How much electricity do my appliances use?

To know what appliances can be powered by your solar panels, it helps to know how much power different appliances consume. The electricity used by domestic appliances will vary between different makes and models, but typical values are show below. Most appliances should have an information panel showing their consumption in watts (W) or kilowatts (kW) – 1kW is 1,000W.

If your solar panels are generating over 1,200W at a particular time, you would be able to power a 300W fridge-freezer, an 800W microwave and a number of small appliances like your broadband router and LED bulbs.

If you have a smart meter, it is possible to see how much electricity your home is purchasing from the electricity grid using the smart meter in-home display (IHD). When your solar PV system is generating more electricity than you are consuming, the IHD should show you are not importing electricity.

But typical values are shown on Table 1.

Table 1

Figure 2 shows the typical electricity consumption for various appliances and the amount of electricity consumed that could be provided from the free solar PV compared to that purchased from the electricity grid. This example is for a small 1kW solar PV system generating its maximum power. With a larger PV system, more power could be provided by the solar PV system.

Figure 2

Using more than one high power device at the same time means a higher proportion of electricity would be imported from the grid. It is better to use high power devices one at a time if the consumption is likely to be greater than the generation.