Green is in!
No wonder, more and more people are considering the big switch to the use of the best solar panels.
With solar panels, you can enjoy a renewable and clean energy supply as an alternative to traditional electricity.
The initial cost can be high, but do not let this hinder you. The long-term benefits are sure to be worth every dollar.
Now is the time to be more eco-conscious. Invest in a solar panel!
If you are clueless about what to buy, keep on reading and learn from our recommendations in the rest of this brief buying guide.
Top 7 Picks for the Best Solar Panels by Consumer Reviews for 2020
To help you narrow down the possibilities, below are the top products that should make it on your list.
1. Renogy 100-watt 12-volt Monocrystalline Solar Starter Kit
If you are looking for a green portable power supply, this should be on your list. Whether you are camping or tail gating, among other outdoor activities, this will provide the electricity that you need.
With its fully self-powered off-grid system, you will enjoy 100 watts of power on the go.
When you purchase the kit, it is also inclusive of the Renogy Rover 40A Li MPPT Charge Controller, adaptor kit, tray cables, and mounting brackets.
Looking at the technical details of the controller panel, the manufacturer claims that the ideal output is 500wH per day. Meanwhile, for its capacity, a 50Ah battery can be fully charged within three hours. This, however, will depend on sunlight availability.
This is also a good choice if you are looking for versatility, basically because the configuration is expandable. This means that you can use more panels depending on the power that you need. You can expand it up to 400 watts.
For your peace of mind, it is also good to know that the manufacturer is offering a 25-year warranty.
- Easy to install
- Expandable system
- Durable construction
- Controller mount can easily loosen
- Does not come complete with the accessories needed for installation
2. Renogy 4 Pieces 100W Monocrystalline Photovoltaic PV Solar Panel Module
From the same manufacturer as the solar panel above, this 4-piece set delivers 100 watts of power. This is one of the most powerful from Renogy’s product line. Whether it is in your rooftop, RV, boat, or tent, it can provide dependable power anytime and anywhere.
While it is high in power, the manufacturer takes pride on the fact that they were able to keep it compact. It is sleek and lightweight, which makes it excellent in terms of portability. You can easily bring it with you wherever you need power.
Speaking of construction, you will also love how it is windproof. It won’t be easy for the wind to knock down the panels. Plus, it has an aluminum frame that is guaranteed to last for decades.
Even if you are in a low-light environment, there is no need to worry that you will end up compromising the performance of the panels.
The manufacturer is offering a 25-year transferrable power output warranty. Meanwhile, the warranty for the material and craftsmanship is five years.
- Made of high-quality materials
- Easy to handle
- Can withstand high wind
- Some might find the edges to be too sharp
- Panel can be easily prone to streaks
3. HQST 100-watt 12-volt Polycrystalline Solar Panel
This isn’t exactly the most portable if you are looking for the best solar panels that you can bring on the go. Nonetheless, if you are looking for one good for permanent installation, this will be an impressive choice.
It has been praised by many because of its exceptional construction, making it long-lasting. It has an anti-reflective and high-transparency iron-tempered glass. To make it longer-lasting, it also has enhanced stiffness for better impact-resistance.
You will also like how it delivers a high-module efficiency to be dependable. While the power output will depend on sunlight availability, on average, the ideal output is 500wH per day. It has bypass diodes that will reduce the likelihood of power fluctuations.
If you live in a place with unpredictable weather conditions, no need to worry. The panels are designed to withstand wind and snow.
Ease of installation is one more thing that you will love in this solar panel. It comes with pre-drilled holes, which will minimize the effort required on your end to complete its assembly.
- Expandable up to 400 watts
- Complete with the mounting hardware you will need
- Excellent build quality
- Inefficient when it is cloudy
- High maintenance requirement
4. Renogy 200 Watts 12 Volts Solar Bundle Kit
As you would know by now, Renogy is one of the top brands for the best solar panels. That said, it is no longer surprising that this model is included in our list.
The kit includes two solar panels, along with most of the accessories that you will need to complete its assembly. It comes with a controller and an adaptor. However, there are some people who did not like how the manufacturer does not provide extension cables.
Like the other Renogy solar panels that you will find in the market, this product is built to withstand the test of time.
It is also an extendable system, so you can add more panels depending on your power requirements. You can make a parallel connection and extend the power output to a maximum of 400 wats.
If you are looking for an intuitive solar panel, you have another good reason to choose this. It has a sealed and gel-flooded battery that is algorithm-ready. The installation will also be a snap to accomplish.
- Can withstand high wind and snow
- Easy to install
- High efficiency
- Controller can be prone to problems
- Does not include extension cables
5. WindyNation 100-Watt Solar Panel
One of the most notable features of this product is the use of polycrystalline panels. However, this is not as superior as the solar panels that are made of monocrystalline, but the quality is decent.
You will also love how it comes in a complete kit. Aside from the solar panels, the package is inclusive of controller, battery sensors, connectors, and mounting hardware.
This is only a single panel in the package. The panel can produce 100 watts of clean energy that you can take with you wherever you go.
Weighing less than 11 pounds, you will like how lightweight it is. However, with a length of approximately 40 inches, it can be quite long for some applications.
The control panel comes with a clear display, which makes it easy to monitor the function and performance of the solar panel. It also has adjustable setting, making it easy to customize the programs as you wish.
