25 Best Portable Solar Panels – Reviews and Buying Guide
Table of Contents
Portable solar panels are essential for portable generators to produce power through sunlight. Finding the best among the many solar panels available in the market is not an easy task. With more and more people today understand the importance and effectiveness of solar power generation, different brands are manufacturing the best solar panels.
When you compare different available options, you will have to consider factors like wattage, price, and efficiency as key features when shortlisting the best options. The panel size is another key factor because it decides the convenience of your solar generator kits. Understanding how well it converts solar energy into electrical energy would be best. Temperature co-efficient is also another factor to consider.
The Best Solar Panels Based On Different Grounds
Do you need complete solar panel kits for solar power generation? You can find the answer to this question in the top solar chargers’ detailed review.
Solar-powered generators generally have solar panels and portable power stations sold with them. But, for some generators, you will have to shop for the panels yourself. Irrespective of the solar generator you have bought, here are the top options.
The 100-Watt solar panel from the brand Renogy features the capability to provide up to 500 Watt-Hours of electricity during a sunny day. Even during partial or semi-shading instances, the bypass diodes present in the system bypass the shaded cells and let the remaining cells actively function to provide maximum power. Bypass diodes also serve the function of protecting solar cells from accidents like overheating. This panel features a solar conversion rate of 22% and weighs just around 14 pounds in total.
The solar panels come with pre-drilled holes, making the installation process easy. These solar panels are stable enough even to be placed on moving surfaces like roofs of yachts. These panels with multiple layers of sheet lamination are made of high-quality silicon cells. The aluminum frame of the system offers high durability and prevention against corrosion. The iron-tempered glass coating outside provides up to 91% visibility and ensures extra protection for the panels. The connectors are IP67-rated and are ideal for being used universally. The connectors exhibit waterproof nature also. The product has passed the EL test and is certified for no microcracks.
- High efficiency
- Bypass diodes protect from overheating
- Multiple layers of sheet lamination
- High durability
- Resistant to corrosion
- The efficiency seems to be lower than the claims
The portable solar panel from the brand Rock pals is available at around 81 ounces weight. Made of high-quality monocrystalline silicon, this product’s highlight is its high-power generation efficiency. These foldable solar panels are highly compatible with the most available solar generators. Connectors of 10 various sizes are included along with the solar panel. It features up to 23% of solar conversion rate. Unlike regular solar panels, this one is equipped with innovative charging technology, which uses intelligent chip sets to identify the power requirement of the connected device and supply power accordingly.
The intelligent charging technology also supplies four times more power than the regular panels. It also ensures that the connected devices are adequately protected from unfortunate instances like overcharging, overtime, etc. With the proper use of a parallel connector, the user can add more solar panels to the existing ones and fetch more power in lesser time. It is ergonomically designed with foldable, easy-to-carry handles, which offer maximum portability.
- Equipped with intelligent charging technology
- Provides four times more power than the standard ones
- Ergonomic design
- High solar conversion rate of 23%
- 10 connectors of different sizes are available
- Efficiency tends to get compromised over time
Top Solar’s 100W solar panel kit features a 12 Volt battery pack. The lightweight build makes it ideal for off-grid camping and even for vehicles. These are built with premium-quality monocrystalline cells and have a protective outer layer of toughened glass to resist dust, water, and shock. A mounting bracket is equipped in the product for adjusting it to fetch maximum sunlight.
The intelligent charge controller feature ensures that every connected device has the right power and protection from overcharging. The solar panels are made available with mounting holes for convenience. Also, an extension cable is provided along with the panels. The aluminum frame, along with providing durability, resists corrosion too. With around 7 kilograms, it is one of the most lightweight and portable products in the section.
- Easy to install
- Monocrystalline cells
- Strong aluminum frame
- Resist corrosion
- Toughened glass covering for protection from wear and tear
- Smart charge controller
- The charge controller seems to be of subpar efficiency
The 20-Watt foldable solar panel from Goal Zero is made of high-quality monocrystalline silicon cells. The body made of plastic cause the product to be lightweight, with only around 2 pounds of total weight. Being lightweight, it is one of the ideal options to be carried around conveniently. The weather-proof features enable the product to demonstrate high durability and longevity.
It sports user-friendly features like built-in cable storage, foldable panels, an adjustable kickstand, an integrated flip-dock, etc. The adjustable design enables the panels to be highly flexible and fetch maximum power even during cloudy days. It is also compatible with adding extra solar panels, and the integrated 8 mm cable lets the user connect additional panels conveniently. It also allows connecting small devices like mobile phones directly to the panel.
- High conversion efficiency
- Foldable and adjustable
- Backed with a one-year manufacturer’s warranty
- Sleek design
- Integrated storage for cable
- Only ideal for charging small and medium-sized devices
The highly efficient portable solar panel from the Jackery brand usually is compatible with almost all solar generators from the Jackery brand. The solar conversion efficiency of 24.5 % is one of the best in the section. The three-way adjustable kickstand makes the easy set-up process even more accessible. The solar panels have magnet pads that properly keep the unfolded position intact, fetching maximum sunlight. The magnetic pads also allow the panel to be tightly folded while not used or carried around.
