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Harbor Freight Solar Panels: How Many?

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There is no point in having Harbor Fright solar panels if you don’t know how many you need. If you don’t know what you want to run on your solar panel/battery bank and you don’t know how many watts it will take you will probably be in for a really big disappointment when you go to power your full size side-by-side refrigerator/freezer and window air conditioner.

One Harbor Freight Solar Panel Kit produces 45 watts/hr. Five hours of full sun is the amount used as the standard in calculating how much power you can generate. 5 hrs x 45 watts = 225 watts (total power for 24 hours.) With line loss and DC to AC power loss that isn’t enough wattage to run two 100 watt bulbs for two hours.

Use a Kill-A-Watt meter to measure the watts used in 24 hours for each appliance, then add up the usage. Then you know how many Harbor Freight solar panel kits you will needs. Then you need the batteries to store the power.

Kill-A-Watt on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00009MDBU/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=everwebserv-20&linkCode=as2&camp=217145&creative=399349&creativeASIN=B00009MDBU

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23 Comments on "Harbor Freight Solar Panels: How Many?"

  1. Dan Roy says:

    Sounds like NC Prepper? Mmmmmmmmm

  2. only 5 hours of sun light dang the sun it hits my roof with all my panels on it at 730 a.m all the way till 8 p.m I get so much power each day I never worry

  3. Mason504 says:

    In the outback we use a igloo 5.5 cu chest freezer.. we replace the thermostat with a digital model. new we have an adjustable range of -40 to +120.. We then set the temp to 30 degrees.. Stuff on the top refrigerates.. things on the bottom stay frozen.. It will run forever on a 100w mono panel and a boat battery and 1000w inverter.. Add a second battery & panel to make ice cubes for your solar powered redneck air conditioner..

  4. You need to look at peak power use and not just average power use.

  5. What I'm finding out is that the appliances and the AC systems that are made for RVs are way more energy efficient than consumer grade home products because of the fact that they need to run either on a small generator or in situation, batteries only. Maybe a good thought for those peppers that are looking for appliances can help them when "that day" comes. What really surprised me is the combo washer dryer unit that's in our RV and how little energy it uses.

  6. This is great! We just bought an RV and one of mine and Sarah"'s first projects is going to be to install 4 solar panels on the top of it to make the entire trailer off grid. I won't have them installed by the time we get up there in a couple weeks but I'm definitely going to push your ear about some suggestions. See you soon!

  7. Great information! Thank you for also providing a link to the kill a watt meter.

  8. Joel Bennett says:

    Ahhhh ahhhahhhh ahhhh…. Practice without saying ahhhhhhh…

  9. you should buy those 250 watt mono panels a lot cheaper then those harbor freight solar cells per kw

  10. Idaho Spyder says:

    Funny, you could buy the kill a watt at harbor freight too

  11. AWitty PIlot says:

    Well here's something you probably had no idea about. Your frost free refrigerator or freezer has a heat strip in it that cycles to melt the frost.  It runs on a timer and uses a lot more energy than the cooling process. If you would use a chest freezer (cold "falls" out of a stand up freezer and it has to re-cool" the freezer every time you open it) and either buy a non-frost free fridge or freezer or at least disable the defrost timer it would use a hell of a lot less electricity in a 24 hour period.  A 45 watt panel won't do it but you might be surprised how little you can get by with.  Another BIG thing is that most inverters won't provide enough "start up" power to run any of the items you're trying to run.  It usually takes at least one and a half if not two times the rated power to START the motors in the appliance.  They normally take a lot less to run than they do to start up. For instance something that draws 1000 watts may need 2500 watts to start it up.  So you may be using too small of an inverter.  I have 4 235 watt PV's and they EASILY run a freezer, fridge, lights and computers pretty much all I want.  It will run a couple small TV's and a laptop too.  When the shtf you MUST be able to cool your food or you'll be wasting a ton of it.  PV is the best answer.  But word to the wise….PV's are totally susceptible to EMP (pretty much all diodes that will open when hit by EMP) so you should protect your PV's until needed and THEN deploy them.

  12. Kd Grayson says:

    ELECTRICITY AT 100% EFFICIENCY WILL CONVERT 1 WATT INTO 3.45 BTU'S
    EXAMPLE OF THIS IS AN ELECTRIC SPACE HEATER USING HEAT STRIPS NOT A HEAT PUMP WHICH IS AN AC UNIT THAT OPERATES AS IF A WINDOW AC UNIT WERE IN THE WINDOW BACKWARDS, REJECTING HEAT INDOORS RATHER THAN OUTDOORS IN THE AC COOL MODE. ITS THE REFRIGERATION CYCLES ABILITY TO PROVIDE 300% EFFICIENCY OR SO IN CONVERTING 1 WATT POWER INTO BTU'S
    AT 100% WE GET 3.5 BTU'S AT 300% WE GET 10.5 BTU'S PER WATT
    BY USING THE REFRIGERATION CYCLES "LATENT HEAT" THIS IS HEAT INVOLVING A CHANGE OF STATE AS IN WATER TO STEAM AND STEAM TO WATER OR WATER TO ICE.
    SENSIBLE HEAT CAN BE READ OR SENSED WITH A THERMOMETER ETC AS IN A POT OF WATER.

