In this article, I’ll use examples to answer a few of the most frequently asked questions about 200W solar panels, such as:
how much power does a 200 watt solar panel produce? what can a 200 watt solar panel run? how many batteries are needed? and more.
How many amps does a 200 watt solar panel produce?
In terms of current, 12V-200W solar panels are usually rated at 8 to 10 Amps. The amperage of the solar panel is generally specified by the manufacturer under Imp or Impp, which stands for Current at Maximum Power.
For example, this 200W solar panel from Renogy has an operating current of 8.85 Amps.
Some 200-watt solar panels have a nominal voltage of 24 Volts instead of 12 Volts, these solar panels produce around 5 Amps of current. For example, this 200W solar panel from Rich Solar has an Impp of 5.36 Amps.
How much power does a 200 watt solar panel produce?
Solar panels are rated in perfect conditions, meaning that under maximum solar irradiance (1000 W/m2) and perfect temperature (77°F), a 200 Watt solar panel will produce 200 watts. However, in the real world, and depending mainly on how sunny it is, that same panel will realistically produce anywhere from 0 to 180 Watts.
The amount of power a 200W solar panel produces also depends on the quality of the panel. The wattage produced will fluctuate throughout the day, but a good quality 200 watt panel will produce around 160-180 watts under direct sunlight.
Keep in mind that Power and Energy are two different things; electrical power is measured in Watts (W) while electrical energy is measured in Watt-hours (Wh).
Let’s see how much energy can a 200W panel produce.
How much energy does a 200-watt solar panel produce?
A 200 watt solar panel produces between 700Wh and 1300Wh of daily energy. Other than the wattage rating of the solar panel, the amount of energy it produces each day will depend on your location (location of installation) and weather conditions.
Energy Production (Watt-hours) = Power production (Watts) x Time (hours)
The best way to estimate how much energy a solar panel will produce per day, is to multiply its power rating (200 watts) by the number of peak sun hours it would get each day.
Here’s a map of the yearly average peak sun hours that different locations in the U.S. have access to:
Let’s see how much daily energy a 200 watt panel can produce in 2 different locations.
Location 1: Houston, Texas.
Assuming a 200 watts solar panel is facing south, the yearly average of peak sun hours it would receive per day is around 5 hours.
Average daily energy production = 200 Watts x 5 hours = 1000Wh (Watt-hours)
Location 2: Portland, Oregon.
If the same 200 watt solar panel is facing south but installed somewhere in Portland, Oregon, it would only get around 4 hours of daily peak sun hours.
Average daily energy production = 200 Watts x 4 hours = 800Wh (Watt-hours)
A more precise way of estimating the amount of energy that a 200W solar panel would produce in your location, is to use the Peak Sun Hours provided by NREL’s PVWatts calculator.
All you have to do is submit your address. For example, I submitted a random address in Austin, TX, and the tool estimate that this location receives – on average – 5.52 kWh/m2 of sunlight energy per day. This is equivalent to 5.52 peak sun hours per day.
In this particular location, a 200-watt solar panel would produce 1100 Wh of energy per day (1.1 kWh/day) on average.
You can also use monthly averages to predict energy production for a particular month. For example, in this location, a 200W solar panel would – on average – produce 828 Wh/day of energy in January.
How many amp-hours does a 200 watt solar panel produce?
A 200W / 12V solar panel can produce about 60 – 100 Ah (Amp-hours) a day.
Following the same examples used above, a person from Houston, Texas could potentially get 84 Amp-hours per day out of their 200W solar panel; while a person in Portland, Oregon would only get about 67 Amp-hours out of the same panel.
To get a perspective of what these values mean, let’s see what you can run with the amount of energy a 200W solar panel produces.
What can a 200 watt solar panel run?
Given that the appliances are not running all the time and that you manage your power consumption correctly, a 200 watt solar panel can provide enough energy to run a laptop, LED lights, an energy-efficient mini-fridge, an exhaust fan, a coffee maker, and a 32” LED TV.
To get a better understanding of what to expect, take a look at the table below which contains typical appliances and their power consumption:
|Appliances||Power input||Energy Consumption|
|Energy efficient mini-fridge||170W starting – 70W running||Around 600Wh daily consumption if plugged all day.|
|LED light bulb||8W||8Wh of energy per hour of usage.|
|Incandescent light bulb||60W||60Wh of energy per hour of usage.|
|32″ LED TV||30W||30Wh of energy per hour of usage.|
|Exhaust fan||20W-30W||20Wh-30Wh of energy per hour of usage.|
|Phone charger||5W-10W||5Wh-10Wh of energy per hour of charging.|
|Laptop (Charged and running)||15W-25W||15Wh-25Wh of energy per hour of usage.|
|Laptop (Charging)||40W-70W||40Wh-70Wh per hour while charging.|
|Coffee maker||700W-900W||40Wh-60Wh of energy for each usage.|
|Toaster||700W-900W||40Wh-60Wh of energy for each usage.|
|Hair dryer||1000W||15Wh-20Wh of energy per minute of usage.|
|Table fan||40W||40Wh of energy per hour of use|
As long as you know how much energy you produce and how much energy you’d like to offset, you’ll be able to manage.
