# Using Solar to Power a TV- How Many Watts of Solar You Need?

If you’re on a boat, van, or living off-grid in a cabin then you may need to run some AC appliances such as a TV.

So, how many watts of solar do you need to run a TV? What else do you need besides the solar panels?

Are there additional devices you’ll need to run the TV reliably and safely?

Should you find yourself needing answers to these questions as well as other helpful tips that can save you from unnecessary purchases or replacements later then you’re in the right place!

## How Much Solar Power for a TV?

Unfortunately, there’s no one answer to this question as there are several variables to consider.

So, instead, I’ll share some guidelines that may be useful in working out how many watts of solar.

So, looking at the solar panels alone, you need at least a 100-watt solar panel to run a 42″ LED TV for about 5 hours.

Note: This assumes that the TV has an estimated power consumption of 50 watts and that the solar panels are installed in a location that receives a minimum of 4 hours of sunshine per day.

The Calculation

Use the formula, (estimated power consumption of the TV, watts x hours of using the TV)/ average number of sunshine hours at your location.

i.e. (50 watts – TV power consumption x 5 hours of runtime )/(4 hours – average sunshine hours) = 62.5 hours.

Rounding up to the next standard solar panel size (watts) -> 100 watts solar.

Note, you may need more watts of solar power:

• if the power consumption of the TV is larger or there’re other appliances you need to run at the same time
• your location receives fewer hours of sunshine.

What if you Need to Size your Solar system Components for other appliances?

You can also use access the free downloadable off-grid solar system calculator to quickly work out how many watts of solar, solar charge controller, battery, and inverter size to use for your appliances.

## Can a 100-watt Solar Panel Run a TV?

Yes, as seen above the electrical energy from a 100-watt solar panel or larger can run a TV with a power draw of 50 watts for about 5 hours.

However, the solar panel is only part of the equipment you need to consider.

Additionally, you’ll need a charge controller, battery, and a power inverter for a TV that uses AC power.

### How Many Solar Panels You Need?

In the case of a 100-watt solar panel, you can use 1 x 100-watt solar panel or 2 x 50-watt solar panels to charge the battery.

Make sure the output voltage of the solar panels does not exceed what the charge controller can handle or else it will be damaged.

### Can a 200-Watt Solar Panel Run a TV?

Yes, as seen above, the electrical energy from a 200-watt solar panel can run a TV with a power draw of 50 watts for about 5 hours.

However, the solar panel is only part of the equipment you need to consider.

Additionally, you’ll need a charge controller, battery, and power inverter in case of a TV that uses AC.

## What Size of Charge Controller to Use?

Plan to use a 10 amp charge controller or larger with a 100-watt solar panel.

It has enough capacity to handle the peak 5 amps from the solar panel.

## What Size of Battery (Ah) to Use?

If it is the TV alone you plan to power using the solar panel and battery, then a 50 Ah AGM battery or 30 Ah LiFeP04 can provide about 5 hours of run time before the batteries are drained to the recommended depth of discharge of 50% for AGM and 80% for LiFeP04.

Typically, you’re likely to have other appliances that you need to run at the same time, perhaps a laptop, lighting, or other. So adjust the battery capacity accordingly.

### How Long Will a 100 Ah or 200 Ah Battery Run a TV?

A 100Ah AGM battery will run a 50-watt TV for about 10 hours before its capacity is drained to the recommended 50%.

A 200Ah battery will last twice as long (20 hours).

A LiFeP04 battery has more usable capacity and can run the TV for nearly double the runtime (20 hours with a 100Ah LiFeP04) before its capacity is drained to the recommended 80%.

## What Size of Inverter You Need?

For a 50 wat TV that uses AC power consider, a minimum of 100-watt pure sinewave inverter (preferably) or larger.

So a 400-watt inverter pure sine-wave preferably works too.

If it is a 12V TV, you can connect it to the battery without an inverter using a manufacturer-recommended 12V adapter.

## How to Run a TV Using Solar Power

You can use either of the following solutions:

• solar panel, charge controller, battery, and inverter solution (using the above sizes as a guide), and then plug the TV into the inverter AC outlets.

Or,

• Use the solar panel to charge a solar power generator and then plug the TV into the power generator’s inbuilt inverter. This is a portable solution and is suited to when on the road or out camping.

In either case, make sure the solar system components are suitably sized to handle the inverter’s power consumption and desired runtime of the appliance on battery.

## Closing Thoughts

You can use a 100-watt solar panel to generate enough energy to run a 50-watt TV for about 5 hours a day.

Note, that in addition to the solar panel, you’ll need a charge controller, battery, and inverter to power the TV.

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