Solar panels give you the benefit of obtaining pure, clean, reliable, and environment-friendly energy straight from the sun. By choosing this means of supplying power to your electrical appliances, you can do your part in reducing your carbon footprint and preventing greenhouse gas emissions that significantly impact the planet. Since conventional electricity is obtained from natural gas and coal, the harmful gases produced when fossil fuels are burned can pollute the air and increase the concern on global warming. This is why we have prepared the best solar panels in 2018 reviews & buyer’s guide to assist you in making the right purchase for your needs.
There is a steady growth in the solar power industry, which means solar panels are becoming more and more affordable nowadays. People are becoming more conscious about the value of relying on solar panels for power supply as this fights the issue on global warming by using a renewable and clean energy source. With a solar power system, you can have a good backup supply of electricity in the event that there is a power shortage or blackout. Going off-the-grid offers people the assurance that they can continue with the usage of their electrical home appliances anywhere they choose to live. On a practical sense, those who use solar panels can spare themselves from the hike in utility costs, which continues to increase. Over time, you can save money as you are no longer reliant on traditional electricity. So, not only are you doing the planet a huge favor, but you can also prevent yourself from massive headaches caused by highly expensive utility bills.
Best Solar Panels in 2018
So, if you are interested in purchasing solar panels for your home, please check out our best solar panels in 2018 reviews & buyer’s guide as presented below. Find out more about some of the great options available on the market today including the features and benefits of each.
- 10.Renogy 12-Volt 100 Watts Monocrystalline Solar Panel
- 9.Renogy 12-Volt 200 Watts Monocrystalline Solar Power Starter Kit Plus Wanderer
- 8.Newpowa 12-Volt 100 Watts Polycrystalline High-Efficiency Solar Panel
- 7.HQST 12-Volt 100 Watts Polycrystalline Solar Panel
- 6.ECO-WORTHY Monocrystalline Solar Panel 12 Volts 100 Watts
- 5.ALLPOWERS Bendable 12-Volt 100 watts Lightweight Solar Panel with Charger
- 4.ECO-WORTHY 1 KW 1000 Watts Monocrystalline 24V Solar Panel System Kit with 45A Charge Controller
- 3. Polycrystalline Off-the-Grid Solar Panel 100 Watts
- 2.ECO-WORTHY Polycrystalline 160-Watt PV Solar Panel
- 1.Suaoki 12 V 100 Watts Solar Panel Battery Charger Ultra Thin SunPower Cells
- Solar Panel Buying Guide
10.Renogy 12-Volt 100 Watts Monocrystalline Solar Panel
If what you look for is a powerful and dependable way to power your home, then the Renogy monocrystalline solar panel is an excellent choice for you. This is a 100-watt panel that is made from high quality monocrystalline solar cells, so it guarantees you of maximum efficiency for every space. The aluminum frame is corrosion-resistant, which means it can withstand tough external elements. You can use this panel outdoors for an extended period and even expect the panels to last for several years.
With the materials and construction of the panels, these can resist snow loads of up to 5400Pa and high winds of 2400Pa. The junction box has an IP65 rating to ensure maximum protection against low-pressure water jets and environmental particles. Great for 12-V battery charging with the option for wiring multiple panels in series for the 24 or 48-V battery charging, as well as grid-tied applications.
Keep in mind that if there are obstructions, the current output tends to dip very low. This is a common issue with solar panels, so make it a point to find a good location that is unobstructed. Thus, your solar panel can receive direct sunlight to harness maximum energy from the sun.
- Corrosion resistance for the aluminum frame keeps the unit durable and sturdy.
- The panel can generate up to 100 watts of power for great energy efficiency.
- Suitable for a 12-volt battery charging and grid-tied applications.
- Obstructions can limit the power output of the solar panels.
9.Renogy 12-Volt 200 Watts Monocrystalline Solar Power Starter Kit Plus Wanderer
For those who are just hoping to start using solar as a source of power for their homes, the Renogy solar power starter kit is an outstanding option to consider. This works either as a starter for customers who are new to the world of solar energy, as well as those who want to expand further their existing solar power system. This starter kit offers a great opportunity for various off-the-grid applications including cabins, sheds, RVs, boats, and trailers. With this unit, you can achieve a quiet and clean power source, grid independence, and lower utility bills.