For better portability, the manufacturers have provided a carrying bag. The ETFE laminated case of the solar panels protects the panels from getting exposed to dust, dirt, or water and ensures maximum durability. It also comes with an IP67 waterproof rating indicating the ability to withstand higher water exposure.
- Compatible with multiple Jackery solar generators
- High solar conversion rate
- Easy to set-up
- It comes with a carrying bag
- Adjustable angle
- Optimum sunlight absorption
- Built-in magnetic pads for convenient folding
- ETFE laminated case for extra protection
- IP67 Waterproof rating
- Not much compatible with solar generators other than Jackery-made
The Solar Saga dual-sided panels from Jackery feature a waterproof and dust-resistant build. It is estimated to be capable of generating 25% more power than what a regular solar panel would be capable of. The maximum power provided by the solar panel is 80 Watts. The backside of the solar panel is equipped with extra-white glass, which has a transmission rate of 92% and significantly contributes to the power generation process. The carrying bag provided by the manufacturers is also equipped with a reflective surface to reflect extra solar energy.
The efficiency of the waterproof feature is backed by the IP68 waterproof certificate provided. These panels are compatible with the lion’s share of Jackery solar generators. It also provides an extension cable long enough to be used outdoors and in other emergencies. The panels are advanced sufficiently to support pass-through charging. The building material of the system is high-quality iron, and an extra protective layer of toughened glass is provided on top of the panels. The corner design is meant to support the posture of the solar panels when put up for operation. Weighing just around 5 kilograms, these are also ideal for outdoor camping activities.
- Dual-sided panels
- Extension cable of two-meter length provided
- Easy to assemble
- High durability
- Exhibits high compatibility with Jackery solar generators
The lightweight solar panel from Jackey is known for its high portability. Despite the compact design, it can offer up to a 23% solar conversion rate, which is one of the tops in the section. It is extremely easy to set up with the foldable panels and the adjustable kickstand. Two kickstands come with the product, which offers stability to the panels on any surface.
The panels are primarily made of monocrystalline silicon solar cells. The PERC technology in the panels enables it to provide higher efficiency and higher productivity during the operation. The panel design intends to provide resistance against dust, dirt, water, and other weather elements. The ETFE laminated case offers extra protection and durability to the panels. The panels are equipped with two USB output ports that can be used to directly plug in small devices like mobile phones without having to depend on a solar generator.
- High portability
- Equipped with USB outputs
- Adjustable kickstand
- Easy to set-up
- Equipped with a comfortable rubber handle for easy transportation
- High durability
- Cannot charge several models from Jackery itself
The 220 Watts bi-facial solar panel from Eco Flow is ideal for off-grid usage and outdoor activities. The product is made of tempered glass and is lightweight and thin. Despite the sleek design, it offers high durability and longevity. The panel’s front and rear sides can be used for power production. Ideally, the front side produces 220 W, and the rear side produces up to 155 W. Even if there is a slighter variation on the power generation from the rear side, the user is provided with about 5% to 25% extra energy.
The tempered glass, along with its high durability, acts as a waterproof covering for the panel and protects them from other weather elements. This solar panel is estimated to offer five times more durability than the other standard panels. The IP68 waterproof rating is proof of the product’s solid water resistance. The Eco Flow solar panel offers maximum efficiency when coupled with an Eco Flow solar-compatible generator. Weighing just around 9 kilograms and designed to be highly compact, they are incredibly convenient to be carried around.
- Tempered-glass protective layer
- High efficiency
- High solar energy conversion rate
- Adjustable kickstand
- Multipurpose carrying case
- IP68 rating
- Does not quite deliver the nominal power
The Nomad 10 Goal Zero solar panel model can be termed a beginner or basic solar panel, providing up to 10 Watts of power. Being made of high-quality plastic, and thus, is exceptionally lightweight, with around half a kilogram, it has a limited yet efficient capacity to power multiple devices. Being extremely compact, it is ideal for powering small or medium-sized devices. It has a built-in USB output port that lets the user plug small devices like power banks and mobile phones into the panel.
The lightweight build makes it ideal to be carried in backpacks, and it is compatible with being hooked and hung outside the bags, as it does not make much luggage for the user. It has a built-in adjustable kickstand that can position the panel to collect the optimum level of sunlight. Combined with suitable solar generators, these panels can exhibit up to 12 hours of break-free running time.
- Monocrystalline silicon cells
- Foldable panels
- Extremely lightweight
- Equipped with USB port
- Comes with an adjustable kickstand
- One-year warranty from manufacturers
- Optimal solar energy absorption
- High durability
- Made of high-quality plastic
- Can only charge small devices
The solar panel charger from the brand Goal Zero enables direct device recharging through solar charging. It features a total output wattage of 30 Watts, ideal for small and medium-sized devices. It comes with a USB output port which can be used to charge any device directly. It features multiple innovative features, including auto restart, auto dis-connection, etc. Once the connected device achieves full charge, the Nomad 7 Plus automatically disconnects from the machine and stops the power supply.
It also comes with a built-in LED indicator that monitors the strength of sunlight available and the maximum energy the panel can produce at the moment. This indicator and the adjustable kickstand ensure that the optimum sunlight level is continuously supplied to the device.
