What is the size and specifications of a 50 watt solar panel? You might be thinking about using a small solar panel to charge a small battery. Or to keep a larger battery topped off and because of its size and weight it seems ideal.
There are loads of different 50 watt solar panel manufacturers out there. Because of this I will be using the sizes and specifications of three monocrystalline 12 volt rigid panels. They are the Renogy, ACOPOWER and Newpowa panels.
I will be averaging out their specs to present an overall picture of a 50 watt panel’s makeup and characteristics. I hope this will help you decide if a 50w will be suitable for use in your proposed solar setup.
What Is The Size And Specifications Of A 50 Watt Solar Panel?
“Using our 3 examples the average size and specifications are;
- Size; 22.59 x 20.39 x 1.18inch/573.77 x 517.9 x 29.97mm
- Weight; 7.41lbs/3.36Kg
- Maximum Operating Voltage (VMP); 18.39V
- Maximum Operating Current (Imp); 2.79A
- Open-Circuit Voltage (Voc); 21.81V
- Short-Circuit Current (Isc); 2.99A
I think we can safely say that the above averages are pretty typical of a 50 watt solar panel“
From these averages you should be able to work out if a 50 watt panel will be perfect for your project. Below is a table that gives you the individual solar panels sizes and specifications. Don’t worry I am not going to turn the rest of the post into a maths lesson.
|Specifications||ACOPOWER 50 Watt 12V Monocrystalline Solar Panel||Newpowa 50 Watt 12V Monocrystalline Solar Panel||Renogy 50 Watt 12V Monocrystalline Solar Panel|
|Wattage||50 Watts – 12 Volt||50 Watts – 12 Volt||50 Watts – 12 Volt|
|Efficiency||High Efficiency||Class A High Efficiency||High Efficiency|
|Dimensions||21.08 x 21.08 x 1.18 inch/550x550x30mm||23.07 x 20.08 x 1.18Inch/586 x 510 x 30mm||22.9 x 20.0 x 1.2inch|
|Weight||6.8 lbs/3.1kg||7.72lbs/3.50Kg||7.72 lb/3.5 kg|
|Maximum Operating Voltage (VMP)||19.8V||16.77||18.6V|
|Maximum Operating Current (Imp)||2.53A||3.15A||2.69A|
|Open-Circuit Voltage (Voc)||23.3V||19.83V||22.3V|
|Short-Circuit Current (Isc)||2.73A||3.31A||2.94A|
|Junction Box Rating||IP65 (Waterproof)||N/A||IP65 (Waterproof)|
|Output Cables||16 AWG (3.2ft Long)||3ft with MC Connectors||14 AWG (1.31ft Long)|
If you would like to know more about 50 watt solar panels and charging 12V batteries. Follow this link;
What Is The Construction Of A 50 Watt 12V Monocrystalline Rigid Solar Panel?
The illustrated 50 watt panels are made from monocrystalline solar cells and have a high efficiency.
Monocrystalline solar panels have the highest efficiency rates, typically in the 15-20% range.
This high efficiency rate means they produce more power per square foot, and are therefore very space-efficient. (Source; geothermhvac.com)
The monocrystalline cells are encased between a layer of Ethylene Vinyl Acetate (EVA). With the panels backing being made from Tedlar Polyester Tedlar (TPT) which helps dissipate heat. This is important in solar panel design and manufacture because heat can cause problems with efficiency.
If you didn’t know solar cells start to lose efficiency when their temperature starts rising over 25°centigrade. That’s around 77° Fahrenheit. The TPT backing is supposed to help with dissipating some of the heat.
So to help keep the 50 watt panel cooler it is best to mount it on a frame rather than flat on a surface. Because mounted on a frame an airflow is created underneath the solar panel keeping it cooler.
Meanwhile back to the construction of the solar panel. It is fronted with class. The glass can be described as low iron tempered, reinforced, anti-reflection and transparent. The description and specifications along with how thick the glass is depends on the manufacturer.
The whole thing is encased in a metal frame, usually aluminum which again can have various descriptions. These include heavy duty, corrosion resistant, anodized and even lightweight. But they all have predrilled holes for mounting and drainage, a junction box and MC4 connectors.
If you would like more information on what a 50 watt solar panel will run. You can do so here;
What Do The Size And Specification Terms Of A 50 Watt Solar Panel Mean?
In this section I will be describing the terms used in the specifications of a 50 watt solar panel.
