With the cost of solar panels dropping, more and more people are investing in them as a way to reduce their energy consumption costs.
And one of the most common panels is 200 watt solar panel.
But what are the 200 watt solar panels? How much energy will it produce and what can I power with it?
Well, if you are looking for an in-depth answer to these questions, then you are in the right place.
In this article, you’ll discover what we mean by 200W, what can you power with the 200 watt solar panels, and what size battery, charge controller, and inverter you need for the 200W solar panels.
So let’s get started!
- Solar panels are rated in watts, which is a measure of how much energy they can produce per hour under Standard Test Conditions (STC).
- The 200 watt solar panels can generate 800-1000Wh of energy per day.
- The 200W solar panels produce about 11.1A per peak sun hour or 44.4Ah per day
- Batteries have something called depth of discharge (DoD) and it’s the amount of energy you can safely drain from the battery without damaging it.
- The 200W solar panels will need a 66.6Ah Lithium battery (80% DoD) or a 120Ah lead acid battery (50% DoD).
- The 200W solar panels will need a 20A solar charge controller.
- The 200W solar panels will need a 300W power inverter.
- The 200W solar panels cost roughly $250.
What Is a 200 Watt Solar Panel?
Before getting into what can you run with the 200 watt solar panels, first, let’s start by taking a look at what 200 watts actually means.
Solar panels are rated in watts, which is a measure of how much energy they can produce per hour under Standard Test Conditions (STC.)
Here is how they test solar panels:
They expose them to an artificial light source with a constant intensity of 1,000 watts/m² and they measure how much power they produce over a period of one hour.
So 200 watts rating means that the solar panels will generate 200 watts worth of energy for every hour of 1,000W/m² sunlight it receives also known as peak sun hour.
Peak sun hours is the number of hours that the solar panels receive an average of 1,000W/m² of radiation.
This number can vary depending on where you live, the tilt angle, the azimuth angle, and the time of year.
But on average you should expect 4-5 peak sun hours per day.
How Much Power Do The 200 Watt Solar Panels Produce?
You can easily determine the amount of energy that the 200 watt solar panels will produce from this equation:
Solar Panel Energy Output = Solar Panel Wattage x Number of Peak Sun Hours
So the 200 watt solar panels that receives 4 hours of peak sun per day can produce 800Wh of energy (200 x 40.)
What Will The 200 Watt Solar Panels Run?
Now, the question is a lot easier to answer.
We know that the 200 watt solar panels will generate 800-1000Wh per day, so all we need to do is to figure out what we can run with that amount of energy.
And we can figure this out using these 2 equations:
Required Power (Wh) = Appliance Power Rating (W) x Number of Hours Used (h)
Number of Hours (h) = Solar Panel Total Power Output (W) / Appliance Power Rating (W)
Let’s put it into practice.
Let’s say you want to power a 100W TV for 3 hours, can you do it with 200 watt solar panels?
Using our equations above we know that:
Required Power (Wh) = 100W x 3h = 300Wh
And 200 watt solar panels can produce 800-1000Wh per day, which is more than the required power, so yes you can run a 100W TV for 3 hours with 200 watt solar panels!
Now let’s look at another example, let’s say you want to take a small cabin off-grid.
This cabin doesn’t have much, just 20W LED lights, a 35W ceiling fan, a 10W wifi router, and a 70W laptop charger, can your 200W solar panel run the shed for 8 hours?
For simplicity’s sake, we will assume that all of the appliances will run for 8 continuous hours without being turned off.
This is not realistic, but it will make it easier to calculate.
Appliances Total Wattage (W) = 20W + 35W + 10W + 70W = 135W
Required Power (Wh) = 135W x 8h = 1080Wh
We know that our solar panel will generate about 800Wh per day and that’s less than the required power, so our 200W solar panel will not be sufficient to run these appliances for 8 hours.
Luckily, you can add another solar panel to your solar systems to increase the overall power output and run your shed for 8 hours.
