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Electronics Novice - Is is possible to get enough electricity from a few solar panels to power a laptop, light, minifridge, and air conditioning?

SolarSagan

New Member
Hi team,

I am building a tiny house and wanted to know if it is possible with a few solar panels to power a light, laptop, minifridge, kettle, and some form of air conditioning (even if it is only a fan).

Obviously this could be done with enough electricity, but I want my tiny home to be on a trailer, with the solar panels in the roof. Obviously, this restricts how much room I will have for the solar panels.

I knew someone in that past who did this but they could only run one thing at a time. They put a fan on with something else and it ended up damaging melting something (I forget what it melted).

I know nothing about electronics, I intend on learning more about it over time. But is my actual goal achievable? Please keep your answers non-technical. I start my electronics journey today.
 

gophert

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
Look at the devices and write down all their wattage ratings. Then figure out the highest total wattage of some real combinations. You won't use a heater and AC at the same time or cook and sew at the same time so figure out real worst-case scenarios. 9nce you have a total, multiply by 1.25 for a 25% safety factor to get your grand total. Then look at some panels. If they are rated at 200w each and your grand total is 2500 watts, then you'll need 12 or 13 panels. Look up the real wattages of devices and panels.
 

crutschow

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
If you need to use the solar power at night (such as the fridge), then you will need to charge a battery with the solar cells during the day.
The panels will need to provide enough energy to the battery to run everything you need at night.

And note that the maximum output of a solar panel only occurs with direct sunlight perpendicular (90 degrees) to the panel.
As the angle between the panel and the sun changes, so does the panel output (by the cosine of the angle).

How how much roof area for the panels do you have?
 

MacIntoshCZ

Active Member
laptop (100W peak gaming, 50W standart), light (300W peak?),
minifridge (10W peak?), air conditioning (demend on temperature, room space, kW peak?)
100+50+300+10+1000 -> 1460, Yeah few (6) at least 300W panels placed on sunny area like sahara could do that.,
 

ronsimpson

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
If you use 1/2 of your watts during the day there may not be enough to make it through the night. (battery) I think you need to plan on half of the power going to charging batteries.

The panel rating is based on noon, clear day, no smog, everything being just right. You are not going to get that. Some where there should be numbers on what you can get from 6am to 6pm, which is probably 1/2 of the noon rating.

I knew someone that can only run one appliance at a time. You have to plan ahead.
 

MacIntoshCZ

Active Member
BTW if you are building new house think about passive home design. No cooling needed...
 

crutschow

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
BTW if you are building new house think about passive home design. No cooling needed...
What's a "passive" house and why wouldn't it require cooling on a hot day?
 

ronsimpson

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
What's a "passive" house
Passive houses are heated (with out panels) but by south facing windows. House is cooled by vents usually with out fans. Usually the house does things with out or with little electricity.
 

ChrisP58

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
What's a "passive" house and why wouldn't it require cooling on a hot day?
A passive house uses an extensive amount of insulation so that very little energy is needed to cool or heat them.

The problem with doing this with a tiny house is that just opening a door can exchange a good percentage of the interior air with the hot or cold outside air.
 

ronsimpson

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
Depending on where you live:
Where I live "normal" houses must have 6" thick walls and some well insulated houses have 12" walls. In a tiny house this leaves very little area to live in. I have not looked at the codes for a while but I think the tiny houses can have 4" walls. I have see 3" walls.
Passive: I have seen houses where the south wall is all glass. The Sun's heat enters the house and heats the floor and walls with out any electricity. Some people have black stones for a floor that traps the heat and holds for many hours.
 

wkrug

Active Member
To Configure a Solar Plant isn't an easy Task.
First You have to calculate how much Energy need ( kWh ).
Any heating and cooling devices need the most Power.
( A simple Water Cooker has about 1000W )
When using LED Light this would be one of the smallest consumer.
Where do You live ( Cloud free time )? What Season it is ? ( Sun Time per Day ).

The Power of the Panels datasheet are described for maximum possible.
In Middle Europe You can get a Maximum of 80 percent of this at meridium on good summer day's.
When it is Cloudy or Foggy You can get about 10 Percent of max Power.

A Sun Tracking of the Panels can increase the collected Power!

How much kWh You need in the Night time? - That will give You the Capacity of Your Buffer Akku's.

The Panels have to deliver the Day - Power plus Charging the Akkus for the Night plus reserve.

I guess a 200% Over Powering of the Panels and the Akku is the lowest possible Calculation ( It could rain 3 Days long with 10Percent Power Collecting ).

All that Calculations above are valued and has to be verified and exact Calculated!
 

shokjok

Member
A zero-emission home was built in my locale two years ago, and was displayed for a time on campus ( www.sait.ab.ca). Its whereabouts are currently unknown; I never patronized it nor am I part of the alumni.
 

gophert

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
I've heard that passive homes often develop mold issues after a few seasons.
 

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