Goal Zero Boulder 100 Solar Panel Briefcase The Toughest
Wattage: 100W | Panel Type: Monocrystalline | Foldable: Yes | Weight: 25.9 lbs
I could hardly think of a better name for this portable solar panel.
The Boulder is designed as a self-contained rugged and durable briefcase, just like something youd expect to see in a Michael Bay movie.
I mean, tempered glass is not something youd expect from a
The two 50-watt monocrystalline solar panels are connected by a sturdy hinge while the integral kickstand lets you set the optimal angle to the sun.
And as if reinforced aluminum and corner protection wasnt enough, the panels are covered with tempered glass.
So why is this solar panel tank the last on the list?
First, its got a very limited application. Youd be pressed hard to find a way to strap it to your RV or boat.
The rigid construction prevents you from placing it flush with any kind of curving roof or surface. You can always use the kickstand, but if the ground is soft and wet, theres little you can do about it.
Finally, its too heavy to haul it around. This ironically beats the whole end-of-days suitcase design.
- Too bulky for carrying around
- No direct USB charging
Why Do I Like It?
So who are these portable solar panels for? Id say prepper types and people living in areas that are prone to extreme weather events like hurricanes and floods. The GoalZero Boulder will survive.
How Long Can An Inverter Run A 200w Solar Panel
An inverter will keep running as long as it has a power source. If it is connected to a battery, the inverter will operate continuously until the battery is out of energy.
To continue with our example, we will use a 200W solar panel and a 100ah battery. If the solar panel puts 1000 watts into the battery per day, what inverter size will you need?
The inverter size depends on how much power load you will use per hour. The formula is:
Power usage per hour + inverter efficiency rating = inverter size
Your solar panel produces 1000 watts a day, all of which goes into a 100ah battery. If you are going to use 200 watts an hour, you will need a 250W inverter with at least 85% efficiency.
If you are going to use 500 watts an hour, you will need a 550W or 600W inverter. You must always add 10-25% to the total and choose the next largest size available. So if the numbers show you need a 550W inverter and you cannot find one, go for 600W.
It is always better to overestimate the amount of inverter power you need. This is also true for batteries especially if you are running a large system.
Best Solar Kit With Battery: Jackery 1000w Peak Solar Generator Sg550 With 100w Solar Panel
Courtesy of Home Depot
If youre interested in a solar panel for traveling but also require a battery charge station, Jackery Power Outdoors is a leader in off-grid power supplies. The Solar Generator SG550 comes with a whopping 100-watt panel that folds shut and can easily be toted away using the carry handle.
The power station’s 500-watt continuous output can charge a laptop at least seven times before it requires a recharge. The panel also has a built-in MPPT module that monitors the voltage and output of the solar panel, adding up to 23% more efficiency, and can charge up to seven devices at one time.
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Big Blue Foldable Solar Panels Considered For Best Durability
At first glance, this is a similar product to the Nekteck charger. However, you dont get the same resilience for the price.
In fact, the price itself was a point of contention. For something thats nearly $30 more expensive than its competition, youd expect the specs to be better.
The features that make the Nekteck solar charger shine is its water resistance. Big Blue does not measure up in that regard.
So What Do You Actually Need
Complete Solar Power Kits:
One of the major causes of confusion for beginners that are unsure what they need is the fact that there are countless solar products out there offered by a wide range of brands. While this can be overwhelming for those that are just starting out, the truth is, there are actually only four main components that make up a basic solar power system the solar panels, the charge controller, the power inverter, and the battery.
In order for your solar power system to be able to generate and store solar electricity that you can actually use to power to your electronic devices and appliances, you will need some combination of those four vital components.
When you are browsing solar kits, look for one that contains all four pieces of equipment. You should also try to find one that is capable of generating and storing the exact amount of electricity your need to meet your specific power requirements.
Solar Generator Kits:
More recently, solar generator kits have presented themselves as a practical alternative to a traditional solar power system.
If you are unfamiliar with solar generators, they are incredible convenient pieces of solar equipment. Essentially, a solar generator is an all-in-one unit that contains a built-in deep-cycle battery, a power inverter, a charge controller, and a variety of output ports. When paired with one or more solar panels, a solar generator can act as a complete solar power station.
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Best For Camping: Ecoflow 110w Solar Panel
Courtesy of EcoFlow
When bringing a solar panel on camping trips, youll want to look for something lightweight, durable, and powerful enough to charge your cameras, portable speakers, lights, and other camping gadgets. The Eco Flow Portable Solar Panel has two different sizes: 110 watt or 160 watts with a high conversion efficiency of up to 22%. It also includes an MC4 cable connector and carry case.
If your camping trip takes you across rivers or kayaking across lakes, the panel has an IP67 waterproof rating, so it can hold up to Mother Nature better than many of its competitors. The unit consists of four folding panels and weighs around 14 pounds.
