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  • Writer's pictureCaleb T. Hayes

I Tested And Ranked The Best Portable Solar Panels In 2024

Are you ready to harness the sun’s energy? My personal review of the best portable solar panels will surely help you make the switch to sustainable electricity. Here are hands-on reviews.

best portable solar panels

FYI, prices and ratings are accurate as of time of writing.


1. Renogy 100 - 100W 12V 2-Piece Monocrystalline Kit

Top-rated: 6,421 ratings


best portable solar panels

Credit: Amazon.com


Highlight: Delivers a stable output of an average 500Wh of electricity per day.

Helpful review: "As soon as I received the panel's I unboxed everything and set them in the sun to check if they worked. First things I noticed is they are built really well, and they sent me 24 volt panels and I ordered 12 volt so a big plus for me, 96 volts of power from an expected 48 so again a big plus in my favor. After ordering a total of 22 of these, they are all producing more than 100W each unfocused, so YES they are a good deal.
Next I pointed them at the sun and was getting more than rated voltage when in a direct angle to the sun, and I got a reading of 24.5 volts DC on all but 1 which was 22.8 volts DC with them pointing unfocused; in an attempt to imitate the angle they would be in a stationary system on the roof. Of course my opinion may change if they don't work long term but right now I couldn't be happier with the purchase.
UPDATE:
It's been a few months now using these panels fully off grid. And I couldn't be happier. Yes I could have spent a lot more money and had fewer panels by buying 300+ watt panels but space wasn't a worry for us money is. We would have spent quite a bit more per watt buying the higher wattage panels.
The important thing is each and every one of my Renogy solar panels produces more than the rated wattage under full sun. It isn't a lot but we get over 3200 watts total under full sun with 30 panels now. Which means there is over 200 watts higher than rated wattage total. That's 2 panels worth. I call them our ghost panels. My opinion of these panels and the company couldn't get better.
The PowMr 5000W CC/Inverter we are using can take 450V to the MPPT with a max of 500V 16 amps. Two arrays of 15 panels each at 13 amps is where we are now, that's about 250 V 6.5 amps per array. We are going to add more panels to reach the 450V 16A input potential.
Right now we only use battery power under full sun if we use the dryer or microwave oven, everything else is powered between say 8:00 AM to 6:00PM by our panel array which is not focused and is a bit small yet. That includes recharging our battery bank, watching TV, coffee on, lighting and the fridge. If the dryer and AC are on at the same time we may see a small draw on the batteries around 1 or 2 amps when the dryer's heating element is powered, which is intermittent.
Right now we are fairly balanced. The panels run everything in the house pretty much during daytime including recharging batteries, and the batteries at night; which means the panels are producing all the electricity we use. Adding a few more panels will end using any battery power during a sunny day and adding panels to reach 450V max will probably accomplish that on a cloudy day.
Here’s the last thing I want to mention. Even though power production does depend on how much light is blocked by clouds or shadows, they do produce power on overcast days. A thin layer of clouds won't appear to make much difference and even on a day with a few rain clouds around we will have power coming from the panels. So my rating is 100% 5 Stars and I'd add another 5 if I could. The panel that produced 22 volts was made wrong. One of the cells isn't connected and what looks like the solder strip is laying across the neighboring cell face. Still can't complain. I purchased 12V panels.
A FEW WORDS FROM A NEIGHBOR:
Do your homework, and limit your expectations. Once you understand that solar panels must be angled at varying times and degrees, rather than permanently fixed to maximize efficiency, you'll be well on your way. Yes, you can permanently mount the panel in a horizontal position, but depending on the surface and angle of the sun at any given time, this will affect the amount of watts you can harvest. Another big consideration in panels is the amount of landscape they require for their installation, their prospective location, and surface, if any. Some are larger than others and heavier too. The flexible and folding ones have their drawbacks as well. Consider where you plan to put them and how you plan to use them before deciding what to buy. After a lot, a lot, a lot, of reading and research, hundreds of product reviews, and a determination to return them if they didn't perform, I bought these. I'm glad I did because they didn't disappoint me. I don't get 100 watts out of these panels, but I also don't run the risk of overloading my system. Again, be wary of the maximum wattage stated. You'll never get that out of any panel unless perhaps you're out in space pointed directly at the sun." — Barry R. Koss

Get it from Amazon now: $238.99 & FREE Returns

 

2. Jackery SolarSaga - 100W Portable Solar Panel for Explorer Power Stations

Top-rated: 5,259 ratings


best portable solar panels

Credit: Amazon.com


Highlight: Features 2 kickstands that can be placed firmly on any surface ground.

