Using solar panels to power your refrigerator is a great way to reduce your electricity bill!

Aside from helping you save on cost, it also allows you to reap the benefits of a renewable energy source while providing all your energy needs.

Power consumption of a refrigerator

The power consumption of a refrigerator varies according to several factors, but most of the time it depends on the refrigerator type and size.

Large commercial refrigerators consume more energy than home refrigerators.

A two-door refrigerator may use more electricity because of its larger volume, but on the other hand, having two doors means you only one part of the refrigerator at a time thereby keeping the other part cold.

If you are planning to convert your refrigerator into a solar-powered one, it’s best to know its energy consumption and power requirement.

Power consumption calculation guide

So you’re thinking: how much power do I need to run a refrigerator?

Luckily for us, an easy way to calculate your refrigerator’s energy consumption is to look at its energy sticker or energy rating label!

In the above energy sticker, for example, simply divide the estimated yearly electricity cost, which is 270 kWh, by 365.

  • Formula: estimated yearly electricity cost ÷ 365 = average daily use

You’ll get 0.74 kWh as the average daily use.

Another way to calculate the daily energy consumption of your refrigerator is to multiply the refrigerator’s wattage by the number of hours you will likely use your fridge, then divide it by 1000.

  • Formula: (Wattage × average number of hours used per day) ÷ 1000 = daily kWh consumption

Check the energy information that comes with your refrigerator to get the data you need. These calculations will allow you to have an accurate reference about how much solar power you will need for your power supply.

How much solar power does a refrigerator need?

Once you have figured out how much power your refrigerator uses, you already know how much solar power you will need!

So you’ll need to look for a solar system that covers all of those power needs.

How many solar panels to run a refrigerator

Solar Panels installed on a roof

You already know how much energy your refrigerator needs and how much solar power is required. So now you want to know how many solar panels you need for this.

Firstly, you need to find a solar system that generates and stores enough power for these energy needs. A solar system describes the whole kit, including the solar panels but also the other components required such as an inverter, a battery bank, a sine wave inverter, a charge controller, and so on. You can read more below about these components.

You could use a single solar panel or several solar panels connected together.

For example, a single solar panel that generates 250 watts DC at peak operating conditions for four hours each day could give you at least 1 kWh per day.

Using the example above of a refrigerator that consumes 0.74 kWh per day, then one solar panel will be enough. However, if the daily power consumption of your refrigerator exceeds 1 kWh, you’ll probably need more solar panels.

At this point, you also need to consider whether you will be using your solar system to power other appliances in your home. If you also want solar panels to power your air conditioner, entertainment and surround sound systems, etc., then you need to repeat these calculations to include the other devices.

What you will need for your solar power system

Technician installing solar panels

If you’re planning to install a solar power system at your home, you will need a battery, inverter, charge controller, and solar panels.

Battery

Solar Battery

The battery is what stores the power for your solar power system. A typical solar battery, for example, could deliver 12 volts of electrical energy. However, describing the capacity of a battery to power your unit will differ depending on its amp-hour rating.

Battery size calculation guide

To know the right size of battery you will need, consider how many watts your refrigerator will need each day.

First, work out the daily total running watts your refrigerator uses.

Simply multiply the running watt-hours by the estimated number of hours your refrigerator is running in a day.

  • 80 watts x 24 hours = 1920 Total Watts

Now, calculate the amperage needed. Simply divide the total watts by the solar battery voltage.

  • 1920W ÷ 12V = 160A

Now that you have it, multiply this value by two to get the required battery size for your solar panel system. This is because many solar batteries should not be discharged by more than 50% of the capacity.

  • 160A x 2 = 320A

In this case, you should get a battery that can deliver without dropping below 50% of the battery capacity. A 400Ah (amp hours) battery, for example, would be great.

Inverter

Your refrigerator will need an alternating current (AC) power to operate. However, batteries and solar panels produce direct current (DC) power. This is why you need an inverter.

A power inverter converts the power coming from the solar batteries to the AC power that your refrigerator needs.

Charge controller

Since refrigerators consume a lot of power, charge controllers become very important.

A charge controller is like a voltage regulator that keeps the batteries from overcharging. Make sure you get a charge controller with the correct power rating for your PV system!

Solar panels

Solar Cells

No doubt, if you want to run your refrigerator on solar power then the solar panels are a pretty crucial part of your set-up!

Use the calculations above to choose the solar panels you need to cover your refrigerator use.

With all these pieces of equipment ready, you can now install your solar power setup.

Choosing the right solar panel for your refrigerator

So… Will that nice new 2000 watt solar panel kit be enough to run your fridge? Probably! But read on the be sure. In choosing the right solar panel to power your refrigerator, you will need to consider the following:

  • Solar panel quality
  • Solar panel size
  • Hours of sunlight
  • Generating capacity

Solar panel quality

When choosing a solar panel, be on the lookout for the following quality indicators.

A good solar panel is:

  • energy-efficient
  • has a low-temperature coefficient
  • uses efficient solar cells.

Low-temperature coefficient

Solar panels are meant to stay in the sun all day. Poor quality solar panels can overheat and their aging may be accelerated.

A good solar panel has a low-temperature coefficient which means temperatures won’t affect its performance.

Solar panel size

The size of your solar panel is important as it will determine how much power is generated for your refrigerator.

Many people choose a solar power system that includes many solar panels, to maximize power generation from the available roof space. If you have more solar power than your fridge needs, remember that excess energy can be used for other appliances like air conditioners!

Hours of sunlight

Sunset Solar Energy

The amount of sunlight in your area also matters in choosing the right solar panel.

If the quality of sunlight in your area is poor, you might need more solar panels to generate the power you need for your refrigerator.

How to enhance the productivity of your solar power system

To get the most out of your solar power system, consider doing the following:

Keep an eye on your refrigerator’s power usage fluctuations.

Electricity Meter

Normally, what contributes to the power consumption of your refrigerator are its size, type, and age.

Did you know that what you do actually matters too?

For example, storing hot foods in your refrigerator dramatically increases its power usage. This is because your refrigerator works double-time to maintain the temperature inside, consuming more power than normal.

So, your behaviors could mean that your solar panel does not meet the needs of your refrigerator properly.

Take care of your solar batteries.

Your batteries are a crucial part of your solar power system because they are the source of solar energy when the sun is not shining.

Regular maintenance will help in increasing the lifespan of your battery. The manufacturer will include instructions on how to maintain your batteries properly.

Solar batteries’ lifespan can also be reduced when they are constantly exposed to high temperatures, so you would want to keep them in a cool place.

Maintain your solar panels’ cleanliness.

Man cleaning solar panels

You may not realize it, but your solar panels may accumulate dirt and other materials on top of it.

When this happens, your solar panels’ ability to effectively generate power will be reduced.

So, it is a good idea to always keep them clean!

Wrap up

Finding the right solar panels for your refrigerator at home or at your business can be a difficult task. There are many different brands of solar panels and other solar equipment on the market that could power refrigerators really well.

Many brands offer high efficiencies along with competitive pricing. These companies offer the best solar panels because they combine durability and dependability with premium security and reasonable prices.

The best solar panel for your refrigerator is still the one that best fits your overall energy requirements.