Watts, Volts and Amps
Watts (W) are the amount of power a solar panel can produce in this case 50 watts. This is usually expressed with the formula volts x amps equals watts (V x A = W). I did promise earlier on I wasn’t going to give you a math lesson so I am not. I will just give you formulas and leave you to do the actual math if you wish.
Volts (V) are the force needed to drive current (amps) in the wiring against electrical resistance (Ohms)
Amps (A) describes the amount of electrical current flowing through a wire. Strictly speaking it is the number of electrons flowing through the wire. But I am trying to present the terms in an easily understood way.
To use the water pipe analogy. Watts are the water’s power. volts are the pressure and amps are the rate of flow (current).
VMP. IMP, VOC and ISC
Maximum Operating Voltage (VMP)
The maximum operating voltage or VMP should not be exceeded. Because it is the amount of voltage the system will operate safely at without damaging it
Maximum Operating Current (Imp)
Maximum operating current or Imp is the number of amps produced when the solar panel is at maximum output.
Open-Circuit Voltage (Voc)
Solar 4 RVs says;
The open circuit voltage is the maximum voltage that the solar panel can produce with no load on it. (Source; solar4rvs.com.au)
In case you are new to solar and don’t know what a load is. It is an application that consumes electricity for it to work such as a lightbulb.
Short-Circuit Current (Isc)
The short-circuit current or Isc is used to calculate the size of fuse to use if there is a short circuit. It is also the measure of amps the 50 watt panel can process while connected to a device. Such as a solar charge controller or inverter.
I thought I would include something about output cables. Because some people reading this post will be new to solar. The greater the electrical current (amps) the thicker the wire you need to carry the amps.
This is measured in American Wire Gauge or AWG; other parts of the world might use mm or inches. The diameter or thickness of the cable is important because if you try to push too many amps through. The wire will become hot and may cause a fire. So always make sure your wiring is of the correct size by checking the specifications.
If you would like to know more about 50 watt solar panels and amps. You can find more out here;
What Solar Charge Controllers Can Be Used With 50 Watt Solar Panels?
There are two types of solar charge controller you can use with a 50 watt solar panel. Pulse Wave Modulation (PWM) or Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT). A PWM controller will do a great job but if you want maximum efficiency it’s MPPT all the way.
Connecting 50 watt solar Panels In Series Or Parallel
An MPPT controller is more expensive. But might be worth the cost if you are thinking of connecting several 50w panels together. This can be achieved by connecting in series or parallel.
If you don’t know what the difference is in the connections.
Series connecting makes the voltage of the system incremental but the amperage stays the same. For example connecting 2 x 12V panels together will increase the total voltage output to 24V. But the amps will remain at 2.79A using our earlier IMP average specifications
Parallel connecting makes the amperage in the system incremental but the voltage stays the same. For example connecting 2 x 12V panels together will increase the total amperage to 5.58A. That is 2.79A x 2 using our earlier IMP average specifications but the volts will remain at 12V.
What Size Solar Charge Controller?
The size of solar charge controller you need for a single 12V 50 watt solar panel is 10A. Yes if you do the math it doesn’t need to be that large, only 5A. But if you want to use an MPPT controller 10A is probably the smallest you can find. Because you might want some sort of output reading like LED’s or an LCD screen.
Some PWM controllers will not charge lithium batteries. So when you are sourcing a controller if you are using lithium make sure it will charge it. You can usually find this in the manufacturer’s specifications. Don’t risk it if it doesn’t say it does give it a miss.
Either way it’s best to use one of them because not using a controller will seriously damage your battery. I will give you fair warning now that if you are thinking about not using a controller to save money. Don’t because ultimately you will overcharge your battery costing you much more replacing it.
If you would like to take a peek at some solar charge controllers you can do so here:
My Closing Thoughts
Knowing the average size of a 50 watt solar panel will help you with your measurements. As I mentioned earlier all the panels are roughly the same size so you shouldn’t have too much trouble.
The specifications and customer reviews are what you will use to select a panel. So I hope I have presented enough specification information for you to move ahead with your project. And if you are new to solar you understand more about what those specifications mean.
If you would like to take a look at the 50 watt panels I have used as an illustration in this post. You can do so by following this link;
I hope you enjoyed this post and have found it helpful. If you have any questions about 50 watt solar panel size and specifications. Or want to leave your own personal review, please feel free to leave a comment below.
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