Helpful review: "At 70 years of age, I've been a camper/hiker, of one kind or another, ever since my Dad threw me over his shoulder and took me fishing. Over our years together, we had many adventures in Mother Nature's Grandeur, but, in those days, the only 'technology' that went with us was Dad's bamboo fishing pole!
Today, car/tent camping is my choice and with all the electronics that we all think is necessary nowadays, I had to find a way to power all my toys while exploring the backroads of America. I wanted a substantial power source, but it had to be portable and could be recharged if it was needed for longer excursions.
Being from the Stone Age, I figured I'd end up with some kind of gas or propane generator, but as I researched, I discovered the new world of high capacity portable batteries with built in AC, DC and USB plugs, rechargeable with AC, DC or a Solar Panel. If you'd like to learn more about which Portable Power Station I chose, see my review of the Jackery Explorer 500.
Since I have a road trip planned for next summer, I wanted to obtain some kind of solar panel to keep my Explorer 500 charged up, so I chose Jackery's SolarSaga 100 Portable Solar Panel and decided to experiment with it over the Winter. I received prompt delivery of my new Solar Panel and as it turned out, it was just in time for the first test. Living on the rural Oregon Coast, it's not unusual to lose power when there's a storm.
Although I did have some modern conveniences ( wood heat, running water and propane generator to keep the frig/freezer going and the camp stove for cooking), I'm happy to report that despite being without electricity for 4 days, I was able to keep my toys and my neighbors' toys charged. We were able to watch all the TV we wanted through our iPads and MacBook Pros and kept all our iPhones (3), iPads (2), MacBook Pros (2), Bluetooth Speakers (4) and Bluetooth lanterns and flashlights (6) fully charged. Life would have been very boring if I hadn't been able to keep our 'toys' functioning, so I felt this was an excellent investment.
Included are pics of my Jackery Explorer 500 with the complimentary SolarSaga 100 Portable Solar Panel which shows the rugged, compact unit encased in a protective storage bag with attached pouch for cables and instruction card. Support legs are attached as well which flip out to angle the panel properly for sun exposure. One edge has a compact plastic enclosure encasing the plug-ins and a storage compartment for the attached charging cable. I decided to keep the panel hooked up to the Explorer 500 all the time so it was fully charged and ready for whatever 'toy' needed power. Fortunately, the sun finally came out and then the panel did an even more outstanding job of keeping us going.
This was a good 'dry run' to get familiar with this unit's capabilities, as I do a lot of car camping every summer and now have a better idea of how this setup will serve me as I travel and in future home emergencies. Some reviewers have questioned why Jackery's SolarSaga Solar Panels (60 and 100) are more expensive than other brands. Folks, we all know that some manufacturers produce higher quality products made with high end components and constructed properly.
Personally, I always try to purchase the very best product I can afford, so if that means spending a little more, it's usually worth it. The other important and valuable aspect of choosing a top notch product is choosing a reputable company that provides excellent service and stands behind their products. We've all had poor experiences with companies that provide little customer service or worse yet, no customer service. Let me tell you that the Jackery Staff is the very best that you'll find! Prompt, polite and frankly, I get the sense that they are genuinely concerned that you are happy with their products. I simply had some general questions on their equipment functionality, and I received feedback within a few hours, not days!
If you're looking for an outstanding, top quality portable compact power station with a complimentary solar panel, I highly recommend spending those few extra bucks (it's not that much more) for Jackery's Products. If you just can't afford the larger units, then start out with a smaller power station and the 60 watt solar panel. They offer various capacity power stations (160, 240, 500 currently, but are coming out with a 300), two solar panels (60 and 100 watt) and several portable power banks of a variety of sizes to throw in your pocket that can supply you with much needed power for your outdoor adventures or as emergency backup.
Take the leap with Jackery, Friends, as you'll be making a solid investment and you'll be very pleased with their customer service!
A FEW WORDS FROM A NEIGHBOR:
hy use heavy loud generators, carry fuel, deal with all that monotonous nonsense, when you could literally live off the Jackery Families products. I say Family because over the years I’ve had multiple email contacts and numerous phone calls with them, and every interaction was amazing. Courteous, professional, and the products are literally second to none. The Jackery 1000 is my newest addition and there’s nothing I can say about it that the 240 or 500 don’t already represent. Twice the power, twice the life, multiple solar panel options, can recharge through car, wall, or good ol sunshine. I could get technical and go down the path as some of these reviewers do, but anyone can read the box. I can sum everything the box says by just telling you that these products, put out by this amazing company, can enhance anyone’s life, save somebody's life, and will probably last the rest of yours. It’s a no brainer for us. I’ve purchased every product so far with a smile knowing it's perfect and the people handing it to me care enough to treat you as if you were family. These panels are amazing and I’ve got cleaner and faster charge times with them than I have with our RVs eight 4ftx2ft panels." — Shane Harbin

Get it from Amazon now: $299.00 & FREE Returns

 

3. Renogy Starter - 100W Panel with 30A PWM Charge Controller

Top-rated: 3,740 ratings


best portable solar panels

Credit: Amazon.com


Highlight: Charge Controller is compatible with 4 different types of batteries: Sealed, Gel, Flooded, and Lithium.

Helpful review: "Was pricing our options for a client who'd requested off grid power for their rural sawmill. They needed enough power to run a small beer fridge and for smartphones and a very efficient little notebook. They have generators for running real equipment, and the saws use internal combustion engines.
I had a small fridge lying about (actually have another 4 or so). Pick them up at estate sales and such for five to twenty bucks. Used a kWh measuring device (KillaWatt Brand) and ran it for a week, determining that it was consuming about 300 wH per day. So I figured a 100 W panel ought to be sufficient given that they have good sun resources on any day warm enough to need beer.
Note that I did not calculate the fact that they'd be putting extra stress on the fridge by putting warm six packs in it every day or so. Could have done this by factoring in the specific heat of water (how much energy it takes to raise a given mass of water to a given degree) and then working backwards and assuming an inefficiency coefficient based on the efficiency of refrigeration processes. If I had done so and used an egregious inefficient coefficient, say 1 Wh of cooling (i.e., BTU converted to watt hours) requiring 1 Wh of energy to run the fridge, I'd get about 80 Wh of energy consumption to cool a gallon of beer, or about 50 Wh for a 6 pack.
Frankly, I should have included this in the estimation, but assumed it wouldn't be that big a deal. Note that a 1 to 1 ratio is fairly inefficient, so there's a lot of wiggle room here. So, the bottom line is that even if they switch out a 6 pack a day, total consumption ought not to exceed about 350 - 400 Wh per day. The roof pitch and sun resource here (southern Oregon) is pretty good. I figured they'd get at least 600 Wh ,delivered, with this panel in this location, in the summer.
Bottom line is that the panel seems to be providing enough energy, but we are going to need to add an additional 1200 wH battery since the depth of discharge gets too high if we get any morning fog. Even without that, 400 Wh is about a 33% DoD. That's not bad, but given the occasional morning fog issue, the battery takes some stress on occasion. For our application, and the price of an extra panel, it might not be a bad idea to add another panel as well. They don't drink a lot of beer in the winter, but it might not hurt.
As for the system, it was very easy to install and came with mounting brackets and sufficient cable to do it all out of the box.
The only problem was that the client initially used an old deep cycle battery, and on occasion the inverter was shutting down due to low voltage since it wasn't capable of storing 1200 Wh. I ran a new battery over and they installed it. I THINK but can't be sure, that they reversed the polarity or shorted the Charge Controller output leads. When I got there, the Charge Controller was not putting out any current. I had a small Victron MPPT unit in the truck so I just subbed it out.
I haven't thoroughly investigated the dead unit yet, but noticed it's got two soldered in fuses(!) I will hook it up and jump the fuses one at a time to see if that's what happened (yes, shame on me, I should have put some fast blowing fuses in the wiring - will get back there in the next week or two to do that). Anyway, the client is happy and I can still go in there to buy lumber without a problem.
Amazon has sent me a replacement Charge Controller, no questions asked, so that is good. I bought the Assurion Warranty on it.
I do want to add that the Victron is overkill for this app so I am going to sub it out with the replacement. The reason is that one of the nicest things about this kit is that the charge controller, while only a PWM, IS rated for 30 amps. So it's easily expandable. (Upto 4 panels I believe.) That's a nice feature, and the Vicron can handle higher voltage, so it's wasted on this application.
All in all I highly recommend this kit for small or introductory set ups. Perfect for small dedicated stand alone applications such as a Flojet Water Pump to slowly pump water up a hill to a cistern for gravity flow to an application, or small fridge. Just don't forget to add external fuses. For that matter, Renogy ought to bump the price up $10 and include them.
MY FRIEND’S REVIEW:
I would highly recommend this kit and anything from Renogy. The panels are solidly built and reliable as are the tilt mounts. In my opinion, if you are looking to solar charge an RV or cabin, this is what you want to start with. I was a solar newbie when we first got this kit, but now I'm very comfortable with it. Renogy's videos and instructions are very well done and their customer service is Outstanding! Our first controller was a dud. I called them and explained what it was doing. We got a new controller via second day shipping. The rep also followed up via email to make sure everything was working properly. Very nice guy and very knowledgeable. We are now coming up on a year with these panels and we couldn't be happier. I usually check to see what the controller is doing in the afternoon, but other than that the kit takes care of itself. Last weekend my wife got on the roof and changed the angle of the panels for summer, all the maintenance it should need. :). Those tilt mounts are also great!" — Bradley Nelson

Get it from Amazon now: $225.99 & FREE Returns

 

4. EF ECOFLOW - 160W Foldable Off-Grid System

Top-rated: 2,205 ratings


best portable solar panels

Credit: Amazon.com


Highlight: ETFE film provides extra protection against ultraviolet light, prolonging the lifespan of panel.

