As renewable energy gets more traction, many people have come to realize its importance. Many see the need to invest and incorporate energy such as solar power in their lifestyles. And that’s made solar panels an important subject of study.
Portable solar panels are now in the range as they can be used for countless purposes. Any solar panel that can be moved around is considered ‘portable’. Read on to find out what they can do and which is the most suitable one for you.
What can a portable solar panel power?
Portable solar panels offer several specific benefits to the user when compared with traditional rooftop panels. As they can easily be moved around, they can be used when you are on the go. They are probably the best way to generate natural energy from the sun during a camping trip or for your RV.
12 Best Portable Solar Panels for Camping, RV and Home
1. Zamp Solar 120P
The Zamp Solar 120P is about the best choice any smart off-grider can make. It can produce 30 to 40 amperes a day which means it will power up any RV in no time. It also works with both 12V and 6V batteries and can be connected directly to your power system or through an SAE port.
This portable, foldable solar panel is 35 lbs and comes with a bag in which you can carry it. Made from monocrystalline panels, the Zamp Solar 120P has a 120W output. This high output is a result of an anti-reflective system that works to allow the solar cells to absorb more light and thus, output more energy.
This versatile and efficient solar panel is a favourite because it continues to produce a lot of power even when conditions are dim or cloudy.
2. Renogy KIT-STARTER-100D
Although this model is not the newest, it is still one of the best ones on the market. It weighs 20 pounds and can produce 100 to 400 wattage
The Renogy kit starter comes with an 8 feet cable that allows you to connect to the charge controller even from a distance. For example, if you are in an RV, you can park under the shade while setting up the solar panel under the sun a few feet away.
The Renogy Kit-Starter-100D is also one of the safest portable panels on the market – it has a negative grounding controller. This efficient and capable solar panel comes highly recommended. The only downside is that it cannot be folded.
3. HQST 100 Watt 12 Volt Polycrystalline Solar Panel
The HQST 100 Watt 12 Volt Polycrystalline solar panel is one that can be universally adapted to almost any mounting system. It is highly efficient and is able to output 500Wh. Additionally, it can still perform well even in shade or low light conditions.
This panel is manufactured to last with its multilayered lamination and encapsulation material. With this, the cells in this portable solar panel last for many years. Additionally, the glass is tempered, anti-reflective and extremely transparent. It is also resistant to snow, water, high winds, flying particles and impact. This 16.5 lbs panel requires minimal maintenance and replacement parts.
The HQST Solar panel is affordable, and the best preparation you can make for low light weather.
4. Eco-Worthy DC-FP40-1
The Eco Worthy DC-FP40-1 is a highly durable model that comes with an aluminium corrosion-resistant frame that ensures that the cells will give you optimum energy for many years.
The polycrystalline model is one that protects against overload, overcharge, over-discharge and reverse connection. These safety mechanisms keep your power system as well as devices from harm.
To set up and operate this device, all you have to do is unfold it and connect the battery clips to your battery. It works for camping, driving, hiking and even solar pump water systems.
The Eco-Worthy DC-FP40-1 is 12 lbs and produces a wattage of 40W. This trustworthy solar kit is affordable and the best choice for those who do not really need a large power output. Its easy portability is another plus point.
5. Go Power! GP-PSK-120
This portable solar kit is a great one for people who have to power up multiple devices and appliances. If you have an on the road lifestyle, then this is the solar panel for you.
At 28.7 lbs, the Go Power! GP-PSK-120 can generate 120 watts per hour under ideal weather conditions and has a 10-ampere built-in solar controller.
This foldable portable solar panel is made from reliable materials and has a quick and simple set up. It is one that will allow you to make the most out of your investment.
6. Go Power! GP-PSK-130
Similar to the Go Power! GP-PSK-120, the GP-PSK-130 is also a reliable and durable device that will give you up to 130W in an hour when weather conditions are ideal.
This foldable portable kit is less than 29 lbs and needs very little maintenance. Its quick and easy set up means that you will be able to get the panel up and running in minutes. As it’s easy to install and dismantle, you can bring the GP-PSK-130 anywhere with you.
The adjustable legs on this panel optimizes sun absorption. Whether you use it as the main power source or as a supplemental solar panel, this investment is one that will pay off quickly. It comes with a carrying case, as well as an SAE and XLR plug adapter.
7. Goal Zero Nomad 28 Plus Solar Panel
This device has a waterproof layer that makes it suitable for almost all weather conditions. The detachable kickstand allows you to have it at the best angle to absorb sunlight.
The Nomad 28 Plus is able to produce 28W and can easily charge up your cell phone, tablet, camera, batteries and many other items. The USB connecting options makes it all the more convenient.
Besides this, there is also an LED indicator that tells information such as solar conditions and charging speed. This helps especially when you have to find a better angle for sun absorption.
A stand out feature of the Nomad 28 Plus is the dynamic auto-restart. The device is able to remember the most recent power flow and knows what to do if it is temporarily disconnected. You can relax and enjoy solar power without worries.
This device is only 3 lbs and it’s small enough to be taken anywhere easily. You can consider the Nomad 28 Plus if you are one who constantly needs to power up small devices or charge a battery. It is a portable device that will faithfully serve you for many years.