All the tools you need to get started are included in this product such as the 2 pieces of monocrystalline solar panels with 100 watts each, 1-piece 30A negative charge (PWM) wanderer charge controller, 1-piece 20-foot 10AWG MC4 adaptor kit, 2 sets of the Z-brackets, a pair of the branch connectors, and a tray cable 8-foot 10 AWG, which can connect the battery and the charge controller.
In terms of installation, this unit is fairly easy to set up. The system is also reliable in running light electrical appliances such as power drills, and TVs. However, it is not sufficient enough to operate your microwave, air conditioner, and other appliances that require higher power. Just keep in mind that it is not ideal to try the snap-in power connectors unless you are ready to do so since these are tough to get apart.
- Easy and efficient installation process to let you get all set up immediately.
- Excellent system for supplying power for your off-the-grid applications.
- Comes with everything you need to get started with the solar power system.
- Works only for electrical appliances that require the lower power supply.
- Hard to get the snap-in power connectors apart.
8.Newpowa 12-Volt 100 Watts Polycrystalline High-Efficiency Solar Panel
Encapsulated in EVA or ethylene-vinyl-acetate, these high-performance solar power cells are durable and efficient. These are placed between a superior quality TPT back sheet and a transparent low-iron tempered glass. As for the frames, the panels are encased in anodized heavy-duty aluminum frames to ensure maximum rigidity and protection from tough outdoor elements.
The junction box is of excellent quality, as with the cables. Installation is a breeze, but be sure to check the instructions carefully to make sure everything is set up just right for an outstanding user experience.
These are polycrystalline cells instead of the monocrystalline ones. However, there is not much of a sparkly quality to these panels. Instead, the color appears to be a deep bluish black, which almost resembles the appearance of a mono. In addition, there are tiny “fingers” without any sign of silver ink shimmering or sputtering. Some people also complain about the product packaging, which incurred a bit of a damage during the shipping process. The gouge in the panel’s frame was one issue reported, due to a lack of side padding.
- Heavy-duty aluminum frame ensures the durability of the panel.
- Good quality cables and junction box.
- Quick and simple installation process.
- Lacks the sheen and sparkle that typical polycrystalline cells offer.
- Comes with a bluish-black color almost similar to that of a monocrystalline solar panel.
- Packaging concerns experienced by some buyers because there was no side padding on the box.
7.HQST 12-Volt 100 Watts Polycrystalline Solar Panel
Featuring a high-transparency and low-iron tempered anti-reflective glass, this polycrystalline solar panel can resist impact and withstand snow loads and high winds at a certain level. The junction box has maximum protection against tough external elements including low-pressure water jets and environmental particles, thanks to its IP65 rating. Mounting and securing the panel are made simpler, as the back portion comes with pre-drilled holes. You can use a wide range of mounting systems for the panel whether these are pole or tilt mounts, as well as Z-brackets.
The ideal power output per day is at 500 Wh, but this largely depends on the sunlight’s availability. To reduce power drop, there are bypass diodes, so you can rely on this unit even in low-light conditions. Other impressive features of this product include the multiple layers of sheet laminations that encapsulate the cells and the aluminum frame with the corrosion-resistant feature, which all result to the long life span of the unit.
If there is one issue that is kind of a disappointment about this product, it would be the packaging. There were some customers who were not pleased with the packaging as there were damages to it. While the item arrived on time, it would be best if much attention was placed on the packaging to ensure an excellent customer satisfaction level.
- The solar panels are made from the polycrystalline material that is highly durable and impact-resistant.
- The pre-drilled holes located on the back portion of the panel make the unit easier to mount and secure.
- The overall design and construction of the panel promote its longer life span.
- Packaging of the unit is not satisfactory, according to some buyers.