Helpful review: "Over a year ago, I purchased the Goal Zero Nomad 200 for its large-capacity, 4-pane solar panel that folded down to a 1/4 of its full size. That made it relatively compact, though at 22 lbs it was not exactly lightweight. Where it stood out was its 200W of monocrystalline charging capacity, and when used in combination with other Nomads (or the company's more rigid Boulder panels), quite a large amount of electricity could be produced to quickly charge a battery power station with, such as the Goal Zero Yeti 1500x that can take a whopping 600W!
I had been a fan of Goal Zero's products for a few years now, but recently, one of my good Boondocking friends asked me to take a look at the EcoFlow Delta Pro power station for our mountain vacation home. That monster was so packed with features, it literally left me in awe and quickly added the company to the top of my favorite power station brands alongside Goal Zero and Jackery. Fast-forward two months later, and I thought to also take a look at something interesting: "Bifacial solar panel". What the heck is that?
BIFACIAL SOLAR PANEL:
Up until recently, all of the solar panels I had tested were monofacial -- that is, only ONE face captured the sun's energy while the other side did not. Bifacial covers a panel with cells on BOTH faces (front and back) to maximize solar energy production AND use up less space, but tends to cost more than the 1-sided products. Imagine my surprise when EcoFlow's 220W Bifacial Solar Panel only cost $50 more than Goal Zero's monofacial Nomad 200... So, how did both compare?
ANALYSIS:
EcoFlow's 220W Bifacial Solar Panel amazed me in a number of ways. According to the marketing material, the front-facing side could produce up to 220W of energy and the back up to 155W for a total of 375W. Reality was nowhere close to that: the most I was able to capture in testing was 198W on a bright, sunny, California day on white-painted surfaces and a MPPT controller-equipped Goal Zero Yeti 1500x. The EcoFlow Delta Pro only reached 184W a few minutes prior. Are those numbers good? Yes, absolutely!
Monocrystalline solar panels generally lose about 20-25% of efficiency from their stated rating due to loss from solar conversion. The EcoFlow 220W's front face would, therefore, produce only up to 176W on a perfect, sunny day. Yet, my tests captured as much as 198W -- where did that extra 22W come from? Its 155W backside through sunlight reflected by the ground and surrounding area. The back face actually captured roughly 14% of its capacity! Moving the panel to my grassy backyard, however, did not add much: a mere 5W-10W.
Was the small increase worth it? That depends. Any additional amount of power can make a difference in certain situations and living arrangements, especially when one is in the middle of nowhere. Whether that augmentation is worth any extra cost, however, is not black and white. The question ultimately comes down to how much the back side could consistently add to the total output, and that, my friend, depends on the surface and surrounding area.
The more sunlight is reflected, the more the backside of bifacial solar panels can capture, though it could never reach the 75-80% efficiency the front face would. A dark, non-reflective area would hardly give any extra watts, but a mirrored room would produce a lot more -- especially one that had concave reflectors aimed squarely at the back panels without burning a hole through them. A 22W increase required me to place the panels on and in an area covered in bright white to maximize the amount of reflected sunlight.
That kind of exposure is not something I normally come across in my travels, like camp grounds or forests. Even rocky places like Yosemite National Park that are dominated by granite would not provide that reflective power unless the panels were deployed on snow. Alas, if there is snow, the sun is not as strong as in the summer, but that is precisely where bifacial solar panels could make a small amount of difference.
CAUTION:
Never leave the power station out in the sun! Keep it shaded to minimize the risk of overheating AND use a long cable to connect it to the solar panel.
Power aside, the EcoFlow 220W costs nearly the same as the Goal Zero Nomad 200W, but has that additional 155W backside panel thrown in. That makes the EcoFlow a better deal purely from the amount of potential power produced. It also weighs about 1 lb less for nearly the same, overall dimensions.
Where the EcoFlow stands out is its IP68 water rating that allows it to be submerged in 5' (1.5m) of freshwater for up to 30 minutes. That means that water could be spilled on it without any damage. It could theoretically also be used in rain, but that idea sounds absolutely ridiculous: does the sun shine strong enough, if at all, in that kind of weather to make any difference? Still, not many consumer manufacturers offer IP68 waterproofing.
Both the Goal Zero Nomad 200 and the EcoFlow 220W are coated with tempered glass for better protection against the elements, but the latter uses the MC4 solar cable type connection. I much prefer the Anderson Power Pole (APP) port over MC4 for its ease-of-use, but do not fret: there are adapter cables available that convert between both types. My favorite, lower-cost brand of adapters is iGreely. What this also means is that this EcoFlow solar panel CAN be used with other manufacturers' power stations, including Jackery, Goal Zero, and Bluetti. Check their manuals for maximum input specifications.
CAUTION:
You should almost NEVER connect multiple solar panels to a battery in series. I generally recommend having them plugged in parallel.
Kickstands were built-in to both EcoFlow and Goal Zero solar panels, though the former took a bit longer to set up. Its design reminded me of tablet cases that flip their cover back to prop up the device. Both allowed the panels to be angled at an optimal 45 degrees towards the sun, but neither of them could withstand strong gusts of winds without securing them down.
Multiple grommet holes could be found around the edges of both manufacturers' solar panels to accommodate a variety of mounting configurations like off the side of a truck or on rope.
Overall, the ability to get up to an actual 198W of solar charging from a single product made the EcoFlow panel portable and convenient, though its 21lb weight could feel a bit heavy to lug around. It took about the same space as a 100W Jackery SolarSaga 100 and the Goal Zero Nomad 200. For charging a high-capacity battery like the EcoFlow Delta Pro (3,600Wh) or Goal Zero Yeti 1500x, however, the EcoFlow 220W Bifacial Solar Panel is an absolute must if you want to maximize its input capability.
PROS:
- Bifacial panels to allow 5-25% additional energy production
- Monocrystalline solar panels provide VERY efficient charging at a consumer-friendly price point
- Most panels should expect between 70-80% charging of the stated wattage in near-perfect, sunny conditions
- Monocrystalline generally has a lifespan of 25-30 years, after which efficiency starts to drop
- Large-capacity solar charging of 220W (plus up to 40W extra from the backpanels) in a single product negates the need to bring two 100W solar panels
- Can provide higher maximum charging output to compatible battery power stations
- Example: Goal Zero Yeti 1500x power station can take 4 solar panels with a HPP-to-HPP 4x Combiner Cable
- Keeping in mind that there is a roughly 20% solar conversion efficiency loss and that power stations can accept a limited number of panels:
- (4) 200W panels = 640W (4 x 200W - 20%). Provides full 600W power to Yeti 1500x
- (4) 100W panels = 320W (4 x 100W - 20%). Does not maximize Yeti 1500x's charging capability
- Saves on storage space to have a single product instead of two
- Faster to set up and put away than with multiple solar panels
