Calculate What Size Solar Panel For Fridge (Using Our Calculator)

If you’re thinking about running your home fridge or camping refrigerator on solar panels and are not sure about what size solar panel you need for your fridge. So, you have come to the right place.

𝐇𝐀𝐓𝐄 𝐂𝐀𝐋𝐂𝐔𝐋𝐀𝐓𝐈𝐎𝐍𝐒? Use the calculator given below to figure out what size of solar panel you need to run your fridge.

What Size Solar Panel For Fridge? in short, You would need around 200-300 watts of solar panels to run most of the fridge for 24 hours.

Solar Panel Calculator For Fridge

Fridge Power Consumption Per Day
kWh
No. Of Peak Sun Hours (Per Day)

Note: if you’re not sure about peak sun hours or the total power consumption of the fridge then keep reading I’ll explain in a bit.

1000 watt = 1kWh

Assumption: I have assumed there will be a 20% power loss in solar panel output during peak sun hours. This will occur due to many reasons which I have explained in this post (Solar Panel Output Calculator)

And this is what is get from my 200-watt solar panels in a day.

Example

I live in Florida city and here we receive on average about 5 hours of peak sunlight every day also I have a medium size RV fridge (12 cu. ft.) fridge that consumes about 365 kWh per year.

To run a medium-size RV camping fridge for 24 hours 2.5 100-watt solar panels or a single 250-watt solar panel will be required considering 5 hours of peak sunlight.

Now let’s dive deep into the factors which will determine what size of solar panel will be the best suit for your refrigerator or freezer

How Many Watts Does A Refrigerator Use?

The wattage consumption of your fridge will be mentioned in the product description sheet (usually located on the backside of the refrigerator)

if it’s a new model then it should be mentioned as ❝Estimated yearly power consumption

or if you have an old model fridge, it will look like this

What size inverter do i need to run a fridge?

(Watts = Volts*Amps) this is the formula to calculate the watts from volts and amps

This is how many watts your fridge will use when it’s running, but as we know that fridge has a “duty cycle” which means it’ll automatically turn off the compressor when there’s enough cooling

So on average new model fridge runs for about 8 hours in a whole day (24 hrs) but if you have an old model fridge it may run up to 12 hours

let’s take the above fridge as an example

115v * 1.1A = 126.5 watts 

Now multiply the wattage consumption by the running hours of the fridge

126.5 watt * 8hrs = 1012 watt or 1kWh  

A small size fridge will consume about 1kWh of power in a day, 30kWh in a month, and 365kWh in a year.

To find the exact wattage consumption of your fridge use this watt meter

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Simply plug the appliance through this meter and this will let you know how much energy your appliance is consuming also you can leave it for a whole day and at the end of the day it’ll let you know the total wattage power consumption of your appliance.

How Much Solar Power Do I Need To Run A Refrigerator

You would need about 1kWh of solar power to run a small RV fridge (up to 10 Cu. Ft.), 3kWh for a medium size kitchen fridge (12-20 Cu. Ft.), and 5.5kWh for a large-size kitchen fridge (24 Cu. Ft.)

Solar power required for fridge = the total power consumption of the Fridge

Simple and easy right? Now let’s find out how many solar panels you’d need to produce this much solar power according to your location

Peak Sun Hours

Before explaining peak sun hours and why to use them, first, let’s see how solar panels are rated.

“ Solar panels are designed to produce their rated wattage output under standard test conditions – STC ”

STC includes: 

  • 1000 watts per meter square (1kw/m2) of sunlight intensity hitting the solar panels directly
  • 25oC temperature 

So to calculate the sunlight intensity we use peak sun hour as a reference. 

  • 1 peak sun hour = Average of 1kw/meter2 of sunlight intensity for one hour.

This number will depend on the location to location. To calculate how many peak sun hours your city receives use this PVwatt solar calculator.

Step 1: Enter your full address of just a city name & Click GO

How to calculate peak sun hours

Step 2: Click on results

How to calculate peak sun hours

Now you’d be able to see the total amount of solar radiation your location receives per day (from month to month)

How many peak sun hours in florida?
Note! it would have to place my solar panels all day long under sunlight to get those total solar radiations per day. 

Calculation – How Many Solar Panels Do You Need To Run A Refrigerator?

After calculating the required solar power to run a refrigerator and the number of peak sun hours use this formula

Solar panels required for fridge = (Fridge wattage consumption (per day)/peak sun hours) + 20%

or use the above calculator to find out

For Example

let’s suppose you have a portable camping fridge that will consume about 500 watts of power in a day.

