All You Need To Know About 100 Watt Solar Panels

Every prospective solar power owner wants to know what can they practically run on their solar panels and for how long. I remember the first time when I was looking to buy a solar panel; I was confused about what was the best power output for my use. I looked hard to find the answers on the internet, but all I can find was vague answers that were super technical.

If you are not an expert or have good experience in electrical stuff, you can easily misjudge the specifications and buy the wrong one.

Let’s start with a few basics.

  • A solar panel that is rated as 100 watts will not generate 100 watts. This power rating signifies maximum power it can generate in ideal conditions, and the conditions are never ideal. There are efficiency losses, transmission losses and variable intensity and duration of sunlight in your area.
  • The solar panel will not work the entire day. It will produce more power during the peak sun hours and less energy during the early morning and evening hours.
  • The power generation is also influenced by the angle and placement of your panel.
  • In most cases, you would have to buy a battery. It will help you store excess power for later use.
  • Some locations are more fortunate than others in solar energy. Some parts in California, for example, get twice as much sun compared to parts of Washington.

Solar Panel Power Outputs

Solar panels come in a wide range of power outputs, with the smallest ones generating 0.5 watts to larger ones capable of generating 400 kilowatts. Solar panels with more significant power outputs start getting bulky, so you will generally find several smaller panels connected in larger solar power plants.

Here we will discuss one of the most commonly used solar panel(100 Watts) and what can you run on it.

100 Watt Solar Panel

A 100-watt solar panel is popular amongst campers and RV owners. It can produce descent power that can run your smaller appliances, and it is not that big.

Size and weight of a 100watt solar panel

The size of a 100-watt solar panel is around 47 x 21.7 x 1.4 inches or 119.3 x 55 x 3.5 centimetres which makes it about 4 feet in length and a little less than 2 feet in width. You can expect slight size variations with different brands.

A 100-watt solar panel weighs between 14.3 and 16.5 pounds (6.5 and 7.5 Kilograms)

This size makes it easy to put it on a boat or an RV

100 Watt Solar Panel Price

A 100-watt solar panel costs around $100 without a kit, and with a battery kit, you can get it for $200-$300

How much power does a 100W solar panel produce?

So this is where things get interesting. To know what your solar panel can do, you need to understand its actual power output and the power rating of your appliances.

There is a simple formula to calculate the power output of a solar panel.

E = A * r * H * PR

E = Energy (Kwh)

A = Area of your solar panel (m2)

r=solar panel yield or efficiency 

H= Average annual solar radiation on tilted panels

PR= Performance ratio (Average Value = 0.75)

The amount of power you can get from your solar panels varies by your location. We have compiled data on solar radiation of different states and calculated the average power you can get in a day. Please note that these are just averages to give you a rough idea. The exact amount of sunlight that you will receive depends on several factors.

Code State/Province Average Annual Solar resource in kWh/m2/day Average Daily Solar Power in Watts
AL Alabama 5 364
AK Alaska 3.5* 254
AZ Arizona 7.1 517
AR Arkansas 4.45 326
CA California 7.2 526
CO Colorado 6.2 452
CT Connecticut 4.5 328
DE Delaware 4.7 342
DC District of Columbia 4.7 342
FL Florida 5.3 386
GA Georgia 5 364
HI Hawaii 6.5 473
ID Idaho 4.7 342
IL Illinois 4.6 342
IN Indiana 4.3 315
IA Iowa 4.7 342
KS Kansas 5.7 416
KY Kentucky 4.45 326
LA Louisiana 5.2 380
ME Maine 4.3 315
MD Maryland 4.55 331
MA Massachusetts 4.5 328
MI Michigan 4.25 309
MN Minnesota 4.7 342
MS Mississippi 5.2 380
MO Missouri 4.8 350
MT Montana 4.6 337
NE Nebraska 5.4 395
NV Nevada 6.4 468
NH New Hampshire 4.4 320
NJ New Jersey 4.5 328
NM New Mexico 7 512
NY New York 3.9 284
NC North Carolina 5 364
ND North Dakota 4.9 358
OH Ohio 4.2 306
OK Oklahoma 5.9 430
OR Oregon 5.4 394
PA Pennsylvania 4 293
RI Rhode Island 4.7 342
SC South Carolina 5.2 381
SD South Dakota 5.2 381
TN Tennessee 4.7 342
TX Texas 6 438
UT Utah 6.2 452
VT Vermont 3.9 284
VA Virginia 4.7 342
WA Washington 4.5 328
WV West Virginia 4.2 306
WI Wisconsin 4.4 320
WY Wyoming 5.6 408


What can a 100-watt solar panel run?

As you can see, the average daily power output of a 100-watt solar panel ranges from around 254 Wh/day to over 526 Wh/day in the united states. If we average out all the values in the table, we have 365 Wh/day.

Please note that the power rating, which is 100 watts, is your instantaneous power, and the average daily power in Wh is the accumulated power you stored in the battery.

So in practical conditions, the appliances you can run on solar power will depend more on your accumulated power than instantaneous power.

Device Power Run time (If You Used Only One Device)
60 Watt Bulb 60W 6 Hours
LED 6W 60 Hours
Cell Phone  5W 73 Hours
Laptop 42W 9 Hours
Fridge 80W 4.6 Hours
DC Fridge  170W 2.14 Hours
Heater  1000W 22 Minutes
Booster Pump 60W 6 Hours
Blender 500W 44 Minutes

Can a 100-watt solar panel run a refrigerator?

Yes, a 100-watt solar panel can run a small fridge (80 watts) or a DC Fridge (170 watts). However, you will need a battery to accomplish that; and you can expect an average runtime of about 4.6 hours for an 80W fridge and 2.14 hours for a DC fridge in a day.

Please note that these values will vary considerably based on your location, weather conditions and usage.

Can a 100-watt solar panel run an air conditioner?

A 100-watt solar panel can only power an air-conditioner for a few minutes. The smaller air conditioner used in RVs has a power rating of 1000Watts to 1500watts. With a daily charge of 365wh, you can barely run an air conditioner for 15 minutes to 22 minutes which is not practical. 

Final Thoughts

A 100-watt solar panel is an affordable solution to power your essential devices while camping, boating or on an RV trip. However, if you want to power bigger devices, you can combine more panels or get one with a higher power generation capacity.

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