- Foldable design makes the panel portable/compact, easy to stow, and protected from dust
- Excellent pricing and value
- Costs slightly more than two Jackery SolarSaga 100 (to get 200W) or Goal Zero Nomad 200
- Built-in kickstand (via its briefcase) to help prop the panels towards the sun at a 45 degree angle for optimal exposure
- Multiple grommet loops around the edges accommodate a variety of mounting configurations
- Side of truck, along a rope, etc.
- IP68 waterproof rating for brief, 30-minute submersion in up to 5' of freshwater or rain
- Tempered glass layering makes solar panels stronger
- Weight: 21 lbs
- Lighter than Goal Zero's Boulder 200 (42 lbs) panels, but similar to the Nomad 200 (22 lbs)
- Heavier than TWO (to get 200W) Jackery SolarSaga 100 (5.5 lbs each)
- Daisy-chainable
- Multiple solar panels can be linked together in PARALLEL (NOT in a SERIES) for even more output (See TIPS section)
CONS:
- Back side of panels heavily depend on the amount of sunlight REFLECTED by the surrounding area to be useful
- A dark, non-reflective surface or environment will hardly add any extra power, for example
- Sometimes frustrating to set up on sand (ie. beach)
- Common issue with foldable solar panels
- Potentially a single point of failure
- Example: One 220W vs two 100W panels
- If the 220W fails, you are left with no solar charging. If one of the 100W fails, you still have the second to charge with
- Weight: 21 lbs
- Heavier than 2 Jackery SolarSaga 100 (5.5 lbs each) for the similar 200W output
- Flexible body can potentially cause the panels to snap and break
- More expensive than:
- Lesser known brands, such as Rockpals/Paxcess and Suaoki
- Non-foldable, rigid panels like Goal Zero Boulder 200 and Renogy
- No built-in USB-C or USB-C PD (Power Delivery) charging port, but that is also what makes the panels IP68 waterproof
- No built-in battery to store some of the charge generated by the panel
TIPS AND NOTES:
- Panel lifespan: Panels generally die/become inefficient between 25-30 years
- They may last longer, but would produce less energy
- Solar panels work best outdoor under full sun exposure
- Although the panels will work under the shade or behind windows, charging efficiency is greatly diminished
- That is ESPECIALLY true for the backside of bifacial solar panels
- Panels will STILL charge under cloudy conditions. So, keep the panels out even if you do not see the sun
- Operating temperature range: 14F to 149F (-10C to 65C)
- ONLY the solar panels can (and should) be directly under the sun while charging a battery power station
- Keep the power station in the shade to prevent overheating
- ALL panels must be uncovered to generate a charge
- Do not completely cover one or more panels or the charging will stop
- To maintain solar efficiency, the panels should be kept clean
- Remove dust with a soft brush and wipe with a damp (NOT wet) cloth
- Any residue, such as tree sap, should be removed as soon as possible
- Do not submerge the panel under water even though it is capable of doing so for up to 30 minutes in 5' of depth
- Panels will work longer if they are kept away from water altogether
- Do NOT bend the panels more than 30 degrees or risk breaking them!
- Keep the panels away from fire and heaters
WARNING:
Some power stations can be charged with one or more solar panels. There are SOME PRECAUTIONS you must take to minimize battery damage and/or injury to life/property.
- Never exceed the maximum Voltage (V) or Amperage (A) of a power station’s charging port
- If you want to use 2+ solar panels to charge faster:
- Do not mix them with different V or A as the output might get reduced (less energy generated)
- Do not daisy-chain them in sequence/series as that can exceed the power station’s maximum V or A
- Always connect them in PARALLEL with a Y-branch or Combiner cable
CALCULATIONS:
The below calculations are rough ESTIMATES as conditions, battery and solar panel quality, and age can vary. Battery storage capacity is measured in Wh, and power output is in W (Watts).
CHARGE TIME WITH SOLAR:
- Calc: Hours to charge battery = Battery capacity (Wh) / (Panel Wattage x [0.5 or 0.75])
- In a perfect lab environment, solar panels charge at the listed wattage
- Expect to only receive 50-75% on a good, sunny day (ie. 75W – 113W for a 150W panel), depending on panel’s age, component quality, and weather
- 200W solar panel
- EcoFlow Delta Pro: As fast as 13.5 hours [3600Wh / 200W x 0.75)]
- Goal Zero Yeti 1500x: As fast as 10.1 hours [1516 Wh / (200W x 0.75)]
- Goal Zero Yeti 500x: As fast as 3.4 hours [505 Wh / (200W x 0.75)]
- Jackery Explorer 1000: As fast as 6.7 hours [1000 Wh / (200W x 0.75)]
- Tips
- Keep charging even when overcast as the panels will STILL collect energy
- Underproduction: If a 200W panel is not making enough (ie. only 50W) due to bad conditions, adding extra ones (ie. two more 200W) can generate a higher, combined output (ie. 50W + 110W from the two panels = 160W total)
- Overproduction: If the panels make more (ie. 400W) than the maximum the power station charge port can take (ie. 120W), only the max (ie. 120W) will go through
WATTS USED/PRODUCED BY A DEVICE:
- Calc: Watts used or produced by device = Voltage x Amperage
- Vacuum with 120V @ 9.5A uses 1,140W
- Solar panel with 12V @ 10A can produce up to 120W
TIME TO CHARGE A DEVICE:
- Calc: Hours to charge device = Device’s battery capacity (Wh) / Input Wattage
- Laptop with 200Wh battery, 200W solar panel, and 75% solar conversion loss: As fast as 1.4 hrs [200 Wh / (200W x 0.75)]
USE WITH OTHER BRANDS:
The EcoFlow 220W solar panel can be used with other manufacturers' power stations, including Jackery, Goal Zero, and Bluetti, as long as their rated input are not exceeded, and the appropriate adapter cable is used (ie. MC4-to-APP or MC4-to-8mm).
DIFFERENT SOLAR PANELS:
As long as the solar panels from different brands or wattages produce the same VOLTAGE, you will be able to safely use them together. The key here is to connect them in PARALLEL. If the panels are NOT the same voltage, then the panel with the highest volts will be used. For example, I was able to connect these four panels with the Goal Zero Yeti 1500x:
- Goal Zero Nomad 200 / Jackery SolarSaga 100W / Paxcess Rockman 120W / Suaoki 160W
On a cloudy November day, the input values were:
- 63W = Nomad only
- 212W = Nomad + SolarSaga
- 231W = Nomad + SolarSaga + Rockman
- 262W = Nomad + SolarSaga + Rockman + Suaoki
I expected the panels to produce significantly more during the summer (to as much as 430W combined), though I never repeated the test.
CONCLUSION:
The EcoFlow 220W Bifacial Solar Panel sparked my curiosity on how much better output a second set of panels built into a single product could provide. It did not wow me and required a specific, reflection-optimized environment to add any meaningful energy to the primary, front-facing panels. However, I still came away impressed because it had the potential to increase solar output for nearly the same price as Goal Zero's Nomad 200 or two Jackery SolarSaga 100.
Higher-capacity solar panels like this EcoFlow are essential to charging large power stations (like the EcoFlow Delta Pro or Max, Goal Zero Yeti 1500x, or Jackery Explorer 1000), especially if those batteries only accept a limited number of connected panels. The foldable design allows it to be set up and put away quickly and uses up a much smaller amount of space than rigid panels that are meant to be permanently mounted. However, it also makes it more susceptible to damage if the panels are bent at an angle of more than 30 degrees.
Overall, I was very impressed by the solar charging efficiency the EcoFlow 220W provided to both the EcoFlow Delta Pro and Goal Zero Yeti 1500x batteries. The panel's 155W backside -- when deployed in an ideal environment -- is a welcome icing on the cake to provide just a little extra charging juice for the traveler or home prepper." — Eric R. Cooper

