Entering the solar energy market for the first time can be a daunting task. With such a wide variety of solar panels that come in just about every shape and size, it’s to get lost and confused in the chaos of it all.
But fear not: we’re here to lend you a helping hand by introducing you to the 400-watt solar panel. These panels are some of the biggest on the market in terms of electrical output. They can be used to power your house, motorhome, and even your boat.
So, sit back and relax because in this article we’ll be giving you the grand tour of the 400-watt solar panel and even steer you towards the panel that we recommend for you.
The 400-Watt Solar Panel
Solar panels work by absorbing as much sunlight from the sun as possible and converting this light into electrical energy. This electrical energy can then in turn be used to power a number of things such as our cars, yachts, homes, and even airplanes.
Solar panels come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Each solar panel design is best suited for certain tasks, so it helps to know what to look for.
Among other things, solar panels are also usually categorized according to their wattage. This is an indication of how much electrical energy they are capable of producing at their peak. When deciding which solar panel you should be looking at, it’s important to ask yourself the following questions:
- What do I want to use this solar panel for?
- How much power do I need to run all my desired appliances?
- How much space do I have available for the installation of a solar panel (or solar panels)?
With this overview in mind, let’s take a closer look at 400-watt solar panels.
How Do 400 Watt Solar Panels Work?
As we mentioned earlier, solar panels are categorized according to their output capacity. As such, a 400-watt solar panel is a solar panel that is capable of absorbing enough sunlight to convert it into 400 watts worth of instantaneous electrical energy, or electricity, under the ideal Standard Test Conditions (STC).
Unfortunately, on most days, the weather is not like the STCs used when building solar panels. We have to account for cloud cover, seasonal change, and many other environmental factors.
However, generally speaking, an average 400-watt solar panel should be able to produce between 1,200 Wh and 3,000 Wh (watt-hours) of electrical energy per day.
As with any other solar panels, these results will be subject to a number of factors such as:
- The geographical location of your solar panel
- The angle at which the solar panel is tilted
- The temperature around where your panel is installed
- The amount of shade over the panel during the day
- The amount of dirt on the surface of your panels
What Can a 400-watt Solar Panel Run?
Because they’re so much bigger than other panels, you can expect a 400-watt panel to outperform what a 100-watt solar panel can run, but this doesn’t mean you should automatically go out and buy the largest solar panel you can find.
Since they produce so much energy, 400-watt panels should only be used if you’re using them to run larger appliances. We’ll go over some of them in general below
Given the amount of electricity a 400-watt solar panel can produce in a day, it should come as no surprise that they are capable of powering just about every appliance in your home. One 400-watt solar panel, in conjunction with a decently sized battery pack, is even capable of running a medium-sized refrigerator for an entire day.
That being said, it must be noted that it will obviously not be able to power an appliance that has an energy requirement of more than 400 watts unless you have a large enough inverter. However, if you were to connect a number of these 400-watt solar panels to each other, you could effectively power your entire home with the output of such a solar-powered system.
Motorhomes, RVs, and Boats
The great thing about most 400-watt solar panels is that while they tend to be fairly large, they’re often still portable enough to bring along on your travels. As such, they’re perfect for use while camping or on the road in your motorhome or RV, and even for use onboard your boat for weekend camping trips.
Most boats and motorhomes have their own rechargeable batteries that you can connect your solar to, allowing you to power your travel setup with ease and efficiency.
Who Are 400-Watt Solar Panels for?
400-watt solar panels are the perfect middle-ground beginner solar panel users. They can power more than a 50-watt solar panel but they’re similarly portable.
While there are smaller modules for more specific tasks, 400-watt solar panels provide both a range of functions and a good amount of power.
400-watt solar panels are perfect for taking along on your camping trip if you want to keep more than just your cellphone charged, like what you would expect from what a 15-watt solar panel can run.
You can keep fridges, coolers, and even stoves powered for short lengths, making them a great option for versatile needs.
How Many 400-Watt Solar Panels Are Enough?
In order to answer this question, we need to look at two things: firstly, how many 400-watt solar panels you need to power your home, and second, how many 400-watt solar panels you can install.
How Many Do You Need?
The number of 400-watt solar panels you need to power your home depends on how much electricity your home requires to be powered independently of the municipal grid.
For example, if you install five 400-watt solar panels on your roof, your total daily power output will be somewhere around 15 kWh depending on the factors discussed above. Unfortunately, This is far below the rough 30 kWh that the average medium-sized home needs.
To get enough power to keep your home going completely independently of the grid, you would need to install around 15 400-watt solar panels onto your roof. This can set you back a pretty penny, but solar panels tend to pay for themselves in the long run.
The snag here, however, is that the more solar panels you need to install to keep everything running, the more space you need to install them.
How Many Can You Install?
