Haven’t we all burdened ourselves with how to save on electricity bills without giving up using home appliances that make our lives better? Refrigerators are one of the most useful appliances we have in our homes; the problem is, they’re also power-hungry.
Fortunately, solar panels have been invented so we can take advantage of the free energy emitted by the sun. However, before buying anything, let’s first know what size solar panel for fridge you should consider.
Below is a guide we created to help you out.
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First, let us tell you basic stuff about solar panels
Solar panels generate electricity by allowing light particles (photons) to knock off electrons from atoms. It is made of individual photovoltaic cells (they convert sunlight into electrical energy) that are linked together. Each of these cells is made of two layers of silicon which is a known semi-conductor.
The two layers are of different types. The N layer has extra electrons while the P layer has spaces or holes for electrons. At the junction where these two layers meet, the electrons can wander around, creating positive charges on the P layer and negative charges on the N layer.
The existence of these opposing poles establishes an electrical field for the photovoltaic cells to work.
What variables do you need to consider?
Before jumping into solar panels, you need to consider you and your family’s living habits. Do you usually eat outside or cook your own meals? Do you stay in or travel on weekends? The amount of food you store in your fridge and how frequent it’s left open affects the amount of power consumed by it which dictates the capacity of the solar panels you’ll need.
Next, know how much sunlight you get in your location. Solar panels with the same size/capacity generate varying amounts of energy depending on where you install it and how long and how often it’s exposed to sunlight.
How much energy does your refrigerator consume?
To know the energy consumption of your fridge, check its wattage. Now, let’s assume it’s 130 watts. You need to multiply that to the average number of hours of usage, say 8 hours, to get the average consumption. In our example, 130 watts multiplied by 8 hours equals 1,040 watts or 1.04 kWh a day or 30 kWh in a month.
Wattage x Average number of hours used = Average daily power consumption in Watt-hour
Average daily power consumption in Watt-hour x 30 = Average monthly power consumption
If your refrigerator’s wattage is 250 W and it runs for 10 hours a day, your daily consumption would be 2,500 Wh or 2.5 kWh.
But then again, as mentioned above, there are other factors that can affect energy consumption. The given formula can only give you an approximation.
What size/capacity of solar panels do you need for your fridge?
Solar panels of different sizes and capacities can produce varying amounts of electricity. At the back of solar panels, you’ll find a list of numbers, one of which tells you how much energy the solar panel can produce if your location has ideal temperatures and the panels are positioned perfectly to catch the sunlight. It’s called the Standard Test Condition rating or STC.
Now that you know how much power your fridge consumes (in the first example, it’s 1.04 kWh per day), it’s safe to say that you’ll need solar panels that can also produce 1.04 kWh of energy to run it.
As of this year, a regular solar panel’s energy production ranges from 285 to 360 watts. If you find solar panels that can produce 285 watts or 0.285 kWh of energy, you’ll need 4 of these panels to meet your fridge’s consumption of 1.04 kWh. If you find those that produce 360 watts of energy, you’ll need 3 to run your fridge.
What are your residential solar panels options?
Fortunately, in this age of technology, you can find great options online. We took the liberty of listing out some of them for you:
- Axitec 330W Polycrystalline Solar Panel
- Jinko Solar Panel 320 W
- Astronergy 285W Solar Panel
Your decision to use solar panels as an alternative energy source will benefit you in the long run. As discussed above, there may be a number of things to be done, but they’re quite easy.
First, you need to consider your living habits and location. Next, determine your fridge’s energy consumption. Then, find the solar panels you need to run your fridge.
Remember, you have plenty of options online. The list we gave you is just the tip of the iceberg.