Best Solar Panels

Review & Comparison, Last Update July 10, 2021
Do you want to save up on electricity bills by switching to eco-friendly solar energy? Do you need to have an independent power supply far away from your home? Then read this review and choose the solar panel that fits all your needs! ...Read more ...Read less
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BEST 2021
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
PANEL MATERIAL
TYPE
APPLICATION
POWER / EFFICIENCY
TEMPERATURE COEFFICIENT / TOLERANCE
NOMINAL VOLTAGE / CURRENT
OPERATING TEMPERATURE
SIZE / WEIGHT
PROTECTION
WARRANTY
 
PROS

Made of highly durable ETFE material, the panel boasts high light transmittance while also remaining fairly lightweight. Thanks to two USB ports, it allows for directly charging your gadgets.

CONS

The unit is not weather-proof. 

OUR VERDICT

The Jackery SolarSaga is a portable lightweight model that boasts impressively high efficiency similar to that of bulkier stationary panels. As such, it will come in handy not only for on-the-go use but also for unexpected power outages. The well-though-out construction makes it easy to install and carry.

detailed parameters
PANEL MATERIAL

ETFE material

TYPE

Portable

APPLICATION

Ideally suited for the outdoor life (hiking, camping, etc)

POWER / EFFICIENCY

100W/23%

TEMPERATURE COEFFICIENT / TOLERANCE

Not specified

NOMINAL VOLTAGE / CURRENT

18V/5.55A

OPERATING TEMPERATURE

-10°C to 65°C

SIZE / WEIGHT

22" x 24" x 1.8"  

9.1 lbs

PROTECTION

FCC, ROHS Certification

WARRANTY

2year limited, Lifetime technical support

PROS

A powerful controller provides the power up to 400W. The solar panel is capable of charging a 50Ah battery from 50% to 100% within 3 hours. The model is EL tested for solar module quality and safety.

CONS
Relatively low efficiency.
OUR VERDICT

This solar panel from Renogy comes ready to use right out-of-the-box and will perfectly suit everyone who loves traveling around the country in trailers or mobile homes as well as for RV campers. It will deliver enough electricity to power all the necessary devices when away from grid power.

detailed parameters
PANEL MATERIAL
Monocrystalline
TYPE
Stationary
APPLICATION
Off-grid applications, RVs, Trailers, Boats, Sheds, Cabins
POWER / EFFICIENCY

100W/15.46%

TEMPERATURE COEFFICIENT / TOLERANCE

-0.44%/°C,0-3%

NOMINAL VOLTAGE / CURRENT

18.9V/5.29A

OPERATING TEMPERATURE

-40°C to 90°C

SIZE / WEIGHT

47" x 21.3" x 1.4"

16.5 lbs

PROTECTION
Ingress protection rating - IP65
WARRANTY
25-year transferable power output warranty, 5-year material and workmanship warranty
PROS

Distinguished by enhanced impact and weather resistance, this model will easily survive stormy winds, heavy snowfall, and physical impact. And the panel frame is corrosion-resistant which makes it a match for the areas close to the sea or water basins.

CONS

It lacks more detailed installation instructions. 

OUR VERDICT

Made of top-quality materials and meeting a whole bunch of safety and protection standards, this model from RICH SOLAR is one of the best solar panels for regions with harsh climates and seashore areas. Perfectly functioning as an off-grid source of power, it is also suitable for on-grid use and is a match for inverter batteries charging.

detailed parameters
PANEL MATERIAL

Polycrystalline

TYPE

Stationary

APPLICATION

RV, Marine, Trailer, Cottage, Cabin water pumping, and other off-grid applications

POWER / EFFICIENCY

160W

TEMPERATURE COEFFICIENT / TOLERANCE

± 5% power tolerance

NOMINAL VOLTAGE / CURRENT

18.2V/8.79A

OPERATING TEMPERATURE

-40°C to 90°C

SIZE / WEIGHT

8.7" x 26.8" x 1.4"

25.5 lbs

PROTECTION

Withstands high winds (2400Pa) and snow loads (5400Pa), Corrosion-resistant aluminum frame, Impact resistance, IP65 rated waterproof junction box, IP67 rated waterproof MC4 connectors

WARRANTY

25 years on 80% output power, 5 years on materials and workmanship, 1 year on materials for accessories

PROS

A TPT sheet on the back distributes the heat in a maximum efficient manner ensuring high panel performance and prolonging its service life. In the meantime, bypass diodes minimize any possible power losses.