- USB output port
- Equipped with auto restart feature
- Optimized output power
- Adjustable and detachable kickstand
- Built-in LED indicator
- Can charge devices directly
- Built-in pocket to regulate temperature
- Auto-disconnect feature once full charge is achieved
- Comparatively low output wattage
- Not ideal for connecting bigger devices
The high-capacity solar panel from the brand Goal Zero features an Aluminum and canvas body. The solar panels are flexible and portable enough to be used conveniently for outdoor activities. Like any other product from the Goal Zero brand, this solar panel maintains a zero-emission principle and causes little to no pollution. It features a 300-Watt output wattage. It is designed to suit transportation needs and thus can be folded into a quarter of its actual size, making it ideal to fit into any reasonably-sized backpack.
It can power medium-sized devices, such as a mini-fridge, without compromising efficiency. The USB port present on the product makes direct charging possible too. It has an adjustable kickstand that can position the solar panels to receive optimum sunlight. The magnetized corners and comfortably built handles are part of the ergonomic design the manufacturers have maintained throughout.
- USB connector
- Foldable design
- Can power devices up to a mini-fridge
- Causes zero pollution
- High energy efficiency
- Adjustable kickstand
- The claimed charging capacity tends to vary
The Boulder 200 is a solar charging kit from the brand Goal Zero. It consists of a Boulder 200 solar panel, adjustable kickstand, 20 Amp charge controller, carrying bag, mounting bracket, couple of cables, and clips. It weighs a total of around 20 pounds. The solar panel features an output wattage of 200 Watts. The solar panel is ergonomically designed to be flexible and foldable to fit any compact space. The building material is premium quality canvas, and it is highly weather-resistant.
The carrying bag that comes along is also made of canvas material. The manufacturers are committed to climate and, thus, have enabled the kit to cause zero emissions and pollution. It contains a built-in LCD screen which provides all the vital information regarding the operational efficiency of the panel. A convenient handle is integrated into the design to enable easy folding and portability for the panels.
- High efficiency
- Comes with a carrying bag
- Highly portable
- Stable energy
- No emissions caused
- Built-in handle
- Does not support several battery types
The PV200 model solar panel from the brand Bluetti features broad compatibility with the lion’s share of the Bluetti solar generators. Offering an output wattage of 200 W, this device has to its credit one of the top solar conversion rates of 23.4%. Weighing just around 16 pounds, these are made of monocrystalline silicon.
The high efficiency and solar conversion rate enable the panels to produce high power, even on dark or cloudy days. The solar panel is protected with an outer layer of ETFE, which prevents dust, dirt, or water from causing any damage to the solar cells. It also features a 92% transmittance rate, which further contributes to the product’s light absorption and power generation.
- High solar conversion efficiency
- Protective ETFE coating
- High battery efficiency
- Easy to fold
- High portability
- Light transmittance rate of 92%
- Mostly compatible with Bluetti solar generators
The highly efficient SP120 model solar panel from the brand Bluetti features a lightweight body of around 10 pounds net weight. It is made of mono-crystalline silicon cells and has a high solar conversion rate of 23.5%. High-quality solar cells ensure the best operation even in low-light conditions. It comes with four adjustable kickstands, facilitating an optimum flow of sunlight to the panels. The pre-drilled holes on the panels even let the user conveniently hang them or mount them on an ideal surface.
The ETFE protective layer on the panels provides water resistance and dust-proof features. It is designed to suit most of the market’s solar generators, including the Bluetti ones.
- High battery efficiency
- High solar conversion rate
- Adjustable kickstand included
- ETFE protective layer
- Foldable and portable
- Works best with Bluetti solar generators
The Renogy solar panel is renowned for its high flexibility. It is flexible enough that it can be literally bent without breaking. It features an output wattage of 175 Watts. It is mainly used for off-grid locations and uneven surfaces where it would be difficult to mount a standard sturdy solar panel. It is made of a sophisticated polymer material and exhibits a highly lightweight feature. The product is estimated to be around 70% lighter than its counterparts.
The lamination and outer covering of the device are hardly noticeable as it is extremely thin. It is observed that when compared to the counterparts, this model is around 95% thinner. Despite the sleek and slim build, it offers excellent resistance to all weather elements, including wind. It was tested for wind resistance and successfully withstood up to 2400 PA wind. It was also tested for its capacity to withstand snowfalls and was proven to hold up to 5400 PA snow loads.
- Made of polymer material
- High flexibility
- Bendable panels
- Sleek and thin lamination
- High durability and longevity
- Ideal for off-grid usage
- Power cables are not provided
This foldable solar charger is portable. Above all, it weighs just 7 kg or 15.4 lbs. You can unfold this panel to capture solar power in seconds while camping outdoors. You might wonder why we have rated this panel to be the best durable option. It is because it comes with a protective cover and a kickstand. So, you can safeguard it from external elements, and it has a unique design. The kickstand enables the placement of this panel in a 60 or 90-degree direction to the sun.