Get it from Amazon now: $1,199.00 & FREE Returns

 

5. Renogy 200 - 200W 12V Portable Solar Kit

Top-rated: 2,963 ratings


best portable solar panels

Credit: Amazon.com


Highlight: Kit includes 200W solar suitcase, 20A waterproof Voyager charge controller, and alligator clips.

Helpful review: "Our camper runs on 12 volts - refrigerator, furnace, hot water, lights, water pump, everything. So we can boondock (camp w/o hookups) as long as the batteries last. I wanted a solar array to keep the batteries topped off at music festivals, in park service campgrounds, etc. And, of course, during power outages. After doing some research online, I decided on this Renogy 200w panel with the 20amp controller. There is a "Zamp" brand solar input port on the camper, which I wanted to use. Here are some thoughts on what I purchased:
Renogy 200 watt mono suitcase solar panel. It's large and noticeably heavy, and also fragile, so take some care in carrying it and setting up. It comes with a heavy canvas case with a zipper, and a spring loaded carry handle. The panels are set up with two lightweight aluminum legs and twist-tighten locks. Make sure they are tight.
Voyager 20amp solar controller. The power output from the two panels goes into the controller, then out to your battery(s). The controller is attached to the back of one panel with a hinge, and a piece of Velcro keeps it from swinging -- pull it off the Velcro to hang vertically so you can see it. From what I can tell, this is a pretty good controller. Not the best, but not bad.
There are two standard MC4 solar connectors on the wires running from the panels to the controller. UNCLIP THESE. The controller must be connected to the battery(s) FIRST, then to the panels.
There are two wires coming out of the controller, marked on the controller as BATTERY. These go to your battery. The red one should be connected to the positive side of the controller -- it's marked. Black on the negative side.
*This is where it is super important to start paying close attention to the wires and where they go.
You'll need some extension cables, 8 or 10 gauge. The included cables are pretty short. If you want to hook up directly to the battery, you can use the included alligator clips -- they are huge, like a jumper cable. Make sure you hook up positive to positive on the battery.
If you want to use a built-in solar port on your camper, this is where it gets tricky. You'll need an adapter cable that can connect to the standard MC-4 solar connectors on one end (coming from the controller) and into the SAE port on the other (into your camper.) NOTE THAT SOME SOLAR PORTS ARE WIRED IN REVERSE OF THE STANDARD. I looked over the wiring diagram for my camper, then took off the covers to confirm exactly which side of the port was positive. I purchased the iGreely Solar Panel to SAE Adapter, and it came with a "polarity reversing" dongle which I ended up needing to use. Just carefully follow the positive wire from the controller, to the adapter cable, and to your input port -- then see if you need the polarity reverser or not. At some point the color of the wires may switch, so pay attention. I taped the wires to show polarity.
Once you know the polarity and how it will connect, connect the controller to your battery. Check to make sure the proper battery type is selected. Ours defaulted to AGM, which is probably the most common "house" battery in a camper. Then set up the panels and reconnect the controller to the panels. You'll see the display show how many amps are being generated. You can click a button to toggle through volts and total amp-hours. Take it down in reverse order -- disconnect the panels, then the battery, and put it all away.
UPDATE:
Works well with our small camper. MANY THANKS to Amazon for the free overnight shipping on this panel, the extension cables, and the adapter. We ordered this on the day our power went out during a tropical storm -- 850+ outages just in our county, thousands of trees down, 5 million w/o power statewide. The panels showed up the next day and we could keep the 12v fridge in our camper going. Power was out for 4 days.
A FEW WORDS FROM A FRIEND:
Setup is really easy. Connect the alligator clips to the battery, plug in the charge controller to the panel, and you're done. First time setup includes selecting the battery chemistry. And of course you will need to position the panels on-site for optimal exposure to the sun. Once it's installed, everything works as it ought to. The charge controller has all the phases you would expect of a good quality controller, despite not being a particularly high-end unit. I like that the controller is attached to the inside of the suitcase, making it really a self-contained system. The cable that comes with it is just under ten feet in length. This may be too short for some applications, and some campsites. I ordered an extension cable, and it can snap in as needed for extra length, and extra positioning options. If ordering an extension, make sure it's one that provides positive and negative terminals, and that it's a heavy enough gauge to reduce power loss over the distance." — Kory Bennett

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6. GRECELL 100 - 100W 20V Foldable Solar Charger

Top-rated: 436 ratings


best portable solar panels

Credit: Amazon.com


Highlight: Built-in smart chip identifies device types to maximize charging speed while protecting from overcharging and overloading.