The average 400-watt solar panel measures about 22,75 square feet. With these figures in mind, or preferably, the dimensions of the specific 400-watt solar panel that you plan on purchasing, you should be able to work out how much space your rooftop has for installation.
Alternatively, if you find that your roof is too small to accommodate enough solar panels to power your entire home, you could consider setting them up on the ground. One of the important factors to keep in mind is that this will increase the maintenance costs since they’ll build up dirt more quickly and are more likely to get damaged than if they’re installed on your roof.
Setting up panels on the ground is better if you’re using something smaller, like a 45-watt solar panel.
Why Should You Get a 400 Watt Solar Panel?
If you’re entering the solar energy market for the first time and looking to experiment a bit, or simply working with a smaller budget or installation site, a 400-watt solar panel is the perfect solar panel size to start your journey.
Let’s take a look at the reasons behind this recommendation.
Many solar panel users find themselves in a position where they need to install lots of panels, but they don’t have the space to do so. Less powerful solar panels produce lower amounts of electricity for the amount of space they use.
Because of this, 400-watt solar panels are perfect if you want to power larger appliances with limited amounts of space.
As was mentioned above, with regards to total power output per square feet of solar panel, 400-watt solar panels are far more efficient than most smaller panels that come at a similar price.
Added to this increased efficiency is the fact that these panels have fewer points of failure. Because these solar panels are essentially four 100-watt solar panels all built into one solar panel, not only is this panel more efficient in terms of space, but there are fewer areas where problems can occur.
The more modules are used in your solar power system, the higher the chances are that you’ll encounter a failure.
As you’ll see by our recommendation below, a quality 400-watt panel should by no means cost you an arm and a leg. These portable yet sturdy solar panels are the epitome of value for money and better yet, they’ll pay themselves off in no time.
Although a solar power system might be a hefty investment at first, all the money you save in having smaller (if any) grid electricity bills to pay off eventually starts to add up.
Even if you don’t buy enough solar panels to completely power your home, you’ll still save yourself money every month by supplementing the electricity you use from the grid. If you live somewhere sunny, you can expect the average solar panel to pay for itself within the first two years.
What’s more, installing solar panels on your home can increase the value of your property later, so the effects are doubled.
Which 400-Watt Solar Panel Should You Buy?
Shop Solar Kits has a vast array of 400 watt solar panels in our inventory. But we too were once beginners in this space and we know that such a long list can be quite intimidating.
We’ve decided to make this process easier by introducing you to the 400-watt solar panel that we recommend to all our customers.
Trina 400-Watt Solar Panel TallMax
The Trina 400-Watt TallMax Solar Panel is a monocrystalline beast from Trina Solar, one of the world’s leading solar energy providers. The TallMax series is one of their best-selling solar panels. This high acclaim can be attributed to the following features:
High Power Output
Due to its large surface area, this solar panel captures more than enough sunlight to convert into electrical energy for use in your home, or on your RV, motorhome, or boat.
These panels are series-compatible, so you can connect multiple units together to increase their power output if you want to power your entire home.
The monocrystalline solar cells used in the Trina 400 are a big step up from their polycrystalline counterparts. Monocrystalline cells are made from a single source of silica as opposed to the composite silica in polycrystalline cells. This means the individual cells that make up a solar module are exposed to more light.
Monocrystalline cells are known to be of the most efficient types of solar cells when it comes to overall power output and are renowned for their high-performance results in even the worst lighting conditions.
The surface of this solar panel is made of Anti-Reflection (AR) tempered glass which makes it resilient to both scratches and cracks—particularly important if you want to pack the panel up and take it with you on the road. Furthermore, the glass face is mounted on an anodized aluminum frame, a metal known for being strong and lightweight.
Anodized aluminum is also more resistant to weather, so there’s less risk of damage from exposure to the sun and rain.
This high durability also contributes to the portability and mobility of this solar panel. You can load your Trina 400-watt solar panel in your RV or boat and rest assured that it’ll still be in one piece once you get to your destination.
Despite its durability, this solar panel is also extremely easy to transport thanks to its tight dimensions of only 79.69 x 39.53 x 1.38 inches.
The Trina 400-watt solar panel comes with a 10-year limited warranty and a 25-year performance guarantee. If these numbers are anything to go by, you can expect nothing less than a long and fruitful lifetime out of any Trina solar panel that you purchase
Finally, this solar panel is not only value for money, but it's super affordable as well. Few solar panels this powerful manage to come in at less than $300, so the Trina will pay for itself in no time.
Overall it should be clear that when it comes to purchasing a solar panel, be it for your first time, or simply just for the sake of traveling, you can never go wrong with a 400 watt solar panel and especially the Trina 400 Watt Solar Panel.
Not only are these Trina 400 watt solar panels highly efficient and durable, but they’re affordable and reliable too. So, don’t hesitate to contact us to help set you up with your Trina solar panel.
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