The Essential Guide to Finding the Best Solar Panel + Reviews
Finding the best solar panel for the money can be tricky. Because the market is saturated with countless models that you can select from, we have decided to come to your rescue by analyzing the available options for you. As a result of our research, we have determined that the Renogy 100 Watts 12 Volts Monocrystalline is the choice that you should consider getting. This product is made of high-quality materials such as low iron tempered glass and aluminum and, thus, it can pass the test of time. The model has a compact size that makes it easy to store and it comes with pre-drilled installation holes so that you can mount it in the desired location with ease. It is compatible with multiple types of mounts. If this product is out of stock, take a close look at the HQST 100 Watt Monocrystalline 12V as it has also received positive reviews.
This compact model features high-efficiency solar cells and it comes with an IP65 rated waterproof junction box, as well as with IP67 rated MC4 connectors. Besides, it is fairly simple to install given that it includes pre-drilled holes. You can set it up and use it for campers, RVs and even boats.
The connectors that the product features might be difficult to attach.
The unit measures 47.3 by 21.3 by 1.4 inches and it has a total weight of 16.5 lbs. It is the go-to option for those interested in an off-grid monocrystalline solar panel that is easy to use.
This panel is sturdy as it has been extensively tested so that you do not have to worry about hot-spot heating. The cell performance was also enhanced as the model was made using a special type of encapsulation material. Because of the sturdiness of its construction, the panel can pass the test of time.
No mounting hardware is provided in the price.
You can safely use the model in case of high winds and snow loads. The choice comes with pre-drilled holes so that you can mount and secure it in place without any difficulties. Besides, the frame is resistant to corrosion.
Also To Consider
At 35.83 by 26.57 by1.18 inches, this alternative is compact and highly practical. It features cells that are encapsulated in EVA and that are placed between tempered glass. On top of that, the model includes sturdy frames made of aluminum. In total, the product has a weight of 19.62 pounds.
This solar panel is a bit heavier than other available choices.
When compared to other models, this option is small in size, yet it includes cells of high efficiency. The product can withstand various meteorological conditions and it comes with diodes that are pre-installed.
9 Best Solar Panels (Updated Reviews) in 2020
No matter if you are interested in investing in expensive or cheap solar panels, the process of finding a model that you like can take quite a bit of time. If you are in a rush, here is a list of highly acclaimed options that you should take a close look at before making a decision.
- 1. Renogy 100 Watts 12 Volts Monocrystalline
- 2. HQST 100-Watt Monocrystalline 12V
- 3. Newpowa 100 Watts 12 Volts Polycrystalline
- 4. Renogy 50W 12V Eclipse Monocrystalline
- 5. Texas Solar 100 Watt Polycrystalline 100W 12V
- 6. Richsolar 4 Pieces 100 Watt Polycrystalline 100W 12V
- 7. Grape Solar GS-STAR-100W Polycrystalline
- 8. ECO-WORTHY 100 Watts 12 Volt Monocrystalline
- 9. Renogy 2Pcs 270 Watt 24 Volt Solar Panel 540W
- Our Comprehensive Buying Guide
- Frequently Asked Questions:
1. Renogy 100 Watts 12 Volts Monocrystalline
This 12-volt monocrystalline panel has a 100W rating and it is the go-to option for those looking for a unit that they can use with their RVs, boats, and campers. The choice measures 47.3″ in length, 21.3″ in width and 1.4” in height.
On top of that, the cells that the model uses are protected by shatter-resistant glass and the frame is quite durable given that it is made of aluminum. In total, this option is 16.5 pounds. Therefore, if you install the panel on your RV, the integrity of the roof will not be compromised.
Given that the frames are pre-drilled with multiple mounting holes, you can set it up without any difficulties. One aspect that you should keep in mind is that this product does not come provided with the needed mounting hardware. So, in order to install it, you have to make some additional purchases.
This panel uses new-tech waterproof MC4 connectors that are highly practical as this allows you to connect it to your electrical system.
Because the frame of the model is pre-drilled, it is much easier for you to install it in the desired location, no matter your level of expertise.