Above all, you can easily connect this panel with power stations from the same brand. Not just a power station from this brand, you can also connect it to the Goal Zero Yeti power stations. You must connect the MC4 to an 8mm adapter to do the same. Of course, you will be interested in knowing about the high conversion efficiency of this panel. It is 21-22%, and the MPPT algorithm delivers improved performance within the operation range in the cloudy and cold atmosphere. For durability, it has an IP67 rating for water and dust resistance. Also, the single-piece design makes it the best for hiking and camping. The ETFE film offers an additional level of protection against UV light. In turn, the lifespan extends.
- Possibility to connect multiple solar panels
- Adjustable kickstand
- Possibility to control solar charge
- It takes a longer time to charge
Among the best solar panels for home, we have chosen this panel because it has impressive conversion efficiency. Jackery has designed this panel to power its Explorer 1500, 1000, 500, 300, and 240 power stations. Further, this panel comes with 2 kickstands. They help place the panel in any area that gets the utmost sunlight in your home. It will not take much of your time to set up. It will start soaking your Jackery power station with solar energy within a few minutes. You can easily carry this panel because of its TPE rubber handle when engaged in off-grid adventures.
You might wonder what makes this panel provide a high conversion rate. The reason is that it is covered by monocrystalline silicon solar cells. With a high conversion efficiency of up to 23%, this panel performs far better than other panels in the market. Above all, it adopts multi-layered cell technology to generate energy from sunlight. To safeguard from splashing water, this panel has IP65 water-resistant rating. It comes with an ETFE-laminated case. Also, this panel features a USB-A and USB-C output port. You can charge two of your smartphones simultaneously and directly from this panel.
- 80% solar charging in 6.5 hours
- The utmost solar efficiency
- An upgraded MPPT Controller
- FCC and ROHS Certifications
- Short-current and surge protection
- The design makes it less portable
The Boulder 100 Briefcase panel has been made using an anodized aluminum frame, tempered glass cover, and added corner protection. In turn, it stays king for panels with a weather-proof design. Further, it comes with a built-in kickstand that will let you position the panels so that it can continue to get the utmost solar collection. Further, it will be a space-saving option, as you can fold it away like a briefcase. This design makes it easy to transport as well. You can also connect this panel with many Boulder panels for the utmost solar capability.
This panel has been field-tested in different environments to prove its efficiency. You can use this panel for powering the Goal Zero Yeti power station. Not only for solar power generation for home use, but you can also use this panel to generate power when you spend time outdoors camping with your family and friends. All components of this panel have been designed to ensure ease of use.
- Lightweight design
- For easy transport and carrying, it comes with a protective canvas bag
- Built with tempered glass for stronger corner protection
- It has two 50-watt panels connected by a hinge
- Dependable and durable design
- The kickstand has a fixed 45-degree tilt
- Cables are short
It is an excellent solar panel for camping because it has a portable design. We have rated it as one of the most powerful and energy-efficient panels because this monocrystalline solar panel has high conversion efficiency. As it offers an impressive 95% transparency, it performs better even in low-light conditions. Further, this panel has been made using advanced laminated technology and long-lasting ETFE Material on the surface. This feature ensures that it remains scratch-resistant and durable. To safeguard the panel from splashing water, it carries IP65 water-resistant rating.
This panel offers an impressive fold size of 20.7 x 20.5 inches and weighs 14.3 lbs. So it is somewhat easy to transport and install. It is compatible with different models of power generators from Bluetti. The rubber handles with this panel makes it easy to carry. Also, it has four adjustable kickstands that permit easy installation. For better sunlight, you can also adjust the kickstand’s angle.
The panel has pre-drilled holes that permit faster hanging and mounting. It is easy to install with most lithium power stations and solar generators. This feature makes this panel the best choice for Overlanding, RV, camping, and other outdoor activities. The SP200 is a 200-Watt monocrystalline solar panel that brings a higher conversion rate and efficiency than a typical solar charger/generator.
- Premium quality
- 200W is sufficient for powering up most generators from Bluetti
- High-efficiency rating
- Easy installation
- Durable design
- Restricted output compatibility to charge smartphones
Among the other solar panels, this panel is known for its portability. Above all, it is compatible with most solar power generators. This panel has 8mm, 5mm, 1mm, and MC4 DC adapter cables. These cables ensure you can power not only Baldr portable power stations but also Togo Power, FlashFish, Rockpals, and Jackery power generators. It has a USB interface that helps with charging digital cameras, GPS, iPads, iPhones, tablets, and other smartphones.
The built-in smart IC Chip can intelligently identify your devices, making the charging speed high. You can keep an eye on the charging current in this power station. Further, the monocrystalline solar panels come with adjustable brackets. So, it converts a higher percentage of solar energy into free energy for power generation. When this panel is combined with the Baldr power station, it can create a solar generation system to store power for backup. With an IP65 waterproof rating, it can withstand all weather conditions. This panel has been made with five charging protections. They are short-circuiting protection, overload protection, overcurrent protection, overcharging protection, and voltage control protection. All these safety features make it safe to handle everyone in the family, including kids.
- IP65 waterproof design
- 5 charging options
- Offers different
- Multiple intelligent protection options
- Multiple USB Outputs
- The performance of the built-in kickstand is not satisfactory
Are you wondering why this panel is rated as the best solar panel for smart charging efficiency? The reason is that it can charge your devices at 4 times faster rate. It can provide four times quicker charging speed for your DV, tablets, and smartphones because it comes equipped with one USB QC 3.0 and one USB C Output. The good thing about this panel is that it is compatible with most solar generators in the market. A parallel cable can easily connect several solar panels with the same RPO82 100W to produce more power.
