The 5 Best Solar Panels
Installing solar panels can reduce your environmental impact and save you money on your utility bill. In this review, the This Old House Reviews Team researched the five best solar panels on Amazon to help you find the product thats right for you and your home. The products included in this article are available at various home improvement stores, local home centers, and online retailers like Amazon.
Whether youre converting your home to solar energy or you need electricity in remote areas while youre camping or hiking, consider investing in a set of solar panels. As opposed to other sources of power, solar panels are better for the environment because they convert typically unused sunlight into energy. To learn about the best solar panels on Amazon, read our review below.
How Can We Help
To help you choose equipment that you can trust, we are going to take an in-depth look at one of the most well-known brands in the personal solar equipment industry. We will start by looking at the companys origins and where it is heading, then focus on its reputation and the overall quality of its products and customer service.
Examining the Renogy brand and its product line will help us decide whether or not this major player in the solar industry is all it is cracked up to be. Whether you are new to solar or have been using it for years, knowing which brands to trust is incredibly beneficial!
Renogy 100 Watts 12 Volts Monocrystalline Solar Bundle Kit W/ 100w Solar Panel30a Charge Controller9in Mc4 Adaptor Kita Pair Of Branch Connectors
|100W panel+30A WND Controller
- Withstand strong wind /heavy snow , Excellent performance in low light environments.
- The charge controller has been upgraded to Renogy’s new 30A PWM negative ground charge controller – the Renogy Wanderer.
- Negative grounding controller ensures the broader off grid applications and safety, especially to be used on a vehicle which has battery negative on the chassis.
- The system can be extended up to 400watt in parallel connection.
There is a newer model of this item:
No more recommendations. Try adjusting your filters.
Also Check: Can You Use Pine Sol To Wash Clothes
Renogy Ultra Lightweight 160 Watt 12 Volt Flexible Monocrystalline Solar Panel And Up To 248 Degree Arc For Rv Boats
If you are someone for whom weight and size of the solar panels are a big concern? Then perhaps its time to invest in the Renogy 160-Watt 12-Volt mono crystalline Solar Panel.
Not just that, they are also a perfect fit on curved surfaces with an arc of 248 degrees, where conventional solar panels can not be mounted. Such as the arched roof of your cabin and even can be hung outside your camp just like a mat.
Renogy 160 Watt Extremely flexible solar panels are made of flexible Mono crystalline cells that are said to impart higher efficiency and are remarkably flexible.
These Mono crystalline cells, because of their flexible nature, are also more durable than conventional solar panels as they are made of glass plates which are more prone to breakage.
These panels can be used like all of its traditional 12V counter parts and are compatible with all the 12V devices. The cables are also connected with male and female MC4 connectors which makes chaining it to other devices fairly an easy task.
These panels also have a weatherproof rating which makes it resistant against wind or snow loads and is easily capable of powering Renogys power stations in a few hours.
So if you want for a higher electrical output than the 160 watt solar panels, these will be perfect for your use.
Q8 How Will I Know If My Property Is A Good Candidate For Solar Panels
Ans: The optimal situation for a solar energy system would be when it is placed in a field facing south with very little hindrance. That means there should be nothing nearby which could cast a shade on the solar panel.
But do not be disheartened if your property does not seem eligible according to the criterias on paper. Because, only a professionally trained solar panel installer can know these things for sure.
Don’t Miss: How Many Panels Needed For Solar Home
Whats Not So Good About The Renogy Flexible Solar Panel
The major complaint with the solar panel is that the positive and negative cables are not the same length. And the cables are generally too short. This is fine for connecting in series right next to each other. For most other types of installation an extension will be required to reach the charge controller.
This is not a portable solar panel and it wasnt designed to be. This kind of panel is meant for fixed installation to vehicles, boats and small structures. I really cant see the point of mounting it on a frame and using it as a portable solution. But because it is so light it could be used for hanging on a larger tent. You would have to be careful when you are transporting it for this specific portable use. Renogy has several solar panels that are designed for portable use. A list of which I give below.
- 100w & 200w Foldable Solar Suitcase with or without controller
- 100w & 200w Eclipse Solar Suitcase with or without controller
Giaride 100w Flexible Solar Panel
This is also another alternative solution for the Renogy 100w flexible solar panel.
This one comes with a water and dust-resistant thin-film lamination and the junction box is waterproof.
Whats more, the product produces energy up to 22% efficiency. In fact, its highly efficient than traditional panels of the same category.
Besides, the solar panel can be flexed up to 30 degrees hence making it suitable for use in cars, boats, tents, RVs, and many other areas.
Mounting of this solar panel is fast and easy thanks to the pre-drilled holes. It can also be mounted by glue, table, adhesive, or grommet.
Don’t Miss: How To Make A Solar Cell From Scratch
Can You Walk On Flexible Solar Panels
Yes, you can walk on certain types of monocrystalline solar and thin-film panels. Monocrystalline solar panels that have a strong aluminum backing and extra-thick ETFE laminate layer are safe for walking, as are many types of super-flexible thin-film panels. Still, always check your products specifications.