In optimum conditions, this panel can provide you with 99.9 watts of power. Depending on the weather, you can also get higher amounts of power.
These panels are made using high-quality materials, they are rather sturdy and, consequently, they can pass the test of time.
In bad weather conditions, the power output that the choice delivers might not suit your needs. This is true for all solar panels currently available.
If you want to register the model online, you will be required to provide the manufacturer with your personal info. This is not something that all customers feel comfortable doing.Buy from Amazon.com for ($190)
2. HQST 100-Watt Monocrystalline 12V
This alternative has a 100-Watt rating and it is a good fit for your RV or home. It measures 47 by 21.3 by 1.4 inches and, thus, it is convenient enough even if you are short on space. The model has a high-module conversion efficiency.
The bypass diodes that it features actively minimize power drop that is often caused by shade. Consequently, this product is suitable to be used in low-light environments as well.
When shipped, the product includes one solar panel that has pre-drilled holes in the frame so that you do not waste a lot of time when you have to set it up.
Before you do so, however, you have to remember to invest in a mounting system that is compatible with it. The manufacturer also makes and distributes various such systems. The solar module was thoroughly tested and it creates no hot-spot heating that might damage it.
This panel is rather sturdy as it can withstand both snow loads and high winds. The TPT back sheet that it includes also adds to its durability and practicality.
It is covered by a 25-year power output warranty policy and a 5-year workmanship warranty that might come in handy.
To enhance cell performance, the product features an encapsulation material that includes multilayered sheet laminations.
The frame that this option comes provided with is made of high-quality aluminum that is corrosion resistant and suitable for outdoor use.
In rare cases, some of the components of the panel might be missing. If this happens to you, it is recommended that you get in touch with the seller.
If partially shaded, the panel does not produce the same level of energy. This is true for all devices of this sort and it should not be an aspect that deters you from investing in it.Click to see the price on Amazon!
3. Newpowa 100 Watts 12 Volts Polycrystalline
If you are searching for a portable and small solar panel that you can easily install near your RV or home, this is just the right option for you. The choice is built to provide 12V battery charging electric energy and it comes with a charge controller as well as with a power inverter for AC loads.
The 36-cells solar module has a total weight of 19.62 pounds and it measures 35.83 by 26.57 by 1.18 inches. It has a sturdy structure that can withstand snow loads, as well as high winds. It can deliver a maximum power of 100 watts and it comes supplied with pre-installed diodes for easy setup. A pre-attached 3ft MC4 cable is also included in the price.
Besides, this alternative is also covered by a 25-year warranty policy for transferable power output. The model handles high temperatures and it can resist humidity.
Given that it comes with pre-installed diodes, you will most likely find it very easy to set the model up once it arrives at your doorstep.
It also comes provided with a 3 feet MC4 cable that you can use to connect it as intended. It measures 35.83 by 26.57 by 1.18 inches.
This product has a durable construction and it can be used no matter the weather conditions as it can withstand snow loads and high winds.
Because it was made using tinned copper, it can resist humidity and it can handle high temperatures better than other alternatives.
The more shade, the less power this module produces. This is to be expected from all solar panels currently available on the market.
One issue that should be pointed to is the fact that this panel is a bit heavier than its counterparts. This is not necessarily a deal-breaker.Buy from Amazon.com for ($79.5)
4. Renogy 50W 12V Eclipse Monocrystalline
If convenience is the one factor that you value the most, this option made and distributed by Renogy might be the product that you need. This choice stands out because it features a built-in kickstand that you can use to safely install it on your property. Because of it, you no longer have to scour the net looking for additional mounting hardware systems.
This monocrystalline panel is energy efficient and it comes fitted with two bypass diodes that actively minimize the power drop that is usually caused by shade. In other words, this module performs well even in low light conditions.
Because there are no grid lines on the solar cells, the cells get better exposure to the sun. Besides, the frame is colored in black, a color that also attracts the sun. The model was made using a high-quality encapsulation material that includes multi-layered sheet laminations that also enhance the performance of the cells.
As expected, this option was thoroughly EL tested and it can supply you with the needed power output. It is also rather durable and convenient.