Do You Really Need Rv Solar Panels
While RV solar panels are great, they arent necessary. In fact, most RV campers probably dont need solar panels – if you spend most of your time camping on campgrounds with power hookups, then RV solar panels probably arent right for you.
But, for all of the boondockers out there, RV solar panels are a great, cost-effective investment. Boondocking is when you camp off-grid, outside the amenities of campgrounds, including electricity. In this case, RV solar panels can come in handy. They allow you to keep your batteries charged, and you can charge additional batteries for backup power, as well.
Also, because the solar panels slowly charge your batteries, they can end up prolonging your RV battery life. Plus, unlike conventional generators that you may use to help power your RV, you dont have to worry about buying propane for every trip. Once you invest in RV solar panels, there are almost no additional operating costs unless equipment needs to be replaced.
Learn more: Pros and cons of solar generators
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Windynation 100 Watt Solar Panel Off
Price: $439.99 Buy Now
Best: Runner up
The fact that WindyNation gives RV owners the option to purchase a battery with their solar kit is a huge plus! Image source:
WindyNation offers a 100 watt, 12 Volt solar panel kit that is great for boondockers who dont use a lot of power. The kit includes one panel with a power output of 100 watts, a 20 amp PWM charge controller, four Z-brackets for mounting, cabling, and solar connectors. It also includes a 100 Amp-hour absorbed glass matt lead-acid battery.
According to WindyNation, this panel will produce 350 watt-hours of electricity per day. That isnt a lot, but the charge controller included is able to handle up to four 100 watt panels, so you can expand the system in the future. This kits great online reviews and included equipment are what make it our best overall runner up RV solar kit.
- Comes with a lead acid battery
- Cabling and mounting equipment included
- Charge controller allows for future system expansion
- High user reviews on Amazon
- Only one panel, so it wont cover all of your electricity usage right off the bat
- Inverter not included
Price: $499.68 Buy Now
Best: Portable RV solar setup
Go Power!s kit may not have the ability to mount to your roof, but its perfect for those just looking for portable solar power. Image source:
Price: $230.35 Buy Now
Best: Flexible solar panel for RV
Renogys 100 W flexible solar panel makes it easier to add a few solar panels to your roof. Image source:
Complete Off Grid Solar Kits
For over 12 years we’ve aimed at helping technologically challenged, budget minded folks as well as pros.
We’ve worked together to see 1000’s of Off Grid & RV solar installations completed and put into use successfully
Off Grid Solar Kits from BHA are an easy way to get started in solar power for everyday home use, or emergency backup. All Off Grid kits include an inverter for 120 volt power.
You will have peace of mind knowing that during emergency power outages caused by severe weather or aging utility infrastructures, that you’ll have power for communications, refrigeration, lights, medical equipment and whatever your normal electrical needs are.
Our best Off Grid Solar kits for 2022 are Pre-designed systems built around superior Industrial quality Morningstar charge controllers with custom user settings which can be used with traditional lead acid batteries or with most emerging new battery chemistries like lithium.
Rechargeable deep cycle batteries are needed for backup power storage (Batteries, misc parts and installation costs are also all covered bythe 26% tax credit
Designed for money saving, owner built and do it yourself projects, or professional installers, all of our off-grid system packages are based on proven 12v 200 watt monocrystalline solar modules. They’re less costly and faster to ship via Fed Ex than large 60+ lb residential modules which can only ship on a pallet via freight truck.
All off grid kits include inverters for 120V power
12V OFF GRID
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Portable Solar Panel & Foldable Solar Panel Kits
Portable Foldable Solar Panel kits and systems
Portable foldable solar charging systems are available from 40w up to 200w. These portable foldable panels are a great way to maximise storage capacity of your RV or garage. They can be stored for extended periods of time and are easily deployed when the extra power is required for vacations or emergency backup power.
Complete and ready to use!
When you arrive at your destination, the set up process takes less than 5 minutes. Unpack the bag/case, unfold the panels, adjust the tilt legs, set on the ground in a sunny location pointing south, and finally connect the wires to your battery.
The two manufacturers we carry are from SolarlandUSA and Zamp Solar. Both manufacturers have a great portable foldable solar panel product and we have summarized the main features of each manufacturer to help our customers choose the best model for their portable solar panel needs.
Zamp Solar folding kits feature monocrystalline solar panel technology, are ground mounted, have adjustable tilt legs for optimum tilt angle, have a built in charge controller, 16t.lead wire with battery clips for easy hook up, and can be folded up and stored safely in a padded carrying bag. Warranty is 1 year on workmanship and 20 years on power output.
Tips for choosing a portable foldable solar panel kit
Small portable solar panelsIf you need a smaller solar charger to trickle charge large batteries then choose one of the 10 watt solar panels.