Further, this foldable panel has high conversion efficiency to ensure more energy generation. It can generate more power when you place it in an area with strong sunlight. This feature makes it an ideal choice for camping and outdoor life. It has a foldable design with a handle. So, you will find it convenient to carry it wherever you go. You have to adjust the kickstand angle slightly to get 25% more sunlight than laying it flat on the ground.
- It comes with a kickstand and handles for easily using and transporting
- For extra protection, Oxford cloth outer layer has been used
- For faster-charging USB port has been designed with Quick charge 3.0
- Better energy efficiency
- 4 times quicker charging
- The junction box that comes with this unit is not waterproof
You can use this panel with FF Flashfish Solar-powered generators for power generation. Also, you can directly charge your mobile devices with this panel. This is one of the best panels for charging mobile devices. Also, its USB smart charging technology makes it the best in this domain. It comes with a built-in smart IC chip. It identifies your mobile devices with intelligence. Also, this technology ensures that your devices can stay protected against overloading or overcharging. Also, due to the smart charging technology it uses, the device monitors the charging current of USB ports and adjusts them automatically as per the sunlight.
Further, it is compatible with most solar generators in the market. Not just FlashFish Generators, it can also power Paxcess, Suaoki, and Goal Zero generators. It is known for its high efficiency as well. For easy transportation, it looks like a suitcase when folded. Also, it has been made with just 3.66 pounds of weight to ensure transportation. To give instant charge from sunlight, you can hang it on your tent or RV or spread it out on the beach. The unique feature of this device is that you can use the 18V port and USB ports simultaneously. In turn, you can save time recharging your devices as you need not wait for one device to get charged before recharging the other.
- USB Smart charging technology
- Better Conversion Efficiency
- Can use 18V and USB ports simultaneously
- It does not work properly initially when kept idle for long
You can power up any solar generator with this panel as it has been designed to work so. Yes, it is compatible with most generators in the market for powering them. It has been designed with a flexible bracket stand and rubber handle. Also, the stand can be adjusted from 0-180 degrees. It means you can adjust it to ensure that the panel gets the utmost sun exposure for power generation. You can easily fold it and take it in the associated storage pouch for easy transportation. The pouch has been made using durable fabric material to safeguard the unit from occasional rain. For this feature, this panel turns out to be the best choice for outdoor activities and camping.
Compared to other solar panels, this unit has a chainable feature that enables you to connect this unit to four or even more Ecoflow 110W panels using an MC4 cable. It means that irrespective of the place you go, within a few moments of solar charging, you can gain ample power to your power station. Apart from these features, this unit is waterproof. It means that it can withstand different weather conditions. It is the best choice for outdoor activities like hiking, climbing, and camping for this purpose as well. You can submerge this panel in water for about 30 minutes, and this move will not harm the unit.
- Can stay in water for 30 minutes without harmful effects
- It comes with a storage pouch
- Easily foldable
- The kickstand is adjustable from 0-180 degrees
- High transparency
- The kickstand is not able to withstand heavy wind
Do you own a Jackery Explorer Power Station? If yes, you can power the station enough with this unit. You can create solar panel kits with this panel and the Explorer Power Station from Jackery. Of course, you should buy both separately. This panel has short-circuit protection, surge protection, and over-power protection features. Also, the simple kickstand setup will help you easily change this panel by placing it under direct sunlight. The stand leans to any angle to soak the panels in the sunlight. It comes with an IP65 waterproof rating. Jackery has made this portable and foldable panel for on-the-go charging when you camp or when you are outdoors on a trip.
This unit comes in an ETFE-laminated case. This case is durable enough to extend the life of the panel. The case with this panel has zippers that will help you easily carry the power cords. The zippers will help with covering the power port. The weight of this unit is just 6.6 lb, and it is foldable for easy carrying. It comes with a handy TPE rubber handle for easy carrying.
- It weighs only 3.3 lbs for easy carrying
- Made using durable ETFE Material
- It comes with a couple of USB Ports to recharge your devices
- Higher energy transmittance
- Rubber handle for easy holding and transporting
- Smart-charging design
- It is not compatible with power generators other than the ones from Jackery
This solar charger is the best overall because it is a complete kit. It starts working immediately out of the box. It works for almost all power stations from different brands. Further, it has a lightweight design that makes it easy to carry. This feature, along with the 3m cable length from panel to controller, makes it the best companion for outdoor and indoor use.
Powerful conversion efficiency will help you get your power stations the most power. By reducing mismatch loss, it ensures the utmost system output. This photovoltaic solar panel packs 160W of power. However, it weighs only 4.1 kg and is 2.4 cm thick. In turn, it is easy to move, hang, transport, and mount. This unit provides power to all 12V batteries and protects against short circuits, overload, and overcharging.
- An ideal choice for emergency and outdoor use
- Works out of the box
- Foldable and lightweight design
- Greater power efficiency
- Lengthy cable
- Absence of metal D-Rings
What are Solar Panels?