The TPT black sheet that this model includes enhances the overall smooth performance of the solar panel.
One of the features that make it worthy of your time is the fact that it comes supplied with a built-in kickstand that makes it simple to set up.
The junction box that this panel comes fitted with is IP65 rated. The panel itself has an improved design that adds to its power efficiency.
If you fail to use the panel as instructed, the plastic legs that it features can break rather easily, It all depends on how you decide to handle it.
The instructions that this option comes with can be somewhat unclear, especially if you are a novice that has never utilized a product of this sort before.Buy from Amazon.com for ($135.81)
5. Texas Solar 100 Watt Polycrystalline 100W 12V
This model was made using anti-reflective, low iron tempered glass that has a high transparency and an enhanced stiffness and impact resistance. Because of its durability, this choice can pass the test of time as it can withstand both high winds and snow loads.
On top of that, the IP65 rated junction box that this item includes is 100% protected against water and other environmental particles. Given that the option comes with pre-drilled holes in the back of the panel, you will have no difficulties setting it up.
This choice is compatible with a wide range of mounting systems that you have to research and acquire independently. Ideally, this module has an output of 580Wh per day. This depends greatly on the meteorological conditions and the availability of the sunlight. The unit measures 39.7 by 26.3 by 1.4 inches and it is covered by a warranty policy.
This 100-Watt panel is made of high-quality materials such as iron-tempered glass that has good impact resistance.
On top of that, the choice has an ideal energy output of 580Wh per day, depending on the available weather conditions.
Size-wise, this option measures 39.7 by 26.3 by 1.4 inches. It is compatible with different mounting hardware that you can find for sale.
When compared to other alternatives, this unit has a good conversion efficiency. So, it is practical to have around.
To set it up, you have to spend extra money investing in a special mounting system that you can use to install it in the desired location. Yet, you can find systems of this kind developed and sold by the same manufacturer.
If you are a complete novice, and you have never used a product of this sort before, you might need some extra assistance to install and learn how to operate it correctly.Click to see the price on Amazon!
6. Richsolar 4 Pieces 100 Watt Polycrystalline 100W 12V
This alternative has an ideal output of 500Wh per day. However, this might depend on the weather conditions that are available daily. Given that this model includes bypass diodes, you can minimize the power drop that is normally caused by shade. This way, this module can deliver high-quality performance in low-light environments.
You can utilize this system for both off-grid living and fully sunlight powered systems. Because they were made of aluminum; the frames of this choice are sturdy and they can withstand snow loads and winds. It features MC4 leads so you can easily plug it in and use it whenever necessary. The product is covered by a 25-year warranty policy. When it comes to its weight, the panel is 16.5 lbs in total.
Because this is a solar panel made of polycrystalline, it emits less waste silicone than other options made of similar materials. The panels are waterproof and quite durable.
This lightweight choice is simple to set up and operate even by novices. It is made of high-quality materials that can pass the test of time.
Differently from other counterparts, this model has a simpler design and it emits less silicone waste. So, this is a product you should add to your shortlist.
You can use the unit for both household and off-grid battery charging. It can also be installed on yachts and boats as it is marine grade.
In good meteorological conditions, this module has a total output of 500Wh per day. Plus, it also does well in less well-lighted places.
Before you get to install and use the panels, you have to take the time to order a mounting system that is compatible with it.
In some rare cases, you might receive a damaged product due to issues during transportation. If this happens, be sure to contact the seller.Buy from Amazon.com for ($81.99)
7. Grape Solar GS-STAR-100W Polycrystalline
This model can withstand both snow and wind loads that are up to 50 lbs. per square feet. Both the positive and the negative leads that the model includes come equipped with MC4 connectors that are water-resistant.
Because this polycrystalline panel comes equipped with aluminum frames and with tempered glass, the choice can successfully pass the test of time and it can deliver the expected results depending on the available weather conditions. Plus, a two diode junction box is also featured in the deal so that you get the desired energy efficiency even in case of low-light.
