Turn Any TV Into A Solar Powered TV: Easy 5 Step Solution

Last updated: February 14, 2023.

I’m a qualified electrician (since 2006), and an advocate of energy independence. But I’ve seen a lot of people get scared off by even the most reasonable labor costs.

My theory: more people would reduce their reliance on the grid if there were safe, simple, DIY solutions.

And here’s the easiest solution for the most used device (you don’t need to be an electrician, or pay any labor costs).

Here’s how you can turn any TV into a solar powered TV, in 5 simple steps.

Solar Powered TV image of a room with sunlight shining on a TV, along with text that reads "Turn any TV Into A Solar-Powered TV."

Pro tip sidenote: when I get called out to restore power on a fixed solar installation, 2 of the most common causes of the power failure are:

  1. Inverters overheating. So try avoid covering or obstructing them – a simple lack of airflow can result in an expensive repair.
  2. Software related issues. Errors, a simple software update (or lack thereof), can result in incorrect readings and general compatibility issues rendering fixed solar installations ineffective. Check your manuals to see how to update software – this can be a quick and easy fix for restoring power.

Solar powered TV in 5 steps

Here are the 5 safe, easy, DIY steps that will turn any television into a solar powered TV.

1. Find how much energy a TV uses

Identify the power rating, how many watts the TV uses (including when on standby), and the amp draw.

TV power rating is the manufacturer’s listed wattage. This is the maximum wattage that the TV is expected to use under normal operating conditions. This figure is easily found at the back of the TV, in the manual, and in the specifications on most sales pages.

The amount of watts that a TV uses is less than its listed wattage. This information is harder to find. 

However, Eco Cost Savings has done the research. Based on a study of the power consumption of over 107 TVs, on average TVs use 58.6W. Don’t miss the results of the study, incl. standby wattage, check out how many watts a TV uses.

Many storage systems list their capacity in amps, so it’s worth also identifying the TV amperage and how many amps the TV uses, on average. 

We’ve done the research on this too and detailed how you can find and measure TV amp draw. Check out: How many amps does a TV use? 

But, just to highlight, you may only need either the watt or amp figures. This article will cover both to ensure its sufficiently comprehensive. But one can be worked out from the other using Ohm’s Law (we go into more on this detail below).

So, at this point, you’ve identified the maximum wattage in On and Standby mode, estimated the actual watt usage, and / or the max amps, and estimated amp draw.

An example and demonstration will help.

We’ll use results for the typical, and average energy usage of modern TVs, which are:

  • Power rating / wattage: 117W;
  • Average TV watts used: 58.6W;
  • Average standby watt usage (only if you tend to leave the TV in this mode): 0.5W;
  • TV amperage: 1A; and
  • Average TV amp draw: 0.49A.

Now we need to work out the TV’s energy consumption over time, in watt-hours and amp-hours.

This is for battery capacity and energy storage purposes, which will be important later.

Let’s keep it simple and choose 1 hour of TV running time (so we’re disregarding TV standby power consumption for now).

Let’s do this for both the maximum expected energy usage (using the power rating / wattage and amperage figures), and the closer-to-real-world estimate (using the average watts and amps usage figures).

To work out watt-hours (Wh), simply multiply the watts by the number of hours. 

Using our example figures:

  • The max expected watt-hours is 117 Wh; and
  • The estimated real-world watt-hours is 58.6 Wh.

It’s just as simple, with our example figures, to estimate the amp-hours.

To work out the amp-hours (Ah), simply multiply the amps by the number of hours.

Again, using our example figures:

  • The max expected amp-hours is 1 Ah; and
  • The estimated real-world amp-hours is 0.49 Ah.

Ok, now we know how much energy a TV uses after running for 1 hour in On mode. 

Now let’s briefly work out how much energy is used in Standby mode

But this time we can ignore the maximum expected wattage and amperage in standby because we’re already considering, and will cater to, the higher figures.

We simply want to know how much power will be drained when the TV is left on standby. So, the average watt-hour figure will be sufficient.

On average, TVs use 0.5W when on standby, which works out to an hourly energy drain of 0.5 Wh.

So, now we know how much energy a TV uses after running for an hour in both On and Standby modes

Next, let’s take a look at the solar power requirements.

