Who wants to know how many volts does a 100 watt solar panel produce? Solar panels produce power using their solar cells that collect the sun’s energy. This is then converted into DC (direct-current) electricity.
The panels are made up from multiple solar cells and each cell produces around ½ of a volt of electricity. Thirty six solar cells are wired in series into a frame, usually metal. Which then collectively make up the panels final wattage, amperage and voltage rating..
A 100 watt panel as the name suggests produces 100 watts and around 5.5 amps. But how many volts does it produce?.
Quick Jump Menu
How Many Volts Does A 100 Watt Solar Panel Produce?
“You may have noticed that 100 watt solar panels are normally rated at 12 volts. But in fact a 100 watt panel usually produces around 17 to 18 volts. Whoops, that is too many and can lead to battery overcharging. This is dealt with by the solar charge controller which dampens down the panel’s output to the correct voltage. Usually 13 to 15 volts to safely charge a battery”
What are volts?
Fluke.com says; Voltage is the pressure from an electrical circuit’s power source that pushes charged electrons (current) through a conducting loop. This enables them to do work such as charge a battery. In brief, voltage = pressure, and it is measured in volts (V). The term recognizes Italian physicist Alessandro Volta (1745-1827), inventor of the voltaic pile. (Source; fluke.com)
What Are The Uses Of A 100 Watt 12 Volt Solar Panel?
The uses of a 100 watt solar panel are wide and varied but it is really an undersized solar panel. That means it is really only meant for use in portable applications. For instance it can’t really be used to provide power for a residence.
This is because the average home uses around 2,918 watts (2.92Kw) per day. That means to power the average house 30 x 100 watt solar panels would be required. I don’t know about you. But I have not seen an average home roof large enough to accommodate that many solar panels.
They can be used around the home mainly for providing power to outbuildings. But their main use is for camping with a recreational vehicle, motorhome, van, trailer, caravan or tent. Or for use with a boat or yacht.
Their use to charge portable power stations is also handy. Power stations can be used around the home to help reduce electricity bills. And are great during power outages and other electrical emergencies.
Can 100 Watt 12 Volt Solar Panels Be Used To Power Outbuildings?
A 100 watt panel is great for providing power to outbuilding at your home. Such as sheds, garages, workshops and other small buildings. You may want to use solar panels in these types of buildings if you want to become more energy self-sufficient.
Perhaps you have had a quote and it is just too expensive to run electrical cables to the building. Or you feel that you want to start to reduce your carbon footprint because you are concerned about global warming.
Or because you want to reduce the bills from your utility company over time. Whichever it is a 100 watt solar panel or two can help you achieve those goals.
What Hardware Will I Need To Provide Solar Power To An Outbuilding?
If you are any good at DIY you will find it quite easy to install 100 watt solar panels to an outbuilding. Like me if you are not you will have to bring a professional in. But either way you will need;
- A 100 watt solar panel or two
- Possibly a mounting frame for the solar panels
- A solar charge controller
- A battery or two
- An Inverter (If you want to provide AC power)
The use of an AC inverter will depend on if you want to use normal domestic appliances such as power tools. If you don’t and just want to provide lighting and charging capabilities you can use a DC system. I think the easiest way to provide electrical outlets would be to use cig lighter sockets.
Can I Use 12 Volt 100 Watt Solar Panels To Power An RV, Camper, Tent Or Boat
There are four main types of 12 volt 100 watt portable solar panels that can be used to power mobile applications. They are;
- Soft Foldable
They can all be used to charge house and starter batteries along with portable power stations. The best and most efficient solar cell type to use are monocrystalline. They are more efficient than both polycrystalline and thin-film with some mono’s claiming up to 25% efficiency.
Rigid And Flexible 100 Watt 12 Volt Solar panels
Rigid or flexible 100 watt solar panels are ideal for installing to a RV, camper, trailer or boat. The main reason is because of their size and weight. Any moving vehicle wants to be carrying as little weight as possible to reduce fuel consumption.
The limited space on the average recreational vehicle roof precludes the use of large solar panels. So a smaller sized solar panel is particularly well suited for this. If you take into consideration the size, weight and flexibility of a 100 watt flexible panel. Its installation to a vehicle with curved surfaces is an ideal solution.
Flexible panels can also be used with tents. Because they are so light they can be hung from them using carabiners and rope. Just make sure they are pointing towards the sun.
Briefcase/Suitcase 100 Watt 12 volt Portable Solar Panels
Foldable 100 watt 12 volt solar suitcases are usually made from glass and metal. They fold in the middle like a paste table and are a great solution for charging batteries in an off-grid setting. Not only are they easily transported they can collect more sunlight per day than their installed cousins.
This is because they can be stood up at a 45° angle to the sun. They can also be moved around throughout the day to directly face the sun. While solar panels fitted flat on a roof will only collect the best sunlight when the sun is directly overhead.
They are a complete portable solution for use with solar power stations meaning they can be set up anywhere. Especially useful if you are camping with a tent or a smaller camper van.
Soft Foldable 100w 12 Volt Solar Panels
Soft foldable solar panels are recognizable because they have multiple smaller solar panels. These are usually sewn into an industrial strength polyester or nylon frame. They are very light in weight but they do not usually have a stand.
They can be used when flat on the ground but it is better to use them hung from a vehicle, tent or tree. Their main advantage over suitcase types is their weight meaning they can be more easily carried on foot. Great for use at the beach, in parkes and days out in conjunction with a portable power station.
My Closing Thoughts
A 12 volt 100 watt solar panel produces far too many volts for charging a battery. So a solar charge controller is required to regulate the voltage down to the correct amount. If you try to charge a battery without a charge controller you risk frying it.
You can use either a Pulse Wave Modulation (PWM) or an Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) controller. It is better to use an MPPT solar charge controller because it is more efficient than a PWM. You do not have to worry about using a controller with a portable power station. This is because it will have one built in along with an inverter.
If you want to know more about solar charge controllers follow this link;
I hope you enjoyed this post and have found it helpful. If you have any questions about 100 watt solar panels and how many volts they produce. Or want to leave your own personal review, please feel free to leave a comment below.