The module is ideal for 12V battery charging. The panel is, in many ways, maintenance-free. The product is very sturdy and it is manufactured out of high-quality materials that are impact-resistant. You can use the panel to create your own alternative power source for your RV or even your home.
Size-wise, this model is rather small and, thus, simple to use and to install, especially for those who are short on space and who need a space-efficient panel.
This choice includes a polycrystalline panel as well as an aluminum frame that makes the module sturdy and likely to withstand winds and snow loads.
You can successfully use this panel to create your power system that can be used to power your RV or smaller home.
This panel is, overall, quite simple to install and utilize, even by novices. This can prove practical, especially if you are not technically inclined.
There are some cases in which the buyers were provided with incomplete kits. This is not something that happens often and, thus, this aspect should not discourage you from trying it.
When it comes to its price, this product is a bit more expensive than some of the available choices. So, if you are short on funds, you should consider other counterparts.Buy from Amazon.com for ($88.21)
8. ECO-WORTHY 100 Watts 12 Volt Monocrystalline
This model provides high-module conversion efficiency and it has a daily ideal output of 500Wh, depending on the meteorological conditions. The unit is compact and, thus, it is perfect to use if you are short on space. It measures 39.8 by 20.1b1.4 inches and it weighs 18.96 lbs.
On top of that, the panel comes with two 35 inches cables so that you can use it as soon as you get it. To minimize the power drop that you might experience in case of sun unavailability, the product features by-pass diodes that are pre-installed in the IP-65 rated junction box.
The module also comes supplied with an MC4 connector for ease of installation. The pre-drilled holes in the frame of the panel make it easy to set up, especially if you intend to set it up on the roof of your home or RV.
Given its simple design, this model is novice-friendly. It can be utilized for battery charging for off and on-grid applications.
The model has a waterproof construction that also makes it suitable for you to use it on a boat or a yacht, depending on your preferences.
It can deliver an ideal output of 100W and it has an open-circuit voltage of 12.6 V. It works as expected in temperatures ranging from -40 to 176 F.
This choice has a minimalistic and practical design that makes it simple to use and transport for your convenience.
If the sun is not very powerful, you might not be provided with the amount of electricity that you want/need. This is to be expected from a product of this kind.
The model is a tad expensive, especially for those who are searching for more affordable panels. Yet, it is made of quality materials and it gets the job done.Buy from Amazon.com for ($79.99)
9. Renogy 2Pcs 270 Watt 24 Volt Solar Panel 540W
If you are searching for two solar panels that you can use for off-grid applications, this might be the pack deal that you need. The product consists of two solar panels that can provide you with an ideal output of 270 W.
The panels are made of polycrystalline, a material known for its durability and incredible cell performance. Both the solar modules were thoroughly EL tested so that you get the type of quality that you need.
Because the product features bypass diodes, the power drop that you might experience in low-light days is minimized. Plus, the TPT back sheet incorporated in the design of the panels guarantees a smooth performance year after year.
These panels are built to last and they can withstand high winds and snow loads. The frames are made of aluminum, a material that is resistant to corrosion. The junction box is IP67 rated.
This set of solar panels can be used for a wide array of applications, including for commercial and residential use.
It is compatible with both a roof and a ground mount. However, the mounting hardware is not included in the price.
This choice can be efficiently used with off and on-grid inverters. It is manufactured out of high-quality materials.
Moreover, the pre-drilled holes in the frames of the panels make it very simple for you to install them per your needs and preferences.
Given all the features that this item features, it comes as no surprise that the item is a bit pricey. If you are short on funds, you should also consider a more price-appropriate alternative as multiple options that you can find online might work with your budget.
You might experience some issues due to the shipping process. This is not usually the case, but it is something that can happen. This does not affect the performance of the product.Buy from Amazon.com for ($601.07)
Our Comprehensive Buying Guide
Searching for the best solar panels out there can be a bit tricky, especially if you are a novice and you do not know what features are important to consider. To help you out, here is a list of aspects that you should not overlook before making a purchase.
Consider your needs
If you are thinking of buying an expensive or cheap solar panel, you probably need an alternative energy system that you can use to operate the electronics in your home or RV. Therefore, one of the first things that you should determine is the amount of energy that you need the panels to produce.
