What can I do with one watt?

One Dollar for One Watt - What can I do with one watt?

OK - that's a really good question! What can be done with one watt? Now in this situation, we are talking about generating or making one watt of electricity.

As long as the sun is shining and conditions are good, each individual roof top solar panel generates, or makes, approximately 250 watts so you could easily power:

  • an iPad which needs 3 watts
  • a 50" or 125 cm TV which needs 45 watts

Popcorn is good to snack on while you're watching TV or using your iPad, right? Trouble is you won't be able to microwave your popcorn because a typical microwave needs 900 watts to run.

Now let's be clear - conditions are rarely ideal so we have to base our calculations on one solar panel generating 180 watts rather than 250. This means that a typical solar panel could run 60 iPads (180 watts/3 watts = 60 iPads) or 4 TV’s (180 watts/45 watts= 4 TVs) when the sun is shining but you would need 5 solar panels (180 watts x 5 panels = 900 watts) to run your microwave and enjoy that popcorn.

Now what if we store the energy from one solar panel for one hour? You could run your iPad for 60 hours (instead of running 60 iPads) and your TV for 4 hours (instead of running 4 TVs) but your microwave for only 12 minutes (180 watts x 60 mins = 10,800 watt/hours divided by 900 = 12 minutes).

All good to know huh!