Solar panels are devices that are helpful with the absorption of the sun’s energy such that a solar generator can convert it into heat or electricity. These panels are a collection of photovoltaic or solar cells that generate electricity using the photovoltaic effect. Solar energy, as most of us know, begins from the sun. These panels are helpful with the conversion of the light from the sun into electricity. The light from the sun is composed of particles of energy known as photons. These particles are converted for powering electrical appliances.
We can describe the best solar panels as a set of photovoltaic modules. These modules are constructed on a structure that supports them. A PV Module is something that is not only packaged but also connected using 6 x 10 solar cells. You will be surprised to know that solar energy has been used for over 100 years. But, in the present situation, solar panels by powering solar generators help bring life to a wide range of applications. You might have found these panels in smaller sizes in calculators. But, to your surprise, they can help power your entire home or commercial building.
How Do Solar Panels Work?
Solar panels help with the collection of clean, renewable energy in the form of sunlight. You might have heard about a solar-powered generator. Panels power it. These panels encompass many individual solar cells. These cells are composed of different layers of silicon. They get a positive charge from boron, while the negative charge is provided by phosphorous.
Solar panels initiate electric current generation by absorbing the photons. The energy that the photons generated by hitting the surface of the solar panels gives way for the electrons to get out of the atomic orbits. They get unlocked towards the electric field that the solar cells have generated. Then, it drags the electrons that are not engaged into a guiding current. This entire thing happening in the power generation process is called the photovoltaic effect. When you take the case of an average home, it will have sufficient roof area for installing many solar panels per the requirement. These panels will help produce sufficient solar power for supply power needs. The energy generated by these panels is more than what the family uses to go into the main power grid. In turn, the power grid will supply energy during the night when the sun is not available for the panels to generate power.
You might be aware that electrical appliances cannot use the DC power generated by a portable power station using solar energy. This is where a portable inverter generator gets into the picture. It will convert DC into AC or usable energy. Then, the AC energy will flow through the electrical panel of your property and it will get distributed accordingly.
Thanks to portable solar panels that help you with power generation when you camp. You can use the power generated for charging your mobile appliances.
What Are the Benefits of Solar Panels?
Renewable Source of Energy
Different from dual fuel generators, gas-powered generators, and portable propane generators, solar panels can connect to portable electric generators to create clean energy. Solar panels for home help with the generation of electricity from the most renewable source of energy, which is more eco-friendly compared to other portable fuel generators. And it is an essential part of the RV solar generators, which ensures you have no worries about electricity during traveling. The sun is always available to gather this renewable energy, so you cannot run out of solar energy like other energy sources. Scientists say that the sun will live here to provide energy for at least five billion years.
Reduces Electricity Bills
As you meet some of your energy needs with the electricity from the solar system, you will find that your energy bills will reduce. You cannot use camping solar generators only when you camp. Yes, you can use the energy that these panels generate to power up some of your appliances in your home based on the output it produces. Of course, the money you can save on your electricity bills will vary based on the size of your solar system and your heat and electricity usage.
Let us consider that you own a business installing commercial solar panels. Of course, you will have to spend money initially to install these panels. But, once installed, you can have huge benefits as the large system size can cover huge chunks of your energy bills. Above all, apart from saving on your electricity bill, you can also get payments for the surplus energy you export to the grid if the panel is connected.
Wide Range of Applications
You can use the energy generated by the best solar panels for many purposes. With such a panel, you can generate photovoltaics or solar thermal. The energy the panels generate can be into home back batteries in the daytime. In the evening or in any situation when you need it, the energy can be used for producing electricity in areas that do not have access to power grids. It can be used for distilling water in areas with restricted clean water supplies. Also, the energy can be used for powering satellites in space.
Low Cost of Maintenance
A solar generator does not need much money and time to be spent on maintenance. All you have to do is to keep the generator clean. It means that you can clean them around two times a year. If you cannot handle this cleaning yourself, you can find cleaning services specialized in cleaning them. As you will be getting the service of such a company only once or twice a year, your per-year spending on such a service will also be minimal.
When you take the domain of solar-powered generators, it is constantly developing. It is believed that its development will intensify in the future. The effectiveness of this power-generating system will improve with continuous innovation in nanotechnology and physics. These developments can double or even triple the input and output of these panels, bringing you more benefits soon.
How to Choose Solar Panels?
Of course, a solar-based portable power station is easy to set up. However, before you buy this piece of equipment, you will have to consider different factors to ensure that you end up with the best. Here are a few of them:
When shopping for portable solar panels or camping solar panels, the right place to start is to figure out how much power you need to generate. Some panels offer different wattages used to evaluate pure electrical power. For instance, some panels look like briefcases. So, you can easily carry them. Above all, they are offered in different wattage capacities like 50, 100, and 200. Of course, the variants with higher wattages are not just larger but cost higher as well. However, you can power more of your devices when you go for a panel with a higher wattage capacity.
2. Gain Some Knowledge of the Types
When buying solar panels for a home or camping generator, you should remember one thing: not all panels are similar. You can come across three possible types of these panels to select from. One kind is a monocrystalline panel. This type of panel will be heavy and rigid. However, they are efficient and can assure you of durability. Even you can find these panels in different shapes.
