What Size of Solar Panel do I Need?

What size solar panel should I get? This is a question that we hear quite a bit which is why we are addressing it here today. The answer isn’t as easy as it seems since everyone’s energy needs are different, so we will do our best to explain how to choose a solar panel or solar panel array to suit your own particular needs.

Harnessing the power of the sun when you are out in the wilderness camping brings the term self-reliance to a new level. Not only are you out on your own enjoying all that nature has to offer, you are also utilizing nature (in this case, the sun), to provide you with all of the electricity you could need. You will, of course, need to know how much power you need and if your solar panel can provide that power.

The amount of solar panels you need depends on a few factors; most importantly, how many batteries you have and the amount of electrical appliances you will be using. There is a wide variety of solar panels available and they range from 80W to 200W in size.

To understand this better, you will need to know how any watts you need. The wattage rating, 200W for example, refers to the output of the panel and how much power it can supplies to the regulator, batteries and any electrical appliances. To calculate this accurately, you will need to know how many amps each of your appliances draw and decide on the amount of batteries and panels you will need to adequately supply your energy needs.

To ensure that you don’t run into problems later on and that you have all of the power you need, you may want to opt for more wattage than you need for the appliances you will bring along. This means you will want a larger panel or more panels to ensure that your solar capacity is greater than the minimum power drawn from your batteries. The reason for this is to be able to recharge them and keep them fully charged for times when you don’t have enough sunlight.

Speaking of sunlight, you need to also keep in mind that the amount of power your panels generate is highly dependent on the amount of sunlight present. On a cloudy day, your solar energy production could be cut in half reducing the amount of appliances you can use and how much charge your batteries receive.

Let’s look at another example. If the total power consumption used by your appliances, chargers and batteries is around 100 amps per day, you will need a system that provides more than 100 amps per day. The equation to find the right solar panel is as follows: take the amperage of your battery (usually 17 amps) and the wattage of the system you are considering. Divide the wattage of the panel by the amperage of the battery and then multiply that by the amount of usable sunlight which is generally 6 hours. The resulting total is the amount of amp/hrs the system will produce.

The equation looks like this: 400W (the solar panel rating) / 17 (the amperage of the battery) x 6 (the hours of usable sunlight per day) = 141.1 amp/hrs. This is more than enough for your particular needs making the 400W panel a good choice.

As you can see, there is a lot of thought and planning that goes into choosing a solar panel for your camping needs. If you have any questions about choosing a solar panel that is right for your needs, the experts at Arizon International Pty Ltd are standing by to answer them today.

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