Helpful review: "At first glance, this Grecell 100W looks like a copycat of the Jackery SolarSaga 100 with its color scheme, folding design, and handles that close magnetically.
IN A NUTSHELL:
The Grecell 100W, like the Jackery Solarsaga 100, just folds in half and is held together by strong magnets, accented by a rigid, bright-orange carry handle across the top. Within the built-in carry pouch is a built-in MC4 connector cable ready to be plugged into a battery power station with an appropriate extension cable. On an overcast morning, it had achieved as much as 59W of output whereas the Jackery SolarSaga 100 got 53W. The differential was small, and so I tested it again on a clear, sunny day. The Grecell achieved 84W and the Jackery got 72W. That's pretty good efficiency as most monocrystalline solar panels lose at least 25% due to power conversion. A built-in kickstand helps orient the panel at an optimal, 45 degree angle for maximum sun exposure, and a built-in pocket allows for cables to be stored. Note that this solar panel is NOT waterproof.
It should be kept out of the rain, but then again, if it is raining, the sun probably won't be out. Multiple adapters are included and I tested connectivity with Jackery, Goal Zero, and an off-brand Rockpals battery power station. All three worked with this panel as expected. As long as the power station is able to accept the panel's 20V of output, you are golden. I also connected it in parallel with the 18V Jackery SolarSaga 100, and that took the panels from 53W/58W to a combined output of 102W. You should almost NEVER connect multiple solar panels in sequence/a series -- you should almost ALWAYS hook them up in Parallel with a Y-split or combiner cable. (Goal Zero has a 4x combiner cable to hook up to 4 solar panels).
OVERALL:
The Grecell 100W solar panels are beautiful, sturdy, efficient, and portable and worked well with a variety of battery power station vendors and solar panels. Having the MC4 connector out of the box makes the Grecell compatible with an industry-standard connection, but some power stations may only accept APP (Anderson) connections -- in that case, use the included MC4-to-APP adapter cable.
TIPS/NOTES:
- Panel lifespan: Panels generally die/become inefficient between 25-30 years
- They may last longer, but would produce less energy
- Solar panels work best outdoor under full sun exposure
- Although the panels will work under the shade or behind windows, charging efficiency is greatly diminished
- Panels will STILL charge under cloudy conditions. So, keep the panels out even if you do not see the sun
- Operating temperature range: 14F to 149F (-10C to 65C)
- ONLY the solar panels can (and should) be directly under the sun while charging a battery power station
- Keep the power station in the shade to prevent overheating
- ALL panels must be uncovered to generate a charge
- Do not completely cover one or more panels or the charging will stop
- To maintain solar efficiency, the panels should be kept clean
- Remove dust with a soft brush and wipe with a damp (NOT wet) cloth
- Any residue, such as tree sap, should be removed as soon as possible
- Keep panel away from water that spray at greater than 60 degree angles
- Keep panel away from low-pressure (or stronger) water jet spray
- Do not submerge the panel under water
- Panels will work longer if they are kept away from water altogether
- Do NOT bend the panels more than 30 degrees or risk breaking them!
- Keep the panels away from fires and heaters
CHARGING TIMES:
When using solar panels to charge battery power stations, the amount of energy the battery may accept could be throttled to prevent overcharging.
EXAMPLE:
Jackery Explorer 1000 slowed incoming wattage from 70-80W to about 50W once it reached 70% battery charge.
HOW MANY WATTS DOES A DEVICE USE?
- Calc: Watts used by device = Voltage x Amperage
- If a vacuum is 120V and 9.5A, it uses 1,140W
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO SOLAR CHARGE A BATTERY POWER STATION?
- Calc: Hours to charge battery = Battery capacity (Wh) / (Panel Wattage x [0.5 or 0.75])
- In a perfect lab environment, solar panels charge at the indicated wattage (ie. 100W)
- Expect to only receive 50-75% on a good, sunny day (ie. 50W – 75W), depending on environmental conditions, panel's age, and component quality
- Tip: Even if it is overcast, the panels will STILL collect solar energy. Keep charging!
- Charging with a 100W solar panel
- Jackery Explorer 500: As fast as 6.7 hours [500 Wh / (100W x 0.75)]
- Jackery Explorer 1000: As fast as 13.3 hours [1000 Wh / (100W x 0.75)]
A FEW WORDS FROM A FRIEND:
I purchased the Grecell 100 watt portable solar panel a little more than a month ago. I have 2 panels now. I bought the first one to check it out and was happy with it and then bought another one. The panels are lightweight, weighing about 10 pounds. They are constructed well and fold in half for easy storage. I am like other people who bought the portable panels to supplement what I have in the RV. Instead of reconfiguring and expanding what the RV has which is fairly minimal and it is a small rig. I decided to buy a solar power station and portable solar panels. It turned out to be a good decision. The roof on the RV is small and I wouldn’t be able to get many panels up there. The solar panels charge my 1000 watt power station quickly and I have to say being able to turn the panels and adjust the angle to capture the most sun throughout the day is an added bonus. Not only are they easy to turn, they have legs to prop up at an angle, and the handles provide an option to hang them up if needed. I did buy 20 ft. extension cables because I wanted more distance between the power station and the panels. I don’t believe the panels are waterproof, they are water resistant. But I don’t plan on leaving the panels outside when not in use. They are easy to store away anyway." — Mike Mcgee

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7. DOKIO 110 - 110W 18V Emergency Solar Power Kit

Top-rated: 2,907 ratings


best portable solar panels

Credit: Amazon.com


Highlight: If you use the built-in MPPT Power Station, you don't need to connect the attached PWM controller.