500 watts / 5 peak sun hours = 100

Now let’s add up an extra 30% to cover the power losses

160*1.3 = 120 watt 

What Size Solar Panel For Camping Fridge?

You would need about 150-watt solar panel to run a small camping fridge for 24 hours with 5 hours of peak sunlight.

What Size Solar Panel For Fridge – Chart

Here’s a chart about what size of solar panel you would need to run different size fridges with 5 hours of peak sunlight.

Fridge TypePer Day Power Consumption (Wh)No. of 100W solar panels required
12v mini camping fridge (2.5 Cu. Ft.)0.48 kWh1.2
Medium Size camping fridge (4.5 Cu. Ft.)0.65 kWh1.6
Large Size Camping Fridge (5-10 Cu. Ft.)1 kWh2.6
Medium Size Kitchen Fridge (10-15 Cu. Ft.)2 kWh5.2
Large Size kitchen fridge (15-20 Cu. Ft.)3.2 kWh8.3
Extra large size kitchen fridge (20-25 Cu. Ft.)4.4 kWh11.4

Table: how many solar panels for a fridge?

Summary

  • You would need around 120-watt solar panel to run a 12v camping or car fridge for 24 hours
  • You would need around 500-watt solar panels to run a medium size kitchen fridge (10-15 Cu. Ft.) for 24 hours
  • You would need around 800-watt solar panels to run a large-size kitchen fridge (15-20 Cu. Ft.) for 24 hours

Related Post: Solar Panel Output Calculator

What Do I Need To Run Fridge On Solar?

To run a fridge/refrigerator on a solar you’d need

  1. solar panel
  2. charge controller
  3. battery bank
  4. inverter

What Size Battery To Run Fridge

To calculate the battery size for the fridge use this formula

Fridge wattage consumption (Per Day)/Solar system voltage = Battery Size For Fridge

Solar system voltage – Would you like to go with a 12v, 24v, or 48v solar system

lead-acid, AGM, and Gel battery type has a depth of discharge limit of 50%, which means you can only draw 50% capacity from these type of batteries. But Lithium (LiFePO4) batteries can be discharged 100%

So multiply the value by 2 if you’d go for a lead-acid or AGM battery type

For Example

how many batteries to run a 12v camping fridge?

500W/12v = 41Ah 

You would need about 50Ah lithium or 100Ah lead-acid battery to run a 12v camping fridge for 24 hours

How To Size Charge Controller?

The job of the charge controller is to regulate the voltage and current coming from the solar panels to charge a battery

Charge controller size = (Solar panel size/Solar system voltage)+20%

Example

150/12 = 12.5A
12.5+20% = 15A

you would need a 15A charge controller with a 150w solar panel to run a camping fridge

Related Post: How Many Watts Can A Charge Controller Handle?

What Size Inverter For Fridge?

The job of the inverter is to convert the Direct Current DC (12v,24,48V) into Alternating current AC (110-220V). You would need an inverter to run a fridge with solar power (expect a 12v fridge)

Formula to calculate the inverter size for fridge

Inverter size = Fridge rated power consumption + 15%

Rated power consumption will be “how many watts your fridge consumes when it is running” and the surge power of the inverter should be 4 times higher than the fridge wattage consumption

I have discussed this topic in-depth, which will help you to select the right size inverter for your fridge

Must Read: What Size Inverter To Run A Fridge?

Related FAQ’s

Can A 100-Watt Solar Panel Power A Refrigerator?

100-watt solar panel on average will produce about 400Wh power per day, considering 5 hours of peak sunlight. So yes, a 100-watt solar panel can run a small size camping fridge for 24 hours with 100Ah lead-acid battery bank.

Will A 200-Watt Solar Panel Run A Refrigerator?

200-watt solar panel on average will produce about 800Wh power per day, considering 5 hours of peak sunlight. Which is enough to run camping or a medium size kitchen fridge for 24 hours.

Can A 300-Watt Solar Panel Run A Refrigerator?

300-watt solar panel will produce about 1.2kWh of power per day, considering 5 hours of peak sunlight. So yes a 300-watt solar panel can run up to a 12 cu. ft. size fridge for 24 hours

Can A 400-Watt Solar Panel Run A Refrigerator

400-watt solar panel will produce about 2kWh of power per day, considering 5 hours of peak sunlight. So yes a 400-watt solar panel can run up to 18 cu. ft. size fridge for 24 hours

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I hope this short guide was helpful to you. still, have any confusion? LEAVE A COMMENT or contact us. Thank You!

I'm an experienced Sales Consultant with a demonstrated history of working in the renewables and environment industry. Skilled in Photography, Customer Service, and Sales.

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