Here is an extremely simple equation that will help you determine the best solar panel size for your cabin.
Required Solar Panel Wattage (W) = Required Energy to Power the Shed (Wh) / Number of Peak Sun Hours You Get (h)
So for our example, the shed needs 1080Wh of energy and our shed gets 4 peak sun hours per day, so the solar panel size required should be:
Required Solar Panel Wattage (W) = 1080Wh / 4h = 270W
So you need to connect a 200W solar panel to a 100 watt solar panel and you are all set to power your cabin for 8 hours!
Pretty easy right?
There is just one catch – your solar panel will generate the energy over the course of the day and not all at once.
Energy production fluctuates a lot from hour to hour. One hour you’ll be generating 200Wh and the next you’ll be generating 50Wh.
In the previous example, the shed energy consumption is 135W per hour and if at any time the solar panel is producing less than that, the shed will simply lose power or at least some appliances won’t work.
And if at any time your panel is generating more than 135W per hour, then you will be losing energy that could have been saved for future use.
That’s why I always recommend investing in a battery system to store your energy when you produce more than you need and provide your appliance with a continuous source of energy, regardless of the time or weather.
But before getting into what size battery you need, here is a list of appliances you can power with 200 watt solar panel:
How Many Batteries Do I Need for a 200 Watt Solar Panel?
Batteries are rated in Amp Hours (Ah) and it’s how many amps of current you can draw from the battery for a certain amount of time.
For example, a 100Ah battery can provide 10 amps for 10 hours, 5 amps for 20 hours, or 2 amps for 50 hours.
Here is how to determine what size battery for a 200 watt solar panel:
Solar Panel Amp Output (A) = Solar Panel Wattage (W) / Solar Panel Voltage (V)
Now, it’s important to note that solar panels have different voltages, but in this equation, we will use the voltage under typical operating conditions, which is typically 18V.
So for a 200W solar panel, we get 11.1A.
Now, this is the current that your 200W solar panel can provide per peak sun hour.
So to get the total solar panel output, you need to multiply that by the number of peak sun hours your panel gets.
Total Solar Panel Amp Output (Ah) = Solar Panel Amp Output per Hour (A) x Peak Sun Hours (h)
So for 4 hours of peak sun per day, we get 44.4Ah of power output.
Note: You can also get the total amperage output by dividing the solar panel energy output by the voltage.
Solar Panel Amp Out (Ah) = Solar Panel Energy Output (Wh) / Solar Panel Voltage (V)
Both methods work equally well, so you can use whichever one is most convenient for your calculations.
Now, for a 200W solar panel, we need a 44.4Ah battery, right?
Well, not quite.
There is an extremely important factor to consider and it’s the Battery’s Depth of Discharge (DoD).
A battery depth of discharge is how much charge you can safely drain from the battery without damaging it and it’s normally expressed as a percentage of the battery capacity.
This is extremely important because it can greatly affect your battery lifespan, so you account for DoD in your battery sizing calculations.
The DoD of each battery is different and it depends on many factors, including battery type and quality but here are some common battery types and their DoDs.
- Lithium Batteries: 80%
- Nickel Cadmium Batteries: 60%
- Lead Acid Batteries: 50%
So what do those numbers mean to us?
Well, they will determine the size of our battery.
Real Battery Size = Amount of Energy You Want to Store / Battery DoD
Let’s say we want to store 50Ah in a lead acid battery with a 50% DoD, what size should we get?
Well, from the equation, we need to divide the amount of energy we want to store (50Ah) by the DoD (50%), which gives us 50Ah/0.5 = 100Ah.
Getting a 100Ah lead acid battery will make sure we can store the energy we need without exceeding the DoD (50% of the battery’s capacity.)
So for 200W solar panel, 200Wh energy output per hour, and peak sun hours of 4 hours per day, we will need a battery to hold 44.4Ah without exceeding the DoD.
