By using solar energy to power your television and lighting, you’re insured against being left in the dark during a blackout or off-grid scenario with nothing to do. Powering appliances using solar energy can help reduce not only your carbon footprint but your electricity bill as well.
In this article, we discuss how much solar energy it takes to power your television and lighting.
Using Solar Panels to Power Your TV and Lighting
When it comes to television and lighting, in order to successfully provide the necessary power to these devices, you'll need to know how much power they consume. We’ll also demonstrate how to work out how much TV and lighting can cost you utility-wise.
Solar panels can power an entire house, so you don’t need to worry about not getting enough juice from your system provided you have enough panels.
How Much Energy Does a Television Consume?
How much energy your television consumes depends on various factors such as the type of screen it has, its size, as well as the amount of time spent on it, so there is no single answer for this.
It is, however, possible to find an approximate estimation for your TV's rate of energy consumption.
Despite their larger size, modern TVs are more energy-efficient than their older counterparts. This is thanks to the nature of the screens manufactured for modern-day television displays. LCD, LED, and plasma are the types of screens generally used.
In terms of energy consumption, plasma screen TVs consume the most energy, while LED uses the least.
As previously mentioned, one other key factor of a television's energy consumption rate is its size, specifically the size of the screen itself. The larger the screen is, the more energy it takes to display information on it.
In order to find out how much your television costs you in terms of utilities, you first need to figure out how much energy it consumes in kilowatt-hours.
As an example, let's say you own a 30-inch Plasma television. A television with these specifications would use 150 watts per hour.
To convert 150 watts to kilowatts you need to divide it by 1,000, which will leave you with 0.15 kilowatts.
The average American spends around 4 hours minimum on television per day. This equates to about 120 hours per month, and if you times 0.15 kilowatts by 120 hours you'll get a value of 18 kilowatt-hours.
The average cost of electricity per kilowatt-hour in the U.S is around 14 cents. 18 Kilowatt-hours multiplied by 14 cents will leave you with an amount of $2.52, which will be added to your electricity bill along with your other appliances.
Thankfully, solar panels are well worth what you pay for them. Panels increase the resale value of your home.
How Much Energy Does Lighting Consume?
On average, lighting is responsible for about 6 to 10 percent of energy consumption in a typical American household.
Similar to TVs, the amount of energy consumed by the lights depends on the type of lighting technology you possess and the duration of use. Another noteworthy factor is the number of light bulbs you possess.
LED light bulbs are the most energy-efficient as opposed to CFL or incandescent light bulbs. While regular incandescent light bulbs can use from 40 to 100 watts per hour, LEDs consume only around 5 to 10 watts.
Regardless of their wattage, having many lights on in your home can still end up increasing your electricity bill, so using solar energy for your home's lighting could save you some money as well.
To work out how much of your electricity bill is affected by your lighting, you need to know how many light bulbs are in your home.
The energy requirements for your lights depend on the size of your dwelling. Solar panels for your apartment don’t need to produce as much energy as they do for an entire house.
Lightbulb Power Consumption
So let's assume you have a total of 25 incandescent light bulbs that are each 60 watts.
First, you'll need to convert the 60 watts into kilowatts by dividing by 1,000, which will leave you with 0.06 kilowatts. The next step will be to multiply the amount in kilowatts with the number of hours your lights are on in order to get an amount in kilowatt-hours. Let's go with 110 hours per month for this scenario.
So 0.06kWh x 110hrs will leave you with 6.6 kilowatt-hours. When this is multiplied by the 25 light bulbs in your home, you end up with 165-kilowatt hours per month used for lighting.
Multiply this by the average cost of electricity per kilowatt (14 cents) and you'll end up with an amount of $2,30 to be added to your home's electricity bill.
For this scenario, we assumed all 25 lights were turned on for those 110 hours. In terms of wattage, that would require about 50 watts a day for a combination of 1,500 watts per month.
You can, of course, get bigger lightbulbs. Lightbulbs for greenhouses can also be powered by solar panels.
How Many Solar Panels Are Needed to Power Your TV and Lights?
When you’re aware of how much energy certain devices require, finding a suitable solar system to power them is as simple as matching the wattage.
To power your television and lighting successfully, you would need to have a solar system that produces more energy in watts per hour than all of those devices combined. The reason for this is that getting a solar panel with the same wattage won't guarantee continuous use.
When it comes to solar panel wattage, it's advised to go for one with a slightly higher wattage than what you are aiming for because solar panels won't always be operating at 100% capacity. This means that a 100-watt solar panel won’t constantly be generating exactly 100 watts per hour.
Working out which solar panel to get is fairly simple.
If we're going with the example above, you’ll have a 30-inch plasma television that uses 150 watts, and incandescent light bulbs taking up 60 watts each. To give power to these devices, you’d need a solar system that produces more than 210 watts in an hour.
In this scenario, your best bet would be a 260w to 300w solar panel or anything of equal or higher value (e.g three 100w solar panels).
You should also be mindful of the fact that any extra devices that go hand-in-hand with TVs (gaming consoles, DVD players, etc) will also need a power source.
If you intend to go off-grid in an RV, having an energy-efficient television and lighting will ensure that you won't need to get too powerful of a solar system and help you save some money.
If your solar panel system is not connected to the grid, having a solar generator is a necessity if you want to stay lit up and entertained during the night.
These calculations are made assuming the average household size. You’ll need fewer solar panels for tiny homes as they tend to use less electricity.
Necessity of a Solar Generator
A solar generator is a device that can store solar energy that was collected by solar panels throughout the day. The battery inside the generator can be charged directly, as well as feed off of any excess energy produced by your solar panels.
The energy that is stored can then be utilized to power your devices. This is extremely useful for off-grid scenarios since solar panels are unable to produce energy at night, and having an off-grid system means having no utility-provided electricity to fall back on when the sun goes down.
Having a generator charged with solar energy collected throughout the day will provide you with an energy source that is sure to last you through the night, provided that it's been charged up enough.
It also comes in handy during power outages (in the case of grid-tied homes) and overcast weather where sunlight is insufficient.
Types of Solar Generators
There are two types of solar generators: home backup and portable.
Home-backup solar generators are usually pretty large and are designed to hold enough solar energy to power a wide range of appliances in your home.
If you're only looking to power your television and lighting, this type of generator wouldn’t be all that necessary, especially if you prefer something less bulky or pricey.
Portable solar generators are much easier to handle thanks to their size. A 300-watt solar generator would be sufficient enough to power your television and lighting at night when direct solar energy is not available.
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