How many solar panels you need to run a 500 watt power converter is a pretty easy question. A 500 watt inverter is capable of converting 500 watts of power from one source into another. A computer system with a few other small items will take that much during the course of an 8 hour day. So assuming that you’re going to be converting the maximum 500 watts, and you are going to need that power for 8 to 10 hours, then one standard solar panel should be all that you need.
Keep in mind that 500 watts is not a lot of electricity, so don’t plan on getting a lot accomplished with just one solar panel. One typical residential solar panel is 3′ x 5′ and produces 70 watts of power per hour for 8 to 10hours. Between the panel and the converter alone, you’re looking at roughly a $500 investment. Some people use this system to power their computer and a few other small items i one room, like a desk light and a printer. Considering the initial cost of the system versus how much money they are actually saving, they are not doing it for the money.