CONS

In practice, the power output might be lower than the stated 100 watts.

OUR VERDICT

The Newpowa NPA100-12H panel is built around powerful elements encapsulated in EVA and covered by a highly transparent low-iron tempered glass that in a combo with a dependable design makes this model a solid and energy-efficient solution for long-term outdoor use.

detailed parameters
PANEL MATERIAL

Polycrystalline

TYPE

Stationary

APPLICATION

RV, Marine, Gate opener, Boat, Camping, Traffic control, and many other off-grid applications

POWER / EFFICIENCY

100W

TEMPERATURE COEFFICIENT / TOLERANCE

± 3% power tolerance

NOMINAL VOLTAGE / CURRENT

17V/5.89A

OPERATING TEMPERATURE

-40°C to 85°C

SIZE / WEIGHT

35.83" x 26.57" x 1.18";

15.43 lbs

PROTECTION

High winds (2400PA) and snow loads (5400PA)

WARRANTY

2-year limited on material and workmanship warranty, 10 years on 90% output warranty, 25 years on 80% output

PROS

The panel kit includes a 10A charger controller that is easy to install and use and boasts overload, short circuit, and open circuit protection as well as an auto switch-off function in case the nominal voltage drops below 9V. 

CONS

The panel corners are extremely sharp, so, extra care is needed when handling. 

OUR VERDICT

If you seek a reliable and efficient charger for your yacht, camper, or RV batteries to make use of green power when off-the-grid, this solar panel kit from TP-Solar is hands down the best option to stay with. Fairly portable, it's great for on-the-go use while the 20W output is enough to keep your batteries topped off. And the controller will take care of the battery service life.

detailed parameters
PANEL MATERIAL

Monocrystalline

TYPE

Stationary

APPLICATION

Courtyard lighting, Small household lighting system, Street lighting, Boat, Marine, Car, RV, All small power electrical devices and small PV system

POWER / EFFICIENCY

20W

TEMPERATURE COEFFICIENT / TOLERANCE

Not specified

NOMINAL VOLTAGE / CURRENT

18V/1.12A

OPERATING TEMPERATURE

-40°C to 90°C

SIZE / WEIGHT

18.9" x 13.4" x 0.7"

4.8 lbs

PROTECTION

Waterproof junction box

WARRANTY

25-year transferable power output warranty

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Jackery SolarSaga

High-efficiency Portable Solar Panels

While 100W solar panels are by far the most popular type of solar accumulators distinguished by high efficiency and decent conversion rates, those models are usually pretty heavy and bulky that makes them a good option rather for stationary use. What you’ll get with the SolarSaga 100W panel from Jackery, though, is a fairly portable unit that packs a blast of power.

Made of ETFE material, the model is noticeably thinner and much lighter as compared to other similar panels. In the meantime, this material is distinguished by much higher light transmittance that makes this panel super-efficient. Thus, with a peak power of 100 watts, it boasts 18.8-volt output at 5.5 amps and a conversion efficiency of 23%, which is a truly impressive rate even for stationary models, not to mention portable ones.

Initially designed for recharging Jackery portable power stations, the SolarSaga panel can also charge other power generators and items directly. The panel package includes a special Anderson cable to connect it to your Jackery Explorer power station via a DC port. Besides, the model features two USB ports (both A and C type) to juice up your smartphone, tablet, camera, lantern, or any other USB-enabled device.

