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If you’re planning to go off-grid, there’s likely to be a number of questions hovering around your mind. With this, you may be wondering how many solar panels it would take to power a deep freezer. Needless to say, refrigerator and freezers are basic daily necessities to keep food fresh.
While solar power may not seem adequate to power a freezer at first, it can be sufficient with the help of a PV system setup. To answer our original question, you will need at least two 300-watt solar panels to run a 20 ft3 freezer.
In order to keep the freezer running 24 hours a day, you would need to accompany it with two 100ah AGM batteries. A lot will also depend on other factors like the power draw of the freezer, its size, how well it is constructed, and insulation.
You will also need to consider the amount of sunlight your area gets in a day. For example, if you live in Michigan where sunlight may not be good enough for 2-3 days at a stretch, you may need more batteries to compensate for the low electricity production.
In a day of full sunshine, a 300-watt (0.3 kW) solar panel can produce 300 watt-hours of electricity in one hour. Unfortunately, the amount of sunlight will vary regularly and therefore the solar panels won’t generate a steady stream of electricity all day.
Capacity of Solar Panels to Run a Freezer
Aside from the number of solar panels you’ll need to run your freezer, it’s also important to figure out the necessary capacity of the solar panels you should use.
To make things a little clearer, here’s a formula you can use. Find out how much power your freezer consumes in watts and add 20 percent. The result will be the minimum number of solar panels you will need to power the freezer.
So, if you have a 1 – 3 ft3 freezer then its power consumption will be 20W – 100W, and the recommended solar panel size will be 100W – 120W. For a 5 – 9 ft3 size, the power consumption is 50W – 120W, and recommended size of the solar panel is 150W.
For a bigger freezer of 12 – 18 ft3 the power consumption will be 200W – 440W and the recommended solar panel size will be 550W. A much larger size of 18 – 22 ft3 will draw the power of 350W – 500W and will require a 600W solar panel.
As freezers come in various shapes, sizes and designs, the power consumption also varies widely. Furthermore, there are some models that are more energy-efficient than others. As such, you may also need to consider these factors before choosing solar panels for your home.
Battery to Run a Freezer On Solar Power
If you wish to run your deep freezer throughout the day and you plan to go off-grid, then solar panels alone will not meet your power requirements. You will also need to support your freezer with a battery to still be able to use the freezer after the sun sets.
Coming to the battery capacities, a 50ah battery can power a 3 ft3 freezer for nearly three hours. If you wish to run a freezer for 24 hours, you will need a 150-watt solar panel and a 400ah battery support. The solar panel and battery combination can produce more power than is necessary for a 5 ft3 freezer to run for a day.
Please bear in mind that solar panels are sensitive to shading, so even the slightest obstruction can hinder the rate of energy production. A small branch blocking the sunlight can have a similar effect, so set up the solar panel in a place where it can always get clear sunlight.
However, we know that it’s not always possible to have clear sunlight and that’s why batteries are necessary to give you a steady stream of power. This is the ideal way to power your freezer and other home appliances.
The batteries will also be dependent on the solar panels to get their charge and if there is a limited power supply to the cells, then the battery will not be able to run the freezer. While a battery is important to power a freezer, you also need a few other things like a charge controller and an inverter.
Types of Freezer That Work Best With Solar Panels
If you’re planning to get a freezer that will be compatible with your off-grid home, then we would suggest that you go for the most energy-efficient model possible. You may also need to consider other factors depending on your specific requirements and the design of freezers.
Also known as deep freezers, chest freezers are shaped like a box and they are the most popular type of freezer you will find. They are bulky and don’t have shelves, but they use less solar power than upright freezers.
Chest freezers come in a wide range of sizes, and some models may be as big as 40 ft3 while others can be as small as 2.1 ft3. This means you have a lot of options to choose from when it comes to deciding which one fits with your PV solar panels.
The next popular freezer type is the upright freezer, which can come in various types ranging from portable models to those larger than 18 ft3. These models consume more energy than chest freezers, but the biggest advantage is that they have shelves inside.
Due to the well-arranged shelves within, you can arrange your items on them easily. That means you don’t have to dig through the entire mountain of things when you are searching for something. Besides saving on power consumption, you will also save time with this type of freezer.
No points for guessing that these types of freezers are lightweight and best suited for RVs, camping, picnics, tailgating, and just about any outdoor activity. These freezers use less than 100 watts to run, so a portable 100W solar panel will be plenty.
While many portable freezers run on AC power, some also run on DC power. As such, you may need to check the technical specifications to see if you need an inverter. If you want to store drinks and food on the go, using a portable freezer is the best option.
How much solar power do you need to run other home appliances?
A refrigerator is considered to be one of the biggest energy guzzlers of all as they take a lot of electricity to run. According to a recent study, an average refrigerator takes approximately three or four average solar panels to operate. Next in line are televisions, which consume nearly 29 kWh of electricity per month will need 2 solar panels to keep running.
Is going off-grid a good choice for me?
Choosing to set up an off-grid solar-powered system from scratch may call for a good amount of investment, depending on the number of solar panels, batteries, inverters, and controllers you may need. While it may not be a financially sound decision for all, it’s suitable for places where power goes out frequently. Many people who are concerned about the environment also choose to go off-grid, regardless of the challenges it may pose.