The second kind is polycrystalline panels. These panels are similar to the first type. However, they are slightly less efficient and are blue.
The final choice available to you is CIGS. It means Copper, Indium, Gallium, and Selenide. This type of panel will be thin and flexible. The problem with this type of panel is that it is not durable.
You should choose one of these types based on where you will use the panel and how long you want it to last.
3. What Is Your Budget?
You may be thinking about buying camping solar panels. Otherwise, you might be thinking about buying them for your home. Irrespective of your requirement, you should first fix a budget for yourself. The price of these panels varies greatly based on the capacity and size. Taking the case of portable variants will cost you less than the units you intend to buy for powering up your home. You will also be shopping for other items when you intend to set up a solar generator. Examples include solar inverters, solar charge controllers, solar regulators, solar battery chargers, and other accessories. These appliances will alone help you access power from the panels. Initially, you will have to spend more on these panels. However, in the long run, they will help you save a lot on your utility bills.
4. Gadgets to Be Powered
Before buying the best solar panels, you will have to create an honest list of appliances you wish to power with the power these panels generate. This list is important as it will not be possible to power all appliances you wish to power using the electricity generated by the panels. The most elementary setups can help power LED bulbs, phone batteries, or a DC fan. But, when you wish to power your camping refrigerator and other appliances, a panel with a smaller capacity may not be sufficient.
5. Climate of Your Area
Another key point to consider when buying a solar generator is the weather in your area. Will you get sunlight on most days in your area? Otherwise, will it be rainy and cloudy on most days of the year? The reason is that the charging time will differ based on the climatic conditions in your area. When choosing a solar-powered generator, it is better to ensure an energy conversion rate of about 21.5 to 23.55%.
In general, the daily peak sunlight hours will be roughly 7 hours. However, this will differ based on your location and month. When you intend to use the generator for a camping trailer, it would be good to use a monocrystalline panel. The reason is that this type of panel will work well when it gets sunlight straight. You can adjust some portable panels in an ideal position, where they will get the utmost sun exposure.
6. Consider the Design
When you intend to buy a portable power station, considering the design would be a good idea. It is better to check whether it is weather-resistant, while it will be best if the unit has water resistance. Also, it would be best if you did not forget to check the unit’s portability. It means that the design should be such that it is portable. Further, it should have been designed with handles, loops, straps, or grommets to make it easy to attach to tents, panniers, backpacks, and bikes.
7. Look at the Power Storage Options
Many portable solar panels come with essential batteries and cables you will need to store the power they generate for use later. Just in case you plan to use the energy they generate when there is no sun, it is better to ensure that the panel comes with a power bank. When you intend to store more power than the panels generate, it would be good to shop for a kit that encompasses cables, converters, and batteries to save the power for later use.
Some people think about investing in these panels to charge their smart devices instantly. In this case, the panel should have USB ports as they will help directly charge your electronics. If you want your laptop and phone running on a sunny day, a lightweight and small panel can take care of your requirement. You can reduce your spending on these panels when you forgo cables and batteries.
Your requirements will differ based on whether you plan to buy solar panels for your home or camping solar panels. Compare the appropriate options available in the market and make the most suitable choice.
FAQs – Solar Panels
How Long Do Portable Solar Panels Last?
In general, solar panels are built to last. Many users had expressed that they were told the panels would last for nearly 25-30 years when they bought them. It does not mean that they will stop working after 30 years. They will continue to work. But, energy production will decline after working for around 30 years. You will only have to ensure they do not get any physical damage. There are chances of damage to the panels from external factors like debris and wind. The reason is that portable solar panels do not have any moving parts.
A portable solar panel can break only from within and can be damaged only by outside forces like inclement weather and a poor racking setup. So, if you plan to buy a portable solar panel, it would be good to ensure that it has a rust-proof aluminum body. Also, the legs and frames should be rust-proof. The panels should have heavy-duty latches that can withstand wear and tear. Further, ensure that you shop for a weather and waterproof panel.
How to Use Portable Solar Panels?
You can use a portable solar panel in many ways. For instance, you can use a panel for charging devices like laptops, mobile phones, portable music players, and even car batteries. When camping, you can also watch television with the power these panels generate. They can be used as an RV generator to electrify your RV and camp. Some models of solar panels these days come with built-in LED lights. LED lights will brighten your camping spot without consuming much energy.
A solar panel will work by capturing rays from the sun. Then, the light from the sun captured by these panels is converted into useful power with the help of a charge controller or regulator. Mostly these panels come with USB ports. Using these ports, you can recharge your mobile phones, Bluetooth headsets, tablet PCs, and laptops. You can also use these panels at your home when you are not camping. When at home, recharge and discharge the panels to continue to work with no issues.
Are Portable Solar Panels Waterproof?
Thankfully most solar panels these days come with waterproof features. Most panels in the market can withstand ordinary outdoor rainfall. Some come with water splash protection. But, if it rains heavily, there are chances of damage. If the entire panel, including the LED lights in the panel, comes with an IP65 rating for waterproofing, it can resist rain and damaging air particles. When it rains mildly, it will also be good for the panels if the panels you have shortlisted are waterproof. The reason is that the rainwater will wash away any dirt in the panel.