Review of Jackery SolarSaga 100W Portable Solar Panel

Thought-out to the Last Detail

At the weight of 9.1 lbs and 22"x24"x1.8" dimensions, the SolarSaga panel is one of the lightest and most compact 100W models out there. With that, it is also though out to the last detail to offer you the ultimate ease and convenience of use. Thus, it has a foldable design and collapses in half to take minimum space in your truck, trailer, RV, or even common car trunk. The folded panel parts are held together by a strong magnet and a fabric cover protects it from scratches and damages on the outside. An Anderson cable neatly packs into a special compartment on the back while TPE rubber handles make the folded panel extremely convenient to carry.

It’s no secret that the solar panel performance greatly depends on the standing angle and a proper tilt can help significantly increase the input power. To save you the trouble of adjusting the tilt, the SolarSaga comes complete with a special kickstand that will keep it standing at just a perfect angle for maximum efficiency. Just make sure you’ve placed it directly against the sun.

The only gripe you might have about this model is that it is not waterproof, which is strange and unusual for the solar panel meant to be placed outdoors, to say the least. On the other hand, you must admit that you’ll hardly set it on a dull or rainy day. So, you should simply remember to put it away if the weather suddenly turns bad.

To resume, the SolarSaga solar panel is a highly efficient and high-performance energy converter distinguished by portable design that makes it fit both for on-the-go use and for sudden power outages or blackouts.

Jackery SolarSaga 100W Portable Solar Panel in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer

Last updated price $299.99
Stock In stock
ASIN B07Q71LX84

 

Renogy 100W Monocrystalline

A Kit for Beginners

If you've decided to install a solar power system, yet, are new to this, consider purchasing a starter kit from Renogy that comes ready to use straight out of the box and will save you the need to purchase any added hardware.

The set includes not only a solar module but also a charger controller, connectors, wiring, and even mounting brackets with fixtures. While a set of brackets makes stationary panel installation an easy task, a powerful charging controller will also enable you to connect several additional panels without a hassle to set up your solar power station. The controller will keep track of your marine or vehicle batteries charge and let you regulate the voltage and current accordingly to keep them juiced up faster while preventing overcharging and overloading. At 30A, the controller unit is able to handle a battery bank or an inverter system. Besides, it is compatible with different types of batteries including sealed, gel, and flooded batteries. As such, it’s a really good thing to have for beginners who might be unaware of all the tricks.

As far as the panel quality is concerned, you’ll get a really good unit that won’t fail for decades. The aluminum frame is corrosion-resistant and durable enough to withstand the elements and extensive outdoor use while the Ingress IP65 rating proves that the panel is water- and dust-proof, so, it will fit for installation in regions with different climates and varying weather conditions.

Review of Renogy 100W Monocrystalline Solar Starter Kit

With Excellent Power Efficiency

Final solar panel efficiency largely depends on a number of factors. That’s why several 100W batteries can deliver different output results. The most important factor the output wattage relies on is the amount of sunlight. Thus, under direct sun, this Renogy panel can produce the output close to the peak one. In other words, if you have direct sunlight for about 5 hours a day, you’ll get 500 Wh of power for your battery or any direct current load. Note, though, that any shade spots might cut down the panel efficiency by about 50%. So, remember to choose the right place for installation and set the panel in a tilted position for better coverage.

The next key factor impacting the output is the panel type. Since Renogy is a monocrystalline module with cells made of top-quality silicone, it will be able to generate some power even under dull weather and low-light conditions. And a 25-year warranty on transferable output proves that the panel will support high-performance for a really long time.

In a word, if you are just about to plunge into renewable energy systems and need a quality all-in-one kit with the ability for further expansion, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better option than this 100W starter kit from Renogy.

Renogy 100W Monocrystalline Solar Starter Kit in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer

Last updated price $179.99
Stock In stock
ASIN B00BFCNFRM

VIDEO
Full Test & Review Of The Renogy 100 W Suitcase Kit
 

RICH SOLAR 160W

The Ultimate Level of Weather Resistance

All tested for durability and weather resistance, some solar panels better withstand impact and harsh environments than others. And this is where solar panels from RICH SOLAR really excel.