2. Identify how much solar power you need to run a TV

To identify the solar power requirements of a TV, you need to know its energy usage over time, and consider your usage requirements and local conditions.

In terms of energy usage over time: A TV uses 58.6 Wh when on and 0.5 Wh when in standby mode per hour, on average. And the average TV hourly amp draw is 0.49 Ah.

This is the expected energy usage under the test conditions, which is lower than the TV’s maximum potential energy usage under normal operating conditions.

Related: check out these low watt TV for solar options.

To ensure you cater to the highest possible energy usage, consider using the manufacturer’s TV wattage and amperage figures covered in step 1. This however, will result in somewhat inflated energy estimates.

Once you meet these energy requirements, next, identify your usage requirements and then consider the local conditions.

In terms of your usage requirements: how long do you intend to use your TV per day? Include both On and Standby modes.

On average, in the US, people use a TV for nearly 5 hours per day, according to Nielsen National TV Measurement.

Let’s round up to 5 hours per day, and assume 19 hours of use in standby mode.

With this we can work out how much energy is required, in total, to run a TV per day.

Simply multiply the hourly energy usage by 5, and the hourly standby energy usage by 19. Then add them together.

On average, the solar system must generate 302.5 Wh of electricity per day.

That’s 293 Wh for On mode, and 9.5 Wh for Standby mode.

Using the max figure listed in the previous step (i.e. the power rating), we’d need to generate 594.5 Wh in total. A considerably higher result.

In terms of battery capacity from an amp-hour perspective, we’d need 2.45 Ah to keep the TV in On mode. That’s 5 Ah if the estimation was based on a typical manufacturer listed amperage.

Adding standby amp draw slightly increases the amp-hour requirement.

Side note: let’s work out the standby amp-hour requirement from the standby watt-hour result of 9.5 Wh. To do this, simply divide 9.5 Wh by the nominal voltage in the US (where the actual energy usage tests were completed) of 120V. The result is 0.08 Ah.

Ultimately, the TV requires 594.5 Wh or 5 Ah max. However, 302.5 Wh would be a closer estimate.

Let’s keep things simple and just run with 302.5 Wh.

Now we know the daily TV energy requirement based on the user’s usage requirement.

So next we need to ensure that the solar system can generate that amount of electricity. This is where the local conditions play a significant role.

In terms of local conditions: hours of daylight, weather conditions, and general inefficiencies are key considerations when it comes to estimating solar power requirements.

Other factors play a role too, but we’re trying to keep things simple.

Generally, when estimating solar power systems, 4 hours of sunlight per day is assumed. So the aim is to generate enough solar power within those hours to run the TV for the 5 hour requirement.

In our example, we need to generate 302.5 Wh of electricity in 4 hours. In other words, 75.625W per hour.

This is the size of solar panel we’d need. But to account for inefficiencies we need a larger solar panel.

Accounting for inefficiencies, including weather conditions, is difficult – a lot of estimations must be made.

However, there are tools that can help.

For historic weather conditions based on home addresses, and specific inefficiencies with solar systems, check out the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s PVWatts Calculator.

We’re trying to keep things simple, and it’s impossible to account for the local conditions of all readers, so we’ll make a broad assumption.

We’ll assume 50% efficiency overall, and round up to the nearest standard solar panel size, but also ensure that the solar system is easily expandable to cater to any adjustments with minimal difficulty.

So, what we need is a 160W solar panel.

This will be more than enough to generate the solar power required to run the TV.

But we need somewhere to store the electricity that’s generated, so the TV can be used at any time during the day or night.

For this, we need battery storage with a capacity of at least 302.5 Wh.

And that’s our next step.

3. Grab the equipment

The easiest way to turn any TV into a solar-powered TV is to use a solar generator. The average energy consuming TV requires a 302.5 Wh battery and a 160W solar panel.

This method removes the complexity of separate battery management technology, charge controllers, inverters, designing circuits, possible interconnectivity issues, etc.

It also has the added benefit of being portable, it’s quicker to set up, and if chosen correctly, it’s easily expandable.

It’s worth noting that lower capacity batteries, and panels can be suitable too because, in a lot of cases, the solar panel will recharge the battery as it’s discharging while running the TV.

With this in mind, a lot of solar systems open up to us.