    FROM 70 F TO 212F WE READ THE RISE IN TEMPERATURE, ONCE IT BOILS THE WATER WILL NEVER READ OVER 212F AT SEA LEVEL 14.7 PSI ATMOSPHERIC PRESSURE UNLESS WE EXERT PRESSURE ON IT LIKE A CARS RADIATOR OR PRESSURE COOKERS DO.

    THEY RAISE THE BOILING POINT BY EXERTING PRESSURE ON IT, CONSEQUENTLY IF WE REDUCE PRESSURE OR INTO A VACUUM, WATER WILL BOIL AT F 7OF OR ROOM TEMPERATURE.

    HEATING A HOME WITH RESISTIVE HEAT STRIPS CAN EASILY COST $600 A MONTH.
    USING A HEAT PUMP WILL PROVIDE THE SAME HEAT FOR 1/3 THE POWER USED.

    THIS DEPENDS ON THE OUTSIDE TEMPERATURE AND HUMIDITY SINCE ITS ACTUALLY
    IN THE AC MODE OUTDOORS IF IN THE HEAT MODE.

    A HEAT PUMP IS EFFICIENT/LESS ABLE TO REMOVE HEAT FROM THE OUTDOOR AIR AS THE OUTDOOR TEMPERATURE APPROACHES 40F.
    THIS IS DUE TO THE FACT THE OUTDOOR COILS TEMPERATURE IS ABOUT 40F.

    IF ITS NOT ABOVE THE COILS TEMPERATURE OUTDOORS NO REFRIGERANT LIQUID CAN BE BOILED OR CHANGE STATE / CONDENSE,TO REJECT HEAT INDOORS .

    BASICALLY IT IS A WINDOW AC UNIT THAT REVERSES WITH A VALVE RATHER THAN TURNING THE UNIT 180 DEGREES, SO ITS REJECTING HEAT INDOORS.

    SINCE THE AC COIL IS RUNING OUTSIDE , IT WILL EVENTUALLY ICE UP,
    THEY USE TIME AND TEMPERATURE TO KNOW IF A DEFROST IS REQUIRED
    A DEFROST IS TO RUN IN AC MODE TO DE ICE THE OUT DOOR COIL.

    STARTING THE COMPRESSOR IS WHERE THE TROUBLE STARTS, A LIGHT BULB WILL RUN UNTIL DIM, AN AC UNIT WONT. NOR WILL IT START WITHOUT ENOUGH POOP TO PULL SOME AMPERASGE FOR A SECOND OR 2 WITHOUT BLOWING A FUSE ETC.

  13. Kd Grayson says:

    TEN 100 WATT LIGHT BULBS = 1,000 WATTS
    ENERGIZING ALL 10 LIGHTS FOR 1 HOUR = 1 KWH
    KWH IS KILOWATT HOUR
    1000 WATTS RAN FOR 1 HOUR = 1 KWH
    A KILOWATT IS ABOUT .15 CENTS
    IF TRUE A 100 WATT LIGHT WILL COST 1.5 CENTS PER HOUR.

  14. Kd Grayson says:

    YOU ARE MIXING UP KWH FOR WATTS
    ITS LIKE SAYING YOU WEIGH 200 LBS PER HOUR

  15. Kd Grayson says:

    AMPS x VOLTS = WATTS
    THE AC UNIT USES 120 VOLTS SO IF ITS PULLING 4 AMPS ITS USING 480 WATTS
    TO START A COMPRESSOR REQUIRES ABOUT 3 TIMES NORMAL CURRENT FOR A SECOND OR SO.

  16. you can do it yourself ,just go to inplix page and learn how to make it.

  17. WALMART HAS THIS PRODUCT

  18. MrMac5150 says:

    Brains of a just born cowboy.

  19. MrMac5150 says:

    You are not allowing for loss in transfer and unefficient DC solar

  20. Al M says:

    Not just a "battery bank". With solar big enough, you can get battery to full charge (or at least, to Float) by 11am-12am. Then it is solar that is powering your loads. Most of the current from from panels goes to loads, while batteries are getting a fraction of this – because they don't need higher current when nearing Full. This is what I see on my solar most of the days – batteries go into Float mode by noon, and remain there for the rest of the day, with loads running.

  21. im sure you'll build it yourself. I made it 2 weeks ago thanks to inplix website.

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