What Is The Renogy Flexible Solar Panel
When traveling or vacationing in recreational vehicles or boats. Electricity is required to charge the batteries. Off grid power has traditionally been generated by fossil-fuels like gasoline. To charge leisure and house batteries it means running the engine. This uses valuable fuel which is becoming more and more expensive. It also means using up fuel that may be required to find a gas station or port.
The noise and constant throbbing can be very irritating and the Co2 release damages the environment. But there is a quiet and clean way to generate electricity by harnessing the power of the sun. Installing solar panels will release you from the constraints of having to run the engine or generator.
Using flexible 100w solar panels will allow you to generate electricity whenever you are out and about or at sea. The solar panels will collect the energy from the sun and allow you to power appliances or charge electronics. This means while the sun shines you will be able to take longer trips without the need to refuel.
Flexible V Rigid Renogy 100w solar panels
Installing solar panels to your vehicle, caravan or boat can be a tricky affair, if the surfaces are curved. This is when flexible solar panels have an advantage over rigid panels.
Renogy flexible solar panel V wind generator
Don’t Miss: How Much For Sole Proprietorship
What Is Better Pwm Or Mppt
There are two broad types of solar charge controllers:
PWM controllers have been around for some time and are less expensive. The downside is that they are not as efficient as MPPT charge controllers.
They both do a great job, but sometimes MPPT controllers are very cost effective talk to a RENOGY technician to find out how.
Renogy Solar Power System Cost And Warranty
The cost of the system depends on different individual factors. Renogy estimates the average cost to range between $1.73 and $2.05 per watt. Therefore, an average 5kW system may cost around $8,600 before tax rebates.
The tax rebates and credits depend on your location. After tax, the average cost is about $6000 exclusive of the inverters and installation cost. Renogy system offers a 25-year warranty period for transferable power output and five years for material and skill for a maximum system voltage of 600V DC.
With the warranty, the user can claim compensation if the system suddenly stops working or if they experience other issues during those covered years.
Well, before we end this Renogy solar panel review, its crucial that we look at both the advantages and disadvantages of Renogy solar panel kits.
Recommended Reading: How Much Does A Solar Power System Cost
Whats Unique About Renogy
Renogy makes a point of building comprehensive kit products for consumers who want to install solar versus just selling systems that are built from various components.
Because of this market approach, Renogys inverters are purposefully matched to their solar panel kits and the homes that they will be installed in.
Consumers dont have to try to figure out how to match compatible items together Renogy does the work for them with the kit that is provided right from the start.
As a result, the company has had great success selling their solar power system products to the average Joe and consumer wanting a kit that involves one complete purchase and installs.
Along the same lines, consumers will find that the Renogy inverter choices are matched to three kit choices: tiny house, cottage package, and village package.
Obviously, the smallest choice is good for a basic hunting cabin or getaway location up in the mountain with a simple lighting system .
On the other hand, higher-level cottage and villa packages are designed for bigger residential needs, providing sufficient power for computers, phones, and small appliances.
These systems are ideal for areas that have intermittent power issues or frequent storm cutoffs where people need power alternatives when the normal grid goes down a lot.
Is A Charge Controller Necessary
Most definitely, yes! Charge controllers are a very important component of part of any solar installation.
The only time you dont really need a solar charge controller is if using a solar panel less than 5 watts.
A solar charge controller connects the solar panels to the battery/batteries, limiting how much charging current flows and how fast your batteries charge. They effectivelt prevent overcharging.
Solar charge controller can prevent batteries discharing too much by disconnecting the system if stored energy goes below 50%. Battery life reduces if regularly discharged more than 50%.
Recommended Reading: Do I Need A Tax Id Number For Sole Proprietorship
Renogy Solar Panel Kit Includes
Renogy 100 Watt 12 Volt Compact Design Monocrystalline Solar Panel
Renogy Wanderer 30A PWM Charge Controller
Renogy 9in MC4 Adaptor Kit
4.3 out of 5 stars
Renogy 100w Flexible Solar Panel: Pros And Cons
Well, of course, if youre like me, I dont normally pick a product without looking at the benefits it offers or whether there are drawbacks I should prepare to live with.
So, here are the pros and cons of the Renogy 100 watt monocrystalline solar panel.
- It has a flexible body which makes it suitable for areas where traditional solar panels cannot be mounted.
- Due to its ultra-thin body the solar panel is easy to travel with.
- It is built with durability in mind hence it can serve you for a long period.
- Some users have complained about the quality of the product.
- Ultra Lightweight, Ultra Thin, Up to 248 Degree Arc, for RV, Boats, Roofs, Uneven Surfaces
- Extremely FlexibleThis panel is capable of meeting a wide range of applications where standard…
You May Like: Do You Need Sun For Solar Panels
How Does The Renogy Eflex 50 Solar Panel Work
The Renogy 50 watt solar panel is made from 2 x 25w monocrystalline solar panels. The panels are sewn into a polyester canvas frame. They fold in the middle to produce a smaller easily transported package.
