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 a great government credit is 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 considering getting solar panels, you may wonder, “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 will 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’ll 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 on 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 better for settings such as cars, 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 needing 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 lost 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. 

Bottom Line

So the answer to “what can I run off solar panels” is you can run anything that runs 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.