When it comes to powering appliances, for most people the refrigerator is one of the most important needs of power your home has. A refrigerator houses milk, meat, and many other tasty treats that either wouldn’t be possible to keep or wouldn’t taste the same if it wasn’t for this frigid wonder.

So, if you are running your home or parts of your home off solar panels you could be wondering how many solar panels does it take to power that beast of an appliance; your trusty refrigerator?

The average refrigerator can take up a large chunk of power. Whether you are running a meter or solar panels to that big lug of an appliance, you are likely aware that since it runs all the time to maintain a constant temperature, it can eat up energy like PacMan. However, there are still variations of how many solar panels are needed.

The average number of solar panels needed to keep your refrigerator working properly is between 3 and 4. However, that variation could fluctuate up or down drastically. Some refrigerators might only require one solar panel while others could use more than four.

The true number of solar panels needed to power your refrigerator is dependent on a multitude of factors.

Power Usage Variables

It makes sense that the more power your refrigerator uses the more solar panels it will take to keep it powered. However, there are plenty of different variables that decide exactly how many solar panels you will need to power your refrigerator:

Individual Use

Averages are composed of many different people’s experiences. So, while individuals can get useful information from averages they rarely detail the exact experience of a specific person. That is why individual use is an important variable especially when it comes to the number of solar panels you need to power your refrigerator.

If you use the refrigerator often or you leave it open for long periods of time, you are making your fridge work harder to maintain the internal temperature. Every time a refrigerator is opened the cold air inside escapes which means the refrigerator needs to use more energy to bring the temperature back down.

Age of Refrigerator

The age of your refrigerator is also a determining factor. If your refrigerator was made before 1996, you are using an extremely outdated system. This means your refrigerator is using much more energy and is likely not as efficient as it was two decades ago when it was made. So, if you are still chillin’ your tv dinners with a pre-2000’s refrigerator, a simple upgrade will likely offer a very noticeable change in your energy bills.

Average Amount of Food Stored in the Refrigerator

Believe it or not, the amount of food that is stored in your refrigerator also causes a noticeable difference in the energy expelled from your fridge. Although again, this makes sense as the more food in the refrigerator, the more the fridge needs to keep cool thus the more energy it uses to cool everything down. Now, that doesn’t mean that you need to buy less food but it is something that you should be aware of as a factor that affects energy usage.

Average Household

If you have a fairly new refrigerator and you are doing your best to take care of it: you don’t overload it, you don’t keep it opened for longer than you need, and you have a fair amount of sun, your refrigerator should use around 796 kilowatts per year. Divide that by 12 and you get a usage of approximately 66.33 kilowatts per month. Then, divide that by 30 and you get an estimate of 2.2. This means that this refrigerator, on average will use a little more than two solar panels (so, three solar panels) to run it effectively. 

In summation, you always want to have an expert tell you exactly how many solar panels are needed for your home. But it is still a good idea to have a basic idea of how many solar panels your refrigerator and other appliances need to work inside your home. After all, with solar panels lasting two and a half to three decades (and sometimes longer) you are going to eventually need new appliances. If you have an idea of how to calculate the solar panel usage for your refrigerator (and other appliances) you will be a much more savvy purchaser.