E.Flex 50 Watt Specs
Solar panels are made from Photovoltaic cells. These cells react to sunlight and convert its energy into usable Direct Current electricity. The cells are encased in a metal or plastic frame to form the solar panel. There are generally three accepted types of solar panels:
- MonocrystallineAre single solar cells manufactured from the purest silicon. The solar panels are recognizable by their dark colour
- PolycrystallineAre manufactured from multiple crystalline solar cells. The solar panels are recognizable by their blue speckled colour
- Thin-FilmMade by covering a material with one or more thin layers of PV cells. The solar panels are recognizable for their extremely thin and lightweight characteristics.
The Renogy 50 watt portable solar panel houses monocrystalline solar cells. These are the most efficient because the solar panels are made from single PV cells. Its official efficiency rating is given as up to 21% 23%. I suspect it is termed in this way taking account of weather conditions. Still the average efficiency benchmark within the solar industry is 17-19%. Some solar panels are even lower than this. So overall the efficiency rating of the Renogy 50 watt is pretty good.
Whats in the box
Whats Good About The E Flex 50 Watt Portable Solar Panel
I feel the E.Flexs greatest asset is its portability. Moving, storing and transporting it is made easy because of its weight. It wont feel like too much of a burden taking it on days out or trips away. Its size means that you will easily find a place for it to live. In the car, RV, camper van and trailer/caravan. Or in the garage if you want to store it for a while. You could take this portable solar panel virtually anywhere with ease.
The Monocrystalline solar cells make the unit highly efficient at capturing sunlight. Its robust PET polymer and polyester canvas build will ensure the solar cells are kept safe. So the solar panels retain their efficiency for many years to come.
Its multiple charging applications are a big asset. Electronic devices, power banks and small power stations can all be charged when you are out and about. Adding a solar controller means you can then charge car and recreational vehicle batteries.
Read Also: How Much Is It To Install Solar Power
Is The Renogy Flexible Solar Panel Any Good
In conclusion, balanced against the 100w flexible solar panel and a rigid solar panel. When it comes to weight and installing on curved surfaces, flexibility is the perfect solution. The performance, durability and reliability of the Renogy flexible panel makes it my best buy. With the warranty, quality and workmanship in mind. You will be charging your batteries for many years to come,
The Allpowers version is something to consider. But overall I feel the Renogy will be better value for money because of its superior thickness and flexibility.
Do Flexible Solar Panels Get Hot
Yes, flexible solar panels get hot, especially if you install them onto the metal roof of your RV or an off-grid cabin. Excessive heat reduces their lifespan and also makes them less efficient. This is why you should consider using a mounting rack or gluing them onto a raised aluminum sandwich plate.
You May Like: Can A Sole Proprietor Have A Dba
Topsolar Flexible Solar Panel 100w 12v
Itd be unfair to wind up this Renogy flexible solar panel review, without mentioning this solar panel.
And this is because of the following reasons:
First, the Topsolar flexible solar panel 100W 12V is waterproof and durable.
Yes, unlike other flexible solar panels that cannot withstand more heat, this one can endure high-temperatures and is easy to clean.
Besides, its made with a waterproof covering and is more durable than other panels made with glass or aluminum materials.
Whats more, its also ultra-thin and ultra-light. It only weighs less than 4 pounds and is 0.1 inches thick. This makes it suitable for use in boats, cabins, cars, trucks, tents, and other areas where traditional solar panels cannot be installed.
Besides, it is also highly efficient up to 50%.
Also Read: Solar Shingles vs Solar Panels
Key Features Of The Renogy Starter Kit
Some of the key features of the starter kit include:
- EL tested solar modules with no hot-spot heating guaranteed.
- Efficient and reliable
- High solar cell efficiency where the monocrystalline has 18.4% and the polycrystalline has 17.9% level of solar cell efficiency. Here are how other forms of renewable energy capacity factors stack up.
- TPT back sheet which ensures there is smooth performance over an extended period.
- Pre-drilled holes on the back of the panel to allow for secure and quick mounting.
- Expandable & intuitive
- A high module conversion efficiency
- Corrosion-resistant aluminum frame suitable for extended outdoor use that can withstand high wind of up to 2400PA and snow loads of up to 5400PA and thus allows the panels to last longer.
- IP65 rated junction box to shield it from environmental particles and low-pressure water jets completely.
- 4-Stage battery charging process meant for efficient, fast, and safe battery charging.
- The Renogy Wanderer is also fitted with several electronic protections including overcharging, short-circuits, overload and reversed polarity.
- Gel, sealed and flooded charging algorithm ready.
- The Renogy Wanderer 30A PWM Charge Controller allows system expansion up to a maximum of 400W.
You May Like: What Is A Solar Heated Pool