Solar panels are getting more and more popular these days. And one common question people have about them is “what can I run off solar panels?”
Electricity bills are soaring in many parts of the country and people are looking for ways to cut those costs. And many are turning to solar panels (especially since there is a great government credit currently available). Depending on how many panels you get, you can significantly reduce, if not eliminate your electric bills by going solar.
Also, with increasingly violent weather – fires, ice storms, tornadoes, hurricanes, etc. – and an aging power grid, many people are losing power more frequently. And, when they do, the blackouts seem to be longer. Solar panels can help here too.
However, as good as that sounds, solar panels are not magical items that will automatically replace your utility company.
Depending on how much energy it can produce and how much you use, panels may not be able to power everything.
If you’re thinking about getting solar panels, you may be wondering, “what can I run off solar panels?” Are there things in your home you can’t run off them? Is there a limit on how many things you can run? You can find out the answers below!
What Can I Run Off Solar Panels?
The short answer is that you can run anything that runs off electricity using solar panels! However, there are going to be some limits to how much you can run and for how long.
There are two main factors to look at here. One is how many solar panels you have/how big they are. The other is how much you want to run off of them.
If you have a roof full of solar panels, then during the day you may be able to power all the electricity needs of your home using your panels. But, again, that partly depends on how much electricity you need. If you’re running your core appliances and lights, then you should be okay.
However, if you’re running that, plus your AC is going full blast and you’re running your electric dryer and you’re charging an electric car, you’re going to need a lot of solar panels to do all those things.
You can learn more about this in our article on “how many solar panels do I need”?
Using a 100-Watt Solar Panel
But what if you don’t have a bunch of solar panels on your roof? Instead you have a 100-watt solar panel you got for emergencies and/or travel and camping. A 100-watt solar panel can power certain types of appliances, but it has its limits of what it can run.
A 100 watt solar panel is nowhere near big enough to power your whole household for a day. A 100 watt solar panel is more ideal on settings and things such as caravans, motorhomes, boats, and other similar things.
So if you are thinking of traveling for a short vacation, say you are going to a cabin in the woods, chalets or a ski lodge, then bringing a 100 watt solar panel may be helpful.
What Appliances Will Run Off a 100W Solar Panel?
But what about home appliances? We have said earlier that a 100 watt solar panel is not the ideal solar panel to run your entire household unless you are not using that much power.
However, it does not mean that it cannot run any appliances in your home. For example, a 100 watt solar panel can run a small fridge with 12 volts of DC power without the need of a converter.
A 100 watt may also be able to power a food processor or a coffee maker. You can also use it to power your laptop and/or charge your cell phone.
Another idea for solar panels of this size is to use them to charge a solar generator. In this way, you can store your solar energy in the generator and use that to power some of your electric devices or appliances.
But even those have their limits. We used our solar generator to keep a chest freezer in our basement running during a recent power outage. It kept the freezer running for over 24 hours. Unfortunately, the power was out for a few days so we ended up losing everything in the freezer.
So the amount of time you need to use the appliances/electronics for, is also a big factor in what you can fun off solar panels.
So the answer to “what can I run off solar panels” is you can run anything that run on electricity off them. You’ll just be limited by how much electricity you need at a time and how many solar panels you have/how big they are.