Unlike others, the RICH SOLAR polycrystalline solar panels have successfully passed a whole number of rigorous tests. Exposed to maximum tough conditions and heavy-duty impacts, they stood out really great. Thus, the model is capable of enduring the force of truly strong winds (2400Pa) and impressive snow loads (5400Pa). The iron-tempered glass covering the cells not only ensures high transparency and low reflection but also boasts enhanced stiffness to better resist physical impact while an aluminum frame is a corrosion-resistant to stray strong during extended outdoor use. To add more, along with overall construction waterproofness, the model also features an IP65 rated junction box and IP67 rated MC4 connectors to lend the highest level of protection against elements and moisture. That said, it will work really great in the areas with windy, dry, and harsh climates as well as for seashore regions abiding in sunny days, yet, related to expressly high humidity levels.

Designed for stationary use, the unit weighs about 25 pounds, which is not surprising given its robust construction and impact resistance. So, it might take you some effort to lift it to the top of the roof where it will perform the best. However, once there, it will be a breeze to install. Pre-drilled installation holes are compatible with all sorts of mounts. Hence, you will only need to find the proper fixture and attach the panel there. Besides, the panel can easily rest on ground mounts and pole mounts, providing a whole variety of installation options.

Review of RICH SOLAR 160W 12 Volt Polycrystalline Solar Panel

For Off-grid and On-grid Use Alike

When it comes to efficiency, the RICH SOLAR is no slouch as well. Thus, with a maximum power of 160 watts and a nominal voltage of 18.2V, a single panel will work just great for charging a 12V battery pretty quickly. And when wired in bundles, the panels are also powerful enough for 24V or 48V batteries. Notably, highly efficient under direct sun, these panels won’t reduce the power output too much even on a relatively cloudy day. In fact, featuring peak outputs when the sun is high, the RICH SOLAR panel will produce energy throughout the whole day and deliver power enough for some minor tasks.

Ideal for off-grid use and battery or generator charging, the RICH SOLAR panels can also be applied for on-grid use as well. You can connect it to your home electrical system via an inverter and use free-of-charge solar energy to power some of your home appliances during the sunny hours, thus, cutting down your electricity bills.

All things considered, the solar panels from RICH SOLAR will make a solid and functional energy solution for sunny areas with pretty harsh weather conditions as well as for humid marine regions. Built to last, they will stand strong for multiple decades.

RICH SOLAR 160W 12 Volt Polycrystalline Solar Panel in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer

Last updated price $169.99
Stock In stock
ASIN B07GC9KR8P

 

Newpowa NPA100-12H

A Solid Alternative Power Source

These days, the value of solar power is hard to underestimate. Modern solar panels offer a great alternative source of electricity. Even a single quality panel like this one from Newpowa can maintain several home appliances and flawlessly serve you for decades to come, not to mention the benefits solar panel systems and bundles can bring for your home.

Straight off the reel, the Newpowa NPA100-12H comes supported by a 25-year warranty on 80% power output and a 10-year warranty on 90% output that speaks volumes about the product quality and efficiency without further ado. Thus, the panels come framed into a rigid yet pretty lightweight frame made of anodized aluminum. Meanwhile, the cells themselves are encapsulated in EVA and are fit in between a transparent low-iron tempered glass and a TPT sheet on the back. Not only is the whole construction highly durable but also it is energy-wise in the way that it works to produce maximum power level with minimal losses.

Tested to withstand stormy winds (up to 2400 Pa) and heavy enough snow loads (up to 5200Pa), the Newpowa features high weather resistance to function without damages when exposed to harsh weather conditions. All the cables and connectors are made of tinned copper that better handles humidity, high temperatures, and other environmental impacts.