- High-quality glass panels
- Easy to use control
- Exceptional customer support
- Energy production rate can be better
- Mounting can be tricky
6. Jackery SolarSaga 60W Solar Panel for Explorer
Portability is the best thing about this solar panel. It is lightweight and foldable, which means that you can easily bring it wherever you intend to go. With a weight of only 3.3 pounds, it won’t be a burden to carry the panel with you.
Despite being lightweight, the manufacturer takes pride of its solid construction. You can expect it to withstand the test of time.
As a bonus, it is constructed with a rubber handle. This makes it easy for the users to carry the panel. Plus, it comes with two kickstands in strategic positions. This makes it effortless to set the panels in the desired angle depending on where the sunlight is coming from.
The high-conversion efficiency is another notable thing about this pick for the best solar panels.
However, if there is one problem, it would be that the power output is only 60 watts. This is lower compared to most of the options in this buying guide, which have a power output of at least 100 watts.
- High conversion efficiency
- Easy to use
- Charging rate drops significantly even with a slight shade
- Can be quite small for some users
7. Goal Zero Boulder 100 Briefcase Solar Panel
This is another briefcase-style solar panel that is perfect for outdoor applications. The panel is foldable. Once folded, all that you need to do is have it zipped and it is ready for transport.
With a combination of tempered glass and anodized aluminum, you will also love how great this product is when it comes to durability. While it is long-lasting, the weight is kept at a minimum, so you can carry it easily.
Each panel provides 100 watts of power. If this is insufficient, no need to worry. You can combine more panels if you need more power.
We also love how it comes with an integrated kickstand. This makes it a snap to position the panel in such a way that it maximizes the heat absorption rate depending on where the sun is.
Lastly, it comes with the standard one-year warranty. This can be quite disappointing for some since the warranty coverage is short.
- Lightweight and portable
- Has a removable kickstand
- Difficult to return the panel in the case
- Some people find the kickstand to be too low
How to Choose the Best Solar Panels
With too many solar panels in the market, making the right choice is not easy. To help you narrow down the possibilities, this section briefly looks at the most important considerations.
Consider the Material
Similar to buying other products, it is important to consider the material of the solar panel because of its direct impact on its durability and overall performance. This can also dictate the cost of the panels.
From the products that are mentioned in this guide, monocrystalline is one of the most common materials. They have high silicone purity, making it a great choice if you are looking for efficiency. However, be ready to spend more if you will prefer this material.
If you are looking for a cheaper alternative, we suggest that you go for polycrystalline. It is a great pick if you are looking for the greenest option. However, if you live in a place that is extremely hot, be cautious. It may be unable to handle warm temperature.
There are also solar panels that are made of thin film. This is an ideal option if you are after portability. Because the material is thin, it is lightweight and foldable, allowing you to bring the solar panel even when you are outdoors.
Not all solar panels are meant for rooftop installation. As noted from the products recommended above, there are some that you can also bring outdoors, such as when camping or tailgating.
Consider the weight and size of the solar panels if you intend to use them outside of your house. There are some models that can be folded or those that are in briefcase style with a handle, making the panels easy to carry around.
As you decide which to buy, consider the technical details of the product. By being knowledgeable of what the numbers mean, it will be easier to evaluate the options.
Among others, one of the most important is the efficiency rating. It is the kilowatt-hour energy that each watt produces. In the case of most solar panels, the efficiency rating usually runs from 15% to 20%.
The nameplate rating or the power output is another important detail that you should not miss. This is directly indicative of how much power the panel can deliver. As shown in our recommendations above, they usually deliver power from 100 to 200 watts. In most cases, the bigger the panel is, the more powerful it is.
Pay attention as well to the compliance of the product that you will choosing, which will depend on where you live. For instance, one of the most important is to have ISO14001, which means that it meets the environmental requirements.
If the nameplate rating or power is not enough, consider adding more panels. This will increase the energy output. However, there is often a maximum in terms of the number of panels that you can connect. For instance, if each panel is rated 100 watts and the maximum power is 400 watts, this means that you can expand using only a maximum of four panels.
Ease of Use
No one wants to use complicated solar panels. Consider how user-friendly one product is before you purchase it. One good thing to do is to read online reviews and learn from the real-life experiences of other people. Setting it up should be effortless. In the case of bigger panels, you will often require professional installation. The panels should be also effortless to maintain, making it easy to retain its peak performance even through the years.
Earlier, we mentioned about how it is important to consider the material used because of its impact on durability. Also, you need to make sure that it will withstand wind, snow, and rain, among other external conditions that can speed up wear. Because solar panels are stored outdoors, it must be strong enough to handle rough weather conditions.
A good solar panel should be a combination of both form and function. With this, consider the design of the panel and make sure that they look good, especially if you intend to put them outside your house. Otherwise, they can be an eyesore and will make your home look bad. Nonetheless, do not buy panels only because they look good. Their performance is the more important consideration.
This is important if you want to have peace of mind. Most manufacturers will offer a standard one-year warranty. This is not enough. Choose products with three to five-year warranty. There are even products that come with a lifetime warranty from the manufacturer. If they are confident about the quality of the product that they are offering, they won’t hesitate to offer an extensive warranty coverage.
Whether at home or on the go, the best solar panels can be beneficial in more ways than one.
The panels provide clean and renewable energy. No need to rely on electricity to power your appliances or gadgets!
Do not be discouraged by the high costs of solar panels.
They can deliver a plethora of benefits, which will make every dollar worth it.
Is there are any other solar panel you would like to add to our list? Do not hesitate to leave a comment below.