Guide to the Amount of Power you Need to Power Different Devices
Check manuals of your electronics to find the power consumption. If you need to convert units, know that watts equal volts times amps; volts equal watts divided by amps; and amps are watts divided by volts.
A power consumption chart can give you some quick numbers for common appliances and consumer electronics. For instance, a DVD player typically requires 4 watts; an LCD computer monitor requires 22 watts; a 19 cubic foot refrigerator with a freezer requires 125 watts to operate, and as many as 300 watts during peak times. A well pump operating at 1/2 horsepower requires 535 watts; a hair dryer operates on 745 watts; and a standard microwave tops most lists with a power requirement of 1,350 watts to operate. You can calculate the power consumption of many electronics and home appliances on Energy Saver tool available at www.energy.gov.
If you plan to be conscientious of what home electronics you plan to operate, you can opt to stay with a lower power generator and not run too many electronics at the same time. For a full household, it becomes necessary to go bigger and cover more electronics at a time.
While evaluating power consumption, you can determine whether you are ready to go completely on solar power, or if you want to move a portion of your household electronics to solar, and keep the remainder on the grid, with energy supplied by the power company. Once you set up your solar power system, you can monitor your solar power consumption and determine if you can move more of your power needs to solar. You can also determine what additional equipment, such as additional panels and batteries, will get you closer to your goal of supplying all household electricity with solar and renewable sources.