8. ACOPOWER UV11007GD 100 Watt
This portable solar kit has not one, but two foldable 50W monocrystalline cells. The Acopower UV11007GD 100 Watt has an efficiency of 15.4% and can be used as a generator ready kit or a battery ready kit.
Additionally, this device comes with a charge controller that works to protect your power system from electrical harm such as overloading, overheating and overcharging.
The corrosion-resistant aluminium frame protects from all types of weather conditions making it one of the best choices for outdoor use. Other features include corner protectors, handles and adjustable kickstand legs.
The Acopower UV11007GD comes with MC-4 connectors that allow it to be plugged to any generator. For car or boat batteries, all you need are alligator clips.
This easily foldable, lightweight device is easy to install and with the included bag, easily portable.
9. Goal Zero Boulder 100 Briefcase
The Goal Zero Boulder 100 Briefcase is quite similar to the ACOPOWER UV11007GD. It has two 50W solar panels made from monocrystalline cells, corner protection, and kickstand legs. This highly efficient portable solar panel comes with a bag for easy carrying.
Designed to provide power even in harsh environments, the Boulder 100 Briefcase is a device that you can turn to even in emergencies. Its tempered glass and strong aluminium frame adds to its durability.
The Boulder 100 Briefcase can only connect with 8mm jacks in a parallel position. It weighs less than 26 lbs and is one of the safest portable panels on the market. As the name implies, you can carry it around like a briefcase.
10. Renogy RNG-F-2X50D
The Renogy RNG-F-2X50D is affordable and capable of producing a lot of power. This 30.2 lbs foldable solar suitcase kit can be used for camping, off the grid adventures as well as for operating outdoor machinery.
Setting up the device is a simple process and anyone can do it. Ideal weather conditions will give you up to 500 watt-hours per day. Additionally, this portable kit works well even in low light conditions.
If you are considering reusable energy, you can start with the RENOGY Foldable Solar Suitcase Kit. The compact design makes it easy to use, easy to install and easy to store.
11. Renogy 150 Watt Monocrystalline
The Renogy 150 Watt Monocrystalline is a device that was designed to work in light conditions that are not the most ideal. It does this extremely well and guarantees to generate positive output tolerance.
It’s design also takes into consideration harsh weather conditions such as heavy snow and strong winds. This is the go-to device for people who do not have access to clear skies and sunshine.
This 26.5 lbs portable solar panel has a wattage of 150W and will give you one of the best returns for your investment.
12. Jackery SolarSaga 100W Portable Solar Panel
At 11.65 lbs, the Jackery SolarSaga 100W Portable Solar Panel can be folded and carried anywhere. The comfortable handle on it makes this extremely easy.
The two panels have kickstand legs on the back that are suitable for almost any surface. Positioned at a 45 degree angle, the Solarsaga 100W has an amazing 23% conversion efficiency. This is one of the highest efficiencies available on the market.
Additionally, this kit comes with two USB output charges (USB-C (5V/3A) type and USB-A (5V/2.4A) port type) that can be used to charge smartphones, tablets and other small electronic devices.
Also included is an Anderson Connector with a DC output of 18V. It is also protected from overpower, short circuit and power surge.
How long do portable solar panels last?
Solar panels generally last for about 25 years. Energy production by the panels gradually declines over the years. It is estimated that on average, the solar panel degradation rate is 0.8 % each year.
Portable solar panels are usually built to last and withstand the harshest of weather conditions. Most of them come with corrosion-resistant frames that work to keep them safe.
Are portable solar panels worth it?
Portable solar panels will not be able to replace rooftop or ground-mounted panels but they definitely come in handy when you are camping, or travelling.
They are generally affordable and can be considered as a good investment. Instead of paying for gas for generators, all you have to do is position your panel to absorb sunlight.
Additionally, many portable solar panels do not have any problems charging up lead-acid batteries so you can still have some power stored up even when there is no sunlight.
How to choose the right portable solar panel?
There are many types of portable solar panels on the market and you really don’t want to end up with one that does not work for you. Here are some tips for choosing the best portable solar panel for you.
- Know the types of portable solar panels that are available – There are monocrystalline, polycrystalline as well as CIGS panels. Choose the type of panel based on what you need it for.
- Panel size – If you need to move it around often, then a smaller, foldable panel will be more ideal. You don’t want to end up hauling a large heavy panel around!
- Panel flexibility – While foldable panels are attractive when it comes to portability, they may be less durable and thus, replaced more often.
- Weight of the panel – Heavier panels might end up to be the better choice as they tend to be more durable.
- Weather conditions – Ask yourself what type of weather will you most likely have when you are using the panel.
- Check devices – Some devices may need extra accessories before it can use solar power. Check and determine which devices you need the panel to charge.
- Price – How much are you willing to spend on it? If you use it often, you may want to have a bigger budget. If it’s only going to be used once or twice a year, perhaps a lower-end one will be more suitable.
There are many factors to consider when picking the best portable solar panel. Each person has a different need so find out as much as you can before making your purchase. Portable panels can be a lifesaver, especially if you frequent remote places where electricity is hard to come by.