If it rains, it is better to ensure that you place the panels in such a way that water won’t stand in the panel. It means that when you place them in a slanting position, water will run away. If it rains, solar panels can continue generating sun power. Of course, as compared to summer, power production might reduce in the winter. But, still, the panels will continue to generate energy.
How to Connect Portable Solar Panel to Portable Power Station?
As you intend to connect your solar panel to a portable power station, buy a panel without a charge controller. The reason is that most power stations come with a built-in charge controller. To connect the solar panels to power stations, you need MC4 connectors. This connector will have two heads. One of them is positive and the other one is negative. They look like male and female connectors, respectively. If you have confusion about the positive and negative parts of MC4, a multimeter can help you with this. However, in most cases, male connectors are positive and female connectors are negative. Using a multimeter, put the red wire into the male connector and the black wire into the female connector.
Some panels do not come with MC4 but will have a single DC output port. You will find an 8mm DC input in most portable power stations. Even in some of them, you will find the Anderson port. To connect the panel to the 8mm DC input, you should have an 8mm adapter. So, buy the adapter separately if your solar panels do not come with this adapter. Get to the solar panel and connect the male and female connectors to the spots. When connecting, ensure that the portable power station can handle the voltage capacity of your panel. Now, connect the panel to the DC output in the power station, and you are ready to go.
Can Portable Solar Panels be Combined?
If you have two solar panels with the same power and voltage, you can easily connect them parallelly. All you have to do is wire one panel’s positive pole to another’s positive pole. Then, connect the negative poles of the two panels. To establish these connections, you need MC4 Y-branch solar connectors—only a few panels with the opportunity to expand come with this connector. If not available, buy the connector separately.
The power generation ability of both panels will be at its best when you place them close to each other. Also, ensure they are oriented to the sun at the same angle. Also, according to the distance of the panels, ensure the selection of the most suitable section of electric cable.
How Many Solar Panels to Charge A Portable Generator?
The answer to this question depends on the watt capacity of the solar panel you have and the battery capacity of the portable generator. Let us consider that you have a portable generator with a 150AH battery. To fully charge this generator, you need a 300Watt Solar panel. The reason is that a 100-watt panel can generate approximately 5 amps of power if no load runs on the battery.
To identify the suitability of solar panels for a portable generator, you should know the discharge capacity of your 150Ah battery. Let us assume it is at 80%. in this case, charge only 80% of the rated capacity. The reason is that the battery cannot be discharged at less than this capacity. In short, the answer to this question relies on many factors. The most important of them is the capacity of your solar panels and the batteries in your portable generator. It relies on climatic conditions as well.
How to Clean Portable Solar Panels?
The first thing you should do before cleaning your portable solar panels is to check with the manufacturer. The reason is that different manufacturers provide different recommendations on how to clean their panels. They can get incredibly hot when you have placed them in an area with the hottest summers. So, it is better to ensure that you clean them either in the morning or at night. Otherwise, choose a relatively cool day.
You can splash water using your garden hose. This method will help remove most of the dust and debris. But, a thorough cleaning might be needed if a lot of dust has accumulated. You can fill a spray bottle with warm water and soap in this case. Without needing special equipment, you can clean the panels using a spray bottle. Use a soft cloth or sponge to clean the surface of the panels. Do not touch the wiring underneath. Once cleaned, make sure that the water is dried completely. Cleaning at least once a year is important for solar panels. The reason is that dust, debris, and bird droppings can reduce the efficiency of solar panels to a great extent.
What Size Portable Solar Panel Do I Need?
The answer to this question relies on the type of appliances you wish to power using solar panels. Remember that all electric devices right from your portable chargers to refrigerators, are measured in Amps. It denotes the fastness of the flow of the electric current into the device. It means that bigger power denotes more electricity. Calculate how much electrical load you will require. You should know the total amps those devices will draw from the solar panels. You can get to know each device’s amp capacity right from the body itself.
Knowing the amperage will aid you in identifying just how big an auxiliary battery you require. Further, decide on the size based on how long you will power the devices using the power generated by the panels. This is called amp hours or Ah. It is the total number of amps generated from the number of hours you should draw the electricity.
From these best solar panels for your home, you might wonder which one to select. But, before you know that, it is better to understand what to consider when you buy foldable solar panels. Here are a few points to consider:
- Lightweight and easy to carry around
- It has a kickstand to position it in such a way that you can get the best sun exposure to the panels
- Ports to charge your mobile devices directly
- Works well even in shaded areas that do not get much sunlight
Of course, you should check whether you can expect top performance and quality. It is needless to say about the price as you will consider it without any doubt before choosing one. We have reviewed solar panels for house and outdoor use. Based on our review, we would like to recommend the following choices to you:
- For Jackery Power Stations: Jackery SolarSaga 60W Solar Panel for Explorer
- Longer Cord: 18 Volts 160 Watt Solar Panel Kit from DOKIO
- Longer Water-Resistance: 110 Watt Portable Panel from EF Ecoflow
The idea here is that from these best solar panels for house and outdoor use, you can evaluate your needs and make the best choice accordingly.