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We use stoves every day, and many don’t even think about how much electricity it uses. But it’s a different story if you’re on solar power as every watt counts. There are two questions here, can a solar panel power a stove, and second, how many panels will it take?
It will take ten 300 watt solar panels to run a stove. An inverter is also needed to convert solar power into alternating current so the stove can use it.
How Many Solar Panels Does It Take to Run a Stove?
Stoves are available in different specs, so power usage varies. In addition, how you use it determines the watt usage. It is something people may take for granted when running on electric power. But as we said, it is a different matter when you are on solar power. Saving energy is essential for any solar panel user, so an energy efficient model is ideal.
Most stoves use 3000 watts, but some energy efficient models consume only 2000 watts. On the other end are large stoves that use 5000 watts. A small burner needs about 1200 watts and large ones are rated 3000 watts. Cleaning an oven will take up 800 watts or so. The longer you use a stove, the more power it will consume.
Stove power consumption = solar panel size
If you have a 3000 watt stove, it will take a 3000 watt solar array to run it. any solar panel combination will do as long as the total is at least 3000 watts. We recommend going with a 300 watt or 400 watt panel like the Renogy 400W Solar Starter to get going. You will need eight of these to power a stove.
The more solar power you can use, the better. 3000 watts is exactly what a stove needs, so if you can increase the array size to 3200 or 3500, that is even better. it gives you a cushion in case there are fluctuations in solar output.
What is the Right Inverter Size for a Stove?
The inverter size must be 10% to 20% larger than the power requirement of the stove you will use with the solar system. For a 2000W stove, you should get a 2500W or 3000W capacity inverter, for a 4000W stove, 4500W inverter, and so on. Just add 20% to the stove watts and you have the minimum inverter size. For more about inverter sizes, check this out.
There is a debate on whether on how much cushion you can possibly have for an inverter,. 20% is the agreed minimum, but there’s no consensus on the maximum. Some argue that 50% should be the highest while others say you can double the inverter capacity. Our recommendation is a
One thing is clear, you need an inverter to run a stove on solar power. Solar panels produce direct current, and an inverter is needed to convert this into alternating current so the stove can use it. You can go with a 3000 watt inverter or a more powerful model like the Edeco Pure Sine Wave 3500W which can handle these stoves easily.
With stoves, the 20% extra capacity should suffice. But keep in mind that you can only use the inverter – and the rest of the solar power system – on the stove only. Not unless you have a large solar generator or a large solar array.
Do I Need Batteries to Power a Stove?
Yes, batteries are necessary. Running on solar panel alone means you won’t be able to use the stove if it rains, a cloud passes by, or when the sun sets. With a battery bank, you let the solar panel charge the battery, and let the battery power the stove.
You need two 100ah 24V batteries to run a 3000W stove. Or you can opt for three 100ah 12V batteries. To convert amps to watts, amps x volts = watts.
Make sure the battery voltage is compatible with the inverter and solar panel. Most 3000 watt inverters and 300 watt solar panels run on 24 volts. In this case you should use 24V batteries.
We suggest using lithium ion batteries because you can discharge it up to 80%-100%. Flooded acid batteries have a DOD (depth of discharge0 of 50%, so you have to double the capacity. In short, you need 2 x 100ah 24V batteries if is lithium. But if it’s lead acid, that would be four 100ah 24V, as you can only use half the capacity at a time.
What Charge Controller Size Do I Need For a Stove?
Charge controller size is determined by the solar panel voltage and amps. The most common charge controllers are 12, 24 and 48 volts. The voltage rating is from 1-60V and the amp rating is 1-60 amps.
If your solar panel is 12V and has 14 amps, the charge controller must be at least 14 amps plus 25% to account for power fluctuations. So for a 14A solar panel, you need at least a 17.5A charge controller. You can always get a controller with higher amps, but not lower. For maximum efficiency, buy an MPPT controller.
Going back to our stove example. If your solar panel is rated 3000W and has a 24V battery, you need a 156A charge controller. We arrived at that number with this formula. Divide the watts by the battery voltage.
3000 / 24 = 125
125 plus 25% = 156A
Since most charge controllers top out at 60A, you have to connect multiple charge controllers to your battery. You can connect several controllers to one battery bank, but the controllers have to be hooked up to its own solar panel sub array.
How to Save Solar Power on Ovens and Stoves
If you can’t live without your oven and have a solar power system set up for it, here are some suggestions to reduce its power consumption.
Cook Multiple Foods At Once. Stoves use less energy when you chook dishes simultaneously than one after another. It’s more efficient to cook foods for one long session than spread over several days. You don’t want to cram the oven and stove, but cook as many dishes as possible.
Use a Microwave. A microwave uses much less power than an oven. If you just need to heat food, skip the stove and do it on the microwave. You’ll save a lot of solar power this way. A microwave uses 800W, and that’s assuming you run it for an hour. The difference in watt usage is significant and the savings as well, so give it a try.
Clean the Oven Right Away. You’ll chop off several minutes – and watts – by initializing the cleaning cycle right after you cook. And clean your oven on a regular basis. Leftover gunk forces the oven to use more watts and thus more solar power. The longer you leave gunk in the oven, the harder it is to clean and the more solar energy it will use. So it’s best to clean it right away before everything gets too dirty.
Close the Oven Door. You’ve probably heard that freezers use more watts when the lid is opened frequently. That’s true and it also applies to ovens and stoves. Every time you open the oven door, it loses heat and will draw more power to bring the temperature back up.
Buy an Energy Efficient Stove. This might be stating the obvious, but it really makes a huge difference. Energy efficient appliances use way less power, and for solar power users, that’s makes a huge impact.
Cooking with an electric stove takes a lot of power, and you need a powerful solar power system to handle it. If you have one then there’s no problem. But if you don’t, there are other ways to cook anyway. Or you can run the stove on gas and use your solar panels for other appliances.