measure 42.2 X 19.6 X 1.38 in.
You can buy them individually or in packs of 2, 4, 8, and 12. The solar panels will require a charge controller, battery, an inverter in most applications.
Regarding installation, these panels have one main requirement. They need as much direct sunlight as possible. Often times, the best place to install the 100 watt solar panel is on your roof. If you have enough yard space, you could install them on the ground. Though you should make sure they are installed within 100 feet of your appliances.
If you install the solar panel at ground level, you should consider fencing it in. This will keep animals and children away from the panel. The added protection will extend the life of the panel and maximize efficiency.
What Size Battery And Charge Controller Should I Get With A 100 Watt Solar Panel?
The battery provides two major benefits to your solar panel solution. First, it levels off the varying electricity produced by your solar panel throughout the day. Second, it stores the energy for future. This allows your solar panels to generate electricity during the day that is used at night when the sun goes down.
So what size battery do you need for a 100 watt solar panel? You should size it to at least 150% of your daily solar production. As we found earlier, the 100 watt solar panel will generate between 280 watt-hours and 480 watt-hours in a typical day.
This means you should size your battery to 450 watt-hours to 800 watt-hours. That translates to 40 amp-hours to 70 amp-hours for a 12 volt system. We recommend using either a lithium-ion or lead-acid deep cycle battery.
Can You Connect 100 Watt Solar Panels Together?
You have the option of connecting several 100 watt solar panels together. This can be done either in series or parallel. Though it is recommended to do in parallel. This allows the other solar panels to continue to generate electricity when one of them breaks.
The math for connecting the solar panels together is simple. Two 100 watt panels will generate up to 200 watts of electricity at peak supply. Five 100 watt panels will generate up to 500 watts of energy.
How Many 100 Watt Solar Panels Do I Need?
The first thing you should do is determine how much energy you need to fully power your devices. Add up all of the daily electricity consumption to get a total watt-hour number. Divide that number by 300 watt-hours. This should be the approximate number of solar panels you need.
Here’s a short video that walks through a more in depth process for identifying how many solar panels you need.
Can You Power A Home With A 100 Watt Solar Panel?
The average home consumes 7000 watts of electricity every hour. That would require 70 of these 100 watt solar panels. Technically, you could power your home with dozens of these 100 watt solar panels connected together. But it would not make financial sense.
Luckily, there are more energy dense solar panels available. Instead of buying a 100 watt solar panel, you could purchase several 300 watt solar panels that more provide more energy per panel. You would only need 20-25 of these panels to power an average home in the United States.
Not only do they take up less space on your roof or yard. But they are also more cost effective per watt of energy. This will bring the total cost of you solar system down by roughly 15%. You would still need the same size inverter, charge controller, and batteries to power your home though.
How Much Do 100 Watt Solar Panel Kits Cost?
A standard 100 watt solar panel kit will cost roughly $150. This price will include the 100 watt solar panel, a 30A PWM negative ground charge controller, MC4 Connectors, an 8 foot 10AWG tray cable, and mounting brackets. It can produce up to 500 watt-hours per day. So your limiting factor would be how much sunlight it gets and for how long. It can fully charge a 50 amp-hour battery from 50% in less than three hours.
The price of solar panels has been decreasing every year, so expect that price to drop an additional 5% every year going forward. Of course, the longer you wait to buy it, the less energy you will save in the long run.
What Are The Best 100 Watt Solar Panel Kits?
The best solar panel kits we have seen on the market are made by Renogy. They have been in the industry since 2010 and have quickly become a leader in charge controllers and solar panels.
Other manufacturers of the 100 watt solar panels are:
- Rich Solar