This means we will need a 55.5Ah Lithium battery or a 100Ah lead acid battery.
I also like to add a 20% buffer for the occasional cloudy days and the days when you don’t use 100% of your solar energy.
So this translates to a 66.6Ah Lithium battery (80% DoD) or a 120Ah lead acid battery (50% DoD) for a 200 watt solar panel.
What Size Charge Controller for a 200 Watt Solar Panel?
Another important component for 200W solar panel setup is the charge controller.
The reason for this is that solar panels are typically operating in a voltage range that is higher than the battery can accept.
So you need to regulate the voltage output of your 200W solar panel so that it matches the voltage requirements of your battery.
You also want to prevent your solar panel from overcharging the battery and damaging it, so you need to regulate the charge current as well.
To do this, you will need a solar charge controller that can match the 200W solar panel output and the battery requirements.
Charge controllers are rated in Amps and you can size them using this formula:
Charge Controller Amperage = Panel Wattage / Battery Voltage
So for a 200W solar panel and a 12V battery, you would need at least a 16.66A charge controller.
It’s always better to get a larger one, though, so you may want to go with a 20A solar charge controller just to be safe.
What Size Inverter for a 200 Watt Solar Panel?
Solar panels produce DC current and most appliances run on AC current, so you need to get an inverter to convert the DC current into AC.
The size of a power inverter is measured by its maximum continuous power (MCP) rating, which is the maximum amount of power it can provide continuously.
Inverter Size = Sum of All Appliance Wattages Running at the Same Time
Let’s take our shed example from before.
We calculated that we would need 135W per hour to run all the appliances, so your inverter should be able to continuously provide at least 135W of AC power to the appliances.
It’s that simple, just sum all the appliances that will be running at the same time and you got it.
There are many different ways to calculate the right inverter size but they are all general rules of thumb and you should always go with your actual needs to avoid overbuying or underbuying your setup.
With that being said, for a 200W solar panel, I recommend getting a 200-300W solar inverter.
What Is the Size of a 200 Watt Solar Panel?
A 200 watt solar panel measures roughly 55″ x 27″, depending on the number of cells and the cell type (mono or poly).
How Much Does a 200 Watt Solar Panel Cost?
A 200 watt solar panel typically costs around $200-300, depending on the quality and brand of the solar panel.
How Many Amps Does A 200 Watt Solar Panel Produce?
A 200 watt solar panel produces roughly 11.1A per peak sun hour.
Can You Use a 200W Solar Panel Without Batteries?
You can use a 200W solar panel without batteries but you won’t be able to use the power at night and you will lose any excess power you generate.
How Many 200 Watt Solar Panels Do I Need for My House?
The average household needs 33 200 watt solar panels to produce 100% of their daily energy needs.
How Fast Will a 200 Watt Solar Panel Charge a 12-Volt Battery?
A 200w solar panel will charge a 12V battery at a rate of 11.1A per peak sun hour. So if you have a 50Ah battery, the panel will charge it in roughly 5 hours.
Can a 200 Watt Solar Panel Run a Refrigerator?
A 200W solar panel can run a 500W refrigerator for 6 hours, assuming a 33% duty cycle.
Can a 200 Watt Solar Panel Run an Air Conditioner?
A 200W solar panel can run a 500W room air conditioner for about 2.5 hours, assuming a 66% duty cycle.
Can a 200 Watt Solar Panel Run a Space Heater?
A 200W solar panel can run a 1500W space heater for 50 minutes, assuming an 80% duty cycle.
As promised, we have answered the question of what you can power with a 200W solar panel.
To run larger appliances, like refrigerators and air conditioners, you will need multiple 200W solar panels.
However, if you’re looking to power more basic appliances like lights, fans, and small electronics, a single 200W solar panel can easily handle all your energy needs.
So go ahead and invest in a 200W solar panel today to start harnessing the power of the sun!