How Much Solar Power does an Appliance Need?

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It can be hard to estimate how much power you’ll need to run certain appliances in your solar equipped RV. But why leave it to an estimate, when you can get it down to a formula. If you’re looking for a better way to track what amount of power you’ll need, AM Solar has the solution for you.

Your Appliances

Most appliances that you would use in an RV can be researched as to how much power they’ll need to run. If you use Google to research how much solar will be required to offset certain appliances, you’ll be golden. Most appliances can be found by their model number, and places like Home Depot should have them listed on their site. If you look at the specs of a specific appliance you should be able to figure out how much power it takes to run.

On most appliances listed you’ll find a product overview. Some sites, like Home Depot have an Energy Guide for the products, and you can find out how much power it uses per year. For example, if it says a product needs 249kWh per year, you can use AM Solar’s formula to figure out how much solar energy you’ll need to use it.

Number of Solar Panels

You’ll need to figure out how many solar panels you’ll need to generate the energy you’ll need. The first step of the formula is to take the Kilowatts hours and multiply it by 1000 watts, then divide it by 365 days. Then you divide that number by 3-Watt hours/W solar per day, you’ll have your final number.

For example: if you have an appliance that uses 249kWh per year. 249kWh x 1000W/kW / 365 days / 3Wh/W solar per day = 227W solar. Another solution is dividing by 1.095 to get the same thing.

Solar Power

As in all things solar, it’s going to be a rough estimate. When the weather is involved, you can never precisely predict how much power you’ll need or gather. It all depends on your area’s predisposition to sunny weather, your latitude and more.

As most know when it comes to solar, you can’t run every appliance you want to, all the time. You have to budget for what you want to use in your solar powered RV. If you think you’re always going to generate enough solar power to run a shower, use the stove, and watch a movie on your laptop, you might be mistaken. It’s important to attempt rough calculations for how much power and how many panels you’ll need. You don’t want to be planning to use more solar power than you have the capability to collect.