How We Picked And Tested
As solar panel kits have gained their name and the market has a lot to offer currently, you need to meticulously check if the solar panel kit youve read on the internet is the right solar panel that will fit for you. The products we have reviewed came from reputable brands, which have been in the solar power industry for quite some time. They have been innovating a lot of solar panel kits thus, they have been chosen to be part of this list. Some of them will highlight RV living, while some are best for home backups. The mentioned products vary greatly so you have the option to consider what suits your lifestyle best.
Most of these reviewed solar panel kits come with one 100W solar panel. Some even have 2 or 4 solar panels, so depending on how much electricity you consume, and what you intend to supply it for, you can liberally choose which one will suit your needs best. The reviews have large and small solar panel kits for you to consider on your next purchase.
- Monocrystalline and Polycrystalline Solar Panels
One of the major differences in these products is the type of solar panel that they use. Monocrystalline solar panels are known to be the premium type of solar panels that can provide you with higher efficiencies. They also are sleeker and are more aesthetic. The polycrystalline ones have the advantage of being more affordable. In terms of longevity, both can last for about 25 years, depending on use.
- Type of Solar Charge Controller
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More Solar Panel Inverter Calculations
To make up for the inefficiency, your inverter has to be 10-25% larger than the power load. This also applies for larger systems, for instance, if you want to run a fridge on 400W solar panels .
The formula is:
Solar panel size + 25%
So if you have a 200W solar panel, a 250W inverter is the minimum required:
200W + 25% = 250
A 250 watt inverter for a 200 watt solar panel makes a lot of sense for many reasons. Even if the inverter is only 85% efficient, it can still run the solar panel with maximum output:
200 x 85% = 212W
Most high quality inverters have a 90% or higher efficiency rating, so there is more than enough capacity available.
A 200 watt solar panel will not always generate 200 watts. Most of the time it will probably be less than that. But having a 250W inverter provides insurance that in case the panel does produce maximum output, your system can handle it.
You can use this same formula for all kinds of solar panels and inverters. You simply replace the watt size and inverter efficiency rating with your own figures.
With Charge Controller: Zamp Solar Legacy Series Usp1002 Solar Panel For Rv
If youre looking for a single RV portable solar panel thats compact and easy to deploy, the Zamp Solar Legacy Series monocrystalline panel is an excellent choice.
This solar panel is also a great choice for smaller RVs or camper vans, as it includes just a single 140-watt panel but it comes with everything you need for quick setup.
The portable solar panels for camping itself has a 5-stage, 10-amp charge controller built right into it. This controller helps to protect your battery from overcharging and the panel is best suited to RVs with 12-volt batteries.
The controller is also equipped with a large digital display that helps you track your power usage and the efficiency of the panel.
When you need to make a move to a new spot, the entire paddle folds up and packs into a padded carrying case.
So this solar setup is ideal for ground installation, but it can also be securely placed on top of a small camper van as long as no high winds are expected.
The panel itself weighs 32.75 pounds and the entire package has closed dimensions of 32.4 by 21.5 by 3.1.
The solar cells in the panel are made of high-grade monocrystalline and theyre treated with anti-reflective coating.
This treatment process happens by hand at Zamps headquarters in Bend, Oregon and it helps to maximize the panels light absorption.
All in all, this panel is capable of generating a total of 7.8 amps and has extendable legs that help you set it up at an optimal angle for maximum sun exposure.
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Portable Solar Kit Sizes
When purchasing medium to large portable solar kits you will find only a few sizes on the market. These kits are made in 90 Watts, 130 Watts, and 200 Watts. The main differences are the physical size of the panels, the price, and the output amperage from the panels.
Finding the right size for application involves determining a couple pieces of information:
- Area available to store panel when not in use.
- Amount of power required.
- Your budget to purchase the panel.
Renogy 400w Monocrystalline Solar Rv Kit
- Specifically built for RVs
- PWM charge controller has a seamless flush mounting
- LCD display shows operating information
- UV-resistant and waterproof cable housing
- Electronic protective systems and self-diagnostic feature
- Battery needs to be bought separately
Make the switch to having a solar power system in your mobile home with the Renogy 400W solar kit. The kit is ideal for RV use and is optimally made, so living life off-grid is still very convenient.
The monocrystalline solar kit includes all the basics you will need to get you started on having solar energy in your RV. It has a 100W solar panel, their adventurer solar charge controller, a tray cable, the adapter kit, and Renogys signature cable housing. You can also choose to have either the Corner bracket or the Z bracket upon purchase.
Gone are the days that you would settle for cheap solar panel kits that youd try to integrate on your RV. This specific unit from Renogy is built for RV owners as the adventurer PWM solar charge controller is highly detailed to be applied on RVs. It can be aesthetically installed with seamless flush mounting. Briefly, youll absolutely know that this specific solar panel kit is built for mobile homes.
It also has an LCD screen that displays major operating information and other parameter settings.
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