6.ECO-WORTHY Monocrystalline Solar Panel 12 Volts 100 Watts
To ensure the maximum efficiency and power per space, this panel contains monocrystalline solar cells. It is a 100-watt panel with an aluminum frame protected from corrosion to keep it durable and well-protected from harsh outdoor elements. You can expect the panel to last for over 10 years even when installed outdoors as this can withstand snow loads of 5400 Ps and high winds of 2400 Pa. The waterproof junction box is !P-65 rated, which means it has an advanced level of protection against dust and water.
As for the installation process, this is quite simple and easy. You can use this unit for your off-grid and grid-tie applications to help you minimize your utility bills while attaining a continuous source of power for your appliances.
There were some customers who comment on the thinness of the panel, as compared to what they got from other brands. The panels also have corners that tend to appeal a bit sloppy when putting together such as a bulged out or bowed quality to them. But even with these minor aesthetic concerns, the performance and function of the panels remain satisfactory.
- Corrosion-resistant design for the aluminum frame keeps it durable and safe for use outdoors for a long period of time.
- Great for grid-tie and off-grid power applications.
- Made from monocrystalline solar cells for outstanding efficiency.
- The panel appears a bit thinner when compared with other brands that use the same type of material.
- Slightly sloppy appearance of the panels, specifically the corners.
5.ALLPOWERS Bendable 12-Volt 100 watts Lightweight Solar Panel with Charger
Made from the US, the SunPower solar panel cell offers a maximum of 23.5 percent efficiency, as compared with the average panels made from monocrystalline that only provide up to 19 percent power efficiency. The panel is also semi-flexible and resistant to water, so this offers greater durability than aluminum and traditional glass fail to offer. With a bendable quality, the panel is easy to curve to a 30-degree arc, so you can mount it on your trailer, truck, or tent – just about any area with an irregular surface.
Although it only weighs 4.7 pounds, this solar panel can generate up to 100 watts of power. Removing and transporting, as well as installing the panel is a breeze, and other features add to this ease of set up such as the 4 mounting holes with metal reinforcement and a frameless design.
Overall, this product is easy to setup and works as expected. However, it would be best if the instructions are improved on because this can make it tough to understand the steps involved in setting up the panels.
- Made from high-quality panels to ensure maximum power efficiency.
- Flexible, lightweight, and bendable panels make them easy to install even on irregular surfaces.
- Comes with a frameless design with mounting holes to speed up the installation process.
- Instructions in the manual are a little unclear and difficult to understand.
4.ECO-WORTHY 1 KW 1000 Watts Monocrystalline 24V Solar Panel System Kit with 45A Charge Controller
This is a complete and ever-reliable solar panel system starter kit with everything you will need to get all set up to go off-the-grid. There are 6 pieces of the monocrystalline 160-watt solar panels, a solar cable, 45A charge controller, MC4 pair branch connectors, and Z-brackets for the mounting. The charge controller comes with three pairs of two terminals including the load, battery, and solar. With included Z brackets, installation is easy and quick. You can mount the solar panels to your desired location and set it up as every item necessary is included in the package.
There are also pre-installed bypass diodes in the junction box, and the latter has an IP-65 rating for waterproof qualities. This helps reduce the dip in power output when there is a shade or low light conditions. Lastly, the aluminum frame is resistant to corrosion, so you can use the panel for a longer time outdoors without affecting its life span and performance.
It is important to note that the inverter you get must be sized properly according to the electrical appliance you plan on using. Oversizing the solar charger, regulator, and the inverter is unsafe, so it is best to contact a solar panel expert if you are uncertain about the size to get.
- Comes with every item you will need to get started with the solar power system.
- Mounting and installation are quick and simple.
- The junction box is waterproof with an IP-65 rating.
- Choose the proper size of the inverter to avoid any safety risk.
3. Polycrystalline Off-the-Grid Solar Panel 100 Watts
Made from superior quality polycrystalline, this solar panel can generate up to 100 watts to power small appliances in your RV, cabin, or van. It comes with a junction box that has pre-drilled diodes for ease in mounting, as well as two 35-inch cables equipped with MC4 connectors to the panel. These solar cells are high-efficiency by nature, thanks to the advanced and state-of-the-art photovoltaic technology it utilizes. The frame is constructed from ultra-strong aluminum that can withstand high wind pressures and heavy snow load, with 5400 Pa maximum heft.
