What Size Solar Panel Do I need?
Solar Panel Calculator Notes and Instructions
First, the notes: We hope this solar calculator will make sizing your panels and batteries a little less painful. Keep in mind that this is only a calculator, and it will directly reflect whatever you, the user, inputs into the fields. If your base calculations are off by even a little bit, the results reflected can be skewed by quite a bit, so view this as a guide, not an absolute.
With that said, here comes the disclaimer. This calculator is for educational purposes only. BatteryStuff.com is in no way responsible for the results of your calculations, and if you purchase a system based on the results of the Solar Calculator, BatteryStuff will not and cannot be held responsible for returns or exchanges for improperly sized systems. Normal RMA and exchange rules will apply to all solar charger panel purchases.
See BatteryStuff.com policies for more info.
Now the instructions:
Field #3: This field needs to be DC watt draw only. If you are using an inverter, meaning your device is rated in AC amps and 110 V, you will need to convert that number into DC watts before entering it in the field. Then you will need to add about 10% due to the inefficiency of the inverter. To get there, use the following formulas;
1 Amp AC = 10 Amps DC. (example, 2AC amps =20DC amp)
Add 10% (20 + 2 amps = 22 Amps)
DC amps x 12v = DC watts. (22 x 12 = 264 watts)
264 would be entered in field # 3
Fields #6 and #12 are for how many hours you expect your equipment to run in a 24 hour period, and your input voltage (12, 24, 36?).
Fields #14 and #18 will determine what size and how many batteries you need. In #14, insert days of backup you would like your battery pack to be good for. This is minus any solar panels, which we will figure in a minute. Field #18 is based on what battery you choose. Say you want to use a 55 AH battery because you like the dimensions, or maybe you like the 21 AH battery due to its terminal configuration. Enter your chosen battery amps there. We don’t like to see any battery discharged more than about 50%, so we will automatically adjust for that.
Still with me? Good, we are almost done. The last two fields, #22 and #25 are easy. How many hours of direct sunlight do you estimate your panel will get. Be realistic. We will then automatically guesstimate for clouds, bad weather etc. Field #25 is just like field #18 in the battery section. Look at our solar page, pick a panel you like and then enter the watts here.
That's it, were done. Not so bad, was it? Click "Next" below to take you to the calculator.