refrigerator powered by four solar panels

How Many Solar Panels Do I Need to Power a Refrigerator?

Rod Johnson Solar

It’s common knowledge that refrigerators take a lot of juice to run, but if your home has solar panels its easy to lose track of where all that power goes.

Let’s start with your refrigerator. The average refrigerator takes about three or four average solar panels to run, but that number could be as low as one or quite a bit higher. But why?

There Are More Variables than You Might Expect

Two homes with identical appliances may use power completely differently because of the living habits of the residents. If you go to work early and don’t return home until late and spend your weekends traveling, you’re going to use less power than someone who is home all the time.

When it comes to your refrigerator, your power consumption depends on how much food you keep in it, how old or new your appliance is, and how long you leave it open. These variables could have a big impact either way.

You’ll also have to factor in where you live to determine how much sun you get. It shouldn’t be a surprise that the same solar panel can generate a lot more or less energy depending on where it’s installed.

A single solar panel can produce a varying level of electricity throughout the day, too. However, as a very broad average, a highly efficient solar panel produces about 265 watts. A bit of quick math and conversion to kWh will tell us that each solar panel produces about 30 kWh per month.

The average refrigerator found in the United States uses approximately 57 kWh per month while the average freezer uses 58 kWh, for a combined total of 115 kWh. Divide that by 30 kWh per month per solar panel and you get 3.8 solar panels.

Let’s look at a few other examples.

How Many Solar Panels Do I Need to Power My Television?

A 60’ television uses 29 kWh while your computer uses 21 kWh. Your DVR or Cable Box uses 23 kWh. Count it up for at least one panel and possibly two.

How Many Solar Panels Do I Need to Power My Washer and Drier?

It’ll run you about 6 kWh to run your washing machine and 57 kWh to run your drier. So you’ll need three solar panels just for to keep your clothes clean.

How Many Solar Panels Do I Need to Power My Air Conditioning?

Central air conditioners are enormous energy hogs. They use about 3,5000 watts, or 3.5 kWh, for every hour that they’re running. That means each solar panel will be able to power your A/C for only 8.5 hours. If you run your A/C for 4 hours per day, that means you would need 14+ solar panels to cover 120 hours per month of use.

Your Appliances Use More Energy Than You May Realize

It’s amazing just how much power the average home uses. Keep in mind, our estimates assume that all of your appliances are running all the time – this just isn’t the case, so you’ll “need” far fewer panels.

If you want to get a real estimate of how many solar panels you’ll need to power  your home, speak with a professional solar installer. They can take a look at your previous power bills and work with you to create a system that meets your needs and fits your budget.

And if you ever need a solar company in Stockton, you know who to call.


Image by osseous