As solidly built as it is, the Newpowa panel is not as heavy as many of its rivals. Which is why, it is much easier to install and makes a better option for RVs, yachts, camping trailers, gate openers, and any other systems where excess weight is not welcomed.

Review of Newpowa NPA100-12H 100 Watts 12 Volts Polycrystalline Solar Panel

With a Decent Output

Along with a dependable construction, the Newpowa NPA100-12H solar panel offers decent power output. It is yet another 100-watt panel that will generate 17V of power at 5.89 Amps. Some users claimed that the actual output will be lower than 100 watts, which is not something unusual for this type of power converters. First of all, it’s the final efficiency rate that should be considered and not the rated output. With the efficiency values up to 20%, the model is on the higher end in terms of performance. Secondly, just like any model with polycrystalline cells, the Newpowa panel is less efficient on cloudy and low-light days and is not the best option for dull weather. Besides, to get the most of any solar panel output, it takes some sort of tinkering. And this model is not an exception. Yet, if you place it properly tilted and fully facing the sun, you’ll get steadily high wattage and current enough to keep your home appliances running for hours during the day. At the same time, it will be able to maintain your inverter battery fully charged if needed. And by-pass diodes pre-installed into the junction box work to avert and minimize power losses.

All told, if a solidly built and highly efficient source of free energy is what you need to enhance your home electrical system or use when off the grid, you can’t go wrong with the Newpowa 100-watt solar panels.

Newpowa NPA100-12H 100 Watts 12 Volts Polycrystalline Solar Panel in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer

Last updated price $0.00
Stock May be out of stock
ASIN B00L6LZRXM

 

TP-Solar Monocrystalline

Smart Kit for Off-grid Use

Need an effective and reasonably priced power solution to keep your vehicle, yacht, or camper 12V deep cycle batteries duly charged on a constant basis? If so, the TP-Solar 20W solar panel kit will do that job just great.

In a kit, you’ll get everything to connect the panel to the battery or integrate it into your solar power system. The panel comes complete with connection cables fitted into a junction box, alligator clips and O-ring terminals for direct battery connection, and a charger controller that will function as a sort of regulator. At dimensions almost twice smaller than any regular panel of the kind, it is fairly portable and is easy to install on a boat, caravan, motorhome, garage, shed, or any other surface exposed to the sunlight most time of the day. So, you can easily take it with you wherever you drive or travel to make use of green power benefits to the fullest.

When it comes to the panel quality, the whole item looks and feels durable and wear-resistant. And it proves to be such in use. The cells covered by the clear glass are very smooth and clean, with no shallow spots or hazy surfaces that might reduce their efficiency while an aluminum frame adds rigidity. Another good thing is that in this model not only the panel itself but also the junction box is waterproof, which means you can safely use the panel under any weather conditions.

At 20 watts, the TP-solar panel might seem not powerful enough, yet, in practice, that’s an optimal wattage for off-the-grid use and decent enough for home use as well. Besides, featuring monocrystalline cells made of top-quality silicone, it is distinguished by higher power efficiency than even its more powerful polycrystalline rivals. Under direct sunlight, it will steadily deliver peak outputs that will be just right for smaller electrical devices, street lighting, small household light systems, marine, boat, RV, and car batteries, etc.

Review of TP-Solar Monocrystalline 20W Solar Panel Kit

On Guard for the Battery Service Life

As we’ve already mentioned, the panel kit contains a 10A charger controller fitted with all the cables and connectors you need. Not only will it keep you alert on your battery power levels and condition but also it will stand on the guard of the battery service life and will let you adjust the voltage and current setting to optimize the operation to certain conditions. In the meantime, the controller also offers a whole bunch of protective options to help you maintain the battery in a perfectly serviceable condition for much longer. Thus, it provides overcharging and overload protection as well as reverse polarity and reverse discharge protection and averts any damages related to short circuit or open circuit. By regulating the voltage and balancing the power load, you’ll keep the battery charged and topped off without exceeding the allowed voltage that can lead to battery damages and loss of functionality.