You will love the compact body and the sleek design of the panels, which makes it portable and hassle-free to install. It is a dependable power source during camping or whenever you need a backup supply of electricity for your appliances. Whether you want a good quality panel for your RV solar energy, camping, marine, and off- or on-grid applications, there is nothing that the Mighty Max brand of solar panels cannot do. In fact, people comment on how they can obtain more than 5 amps from this panel even when it is winter with a scarcity of sunlight. The glass is also well-made and superbly durable enough to survive a mild hail storm.
One room for improvement that customers recommend would be the packaging. Unfortunately, the manufacturer only uses thin packaging for it, which makes the item susceptible to damage such as dents. Although it was not typical for them to experience any issue with the performance of the unit even if there was a dent on it, it would still be better if much attention was placed on the way the item is packed for security throughout the shipping process.
- Can hold as much as 100 watts of steady power and more than 5 amps on a typical winter’s day.
- The sleek and compact design makes the panel portable and easy to transport and mount.
- Ideal for various off- and on-the-grid applications, as well as for your camping and outdoors needs.
- The packaging style should be improved on to prevent dents on the item.
2.ECO-WORTHY Polycrystalline 160-Watt PV Solar Panel
Whenever you need an efficient and reliable back up source of power for your home, RV, boat, or camping, then this polycrystalline solar panel from Eco-Worthy may be a good choice to consider. This can generate 160 watts of superior power to ensure you of a higher conversion efficiency rating, as compared to regular solar panels out there. This amount of power should suffice for a 12-V battery charging, and you can wire multiple panels in series for your grid-tied application or 24/48-V battery charging needs.
Installing the unit can be completed in a breeze because of the pre-drilled holes located on the back part of the panels. You should be able to mount and secure the panel to your preferred location without any problem. Plus, there is a 12 AWG 90-cm cable with male/female MC4 quick connectors included to the solar panel. There are indeed so many things to love about the solar panel such as the aluminum frame with the corrosion-resistant feature, lightweight frame, anti-reflection and reinforced coated glass that is 3.2 mm thick. It is a tempered and patterned glass, too, for maximum durability that enhances the long life span of the unit.
But there was an issue with the performance rating that other customers encountered with this product. For instance, they claim that the performance is less than what the manufacturer stated since the rating was only at 75 to 80 percent during a high-sun condition. Although the cost per wattage is more reasonable, as compared with other 100-watt solar panels on Amazon, the actual power output is less than the rating. This has an impact on the overall customer satisfaction since some people expected more from this item. Nevertheless, the shipping process was fast and there were no damages to the unit upon arrival.
- Capable of generating as much as 160 watts of power.
- The aluminum frame is lightweight, corrosion-resistant, and highly durable.
- The glass panel is thick and tempered, with safety reinforcement and anti-reflection components.
- According to some users, there is an issue with the underperformance of the solar panel in terms of the actual power rating it can generate.
1.Suaoki 12 V 100 Watts Solar Panel Battery Charger Ultra Thin SunPower Cells
The Suaoki solar panels make use of the SunPower cells that provide an efficiency rating that is 23 to 25 percent more than the average ones on the market. There is a unique internal blocking diode component incorporated to the panel to prevent the reverse current drain issue during night time. The solar panel is highly durable and water-resistant, so it can be used on boats, RVs, and other areas that are otherwise not suitable for aluminum and traditional glass solar panel models. Since the panels have a bendable or flexible design, it is easy to flex the unit to make sure it follows the smooth and precise curve of the area where you will place the panels.
The durable and well-made panels are lightweight, yet undeniably powerful at the same time. They can pack up to 100 watts of maximum power in the 0.1-inch thick panel, but the overall weight is only at 4.85 pounds. Thus, you should never find it an issue to transport, mount, and remove the panel. With the frameless design of the unit, installation is made simpler. There are also four pieces of metal-reinforced holes for mounting located at each corner. These all add to the quick installation and in fixing the screws.