Helpful review: "Since they arrived, I've been quite cautious with my panels, given the mixed reviews, reports of very little power delivery (both initially and degrading over time). I suspected that the people reporting decreased power production over time may be over-bending and over-flexing their panels, damaging them over time.
I've been using my panels for a few weeks now, and so far, my experience has been very pleasant! I also have made sure not to bend or flex them, avoiding leaning them against anything (esp at a harsh angle). So, I've really just placed them on top of my van. I've been very happy with the power delivery. I have been sampling it over different days in different conditions:
- Midday, light clouds: 128W-149W @ 16-17V, giving 8-9A. (see images of screenshot for example @ 146.2W, and the partly cloudy sky)
- Early morning, full sun: 90W @ 18V, giving 5A
- Midmorning, very cloudy: 40-65W @ 16-17V, giving 2.5-3.5A
- Summer evening, cloudy, tree coverage: 20-40W @ 16-17V, giving 1-2.5A
So, I was shocked. I've seen it get up to 160ish Watts, and never expected to see more than 75% power (150W). So I was happy with that. And I'm also surprised that even with pretty heavy clouds, I was pulling in roughly 3A. Since I'm mainly planning to run my laptop and phones, (and possibly a small fridge), even this 3A is enough power for me if I let the panels run all day.
One other location I was curious about was placing panels on my dashboard. I want to try exposing just a single panel, hoping that it can fit on my dash without shadow. 2 unknowns: I don't know how much my windshield will block the light, and I don't know if 1 panel can pull 1/4 of the full power potential. My understanding is the panels are wired in parallel, which is excellent, because they're essentially operating independently, or additively. (If they were wired in series, that would mean whichever panel had the lowest power, that would be the max power possible from every panel.)
Still, in practice, I think I'm getting less than 1/4 power from the single panel. My thought is that the full panel covers so much ground, it's more likely that at least 1 panel will receive good light. However, the smaller footprint of the small panel will only pull 1/4 power when it's getting full sun. In other words, in full sun, I suspect the single panel will pull 1/4 of the 4 panels. But with any clouds, having all 4 panels present will actually help maximize power.
I have a LiFePo4 battery, so the included charger won't work. Still, I'm happy to have this junky little charger in case I want to drag the panels out to the beach, providing USB power, or for emergencies to trickle power into my car battery.
It would be nice to be able to lean these panels against a wall, or the side of my car. I'm just too nervous that I'll damage them with flexing. I'm thinking about creating something out of some old tent poles, but haven't yet landed on a design that I'm excited enough to build out.
The other day, I came outside to find the panels had blown off my van and were just laying in the lawn. They seem to be still functioning fine. So, I'm happy that the panels are sturdy enough to withstand a 7 foot fall onto grass. I also need some basic solution to keep 'em strapped down, because I don't want a $200 kite.
In terms of the quality, I'm pretty happy with the fabric itself, the quality of the handles, etc. The little metal rings seem pretty flimsy, but I can work with that. And some of the stitching is coming undone, leaving some dangling threads around. Again, I can mend that and deal with it.
Overall, with a couple underwhelming features, I'm more than happy with the power output. Nothing in this price range is even close, and I can't even find another panel offering this kind of wattage.
A FEW WORDS FROM A NEIGHBOR:
Just returned from a 7 day camp and horse riding trip. Bought this unit one day before the trip. Took out of the box and plugged in the unit. Very easy to establish. Kept the battery charged up +++. Day 5 a Big unexpected storm came in with high winds 50+mph, rain and ripped off the flimsy D rings and slid the solar unit on its face about 5 ft. Made a big divot in the panel and scratches on the face. Controller also slid in the dirt. I was UPSET thinking I just spent money for 5 days. The next day I dusted off the unit and plugged it in. IT WORKED!!! Charged the battery and still works. The flexibility of the unit saved it in the high wind. For ease of set up and hardiness of the unit, I would recommend it as well as price. I was willing to buy another unit if it did not survive the Arizona dust devil wind. Will work on a base frame to support it when up. Love the light weight but winds can and will destroy it.
MY FRIEND’S REVIEW:
I've been using this panel now for over a month. I like it more and more. I did get an MPPT charger just to see the delta from the PWM charge controller. I did see a slight, difficult to measure, increase in efficiency. I am at about 11 - 12 amps consistently with the MPPT controller over the PWM. If you're sizing a solar panel for a certain load, here is what to expect. Pick a 300 Watt rated panel. Forget about the ideal lab conditions of 300 watts. Assume 80% of this might be available from the panel (if you're lucky). Then for a PWM charge controller assume you get maybe 65% of the usable solar panel power due to controller losses and controller input voltage on the panel and other factors such as cabling diameter and lengths. For example, 300 watts x 80% = 240 watts (usable panel power) then 240 watts x 65% (charge controller inefficiencies + losses) = 156 Watts. So in my case for this panel, This is what I generally see in my battery - 13.7VDC x 11.4 amps = 156 watts. I get a little more than this with the MPPT charge controller but I think for these small portable applications, that extra 10-20% is a bit hard to see over a charge cycle where currents vary as the battery charges/discharges. So I would endorse this panel, delivering as promised." — TulsaTed

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8. ALLPOWERS 200 - 200W 18V Solar Charger with MC-4 Output

Top-rated: 346 ratings


best portable solar panels

Credit: Amazon.com


Highlight: 18-month unlimited warranty.

Helpful review: "Panels, especially folding ones, never meet my expectations as far as output, until I realized REAL WORLD output and RATED POWER are two different things. This applies to ALL PV (Solar) PANELS not just All Power. More below but first the overall impression.
ALL POWER comes with a good variety of useful accessories and the design is good, quality is very good for price.
Are the other brands better? IDK! You would expect more for the price, but not necessarily. The fold out kickstands works well. I like how they have a pick for the panel output cables and accessories. YES the power cables leads are short which is fine with me, so the cables can be stored in the pocket.... They use high quality cable and connectors. I have extension power cables so my devices are in the shade... panel in sun.
RATED POWER:
The big variable besides sunlight hitting the panel, no shade even just a corner kills output, aiming the panel at sun, how hot the panel, is what is the panel connected to. What are you trying to power (Load/Drain). Typically it is a battery you are charging to provide power to the devices you want to power. More accurately it is a BATTERY CHARGER or battery controller you connect the panel to. Sometimes those are a discrete device, other times integrated in a POWER STATION with the battery. Not all controllers love DC power direct from a PV (Photovoltaic) Solar Panel. Some battery charging controllers are optimized for one solar panel but may not be optimal for another brand of solar panel. Does not mean the panel is bad, just mis-matched.
Spoiler Alert, ALL POWER does meet its rating 200W, but for my actual usage I could only extract about 125W for my application. This is normal. I compared All Power to two 100W high end rigid panels (big and heavy) in parallel, they do the same thing in my application. Although the rigid panels consistently had about 10% to 12% more Real World output. Not a big deal. The point being both panels did not make 200W in my application... but both tested to their rated 200W.
RATED POWER:
How to measure. In strong full sunlight mid day w/ panels angled right at sun, using a voltmeter to check open voltage. This is with no device connected. You will see 20V give or take. Then check shorted amps, with an Amp meter able to measure at least 12 Amps DC (you can do this in series with meter leads or clamp on DC Amp Meter). I measured 20V open and 10.18Amps Short. (NOTE WHEN YOU SHORT THE + and - YOU WILL GET A SPARK. IT IS OK). ALL POWER, 203.4 Watts under the conditions it was tested under... However when connected to REAL WORLD load the actual power it is normal to get less Wattage due to mismatch with controller and that solar panel design. I DO NOT KNOW if $800 panel similarly rated will do much better. I would hope so, but who knows.
My application is a 500W POWER STATION to run a 12V fridge/freeze when camping. The Frig in moderate outside temps can run 24 hours on the Power station, about 24Watts an hour. The charge controller in my power station LIKES 24V, and limits charging to 125 watts (to protect the internal batteries). Voltage can be from 12v to 30v but anything under 20 volts the charging drops off. I tried to charge the power station off the car's 12v jack (13-14v) and it was pathetic. So it is not all the Solar panels fault. Most panels open circuit make 20 volts, but under load the volts drop to 14-17 volts... this is normal and some charging controllers don't like lower voltages. That is why I use a boost converter to charge my Power Station from Solar panels.
TIP:
I USE A BOOST (bucking type) Converter to get voltage to 24V regardless of input voltage (output from panels). The panels are going to be well below their OPEN voltage, often in 15v-17v range. Better, more advanced (expensive) power stations may be more flexible. So my charger sees 24 volts and at whatever the current (Amps) are and charges most efficiently. If there are clouds and panel drops too low the booster drops out and you are no longer charging. It really is great in that with low morning or late afternoon light it continues to charge without dropping off as it does when panels are directly connected to Pwr Station.
My Renogy 2x 100W panels behave in a similar way with this power station as the All Power panel. Some combinations of power stations and panels do better than others.
SIDE BY SIDE COMPARISON WITH ALL POWER (portable folding) and TWO rigid 100W Renogy panels in parallel. The Renogy panels were better, typically 12% give or take, about 9 to 12 watts more. This is to be expected being rigid panels. But ALL POWER surprised me and did better than I thought. I had other 200W folding panels and they could only muster 80W... All power was doing 117W.
NOTE:
One advantage of having two 100W panels (Renogy) is you can put them in series and double voltage and cut Amps in half saving "IR" loss. The HIGHER VOLTS the LOWER AMPS for the same POWER (watts). This means less loss over extension cable. I have long extensions (V x Amps = Watts). This is why the power grid brings power to your home at very high volts like 100,000 volts, but AC. I have another converter or BUCK converter to take the 38volts from the Renogy panels in series and drop down to 24 Watts (ideal volts for my Pwr Station controller). My power station is limited to 30V max. I can not run the two panels in series directly. So I have a BOOST converter and a BUCK (or drop down) converter. Note you can run to ALL POWERS in parallel and get more power (double).
SIZE MATTERS:
It is about 25" x 20" folded and fairly thin. However unfolded it is 25" x 80" = 2000 sq-in or 13.8 sq-ft it is large.... The ridged Renogy 100W panels size are 41"x 20" = 820 sq-in each, 1640 sq-in for two, or 11.4 sq-ft. However when the two Renogy panels are stored in their cardboard shipping box, it is awkward and heavy to move. The Renogy panels are about 1.5 inch thick, so two in the packing box are about 5" deep. The thickness of the All Power panels are thin. However not too thin they are too floppy. The All Power I think is about 10 lbs less than the rigid Renogy. Add a handle, less weight, thin compact and the All Power is easy to move around.. However folded out the ALL POWER IS BIG... The KICKStand is nice. In the wind take care it does not blow down or away.
People expect to ALWAYS get rated power no matter what. That is of course not possible. In fact it is unlikely you will ever get more than 50%-70% unless everything is optimal. Besides the mismatch between battery chargers I explored above, obviously sunlight can be filtered (cloudy), panels not ideally aimed at sun, hot temperatures, all produce less power than rated. However if testing the panels under standard testing criteria, they produce rated power, current, volts. However, the real world is not tested. ALL PANELS DO THE SAME THING.
I need to generate about 500 watts per day to keep my good sized portable 12V DC refrigerator/freezer running by charging the battery station fully before sunset. I can expect to make that over a 8-10 hr sunny day easy and then some.
Overnight, say 12 hours my fridge uses about 250 watts. I need to keep the fridge running, and charge the battery (250W + 250W = 500W) throughout the day before nightfall. 200 Watt panels that make 120W to 140W real world with no clouds is plenty. However, if it is cloudy, more panels may make the difference. I tried to lay them flat on the roof luggage rack. It was marginal. Angling them makes a huge difference.
Also on marginal days bigger or more capacity panels help a lot. I found a sweet spot for my camping fridge, but you never can have too much power. I would do well to get more panels and1000W power stations but price and weight goes up significantly. Right now I am good enough and still have room to spare for charging phones." — George Pinkney

