Today, computers dominate our lives. From emailing your friends to playing games on Facebook or watching a favorite show on Hulu, they are as much a part of our everyday life as a kitchen knife. However, with the upsides of using computers, there are obvious drawbacks – massive energy consumption and waste handling are becoming increasingly concerning for businesses and individuals alike.
Computers can use up a significant amount of monthly electricity bills in homes, commercial premises, or campuses. Here comes the idea of solar-powered computing, which is a viable one that, and after being perfected, can revolutionize the world of computing.
We are all aware of the advantages of using solar energy. These include zero power outage, no price surge risk, lower maintenance, less pollution, eliminated use of fuel products, etc. So if you are keen to know How Many Solar Panels Do You Need To Power A Computer, this article will give you insight on selecting the right solar panels that will save you money and help in going green, allowing you to harness the power of our sun and not worry about your monthly utility bills again.
Also read: How to Fix Black Spots on Laptop?
Can you Run a Gaming Computer using Solar Power?
Solar power is free and abundant, so it is a popular alternative to conventional energy resources. In addition, the use of solar panels produces no pollution. If you have been considering using solar energy for your computers, it’s completely possible and surprisingly affordable in today’s technology-filled world. You can actually power your computer and all other appliances using the sun to be eco-friendly.
How do you Run a Laptop using Electricity Generated by Solar Panels?
One can run portable devices like a laptop easily using solar energy for various purposes. They use less power than a regular desktop computer would consume and are an efficient alternative for taking your work on the go. Following are the two primary ways by which you can run a laptop utilizing solar-generated electricity.
1. Find a laptop charger that runs on solar energy and connect it to the solar panel system that you have already installed at your home.
2. The other option is to purchase a solar-powered laptop that comes with in-built solar cells and can use solar energy directly without requiring an external source. Unfortunately, such laptops are hard to find.
Also read: Hottest Female Skins in League of Legends
How do Solar Panels Work?
In order to power your computer with green energy from the sun, there are a few things you need to take into consideration. First, you will need solar panels which can absorb sunlight and store the energy inside a battery in the form of ‘Direct Current’ (DC). Then finally, the battery converts the power into ‘Alternative Current’ (AC) and makes electricity available for your device to use. Running a computer over a straight seven hours uninterrupted on a single charge is quite feasible using solar panels.
Solar panels are a key component in most major electrical power stations and are used in homes to provide power for household appliances as well. They consist of many solar cells or photovoltaic (PV) cells that are placed in groups called arrays. The cells are designed to transform photons from visible light into electrical energy, thanks to specially developed materials they are made with.
How Many Solar Panels do you Need to Power a Computer?
The answer to this question depends on the types of computers you are running and how many hours per day you use them. For instance, to power a laptop, you will require relatively less energy than its desktop counterpart. We calculated how many solar panels you will need to run a computer using only the sun’s energy below.
To use a standard business PC, you will need around 300 Watts every hour. In comparison, a gaming PC that is more power-hungry will need something closer to 500 Watts. Once you know the amount of power your machine uses per hour, you will know which kind of solar cell system will work best for you – and how much space you will need for it.
If you own a regular PC that requires 300 Wh power to run and runs for 6 hours every day, then you are going to need a solar system that generates 1800 Watts total in a day.
Now, solar panels are available in a 100-300 Wh power range, meaning they can produce 100 to 300 Watts per hour. To give you an idea of how many solar panels you may need, let’s look at a solar panel with 200 Watts solar energy generation capacity under enough sunlight. Since this panel produces 200 Wh and the computer consumes 300 Watts of electricity per hour, you will need two solar panels that generate 400 Wh, leaving you with an additional 100 Wh energy to power other additional gadgets.
Depending on how much you want to spend, we recommend setting up at least two photovoltaic panels since their efficiency largely relies on the weather condition of your specific region and how many hours of full sunshine you get.
How to Run a Computer on Solar Power: a Detailed Step by Step Process
A computer, being an electrically operated gadget, can run using solar energy. However, you need to make sure to purchase solar panels that are specifically made to work with household appliances, including a PC.
As explained earlier, solar panels store DC energy in an inverter or battery, which then converts that to AC and allows you to run your computer or laptop, making it solar-powered entirely.
In order to build a solar-powered PC, you need an AC inverter, battery, a charge controller, and solar panels.
The inverter transforms Direct Current energy to Alternative Current energy, making it suitable for your PC.
The battery will be used to feed your inverter unit.
The charge controller is responsible for adjusting the charge according to the battery’s needs and preventing unwanted situations like overcurrent, overcharging, or current overflow.
