100 Watt Solar Panels: Our EASY Comprehensive Guide
If you’re an RV owner, an avid camper, or a conservationist, solar energy is an excellent option to power your electricity needs.
100-watt solar panels are compact, moveable, and easy to find, making them great energy sources for camping, RV traveling, or cutting electricity bill costs. Here, we will explore all aspects of the 100-watt solar panel, so you know exactly what you’ll get if you purchase one.
100 Watt Solar Panel Cost
100-watt solar panels vary in cost because you can either purchase them as a singular product or by a solar panel kit which provides everything you need to install and connect the panels to a battery or your power source.
If you already have brackets, cables, and charge controllers, then you don’t need the kit and can pay significantly less for the panels alone. A 100-watt panel averages around $100, while a 100-watt solar panel kit costs $300 or more.
It’s important to note that many solar panels and kits are not of the same caliber. Remember to keep durability and efficiency in mind.
100 Watt Solar Panel Size
100-watt panels come in different sizes, influencing their harnessing capacity. Different brands design panels in varying sizes, each one proclaiming optimum efficiency.
The standard dimensions for a 100-watt solar panel that you can expect are around 40 x 20 x 1.5 in.
100 Watt Solar Panel Power Capacity
100-watt solar panels are small and portable, like our best portable solar panels here. This portability is incredibly convenient for camping trips and RV owners whose energy needs are significantly lower than an entire household. To help put this into perspective, the U.S. Department of Energy puts it like this:
A solar electric or photovoltaic (PV) system can reliably produce electricity for your home or office. These small or distributed solar systems are often installed by home or business owners to offset their electricity costs.
Taking that into account, let’s now answer address the big question of “What can a 100-watt solar panel power?” Ultimately, there are many factors involved in a 100-watt solar panel’s power capacity including:
- The size of your battery
- The energy each device you power requires
- The number of devices you want to power simultaneously
Generally speaking, you can think about the power capacity of a single 100 watt panel like this:
A 100 watt panel is best for powering small electronics rather than household appliances like microwaves, AC units, or refrigerators.
100 Watt Solar Panel Manufacturers
Various companies produce 100-watt solar panels, the most popular of which is Renogy, whose panels consistently rank as best sellers.
Again, companies manufacture panels and solar panel kits with varying designs that provide different degrees of efficiency, so it’s always advisable to read through customer reviews and manufacturer specs.
Our favorite manufacturers of 100-watt solar panels include companies like Coleman, Eco-Worth, Newpowa, WindyNation, HQST, and Richsolar.
For my RV owners out there, you can check out our best solar kits for campers with our list of curated manufacturers that we trust.
100 Watt Solar Panel Networks
If you want more wattage for your electrical needs, you can always buy multiple panels and link them together in a series. Logically, for every panel you add, you receive an additional 100-watts of power.
With 300-400 watts, you can effectively power larger appliances like Energy Star rated refrigerators. If you’re not sure of the exact power draw of your refrigerator you want to power, check out our full guide on how many solar panels you need power a refrigerator.
100 Watt Solar Panel Energy Production
The solar energy production of a 100-watt panel depends on the amount of sunlight it harnesses, and consequently, the weather. The sunnier the climate, the more energy you will reap from your panels, considering how solar energy works. One hundred watts is the maximum amount of power you can harness, but it is hardly 100% achievable.
However, you don’t need 100% efficiency with your solar panel to generate a large amount of usable power. Elon Musk, founder of Tesla, Space X, and many more innovative companies said it best when discussing the sun:
It just works. It shows up every day and produces ridiculous amounts of power.
That said, while the sun does its thing, there are ways to maximize your solar panel system’s efficiency including the accuracy of installation. You must ensure the solar panels point directly into the sun. Additionally, the sun produces varying amounts of energy throughout the day, with dawn and dusk making only a fraction of non-sun energy (3).
100 Watt Solar Panel Energy Storage
A watt is the measurement of energy output, and an amp is the measurement of electrical current. Watts are the product of multiplying voltage and current. An amp-hour is the electrical charge measurement in a battery, and a watt-hour measures energy consumed in one hour.
It’s essential to know these measurements because you will want to pair a battery with a 100-watt panel to store energy, optimizing energy usage. To help all this sink in and better understand battery storage, check out this clever video by RFTechGuy C.A.D.:
With (x2) 100 watt solar kits, including (x4) 35amp batteries, he managed to take his coffee maker off the grid. Now that’s energy on demand!
No, you technically can not use a 100 watt solar panel without sunlight.
However, a battery will let you use power from the sun when it is no longer shining, which you couldn’t do if you relied solely on the panels for your power. When purchasing a battery, it needs to store twice as much energy as your panels can produce on any given day.
We already know that, under optimal conditions, 100-watt solar panels produce 100 watts of power, but how many amps does a 100-watt solar panel produce?
A 100-watt solar panel can produce a maximum of 5.5 amps per hour (4). With this information, you can calculate the amount of time it will take to charge a battery of any given size.
The amount of time that you can use a 100 watt solar panel to charge small electronics ranges, but generally speaking, for several hours to 24 hours under optimal battery conditions is fine.
Just remember to have a proper solar charge controller, and you’ll be able to charge smartphones, laptops, routers, lamps, and LEDs with a single 100-watt panel. For more solar tips to help you harness the sun’s natural energy, click or tap this for our homepage.
- Environmental Impacts of Solar Power. Retrieved from: https://www.ucsusa.org/resources/environmental-impacts-solar-power#.WEV3IPkrJkg
- Tesla’s Elon Musk Lights Up Social Media With A TED Style Keynote. Retrieved from: https://www.forbes.com/sites/carminegallo/2015/05/04/teslas-elon-musk-lights-up-social-media-with-a-ted-style-keynote/
- Solar Performance and Efficiency. Retrieved from: https://www.energy.gov/eere/solar/solar-performance-and-efficiency
- WHAT SIZE SOLAR PANEL DO I NEED TO CHARGE A 12V BATTERY? Retrieved from: https://www.renogy.com/blog/what-size-solar-panel-do-i-need-to-charge-a-12v-battery/
Hi, Im Dara. Born and raised in Farmingdale NY and I spend my time online covering alternative energy news and local developments,in the space. My mission is to help more people realise the benefits of using alternative energy. When i’m not blogging about energy you’ll find me walking my dog, working out, or practicing meditation!