Solar panels are becoming more common as a way of generating energy from the sun. A solar panel harnesses solar energy, an inexhaustible energy source that can power buildings and houses without leaving carbon footprints.
The United States Department of Energy claims that the energy that the sun emits for more than 1 1/2 hours is more than enough to power Earth’s total energy consumption for a year. Also, come to think of it: 18 days of constant sunlight is more than equivalent to the Earth’s entire natural gas, coal, and oil reserve used in energy grids. This is why the use of solar power is revolutionary, as it teaches us that we can go back to nature for our needs, and she will provide.
Solar power may have a ” weak ” connotation compared to usual energy sources. So the typical question is, will it be able to power large appliances, such as a refrigerator?
Definitely! You can power a refrigerator with solar power. However, it will take additional items to do so. Here are the things that you need to power a fridge using solar energy:
- Solar panels. It is essential to know the power consumption of your refrigerator to know how many solar panels you need for the setup. Solar panels have photovoltaic cells that absorb photons of sunlight, which will be converted to electricity.
Once the photovoltaic cells start making direct current as soon as the sunlight hits the panels, the direct current is not enough to power your fridge. Thus, the need for solar inverters.
- Solar inverters. This gadget converts direct current to alternating current, the appropriate type of current to power a refrigerator. Solar inverters come in different types. We have the “string inverter,” which is a single inverter. Then we also have the “micro-inverter,” a converter connected to only one solar panel.
The energy generated by the panels is inconsistent and is highly dependent on the amount of sunlight received. A charge controller or transformer can help resolve this problem by adjusting the type and volume of power supplied to the fridge.
- Solar batteries. Solar batteries are there to store solar power in case sunlight may be rare, especially during the rainy or snowy season. Like inverters, solar batteries also come in many options. When choosing batteries, make sure to consider their round trip efficiency, capacity, etc. The amount of electricity stored by a solar battery is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh) or watt-hours (Wh). You may use more than one solar battery to increase the storage capacity for solar power.
Moreover, it would also help if you considered the battery’s power output to know how much electricity it can provide. In this case, since you are just going to use solar power for a sole appliance like the refrigerator, it would be best to choose a solar battery with high capacity and low power output.
Lithium-ion batteries are standard options for solar batteries as they work in most weather conditions. You may also include lead-acid batteries in your list.
The battery’s chemical composition requires that it be preserved with charge. Otherwise, it may have a shorter lifespan.
- Charge Controller. The solar power generated by the solar system can vary tremendously for different reasons. The fluctuating energy can damage some components and even the refrigerator. This is where the charge controller comes into place.
The charge controller helps in regulating the flow of energy smoothly and prevents overheating of the components. This characteristic of the charge controller helps preserve the components’ and appliance’s functionality.
Advantages of using solar panels to power a refrigerator
- It is easy to set up.
Running a refrigerator using a solar power system is easy. You will only need the following components: batteries, a charge controller, an inverter, and of course, solar panels. With this setup, you can have your refrigerator running 24/7, regardless of the weather conditions.
You may need to recharge the batteries at some point. But if your solar input is equivalent to the battery output given to the fridge, you can have a powered refrigerator as long as you want because there is no power shortage. But if you have smaller solar panel input than the output delivered to your fridge, you may need some time to recharge the solar batteries.
- You can stop worrying about sudden power outages.
If you live in a region where power outages are frequent, using a solar energy system for your refrigerator is a good choice. You do not have to worry about your food possibly getting spoiled because the fridge is not being powered. With solar panels, you are guaranteed to have your fridge running even without power from the grid.
- You are helping in the promotion of clean energy use.
Solar energy is a renewable energy source and is known for being a green solution to power generation. It does not contribute to pollution because it solely uses sunlight for energy. Regular refrigerators will need a constant supply of electricity from the grid, wherein coal and other non-renewable sources of energy are being used.
- A solar system is scalable.
If you want to add more appliances to your solar system, you can also add more batteries and solar panels to your system to accommodate your needs. This is an advantage because you can customize the system whenever you want.
- It is a portable setup.
If you are fond of camping, road trips, or tailgating, mini-refrigerators powered by solar panels can be beneficial since these trips usually do not consider a constant electric supply.
- Solar-powered refrigerators are low maintenance.
Solar energy systems are low-maintenance because they are stationary systems, which means that they do not move, thus, are less prone to damage. The only thing you need to do is keep the solar panels clean, which is a relatively easy task. Also, solar panel companies have extended product guarantees, proving that these panels are solid and of high quality.
Want to have a solar-powered refrigerator ready?
Using solar panels may be an unconventional way of using electricity since we are so used to being connected to the grid. Still, it is the greener way, especially now that the consequences of climate change are starting to affect our planet.
Contact Spring Solar and ask about their services if you want to join the green revolution with solar panels. They can help with inspection and solar panel installation in case you want to have a green fridge soon.