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9. Renogy 400 - Premium 400W Solar Generator

Top-rated: 457 ratings


best portable solar panels

Credit: Amazon.com


Highlight: 10-year material and workmanship warranty.

Helpful review: "Ok, so first - I’ve set up several similar solar panel configurations over the years, often using all the same components that are now available in this kit. Second, this is the best bank for your buck I’ve found anywhere. Particularly if you find it on a prime day sale- it’s practically wholesale. Third, this doesn’t bother me - but if this is your first introduction to solar, do know that it does NOT come with instructions. There is an owners manual for the MPPT controller, and one for the Bluetooth module, but no holistic setup instructions.
This is a bummer. Because it’s quite easy to get wrong if you’re not familiar with solar array series and parallel configuration installations. If this is you, be sure to do plenty of homework. Understands watts and amps, and how they relate to volts, at minimum. And then learn about the pros and cons of panel series wiring vs parallel wiring, vs hybrid - and as well, know whether you will have sun coverage for all panels equally (on average), or if there are times when one or more panels are shaded while others are not. The former is fine for series wiring, and is fundamentally easier. The latter requires parallel wiring for efficient solar capture and energy generation.
Fourth, the curious thing about this setup is that it includes a 10AMP ANL inline load fuse between the positive line and the MPPT controller. Generally, 10AMP is only sufficient for series wiring. However, the kit includes the Y branches only used in parallel configurations- and parallel configurations generally require a higher amp ANL fuse.
This is quite confusing to any novice, and rightly so. Renogy panels and MPPT controllers are great, but guys- you NEED to add instructions. At the very least to prevent dangerous misconfigurations, at most to assure the most efficient setup.
And please fix the ANL fuse problem.
Because these are not issues for me, I still give this an easy 5 stars. But if any of this doesn’t make sense, it’s imperative that you research it.
In all, it took 45m to fully install the panels on my roof, run the wires into my garage, install two parallel 100ah lifepo4 batteries, and hardwire the grid to my inverter.
BY THE WAY:
This kit is well-priced. The kit that includes two batteries and an inverter is way overpriced. Renogy batteries are overpriced (but good). You can find batteries with the same features, and better inverters, for half the cost of Renogy brand products. Renogy panels and controllers are worth it. Batteries and especially the inverters, not so much. Good luck!
MY NEIGHBOR’S REVIEW:
I had researched solar builds and decided my shed would be a good proof of concept to later do a full build on my house. Its a standard 28x70 ranch. The shed was 10x12. I bought the Renogy kit after reviewing the Eco product and similar others. The equipment arrived promptly and I was quite fortunate as no parts were broke in shipment. Renogy's kit takes out all of the guesswork. It had 4 x 100w Solar Panels, the 40a MPTT charge controller and the cabling as well as the bluetooth module. As well I followed "DIY Solar Power with Will Prowse". He will teach you everything you ever wanted to know about solar setup, ad nauseam :-) I added in ANL bus bars. The batteries were 2 x 12v 50a LiPOFe. They are a bit pricey but allow a drain as low as 5-10%. That alone is worth the money. I use the power for the shed lights, and outlets. I can hold a 1/2 " corded drill on for a good 10 mins at full spin using the Renogy 2000w inverter and it only degrades the batteries 20-30%. But that is not real work. I used my electric chain saw for 2-3 hours no worries. And my electric log splitter. During peak of day, the 4 x 100w panels keep the batteries full while I work. Not even sure it degrades much. I did drain the batteries one time by leaving all dc lights on and the 2000w inverter with a 12 inch electric fan running. But that was only once and proved that the system could recharge the batteries within 4 - 6 hours or less. The And the bluetooth module maximizes the value.
A FEW WORDS FROM A FRIEND:
The mounting brackets are slightly troublesome for big fingers like mine, it just takes more time. The instructions for the MPPT Rover are good but the instructions on the solar panels themselves are non-existent. Do you connect them in series or parallel? Where should the provided 10 AMP fuse be, in series or parallel. In the end, I figured it out, but more instructions would have been better. They assume you have more electrical knowledge and possibly rightfully so, but it would have saved hours of time researching it if there were instructions. The Packaging was nice and secure. In the end, I mounted mine to Struct Channels so If I ever have to replace one, I don't have to tear up from the rooftop reach the mounting brackets. Cost an extra $100 to install, but thinking more long term, it's the better option." — Ton Davidson

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