To sum it all up, the TP-Solar kit is a smart portable charging solution for vehicle batteries and a good choice for home PV arrays as well.

TP-Solar Monocrystalline 20W Solar Panel Kit in the use
Last updated price $49.99
Stock In stock
ASIN B07RZBVTGR

 

What Is a Solar Panel?

Today, we live in an era when solar power is becoming a widespread energy source. First of all, the cost of solar panels has considerably decreased lately. Almost everyone now has the opportunity to buy them for home use as well as for trips, picnics, and traveling. Secondly, solar power is one of the cleanest and most reliable forms of renewable energy available today.

A solar panel is a set of cells joined together and enclosed in a frame. A solar cell, in turn, is a semiconductor device used to convert light energy into electrical power. In most cases, solar panels (or solar modules) serve as an additional source of power. In some applications, however, they can completely replace the main power supply. An important advantage of solar energy is that the amount of sunlight is highly predictable within a year. In spring and summer, for example, a solar panel receives more solar power than in autumn and winter. So, you can assess the amount of renewable energy produced by solar modules in advance. A pleasant addition is that unlike other alternative energy systems, the installation of sun power solar panels is a piece of cake!

To gain the maximum benefit from solar panels and know the weather in advance, we recommend you to go through our weather station review. Also, an LED solar light will be the best solution for illuminating an area around your house.

What Features to Compare

Panel Type

The first thing we'd like to draw your attention to when choosing the right solar panel is its type. Based on the materials they are made of, solar panels are typically classified into monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin-film panels. If you're going to install solar modules in some limited space, you should choose a monocrystalline panel. Panels of this type are the most efficient and give more power from a certain roof area. Alternatively, if there is no limit on the working space and you can install more solar panels, it's reasonable to look at polycrystalline modules. These panels boast good quality and excellent value for the money they cost. As for thin-film panels, they don't have a rigid frame and perfectly fit for installation on uneven surfaces. Thanks to their portability, they're a splendid choice for vacation, travel or any other outdoors.

Performance

Having decided on the type of solar panel, pay your attention to its performance. The most important issue is the solar energy conversion efficiency. Basically, the higher the efficiency, the more energy you get from your module. The second crucial indicator of performance is the power output. So, you should determine in advance what wattage you wish to get from your solar power system. The most popular solar panels provide on average from 100 to 200W, however, don't forget about tolerance which shows how this index varies. A temperature coefficient also affects the efficiency of a solar panel - it shows how it works with a temperature change and to what extent its power falls. Another important criterion to consider is its operating temperature range as this issue usually varies from region to region. It's worth mentioning that a lot of modern solar panels can work at a temperature from -40 to +90 °C. It allows using these panels in different geographic areas.

Convenience

Don't forget to check the convenience of solar modules. Of course, size and weight are vital for convenient installation. Since solar panels can be mounted not only on a house roof but on boats and trailers as well, you need to know the optimal dimensions of the panel. We'd also like to recommend users to select the maximally protected models covered with a thin layer of tempered glass. The advantage is that such panels are capable of withstanding severe weather conditions. Solar panels are usually produced in a corrosion-resistant frame made of aluminum. This reduces the weight of the structure and assures a long lifespan. However, if you plan to use solar panels while traveling, pay attention to the modules with a handle for comfortable carrying and folding legs for an easy installation.

How to:

Sources:

1. Choosing The Best Solar Panels, Energy Matters.

2. Chris Barnes Solar panels buying guide, Choice. February 17, 2016.

3. Don Vandervort Solar Electric (PV) Panels Buying Guide, HomeTips. March 30, 2016.

4. Solar Power Buyer's Guide, Northern Tool + Equipment.

5. Mike Matthews How to Pick Out the Proper Solar Panel, SFGate.

6. Solar Power, The Camping and Caravanning Club.

7. Ucilia Wang What you need to know about shopping for solar panels, Gigaom. April 22, 2013.

8. Solar power, Wikipedia. September 25, 2016.

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