Solar power is now a helpful resource that is gaining popularity daily. But do you know that solar panels can give power to almost every appliance in your house? Some people might be curious whether solar panels can be used to power typical home appliances or how much solar power they require. The short answer is yes, you can utilize solar power to power some items in your house, including your standard refrigerator and RV refrigerator.
Refrigerators are one of many appliances that consume most of our electric bill. The bigger the fridge, the bigger the power it consumes. So, if you’re considering going solar, it’s crucial to make the correct choice. When selecting a solar-powered refrigerator, there are a few aspects to consider. The most vital element is size. Ensure the fridge you purchase is large enough to accommodate your demands but not excessively, as this will increase energy use. Now you may think about what size of solar panel for fridge is needed. Well, keep reading to find out.
The third-largest energy user in an average home, after heating and cooling systems and televisions, are refrigerators which utilize around 18% of the energy consumed by a typical home. However, the nonprofit Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) is currently testing a novel solar-powered refrigerator system that could help reduce that percentage.
How much solar energy is required to run a fridge? The new device, which is roughly the size of a dishwasher, is mounted on the roof and generates electricity from sunlight using photovoltaic panels. This might soon be the best choice because the energy is then used to power a refrigeration compressor that keeps food cool.
What Size of Solar Panel is Needed to Run a Fridge?
In order to determine how many solar panels you need to power your fridge, you must first determine how much electricity it uses. Thus, the greater the consumption, the more panels you need, and the greater power of solar panels.
The quantity of solar panels you need is determined by how big your refrigerator is and how powerful your solar panels are. You would need a solar panel system with a minimum output of 300 watts to power a fridge, typically using between 300 and 600 watts of electricity. A system with an output of more than 600 watts may be necessary for your power needs if your refrigerator is larger.
How to Calculate the Needed Size of a Solar Panel?
There are two things to consider when you are calculating the needed solar panels:
- Appliances (kWh consumption)
- Peak sun hours
How do solar panels work? It’s important to know how a solar panel functions. Numerous tiny cells make up a solar panel, which uses sunlight to create power. The energy from the sun is transformed into an electrical current when sunlight strikes the cells. After passing through an inverter, this current is transformed into usable AC power for your home.
How Much kWh Does Your Refrigerator Consume?
Now, we need to know how much power a refrigerator consumes in kWh. To do this, find the compliance plate usually located inside the fridge and check the fridge wattage or the rate of input power. After that, you need to estimate (more or less accurately) how long you use your fridge.
Refrigerator wattage = 200 Watts
Estimated usage = 8 hours per day (30% duty cycle)
Total Energy = 200W x 8h = 1600Wh/day
Monthly Consumption = 1600Wh x 31 days = 49,600Wh/month
Lastly, convert your consumption into kilowatt-hours; we will use this number to calculate how many solar panels we will need to power a fridge and divide 49,600 Wh by 1000 to get 49.6 kilowatt-hours (kWh). So, the fridge has a total consumption of 49.6 kWh per month.
Peak Sun Hour
Peak sun hours don’t correspond to the quantity of sunlight you receive each day, from dawn to sunset. Therefore this is not the kind of information that happens to be available.
Finding out how many peak sun hours your house receives is the next step you should take into account. Since solar panels’ power depends on sunlight, positioning them in a place with more sunlight to receive means you need fewer solar panels to run your fridge.
To quickly know the peak sun hour in your area, you can head over to the Global Solar Atlas website and enter your city address on the search engine. On your right side, you will see details. Look for global horizontal irradiation (GHI) data and set the site info per day.
The peak sun hour for New Mexico (for example) is 5.685. For easy computation, we can round this off to the nearest decimal places, in our case, 5.7 peak sun hour. To get the monthly peak sun hours, multiply 5.7 by 31 days, and we will have 176.7 peak sun hours/ month. Finally, to get the size of our solar panel, we only need to divide the monthly consumption of the fridge by the monthly peak sun hour multiplied by 1000.
49.6kWh / 176.7 = 0.2807
0.2807 x 1000 = 280.7
Rounding the result, we will get 300 watts. Based on the sample, a 300-watt solar panel is enough to power the refrigerator. Assuming you have a sunny place like New Mexico. If you got a higher watt, say, 1000 watts, to compute the number of solar panels, divide the watt needed by the specific solar panel power.
Refrigerators have played a significant role in every home for storing food essential to every household. But when it contributes so much to the electric bill, finding an alternative to lessen the consumption is necessary.
Solar panels have been a great resource recently used to run home appliances. And to do so, there are only two things to consider, appliance consumption and the peak sun hour. The more sunlight the panels receive, the fewer panels are needed. Indeed, the average fridge will need between 300-watt to 600-watt solar panels to run.