What Will a 200 watt Solar Panel Run? (Quick Detailed Answer!)

I have multiple 200W solar panels, which I use for camping and weekend RV trips.

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Converting sunlight into electricity with the help of my Renogy 200 watt solar panels during camping.

I remember when i was thinking about getting a solar panel, i was curious to know how much power will 200 watt solar panel produce, and also what can i power with it.

After using them for more than a year now, I can give you an idea on what appliance a 200 watt solar panel can run or power.

200 watt solar panel output

How much total power or energy a 200 watt solar panel produces will depend on the amount of solar irradiance your location receives. Solar irradiance is the power per unit area (surface power density) received from the Sun.

With the help of PVWatts Calculator by NREL, you can calculate it easily. Enter your address (complete or just city name) and click GO>>. Confirm the location with the help of a map and click “RESULTS”.

This will give you data on total solar irradiance (also known as solar radiation) of your location. 

Screenshot: Solar irradiance data of Florida city. Source: NREL calculator

In solar world, we call it peak sun hours. 1 peak sun hour is equal to 1000 watts per meter square (kW/m2) of solar radiation.

In simple words _ 1 peak sun hour = 1kWh/m2 solar radiation.

Based on the above picture, Florida city, on average receives about 5.7 peak sun hours per day.

Still, have any confusion about peak sun hours or about the above calculator? Read my in-depth article on peak sun hours.

Solar panel output formula

How Much Power Will 200 Watt Solar Panel Produce?

Formula: Solar panel output = (Solar Panel rated wattage × Peak sun hours) × 0.8

You might say, why multiply it by 0.8? Well, solar panels are designed to produce their rated power under standard test conditions – STC. Which includes: 1kW/m2 of sunlight intensity, 25oC temperature, and 1.5 air mass.

In real life, you’d receive about 80% output from your solar panels during one peak sun hour. To learn more about this, read my this post, in which i have explained it in detail.

Now back to the calculation. I’ll take 5 peak sun hours as an example.

(200 × 5) × 0.8
1000 × 0.8
200 watt solar panel output = 800 watt-hours

On average, a 200 watt solar panel will produce about 800 watt-hours per day (considering 5 peak sun hours). Or 160 watts per peak sun hour.

To get more accurate numbers, find out the peak sun hours for your location and make the calculation accordingly. 

Note: The above method will only give you an estimated output. In real life, results may fluctuate a bit.

In-depth article: 200W Solar Panel Output: (Amps, Watts, Volts)

DC Vs AC Power Output

Solar panels produce power output in DC (direct current). In simple words, low voltage (12-48 volts).

But most of our household appliances are designed according to our grid voltage output (110-240 stable voltage). 

So to convert DC output from solar panels we use an inverter. But the sad news is that solar inverters are not 100% efficient. Most of them are about 90% efficient. 

This means there will be a 10% power loss when converting DC into AC.

Based on the above calculations:

800 × 0.9 (90%) = 720 watt-hours

Related: Solar DC Watts To AC Watts Calculator & Formula

Watch this video to understand the basics of electricity: Watts (W), watt-hours (Wh), kilowatt-hours (kWh), amps (A), and amp-hours (Ah).

What Will A 200 Watt Solar Panel Run?

200 watt solar panel can run a medium size fridge, LED light bulbs, TV, Ceiling fan, laptops, smartphones, and other small appliances that consume less than 140-150 watts of power. But You can’t run a microwave oven, toaster, or other heavy appliances.

As we’ve discussed the estimated power output of a 200-watt solar panel and what appliance it can run, now let’s discuss some scenarios. And what rules you should follow before running any appliance on a 200 watt solar panel. 

Scenario #1 

When the battery is discharged at its recommended DoD (depth of discharge) limit, your output load should not be higher than the AC output of your solar panel at that time. 

For Example, if your solar panels are only producing 150 DC watts then you can only run a total of 130 watts of AC load on it. 

Scenario #2 

If you have stored the power production of your 200-watt solar panel in the battery bank for a night or emergency use. 

In this case, the power consumption of your output load should not be higher than the battery C-rating or discharge rate.

Every battery type has a different rate of discharge. which you can check on your battery specs sheet mentioned as c-ratings or max discharge rate.

This is not related to your solar panels but it will help to maintain the battery lifespan.

Related Post: Battery Charge And Discharge Rate Calculator

Can I run appliances directly from solar panels without batteries?

The answer is yes, but it’ll only work safely with a big solar panel system grid-tied. For a small solar panel system like 200w? Still, you can but it can damage your appliance. 

Here are some rules to follow if you still want to do it. 

  • The input power rating of the appliance should not be higher than the solar panel output at the time.
  • For DC appliances use a DC-DC voltage regulator. To run an AC appliance, you’d need an inverter.
Warning: Do it at your own risk lol. I won’t suggest it. 

Must Read: What Size Battery for 200W Solar Panel

Is 200 Watt Solar Panel Enough?

A 200-watt solar panel system would be enough for short RV trips or camping. You can run most of the basic appliances with a 200-watt solar panel and a 100Ah battery. 

Calculate the total energy consumption of your appliances that you need to run on solar power. If the daily total consumption is between 700-800 watts then having a 200w solar panel would be enough for you.

Related FAQ’s

Can a 200 watt solar panel run a fridge?

You can run any sized fridge for a few hours on a 200-watt solar panel with the help of a battery bank and inverter.

How long will 200 watt solar panel run?

A 200 watt solar panel can produce enough power to run a 100 watt AC appliance for about 7 hours (considering 5 peak sun hours) with the help of a battery.

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Chris Tsitouris is a renewable energy professional with 10+ years of experience as Director of Engineering at Solar Spectrum, previously working as Project Manager at SunPower and Energy Analyst at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. As a thought leader, Chris has authored numerous articles and research papers.

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