How Many Solar Panels To Power A Computer? (Complete Guide)

The importance of computers in our daily lives can’t be overemphasized. While they are invaluable accessories, they also consume much power. If your computer uses a lot of power constantly, you’ll do the planet a favor by running it on renewable energy.

Few renewable energy sources can provide enough power to keep your computer running for a long time. However, a couple of solar panels over the roof of your building usually suffices.

That raises the question: how many solar panels do you need to run a computer exactly? This post will answer this question and guide you on your quest to run your computer on renewable energy.

How Many Solar Panels To Power A Computer?

A single solar panel is usually powerful enough to power your computer reliably, as long as you’re not mining cryptocurrencies on your computer. However, keeping a minimum of two solar panels is recommended to make up for bad weather and higher power requirements.

Solar Panels And Its Working Mechanism

Solar means anything relating to the sun. You probably know that the sun is the ultimate energy source in the world, and Earth and everything depends on the hot ball of gas burning 93 million miles away from its surface. The sun also produces photons that travel from the sun to the Earth in around eight minutes.

These photons are responsible for producing the energy we require to survive. The sun produces enough energy in an hour to sustain the entire world for a year. 

These photons can knock electrons free from atoms, creating photovoltaic power usable as an alternate power source.

Photovoltaic power is slowly taking over the power sector, accounting for around 50% of the energy consumed in the US. This is mainly because of its lower cost and reliability than regular electricity.

Can You Use Solar Panel To Run A Computer?

It’s possible to power a computer using solar panels alone. Powering a computer with solar panels is fast becoming a trend for heavy computer users because it is cheaper and usually more efficient, provided the weather is friendly.

Solar Panel

While a solar panel will do just fine, multiple solar panels are more efficient for powerful computers or more intensive use cases like cryptocurrency mining.

Do You Need Batteries To Run Your Computer With Solar Panels?

A solar panel requires batteries to power your computer effectively. In addition to those batteries, your solar panel will also need a charging controller and inverter to collect and gather power from the photoelectric cells on your panel.

The collected power is stored in the battery. Alternating Current (AC) is converted to Direct Current (DC), allowing the solar panel to power your computer effectively.

How To Run A Computer On Solar Power? (Step-By-Step)

How To Run A Computer On Solar Power

As you’ve already known, computers are always hungry for more power. Even so, the type of computer you use will dictate how much power you need to provide for effective functioning.

For instance, a laptop computer typically consumes less power than a desktop. However, if you use the laptop more frequently, you may notice that it contributes more to your wage bill than your desktop.

You may want to get as much solar power as possible to prevent your computer from throttling due to an insufficient power supply. Since it doesn’t affect the environment, you can draw as much power as your computer wants.

If you’re still new to the entire process, here is a step-by-step guide to setting up solar panels that will run your computer without any hitch. 

1. Getting The Photovoltaic Cells.

The initial step is to get photovoltaic cells that will be powerful enough to run your computer. This is a crucial stage in the process because purchasing subpar ones will not run your computer as well as you want, making them useless.

Unless your dealer has a friendly return policy, this might be a waste of time and money. Small computer devices like laptops might need around 45-50 watts to function appropriately, while devices with beefier hardware might need more than 90 watts of power to function satisfactorily.

You can check the power consumption rate of your laptop by checking the power adapter. If the label is worn out or the power consumption rate is unlisted, you can multiply the voltages and amplifiers to get the wattage.

A general rule of thumb is to consider purchasing solar panels that are at least 20% more powerful than you need so that your computer will never want more power.

2. Getting A Charging Regulator.

Get a solar charging regulator to regulate the energy going into your battery. This will extend your battery life and prevent discharging when not in use.

3. Getting A Photovoltaic Battery.

Get a battery for your photovoltaic power cells. A 12-volt battery would be the most suitable option, but you can also use a car battery as they serve the same purpose.

4. Getting An Adapter.

The next step is getting an AC-to-DC adapter to make connecting to a typical household socket easier.

5. Connecting The Charging Regulator To The Battery.

You’ll also need to connect the charging regulator to the battery before continuing. You should ensure the right cables are carefully connected to the proper controllers.

Connect the positive wires to the positive battery post and the negative wires to the negative end. If you are confused about how to do it, you can watch some YouTube videos or consult a professional’s assistance.

6. Connecting The Inverter To The Battery.

After connecting the charging regulator to the battery, you’ll need to connect the inverter to the battery by attaching the positive red clip to the positive battery post and the negative black clip to the negative post.

After completing all the processes above, your photovoltaic power source should be ready. Plug your computer into the outlet and enjoy!

Note that the testing and ratings on your photoelectric power cell are done at peak weather conditions. So the machine’s functionality might be altered during certain weather conditions, and this is logical because solar panels are designed to work maximum during dry and sunny weather.

Things To Consider When Running A Computer On Solar Power

You might have completed the necessary steps that’ll enable you to run your computer on solar power. But before you make that complete switch, here are some essentials you need to be wary about to ensure a smooth photovoltaic power experience.

Power Consumption

Before completely switching to photovoltaic power, you should consider how much your device consumes. As I hinted earlier in the article, the power consumption of different devices varies, and more potent devices will require more power.

You might need to calculate the overall energy consumption of your devices. Regular computers consume around 200 to 300 watts, while higher-end computers need considerably more to function at total capacity. When you know your device’s power consumption status, you can purchase solar panels that match.

Battery Strength

The battery power of your solar panel is essential, and you should pay attention to the battery power before purchasing. Your battery should sustain your computer for several hours before going off.

Exposure To Light

Solar panels are best in the daytime, so you should try installing them in areas exposed to light from the sun. This boosts the chances of getting the necessary power to work unhindered for several hours. Installing them in areas that limit their exposure to light will inevitably restrict their productivity.

Extra Power

Solar panels might not generate power for the whole day, so your computer’s backup power is significant. A strong power backup will store power during daylight for later use.

Number Of Solar Panels

The number of solar panels you use should be directly proportional to the power drawn by the computer’s hardware. Smaller computers may require fewer panels than bigger ones unless you use them for other gadgets. The duration of use is also essential.


Can You Run A Gaming PC On Solar?

With enough solar panels, you can run a powerful gaming PC on solar energy alone. Since gaming PCs are computers with very powerful hardware, they require strong solar panels. You may want to invest in a capable solar setup if you use them extensively daily.

Can I Charge My Laptop With A Solar Panel?

You can charge your laptop directly with energy from sunlight with solar laptop chargers. Portable solar panels let you charge your laptop using solar laptop chargers. Alternatively, you can purchase a power that charges with energy from the sun, which you can then use to charge your laptop.

How Many Solar Panels Does It Take Power A Laptop?

Single solar panels can generate as much as 300 Wh to power most laptops. The duration of use also comes to play. If you use it for extended periods, you may want to install up to two solar panels.

How Many Solar Panels Do I Need To Power A 1200-Watt Computer Power Supply?

If you run a powerhouse that consumes up to 1200 Watts, you’ll need five solar panels to keep it running consistently. One solar panel can supply one computer consistently, and simple math applies in the world of solar energy too.


Using solar panels to power your computer is a well-thought-out decision that’s good for the environment. In addition to being eco-friendly, solar panels can be cost-effective and work over the long term if they are correctly maintained.

They can also be an alternative if your regular power source fails. Whichever way you choose to use them, you’ll undoubtedly enjoy using your solar panels, with everything else being equal.

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