Keep in mind that Energy Consumption is in Watt-hours, and can be calculated by multiplying the power input (Watts) by time of usage (hours).
Energy Consumption = Watts x hours
So in order to know what a 200 watt solar panel can run for you, it’s very important to know how much energy your electric appliances consume in Watt-hours (Wh).
The values provided in the table are typical; if you can’t find what you’re looking for in the table or want more specific values, you can look for the specs label stuck or imprinted on your appliance and you’ll be able to figure out its power input.
For example, this is the specs label on my fan:
The label says the fan has a power input of 40W, so if I were to use it for 2 hours a day, it would consume 80Wh of energy (40W x 2 hours).
If the label on your device does not show a power value, look for volts (V) and amps (A).
For example if the label on the fan had 20V / 2A on it, we could easily calculate the wattage by multiplying volts by amps:
Watts = Volts x Amps
here are 2 examples of some combinations of appliances a single 200 watt solar panel could power:
|Appliance||Power input||Energy consumption|
|Coffee maker||800 watts||3 minutes to make coffee, 3 mins = 0.05 hour, if I use the coffee maker one time a day, its power consumption is 800 watts x 0.05 hours = 40 Wh|
|3 LED light bulbs||3 x 8 = 24||If all LED light bulbs are used for 3 hours for example; 24 watts x 3 hours = 72 Wh|
|32” LED TV||30 watts||For 2 hours 30 watts x 2 hours = 60 Wh|
|Energy-efficient mini-fridge||160 watts starting / 60 watts running||If the fridge is plugged all day it will consume about 600 Wh daily|
If I were to use a coffee maker in the morning, turn on 3 LED light bulbs at once in the evening for 3 hours, watch TV for 2 hours and have a mini-fridge plugged in all day, my energy consumption for this day would look like this:
Energy Consumption = 40Wh + 72Wh + 60Wh + 600Wh = 772Wh/day
|Appliance||Power input||Energy consumption|
|Coffee maker||800 watts||3 minutes to make coffee, 3 mins = 0.05 hour, if I use the coffee maker one time a day, its power consumption is 800 watts x 0.05 hours = 40Wh|
|Laptop (charged and running)||15 watts||You use a laptop while it’s plugged for 4 hours, its energy consumption can be calculated like this: 15 watts x 4 = 60Wh|
|2 incandescent light bulbs||2 x 60 watts = 120 watts||For 3 hours 120 watts x 3 hours = 360Wh|
|Exhaust fan||20 watt||If the fan runs for 6 hours: 20 watts x 6 hours = 120Wh|
|3 phones charging||3 x 8 watts = 24 watts||If it takes 1 hour to charge each of the phones:
24 watts x 1 hour = 24Wh
If I were to use a coffee maker in the morning, turn on 2 incandescent light bulbs at once in the evening for 3 hours, use my laptop for 4 hours, charge 3 phones, and have my exhaust fan on running for 6 hours, my energy consumption for this day would look like this:
Energy Consumption = 40Wh + 60Wh + 360Wh + 24Wh + 120Wh = 604Wh/day
Another important thing to note is that it is possible for a 200w solar panel to run all of these appliances at once, however, a battery would be necessary.
Let’s talk about the battery bank you need for a 200 watt panel.
How many batteries do I need for a 200 watt solar panel?
There are 2 things to consider when figuring out the battery capacity needed for your 200W solar panel, the battery will need to:
- Have enough capacity to store all the energy your solar panel produces throughout the day.
- Have a high enough capacity to power all the appliances without being completely depleted.
How many batteries can a 200 watt solar panel charge?
A 200W/12V solar panel that gets 5 peak sun hours a day can produce 1000Wh of energy every day. That’s enough energy to charge a 100Ah/12V battery or two 50Ah/12V batteries wired in parallel.
But depending on the chemistry of the battery or batteries you’re using, you might need more than 100Ah of battery storage.
How many batteries do I need for a 200 watt solar panel?
To properly store and use the energy produced by a 12V – 200W solar panel, you need 100Ah of battery capacity if you’re using a lithium battery, or 200Ah of battery capacity if you’re using a lead-acid battery.
For example, you’ll either need one 100Ah Lithium-Iron-Phosphate (LiFePo4) battery or two 100Ah Sealed Lead-Acid batteries wired in parallel.
Even though the energy source is the same (one 200w solar panel), the battery capacity needed is relative to the type of battery. That’s because a battery’s cycle life is affected by how deep you discharge it (depth of discharge), and some battery types are affected more than others.
for example, the optimal depth of discharge for a lead-acid battery is around 50%, while for a lithium battery it’s 80% or more. If these batteries are discharged deeper than recommended, they won’t last as long they should
For a bigger solar energy system, there are a few more variables to consider when determining the number of batteries you need.
I recommend you check this article: how many batteries and solar panels do I need for off-grid.