And finally, before you obtain solar panels, you want to determine their wattage based on your battery size, and of course, how much energy load you are going to use.
Once you have arranged all the components mentioned above, the process will start by setting them up in reverse order.
- Solar panel installation: It is a crucial part of the process as you will install the solar panels on top of your roof. Make sure you place the panels on the specific flat part of the roof where they will receive maximum sun over the maximum period of a day.
- Take all the cables to the particular side of the house where you planned to install the charge controller. Fix the charge controller to the wall securely.
- Place both your battery and inverter inside the room while ensuring they are adjacent to each other to be connected easily.
- Now, connect the charge converter with solar panels using the wires and power plugs.
- It’s time to connect your battery to the inverter.
- If you have the computer installed already, connect it to the battery using the extension cord.
- Turn the inverter, battery, and your PC on in the same order, and you are done. You can now start using your computer with 100% solar energy.
Also read: Best 1440p 144Hz Gaming Monitors
How Does the Solar System Work?
A solar system comprises photovoltaic panels, inverters, batteries, and other minor accessories. PV panels are made up of solar cell modules, and there might be 60 to 72 cells in one panel. When solar radiation hits these cells, the panels produce power in the form of Direct Current, which eventually gets converted into Alternative Current by the inverter and stored in a battery unit to run regular electrical gadgets and appliances.
There are mainly three types of the solar system that, as a user, you can take advantage of.
On-grid: This system is a well-known and efficient solar power system integrated with the grid for homeowners who want to reduce their electricity bills. When it’s a sunny day, yet your power consumption is on the lower side, the system will feed the additional energy into the main grid. Similarly, when you are not receiving enough power from installed panels, the grid will fulfill your energy requirement. This way, although you are not on solar power entirely, your utility bill will be significantly reduced.
Off-grid: It is a stand-alone system that is designed to harness energy from the sunlight and store it in a battery, enabling you to continue living without access to main grid electricity.
This is useful when you are in a remote area where no grid access is available.
Hybrid: A hybrid system combines both on and off-grid architecture in a unique way. Here the panels generate energy as long as the sun shines, powering your home as usual. However, when they produce more than your requirements, first, your batteries store that extra electricity until you need it so that it can power your appliances when it’s cloudy or night, and hence, the solar panels are not able to make enough energy. Now, when your consumption is less than what the system is currently generating, and the battery is also fully charged – the excess power goes to the grid.
Frequently asked questions
Is it safe to operate my PC using solar power?
Yes, absolutely, and solar power might be the most effective solution if you are looking for ways to power your computers in a remote area. This means you will no longer have to depend on electricity to run your device. The only issue here is the cost of purchasing all of the necessary components.
How many solar panels do I need to run a laptop?
Typically, laptops consume less energy than a regular PC or gaming rig, so the number of solar panels to power a laptop will be theoretically less than you need to run other PC builds. However, in the real-world situation, the energy requirement difference will not be so significant that it allows you to buy one less panel. Therefore, although you will not save money in terms of initial investment, the system will allow you to run your laptop comparatively longer.
Can I charge my laptop battery with a portable solar panel system?
Many manufacturers sell portable photovoltaic panels and claim to charge laptop batteries. However, laptops use a more complex design and contain delicate circuitry than a traditional desktop. Hence, it will not be wise to rely on such aftermarket portable panels to charge your expensive laptop.
Instead, set up a proper solar panel system to run the household gadgets as well as charge your laptop from the installed battery.
Do I need a special kind of battery to power my computer?
It is one of the most critical parts of a solar setup. You have to select a battery that can provide power to your system for a long time with fast charging and high discharge capacity. In order to do so, you need to determine the wattage requirements of your computer and multiply it by 7 hours. For example, if your computer requires 200 watts, then you will need a battery with a capacity of 1400 watt-hours so that you can run your computer depending on the battery reserve solely during nighttime.
From where to buy the solar panels, charge controller, inverter, battery, and other essential equipment?
There are many manufacturers that produce high-quality components in which you can safely invest your hard-earned money and build a robust solar power system to meet all or most of your energy needs. However, before you decide on a particular product, do your due diligence and check the reviews online and see what real users have to say about it.
Also, do let us know if you want to see our recommended brand of solar panels, inverters, batteries, and other parts to help you narrow down your search.
When it comes to green energy, solar power is the ultimate renewable source. Unlike wind-power or hydro-power, it is practically limitless and can work independently without being connected to the main grid.
Today’s modern technology makes it possible to run a computer using some solar panels, so there’s no reason not to cut down on your electricity bill by powering some or even all of your home appliances with solar-electric power.