Great for hiking, camping, outdoor travels, and even home use, the Suaoki solar panel is flexible, lightweight, and contoured to make installation effortless. But there are some things you might want to know about this product to make sure you get the maximum benefits from it. One, be sure to avoid connecting the panels in a parallel position since it can cause an overcurrent that will lead to damages to the battery and the unit. If you do a series connection, it is not advisable to use over 4 panels. If the voltage goes beyond 40, you will have to use an additional controller to prevent overcharging the device. Most importantly, always handle the panel with optimum care and protect it from bumps and over-bending. Otherwise, damages to the unit may occur, which can negatively impact its performance.
- The energy efficiency rating is 23 to 25 percent more than the average solar panels in the market.
- Easy to install because of the flexible and lightweight design.
- Mounting is made simpler with the metal-reinforced holes in the corner.
- Check the voltage to determine the number of controllers you need.
- Handle the panel with care and prevent it from over-bending to ensure its excellent performance.
Solar Panel Buying Guide
Utility bills are constantly on the rise. In fact, these are only bound to go even higher as time goes by, which means it is practical to start thinking of ways to minimize your dependence on the traditional source of powering your home by harnessing energy from the sun. This way, you can save more money and do your part in reducing carbon footprint at the same time. By purchasing solar panels, you can significantly reduce the cost of your electric bills since these units generate energy from the sunlight they absorb. Considering the amount of sunshine you receive each day, it is best to start being more proactive and making use of nature’s gift to us.
But the thing is, there are so many things to consider when buying solar panels to make sure you get the right one you need. The mounting system is another component to think about since this impacts how easy or tough it will be to install the unit. There are also different types of panels you can find, along with the mounting options and the efficiency rating of each. Then, of course, you need to be aware of the location and space where you are planning to set up the solar panels.
To guide you further on how to select the perfect solar panel from the wide variety of available ones on the market.
- What is the best material for a solar panel?
Naturally, the material the panel is made from has a huge effect on the durability and performance of the unit. There are also benefits and limitations that each material comes with, which you have to look into before you make a decision. Polycrystalline is purified and molded, and the panels are made from pure crystal. But what you need to know about this material is the reduced efficiency, as compared to what monocrystalline panels offer. This issue is due to the crystals that are within the panels, specifically the loss of efficiency at the joints and due to the uneven alignment of these crystals. At the same time, the misalignment can also turn out to be a good thing since the absorption of light from multiple directions and angles make these crystals suitable for use in low-light situations. As for the appearance of the material, polycrystalline comes with a darker shade of blue with visible random crystal formations.
With monocrystalline panels, there are uniform crystals in them. These are pure silicone and large crystals, which means there is higher efficiency with reduced wastage of space in between the crystals. Moreover, there is one direction in which the crystals face, so this is excellent if they are situated in the ideal direction and in an area that receives massive sunlight. The outcome is the absorption of a higher level of energy, with the exception of conditions when sunlight is scarce.
- Where will you install the solar panels?
Think about the amount of space that is available for the solar panel you are looking to buy. If you live in a place where there is intense sunlight, yet the area is only small, you are better off with monocrystalline solar panels. On the other hand, if there is a bigger space and the location is more of low-light most of the time, you should consider getting polycrystalline ones to boost efficiency as light is pulled from various angles.
Also, when you buy a solar panel, think about the presence of obstructions in your location. Large buildings and overhanging trees can decrease the energy return and the efficiency rating of the panels. So, be sure the installation area is completely clear of such obstructions.
- What is the mounting option?
It is important that you pay attention to the appropriate mounting option as the mount keeps the solar panel secure and safe. Generally, flush mounts are simple to install and easy on the budget. These are metal brackets that are placed on the corner of the panels for attaining the right elevation. You can also use these mounts to secure the panel to the roof or wall.
However, if you are using a larger solar panel, or even multiple panels that need to be installed, ground or roof mounts should be ideal for this situation. There is a tilting type of mechanism in these mounts, which can help increase the life span and efficiency of the solar panels. But if space is an issue, pole mounts are perfect. These secure the panel to a high pole by utilizing a bolt system. Just steer clear of pole mounts if you are in a place where it is often windy.
In the long run, solar panels can result to higher savings, although the initial investment may be a bit overwhelming for some. You can eventually get rid of your energy costs at home while selling unused energy to companies for even greater profits in the future.