What can you run with a 100 watt solar panel? It’s a question that comes up often for those looking into smaller scale solar installations.
The beginning stages of research with solar power is always, “how much power with how many panels”. And it is really great that you’re thinking of using solar. It’s definitely a smart way to go.
The answer to this question – what can you run with a 100 Watt solar panel – can be a bit tricky.
When researching just what a 100 watt panel will get you, the general answer seems to be, “it depends“.
And it does to a certain extent but on the page, we’re going to give you a rough estimate and guide to what a 100 watts of solar power will provide you.
After all, one of the top solar power kits out there is just that, 100 watts.
Some Factors To Consider:
Batteries Combined with a 100 Watt Solar Panel
The flexibility you have with your solar panel does depend on:
- If you’re using batteries (it’s recommended) and an inverter (you really should).
- How many batteries you have.
- The size of your batteries.
Solar panels can provide more voltage than listed in peak times and also less power with less sunlight.
Your batteries can store extra energy and keep what you have for when you need it.
Note: It can help to think about how many batteries and what size you can charge instead of what 100w will run.
Your Location & The Weather
You will get different amounts of power depending on the season.
Winter = less sunlight / power.
Summer = most sunlight / power.
If you are looking into buying a 100 watt solar panel for camping, winter sunlight may not even be a factor. You may only be using it during peak times which means you’ll likely have peak performance.
You will get more consistent power throughout the year if you are in the south.
You will get more summer sunlight and less winter sunlight in the north.
Resource: You can check out weather underground’s solar power estimates by location here.
(It assumes you have solar panels but may be helpful to you in planning as well.)
The more cloud and rain you get, the less power so keep climate in mind as well.
These factors are just to get you thinking and considering all that is involved in getting that solar power you want. It may seem obvious but all of these factors will affect how much power your 100 watt solar panel can bring in.
It is this that makes the answer to the question not all that straightforward.
This is a real life example of someone who has been using the exact solar power kit I recommend here on this site. It’s 100 watts. He has 2 batteries that he tries to keep charged at and above 50%.
- He gets about: 600 – 700 watts per day on average.
- Can charge his laptop
- Can charge his iphone
- Can run TV for about 6 hours
- Can run fridge for a day but requires 2 days to recharge the batteries as a result.
Device & Appliance Wattage Estimates
Here are some examples of devices, gadgets and appliances and their wattage:
(All below are rough estimates – confirm with your own devices / appliances.)
- CB Radio: 5W
- Ceiling Fan: 10 – 50W
- Laptop: 25 – 100W
- Satellite Dish: 30W
- Blueray Player: 15W
- Cable Box: 35W
- DVD Player: 15W
- TV – LCD: 150W
- LED Light bulb -40 watt equivalent: 10W
- LCD Monitor: 100W
- Modem: 7W
- Smart Phone Recharge: 6W
- Tablet Recharge: 8W
- Sewing Machine: 100W
- Drill (1/4 inch) 250W
- Coffee Machine 1000W
- Toaster Oven 1200W
- Fridge (16 cubic feet) 1200W
You may also be able to charge cordless tools and lawn equipment which is great for an off-grid build.
Keep in mind:
Things that use a lot of heat tend to use a lot of power. So microwaves, cooktops (electric), hair dryers and things of this sort can require wattage rates that run into the thousands.
Air conditioning, also uses A LOT of power (nearly 4000w).
(If you are looking at this for an RV, check out the RV solar panel guide as well.)
Use a Solar Calculator for a Realistic Estimate
A solar power calculator will require some work on your end in terms of inputting what you want solar power for and looking at the wattage of your devices and appliances.
But if you really want to calculate your full solar power needs, check out this:
What We Recommend For Those Just Starting Out
If you’re just getting set up, we’d recommend starting out with a 100 watt solar power kit and 2 high quality batteries.
This will really let you start on the small side and not invest more than you need to. It’ll also let you know if you have enough power or not.
And if you don’t?
You can easily add on another solar panel (as well as more batteries).