There are many options out there including:

  • Jackery (this cost effective bundle should be sufficient for most users, considering real-world conditions. It’s also easily expandable);
  • Bluetti (this is another cost effective option. It has faster charging, but will fall approx. half an hour short of our 5 hour requirement); and 
  • ALLWEI (I’m compelled to highlight this option because of the current deal. It doesn’t stand out for capacity or recharge speed, but it does for price).

However, I’ll use EcoFlow in this example because they have the most complete, market leading, ecosystem.

Their comprehensive ecosystem enables easy expansion into complete energy independence, without running the risk of compatibility issues in future.

This EcoFlow River Pro solar generator with 160W solar panel will turn any TV into a solar powered TV.

Image of a solar generator and panel that turns any TV into a solar powered TV.
The easiest way to turn any TV into a solar TV is to use this solar generator. Picture source: EcoFlow.

See the price on ecoflow.com (this link delivers a 5% discount) or on Amazon, here.

This highly efficient, rapid charging unit with a 160W solar panel can power our example TV along with many other devices (incl. a router, laptop, and phone) for a lot longer than our 5 hour requirement.

Also, when plugged into the mains and there’s a power outage, this solar generator acts as a TV backup power supply. 

It automatically switches over, within 30 milliseconds, to battery supply mode when a power outage is detected. 

As a result of the quick switch over, this solar generator can essentially act as an uninterruptible power supply (UPS), suitable for most electronics.

OK, we’ve discussed the equipment, now it’s time for the simple setup.

4. Set up your solar generator

If you’re using your TV at home, simply place the solar panel in direct sunlight and place the generator near the TV. Then connect them together with the cables provided. The solar generator should start charging.

I like to keep setups portable. Consider not securing equipment and cabling permanently.

This has the added benefit of not having to drill or run cables through walls. 

A small notch in a door frame may be sufficient. 

Your TV location may not be suitable for this, but hopefully the route will be simple, and not have a visually displeasing result.

If it’s not suitable visually, a more permanent option may be required – be sure to check with the user manual beforehand and follow any guidance.

Now the final step.

5. Plug your TV in – it’s now a solar powered television

Simply plug your television into the solar generator. And that’s it!

Your TV is now a solar powered TV.

It’s that simple.

I’m an electrician, I’ve worked on a lot of fixed systems, and I don’t know of an easier DIY method.

But again, there are other methods to make any TV solar-powered. However, this way is the quickest, easiest and likely safest method that anyone can do

Next, let’s take a brief look at some frequently asked questions regarding solar power for TVs.


Can a 100 watt solar panel run a TV?

Yes. A 100 watt solar panel can run a TV.
A 100W solar panel that generates 58.6W of electricity can run the average modern TV.
TVs that use less watts will be powered more comfortably from the panel.
Battery storage should be used along with the 100W panel to ensure there’s sufficient power being delivered to the TV, continuously.
The solar panel’s efficiency levels, local weather conditions, and other factors should be considered to ensure the 100W solar panel will deliver sufficient power to run a specific TV for the required duration.

Can you run a TV on solar power?

Yes. You can run a TV on solar power.
Even old, more power hungry TVs can be run on solar power.
TVs are not considered energy guzzlers, unlike clothes dryers and showers.
Depending on the solar system, hundreds of TVs can be powered by solar at the same time.
It’s increasingly common to see whole homes being powered by solar.

How long can a UPS power a TV?

A UPS typically powers a TV for less than one hour. They’re primarily used to enable safe shut down of devices.
How long a UPS powers a TV for depends on many factors including its capacity and the energy usage of the TV.
Modern solar generators can act as a UPS, which can potentially power a TV indefinitely.
But, make sure you check the solar generator specifications, along with the TV’s requirements, to ensure that the switchover to battery is fast enough to be considered uninterrupted by the TV.
Some switchover speeds may not be fast enough for more sensitive TVs.

Final thoughts

I hope that the 5 steps help you safely, easily and effectively transform your TV into a solar powered TV.

Running a TV off of solar will have the added benefit of reduced energy bills, carbon footprints, and reliance on the grid.

The suggested equipment above can power other appliances too. But you may be interested specifically in solar generator for freezer requirements.

The figures in this article were based on different studies. Get more energy usage results and insights from these relevant studies, here:

Also, to make significant savings on your energy bill and carbon footprint, don’t miss this 6 Quick Wins Cheat Sheet: