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100 vs 200 Watt Solar Panel

100 vs 200 Watt Solar Panel

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This article delves into the comparison between 100-watt and 200-watt solar panels, serving as a guide for those venturing into solar power. It lays out a side-by-side comparison covering performance, efficiency, cost, size, and portability. The distinction between wattages and their practical implications is clarified. Efficiency is discussed in relation to panel materials, with monocrystalline panels standing out. Size considerations for portability are highlighted, and cost variations based on materials are explained.

The article concludes with addressing common questions, guiding readers to choose based on budget, space, and specific needs. To explore more details on each aspect, continue through the article.

Introduction

100 and 200-watt solar panels are a great way to ease into solar power use. If you are looking for a portable, effective way to produce energy, the 100-200 watt range is perfect for you. Whether you should opt for a 100 or 200-watt solar panel depends on your particular requirements. 

We know the world of solar power can be confusing and overwhelming but we are here to make your solar purchase easy. Once you know the pros and cons of each solar panel option, you can confidently make the right purchase for your needs.  

We are focusing here on the perfect startup options for solar panels: the 100-watt panel and the 200-watt solar panel. These options are on the smaller scale of the different sizes of solar panels available. 

To help you decide which option is better for you, we are going to compare the two panels.

100 Versus 200 Watt Solar Panel (Compared) 

100 vs 200 Watt Solar Panel

This table shows a side-by-side comparison of the main features to take note of when making your decision. 


100 Watt Solar Panel 

200 Watt Solar Panel 

Performance 

Can power a few small devices


Efficiency is largely dependant on materials

Can power a few small devices (more than the 100-watt panel)



Efficiency largely dependant on materials 

Cost (panel alone) 

Ranges between $110 - $300

Ranges between $229 - $600

Size 

Typically 47 x 21.3 x 1.4 inches

Typically 64.96 x 26.38 x 1.38 inches 

Portable 

Yes 

Yes


Performance 

When we look at the performance aspect of solar panels, it is necessary to get acquainted with some of the lingo set out in their specifications.

What’s a Watt?

‘Watts’ refers to the output of the solar panel. In other words, the watts indicate how much energy the solar panel can provide you with under ideal conditions. You can multiply the wattage of the solar panel by the hours of sunlight the panel will receive per day to calculate the electricity it will produce. 

If you have a 100-watt solar panel and you receive 4 hours of direct sunlight per day, you will get 400 Wh (watt-hours) of electricity. To give you an idea, 100-200 watt solar panels have the capacity to power a few small devices.

Judging by this calculation, you can see why a 200-watt solar panel has the capacity to produce a lot more energy than a 100-watt solar panel. 

To get the most out of your panel’s capacity, make sure you get the correct 100 and 200-watt solar panel wire size to avoid unnecessary power loss.

Efficiency

It is important to note that you get different types of 100 and 200-watt solar panels. The performance largely depends on the brand and the materials they are made from. These factors also affect the solar panel’s warranty. 

The performance of a solar panel is related to its efficiency. The efficiency of a panel refers to the ratio of energy from the sun that hits the panel, to the electrical energy generated. If the panel has a higher efficiency percentage, it means the panel can convert more sunlight into more watts of electricity. 

The two main types of solar panels are made of either poly-crystalline or mono-crystalline. Polycrystalline has an efficiency of around 15-17% and monocrystalline around 19-20%.  Monocrystalline is the more efficient and more expensive option. 

Size 

A factor that is necessary to consider is the space you have for a solar panel. While the 100 or 200-watt solar panels may not be set up on your roof, size can still be important. Consider where you will be setting your panel up or how you will be traveling with it.

Both the 100 and 200-watt solar panels are relatively portable. They are not big or complicated to set up like the bigger panels. You could take either option with you for your camping trip or in your RV. 

As expected, a 100-watt solar panel is smaller than a 200-watt solar panel. While the 200-watt panel is not very heavy (between 10 - 12kgs), the 100-watt panels are the much lighter option (between 4 - 5%). If space is an issue for you, this is something you may want to consider. 

Cost 

Another important consideration is your budget for a solar panel. How much does a 200-watt solar panel cost? Are they a lot more expensive than a 100-watt panel?

The answer is that the price is largely dependent on the material the panel is made from. As we discussed above, monocrystalline panels are usually more expensive than polycrystalline panels. 

Generally, the 100-watt panel is the cheaper option. Usually, they are half the price of a 200-watt panel. Make sure to check your budget and decide which option suits you better.

The great thing about these smaller solar panels is that the cost of maintaining them is little to nothing. They are easy to dust off (when necessary) and come with high warranties. They also usually do not require any extra installation costs.

100 or 200 Watt Solar Panel? 

Purchasing a 100 or 200-watt solar panel is a great investment because you could always expand in the future. You can build on your initially small wattage by purchasing and connecting more panels.

It is still important to decide which of the two options you want to start with. Let us look at the pros and cons of the 100-watt solar panel versus the 200-watt solar panel.

100 Watt Solar Panel 

100 or 200 watt solar panel

These 100-watt solar panels are the lightest and smallest solar panels you can buy while being useful on your trips away from home. You could easily take one of these on a boat, in gazebos, on a camping trip, or in your RV. 

You do, however, need to manage your expectations with a 100-watt solar panel. You will not be able to power bigger appliances such as a TV, heater, or air conditioning. Smaller appliances such as a cell phone, laptop, or fan are more in range with the 100-watt solar panel. 

Pros 

  • Conveniently sized 
  • Easy to transport
  • Very light 
  • Cheaper 

Cons

  • Produces little power 

200 Watt Solar Panel 

100 watt vs 200 watt solar panel

The 200-watt solar panel is still considered to be in the smaller range of solar panels. Solar panels that are used in residential areas on roofs range from 250W-400W. 

This solar panel could easily be seen as the next upgrade from a 100-watt solar panel. The 200-watt solar panel uses are very similar to the 100-watt solar panels. Of course, they can produce more energy for more appliances or devices.

Even though they are bigger, the 200-watt panels are not complicated to set up if you follow a 200-watt solar panel wiring diagram. Once you get the hang of it, setting up this panel should not be an issue. 

Pros 

  • Produces more power 
  • Relatively easy to transport

Cons 

  • Bigger and slightly heavier
  • More expensive 

100 and 200 Watt Solar Panel (FAQ)

Is a 100-watt solar panel better than a 200-watt solar panel?

There is no objectively better or worse option when it comes to a solar panel. There is only the best option for you.

If you are on a budget, or space is an issue, or you just want to experiment with solar power, then start with a 100-watt solar panel. You can always build onto this in the future. It is a great way to get your feet wet without breaking the bank.

On the other hand, if you are willing to spend a bit more and do not mind the extra space, go for a 200-watt solar panel. You will get more energy and more use from it. You can also build on to 200-watt panels in the future as and when you feel comfortable.

What will a 200 Watt Solar Panel Run?

A 200-watt solar panel is not going to be sufficient to provide all the energy needed for your household. 

200-watt solar panels are commonly used to charge battery banks which, in turn, can power a few small devices. These devices include your cell phone, laptop, a small TV, radios, and even a small fridge. 

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