Additionally, you also need to think about the overall system capacity and the budget that you are ready to invest in sunpower solar panels.
If you have read solar panel reviews before, you probably know that there are three main types of devices that you can select from. Monocrystalline panels are regarded as some of the best options currently available because they can provide users with outstanding energy efficiency.
These choices are manufactured out of pure silicon crystals. Most of the monocrystalline options that you can find for sale are black and they feature white aluminum frames.
The second model that you can opt for are solar panels made of polycrystalline, a mix of various silicon crystals that have been melted together. As expected, these products are less efficient and, at the same time, less expensive than units made of monocrystalline.
Because of the result of the mixture of different types of silicon crystals, polycrystalline panels have an easy to recognize blue shade.
Finally, thin-film panels are also made of a combination of materials. In this case, the panels are manufactured using a mixture of cadmium telluride, Copper Indium Gallium Selenide and amorphous silicon. The one aspect that differentiates them from the alternatives is the fact that they are not as solid and not as energy-efficient.
However, one advantage that you should consider before making a decision is that thin-film panels are the lightest of the three choices.
Inverter efficiency and mounting hardware
If you have ever taken a close look at a solar panel review before, you probably know that each device of this sort comes with a power inverter box that is placed between two or more panels. This box works by converting DC energy into AC energy, that you can efficiently use in your home to power your electronic devices.
However, one thing that you should keep in mind before you select the best suited solar panel for your needs is the fact that not all inverters are constructed equally. In other words, the efficiency of an inverter depends on the amount of energy the device uses to convert DC to AC energy.
Apart from this aspect, before you make up your mind and purchase a product, you also have to consider whether or not the affordable solar panel that you like is simple to set up.
Most solar panels for home that you can find come with pre-drilled holes that make it easy for you to install them on the roof of your house or RV. Still, many of the units that you can find do not come shipped along with the necessary mounting hardware.
This means that you have to spend extra time and money looking for a good mount that works with the sunpower solar panels that you have selected.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: How many solar panels do you need?
According to the specialists, an average homeowner needs to purchase and install between 28 and 34 solar panels to make sure that he/she gets the needed energy. One aspect that should not be overlooked is that the number of panels that you need for a home might also depend on extra factors such as the performance of the panels that you select and their location.
To get a good understanding of the amount of energy that you use and, thus, will need the panels to generate, you have to look at the number of kWh of electricity you utilize in a year. One study from 2016 found that one USA citizen uses around 897 kWh every month. To put this into perspective, that is around 11,000 kWh per year.
Besides, the amount of kWh that a solar system can produce depends on the amount of sunlight exposure that it gets.
Q: Are solar panels worth getting?
Given that solar power costs somewhere between 5 to 6 cents per kWh to produce, it can be argued that investing in a system of this type is a no-brainer decision. On average, the system pays for itself in around 3 to 4 years.
However, before you decide to make the transition, it is vital that you take the time to think about several extra factors. For instance, buying solar panels and all the extra mounting equipment can be quite draining on your savings. If you do not live in an area that gets the needed sunlight exposure, chances are that you won’t be able to capitalize on the initial investment.
Furthermore, to use a solar panel system you have to dedicate some of the space that you have available to set up the panels. This process can be a bit time consuming as well as challenging, because these devices cannot be installed in areas near your home that do not get optimum sunlight exposure.
Q: How do solar panels work?
If you have read a solar panel review before, you probably have a basic understanding of how these devices work. To put it in simple terms, a solar panel operates by allowing the particles of light, also known as photons to generate a flow of energy by knocking off electrons from atoms.
The conductors that are attached to the cells can help create an electrical circuit. Once the electrons flow through this circuit, they actively generate electricity. A solar panel is made up of multiple cells. These cells are manufactured out of semiconductors such as silicone. These solar cells are constructed similarly to a battery, as they feature a negative and a positive layer. Furthermore, multiple modules or panels are wired together to create a solar array.
If you set up multiple panels, you can generate more electricity than you can later on use to power the electronic devices from your home or RV.