What Can a 100 Watt Solar Panel Power?
If you wonder what 100 watts solar panel can power, then you have found the right page. We will talk about 100-watt solar panels and what they can power.
However, before we get into 100-watt solar panels and what they can power, I need to mention that a 100-watt solar panel never produces 100 watts. 100 watts is the maximum power that a 100-watt panel can produce.
Solar panel manufacturers provide a 100-watt rating for a panel that produces 100 watts per hour in full sunlight under ideal conditions. Ideal conditions are when the solar panel is aimed directly at the sun and has no shade or clouds.
Even in full sunlight 100-watt solar panels produce less than 100 watts. Because there are other factors like tilt angle, the solar panel’s temperature, cleanliness of the panel (if there is dust on it) that affect the solar panel’s power generation.
Therefore, assume a loss of about 10% – 25% even if you are maintaining your solar PV system well enough. You cannot make engineering calculations based on %100 the assumption of 100% accuracy.
However, for practical reasons, I have assumed a 100-watt panel to provide 100 watts per hour. But you already got the idea!
Also, below assumptions or calculations are made considering there is no battery storage utilized to store on times that energy is being produced in excess. I have assumed we have no battery, so we will either use it or lose it.
Can you power a home with a 100-watt solar panel?
According to EIA, a typical US residential utility customer uses on average 893 kWh per month which is equivalent to 1224 watts per hour. Also, a typical 100-watt solar panel produces 85 – 87 watts per hour energy on average in full sunlight and ideal conditions. Therefore, a 100-watt solar panel is far from enough to power a home.
If we want to power up a home using only 100-watt solar panels, we would need around 15 pieces of 100-watt solar panels to meet the required amount of energy during the daytime.
That said, considering the home will also need an equal amount of energy if not more during the night the actual number of panels is expected to be around 50 – 100 pieces.
There will also be a need for reliable battery storage since there is no other way to power a home during the night if a certain amount of energy is not stored during the day.
Let’s take a look at the most popular energy demanding systems to understand if our 100-watt solar panel could power it or not.
1. Lighting in Your Work Space
100 watts of solar power 10 energy-efficient 10-watt LED light bulbs in your home. If you would like to use traditional 50-watt incandescent bulbs, you could run only power 2 of them.
2. Smartphone /Tablet Charging
On average smartphones uses 2 to 6watts of power per hour. This means you could power about 15 – 50 smartphones at a time if you would rely on 100 watts of solar power. If you wanted to use fast charging, you would need about 18 watts of energy means you could fast-charge 5 phones at a time.
Tablets charges use 15 to 50 watts on average, which means 100 watts of solar power could charge about at least a few tablets.
3. Charging a Laptop
Most laptops can be charged using less than 100 watts (60 – 90 watts) per hour. However, some gaming laptops may require as much as 180 watts per hour. Depending on how much power your laptop uses, 100 watts of solar panel may or may not charge your laptop.
4. TV & Satellite Dish
A 30 inch LCD TV uses 60 watts while LED models use 50 watts per hour. Which is enough to run a TV. However, the power need of 50-inch models can be as much as 150 watts per hour. 100 watts of solar power can run a TV, but it may not be able to support the larger models.
The average modem and dish installation consumes 42W when in use and 34W when idle or sleeping. It would be almost impossible to run a TV and a satellite dish simply relying on a single 100 watts solar panel. However, using two 100 watt panels should be possible can allow you to power both.
5. Coffee maker
Most coffee makers need hundreds or thousands of watts of power to begin brewing which 100 watts of solar power can’t support. Even single-serve coffee makers need 200 to 400W to brew a cup of coffee. Therefore 100 watts of solar power can’t support your coffee maker.
6. Radio, CD player
Small radio or CD player on average uses 20 Watts of energy. 100 watts of solar power could run a small radio or CD player. However, if there is a heavy-duty stereo system 100 watts of solar power would probably not be enough to power it.
Can a 100-watt solar panel run a refrigerator?
No, a 100-watt solar panel can not power a refrigerator. Because a typical refrigerator uses between 250 watts of energy an hour. It is also not recommended to run a freezer or refrigerator using solar power without reliable battery storage.
Because storing food items requires an uninterrupted electricity supply which a standalone solar panel will not be able to support.
What is the size of a 100-watt solar panel and how much does it cost?
The size of 100-watt panels varies depending on their efficiency and design, but they normally measure about 47 x 21.3 x 1.4 inches.
You can purchase a 100-watt solar module on its own or as part of a 100-watt solar panel kit that also includes the module, a charge controller, cables, and brackets.
Prices might vary greatly depending on the brand, efficiency, and equipment supplied. In general, a standalone 100-watt panel can be found for $100 or less., However, a whole 100 W starter kit can cost $300 or more.
How much energy does a 100-watt solar panel produce on a cloudy day?
On a cloudy day, you can expect to get up to a 90% decrease depending on the level of cloud cover and how much the sun is obscured.
That said on average a solar panel will produce 40 – 60% of its maximum capacity on a cloudy day. Under cloudy conditions, you can expect the panel to generate a maximum of 1.2 amps per hour or 6 amp-hours per day.
Should you connect a 100-watt solar panel to a battery?
Yes, it’s usually a good idea to do so. Keep in mind that your solar panels generate varying amounts of power throughout the day but none at night. Unless you have a backup power source, you’d be without electricity during those hours.
If you’re considering buying a lead-acid battery, keep in mind that it shouldn’t be used at less than 50% capacity.
That means you should pick a solar battery that can store at least twice as much as your panels’ daily output. Assuming a daily solar production of 200 Wh, you’d require a battery with a capacity of 400 Wh.
Batteries with newer lithium-ion (li-ion) chemistries can be nearly completely depleted. In this case, select a battery with storage that is somewhat larger than your solar panel’s daily production.
Is it possible to link several 100-watt panels together?
Yes, you can connect solar panels together to increase their output. For example, a 100-watt solar panel can be connected to another 100-watt panel in a serial fashion.
In this case, the total power would equal 200 watts and could charge your battery faster than one alone. Adding an extra panel to an existing setup is a typical option that is quite simple to implement.
What companies produce 100-watt solar panels?
There are various companies that produce 100-watt solar panels.
- Goal Zero
- Voltaic Systems
They can be purchased both individually or as part of a kit that also includes other crucial components such as a charge controller, cables, and brackets.
Is a 100-watt solar panel worth it?
A 100-watt solar panel is worth it when you need a portable power source. It can be used to charge small devices such as tablets, phones, and laptops when you’re out camping or traveling in an RV. It is also a good option for a backup power supply in case of emergencies.
However, 100-watt solar panels will not produce enough energy for your home since a typical home consumes much more energy.
If you’re shopping for a rooftop solar system, 100-watt solar panels will not be a good choice. 100-watt panels are useful for small-scale applications like camping and emergency kits. For more energy-intensive applications, such as a whole-house solar installation, you should choose larger panels.
That said 100-watt solar panels can be a good choice if you are trying to power a single device that requires less than 100W of energy. For example, you can use them to power small appliances like lamps or fans.
100-watt solar panels are also good for one who learns about solar energy and wants a small system to test. They will allow you to start slowly and test the waters before investing in a full-scale system.