Battery Equivalents and Replacements

Solar Powered TV: How Many Solar Panels To Run a TV

During blackouts and in emergencies, running a TV, lights, communication devices, and similar appliances and devices help one to endure tough times, waiting for a "normal" to return.

Running a TV via solar panels ensures an almost endless source of power when the system is set properly. Thus, many people wonder how many solar panels are needed in order to run a TV...

Published: February 2, 2022.

tv with remote

TV Power Requirements

TVs come in different sizes and technologies, each one with specific power and energy requirements.

Also, some people feature external audio systems with additional power/energy requirements.

In order to find out how many watts your TV requires, the best thing is to check the documentation that came with a TV or to check a label (usually found on the back of the TV) with basic TV info, which usually includes TV power requirement.

If that can't be found, the following comparison chart can be used to find out approximate values (power in Watts) of various TV sizes (given in inches) and technologies:

Screen Size
CRT LED OLED LCD Plasma
15 65 15 - 18 -
17 75 18 - 20 -
19 80 20 - 22 -
20 90 24 - 26 -
21 100 26 - 30 -
22 110 30 - 40 -
24 120 35 - 50 -
30 140 38 52 60 150
32 150 41 57 70 160
37 170 44 66 80 180
40 - 50 72 100 200
42 - 57 75 120 220
45 - 65 82 130 250
50 - 72 89 150 300
55 - 80 98 180 370
60 - 88 107 200 500

Obviously, if You have an older TV with older technology, it may be beneficial for your electricity bills to switch to more energy-efficient TV technology. Just my 2c.

It is also good to know that the required power may be decreased by decreasing the sound volume and decreasing the screen brightness.

As one can see, smaller 32-40 inches LED, OLED, LDC, and similar TVs require at most 100 watts, with smaller and more energy-efficient technologies even less than that.

For the sake of simplicity, we will base our calculation on 50W and 100W TVs.

TV Energy Requirements

In order to find out how much energy our 50W and 100W TVs need, first, we have to find out how many hours per day will these two TVs be used (it's an emergency, not everyday life).

The following chart lists required energy (given in Wh) for 50W and 100W TVs, depending on the hours used:

Hours per Day 2 4 6 8
50W TV 100Wh 200Wh 300Wh 400Wh
100W TV 200Wh 400Wh 600Wh 800Wh

So, if we want to use 50W TV for 2h per day, we need a system that is able to provide 100Wh of energy. Since such systems are not 100% energy efficient, the actual amount of collected energy is higher.

Solar Panel Collected Energy

The easiest method of powering TV using solar power in emergencies is through the use of solar generators/power stations combined with a sufficient number of solar panels.

Another slightly more complicated method is through the use of solar panels connected to the solar charge controller which is connected to the deep cycle battery (or battery pack) which provides energy to the power inverter, preferably one with the pure sine wave output - such systems are more complex, have similar or slightly lower energy efficiency than the solar power stations (solar generators), but can store much more energy.

Note: if more energy is required, some high-end solar power stations feature additional modules with extra batteries.

It is reasonable to assume that the solar generators feature an average energy efficiency level of 80%. Thus, in order to provide certain energy to TVs, collected solar energy must be ~25% higher than the delivered energy.

Note: this energy efficiency of 80% is usually energy efficiency when converting energy from the battery in the solar generator to the external load. But, energy storage in batteries is also not 100% energy efficient. However, most solar generators use lithium batteries and it is more or less safe to assume that the energy efficiency of solar generators is on average 80%.

Thus, the following chart lists required solar panel energy (given in Wh) for 50W and 100W TVs, depending on the hours used:

Hours per Day 2 4 6 8
50W TV 125Wh 250Wh 375Wh 500Wh
100W TV 250Wh 500Wh 750Wh 1000Wh

In order to calculate the required solar panel wattage, we have to assume daily sunlight hours and solar panel efficiency - in this example, we will assume 8 hours of sunlight and 50% solar panel efficiency.

Note: Solar panel efficiency of 50% means that 100W solar panel is able to collect 50W due to the less than optimum panel angle, clouds, and similar.

Thus, the following chart lists required solar panel wattage (given in Watts) to ensure watching 50W and 100W TVs for a certain amount of hours:

Hours per Day 2 4 6 8
50W TV ~32W ~63W ~94W 125W
100W TV ~63W 125W ~188W 250W

Now that we know the required solar panel wattage and required solar panel energy, it is easy to conclude how many solar panels one needs in order to run a certain TV for a certain period of time.

For example, if we want to run 50W TV for 6 hours per day, we need one 100W (~94W) solar panel and a power station that is able to store 400Wh (~375Wh) of energy.

And this is given with the following assumptions: 8 hours of daylight, 50% solar panel efficiency, 80% solar generator efficiency.

jackery explorer 500

There is a number of solar generators (power stations) that fit these requirements - one of them is Jackery Explorer 500 (Amazon link, link opens in the new window), which is able to store 518 Wh of energy and to provide 500 Running Watts and 1000 Surge Watts.

solar saga 100w

Also, Jackery Explorer 500 is compatible with a broad list of solar panels, including Jackery Solar Saga 100W Foldable Solar Panel (Amazon link, link opens in the new window) which can be used to charge solar power stations, batteries via solar charger controllers, but also small devices directly thanks to USB-A and USB-C charging ports.

Note: when choosing solar panels and power stations, choose according to your own needs and requirements. Also, it is recommended to go for larger and stronger solar panels and power stations since it is always good to have some power reserve - better safe than sorry.

Amazon Search:

- Portable Power Station

- Solar Panel

- Portable Power Station Solar Panel Kit

Note: Amazon links open in the new windows, feel free to check them for the most up-to-date offers and prices.