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How Many Solar Panels Does Binge Watching Your Favorite Shows Require

Jessica PirroJuly 30, 20193730

Television streaming services is taking off. With streaming services at the touch of fingerprints such as, Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO, etc., it is changing the way that people watch television. Sure some shows still get, but with these streaming services, television show consumers can now binge-watch these shows, which most people prefer.

Since we are on the topic of binge-watching television shows, some consumers who are considering going green consider how much it solar energy streaming their favorite television shows need, which will bring up the question, how many solar panels is it going to take to watch their favorite shows.

How Much Electricity Does TV Use?

The first thing that will need to be answered is exactly how much solar energy do televisions use? Solar electricity uses, which are expressed in kilowatt-hours (kWh) as seen on your electric bill, is a calculation of two separate factors: power consumption multiplied by time. The power consumption is then expressed in watts. For instance, old incandescent light bulbs required 60 watts of power. The amount of electricity that is consumed by a light bulb will usually depend upon how long you turn it on for. If you turn it on for one single hour, it would consume 60-watt-hours. If you turn it on for 5 hours a day, every day each year, that same light bulb is going to consume 109,500 watt-hours or 109.5 kWh.

The calculation steps for TVs are going to be the same. To determine how much solar electricity your TV uses, you need to know how much solar power it consumes and how long you plan on watching TV. Different types of TVs require different amounts of solar power. The Department of Energy provides some nifty home appliance solar energy use calculators, of which says that modern TVs use anywhere from 150 watts (LCD or LED TVs under 40 inches) to 300 watts (plasma TVs).

By looking at the products that are offered on the market confirms that this range, as there are 80-watts, 32-inch LED TVs, as well as 350-watt 75-inch LED TVs. Your TV’s specific wattage likely falls within the range, and will then be listed in the documentation for your product. For the whole purpose of this exercise, we are assuming that the average TV uses 200 watts.

How Much Energy is Required to Watch the Entire TV Series?

With the solar power consumption in hand, the next piece required to calculate the solar energy consumption is the amount of time you’ll be watching TV. For instance, the eighth season of Game of Thrones is said to be 440 minutes long, just over 7 hours-worth of watch time. Watching the entire season with a 200-watt television would consume around 1.4 kilowatt-hours. Given that the average American household consumes close to 1,000 kilowatt-hours per month, watching the last season of Game of Thrones may only comprise a small fraction of your monthly electric bill.

Watching the entirety of the series, however, is a different story. With eight-seasons’ worth of episodes spanning nearly a decade, it would require 14.6 kilowatt-hours of solar energy to watch the entire series of Game of Thrones on a 200-watt TV.   

How Much Solar Energy Is Required To Watch Your Favorite Shows?

Solar panels come in a range of sizes, from 200 watts per panel to even 400 watts per solar panel. The solar panels that are most quoted are in the 300 to 360-watt range.

Calculating how much solar energy that solar panels produce is similar to calculating how much solar energy your TV consumes: you need to know at what power it is producing solar energy and for how much time. Because the sun shines stronger and for more hours at southern latitudes, the amount of solar energy that is produced by a single solar panel varies from region to region throughout the United States. A reasonable assumption is that a 350-watt solar panel will produce an average of 1.25 kilowatt-hours per day in the Northeast and over 2 kilowatt-hours per day in the Southwest.

The Solar Energy Required to Watch Long-Running Shows 

Series

Episodes

Length of Episodes (Minutes)

Length of Series (Hours)

Total Energy Consumed (KWH)

Days of Solar Required in the Northeast

Days of Solar Required in the Southwest

ER

331

48

265

53.0

42

25

The Simpsons

522

22

191

38.2

30

18

The West Wing

156

48

125

25

20

12

M*A*S*H

255

25

106

21.2

17

10

Lost

122

44

89

17.8

14

8

Friends

238

22

87

17.4

14

8

How I Met Your Mother

208

22

87

17.4

14

8

The Office

201

22

74

14.8

12

7

Game of Thrones

73

60

73

14.6

12

7

The Sopranos

86

50

72

14.4

11

7

Mad Men

92

44

67

13.4

11

6

The Wire

60

60

60

12

10

6

Breaking Bad

62

44

45

9

7

4

Arrested Development

76

22

28

5.6

4

2

Using the assumptions, watching the entire series of Game of Thrones requires 12 days of output from a single solar panel in the Northeast or 7 days of output from a single solar panel in the Southeast. As a result, the average homeowner produces more than enough solar electricity to watch all of the Game of Thrones in a single day.  

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