Solar panels kit is cost-effective to provide power back to shed, cabin, camper, RV, and even houses. They are the perfect alternative for smelly and loud fuel generators.
Though they have cost more than other power backup options, solar panels kits have very little maintenance as they use solar energy to generate electricity.
Solar energy is slowly revolutionising the consumer market, and for those new to the eco-friendly industry, there's no better place to start than with the best solar panel kits. A solar panel kit is basically a solar panel bundled with the essentials you'll need to assemble and run your solar energy system. They are a dream come true for newbies looking to switch to renewable energy as they cut out the expensive middle man and allow for DIY installation.
Solar energy is widely available in most parts of the world. According to NOAA, 173,000 terawatts of solar energy strike Earth continuously, 10,000 times more than the total global energy use. This availability of solar resources makes it an ideal candidate to be the prime source of energy supply for human consumption.
Solar photovoltaic technology, also termed solar PV, has matured in past decades. This technology has penetrated society from the initial use of solar panels powering satellites orbiting the Earth to present use in charging mobile devices with integrated battery technology. Continuous research and development have increased the efficiency of solar photovoltaic technology and have also brought the prices low enough to compete with conventional electricity. You can take a look at the best solar panel kit for home if you are planning to install solar kits by your own.
How To Ranked the Best Solar Panels?
In choosing our rankings, we carefully researched many types of solar panels from the industry's top manufacturers, evaluating them according to several criteria. Some of the factors we used to arrive at our rankings include:
The efficiency rating of a solar panel refers to the amount of captured sunlight that it can actually convert into useful energy. Keep in mind that solar panel efficiency tops out just over 20%, and generally speaking, the most efficient solar panels will yield the greatest energy savings for your home.
Solar panels represent a significant investment, and naturally, homeowners want to select products that will hold up over time. This means you'll want to buy solar panels that are made to be durable and to withstand even intense weather.
A good, strong performance warranty can give peace of mind after you purchase residential solar panels. In this industry, a decent warranty may be anywhere from 10 years to 25.
Naturally, you will want to consider your budget before investing in solar panels. The cost of solar panels can fluctuate based on many factors; however, as you think about a panel's price tag, factor in things like durability and warranty, which provide you with a fuller sense of overall value.
Another important ranking factor is the temperature coefficient. With solar panels, the temperature coefficient refers to how much (or how little) the panel's productivity is diminished when the external temperature rises. Thus, how solar panels work in extreme heat plays a key role in year-round power output.
Frequently Asked Questions About Solar Panel
Are Solar Energy Kits Worth It? An investment in solar energy is worthwhile because of how much it saves on power. Since you save on a monthly bill, the upfront costs are the biggest hurdle. It's worth checking with different vendors to find a deal.
Divide your average hourly wattage requirement by the number of daily peak sunlight hours for your area. This gives you the amount of energy your panels need to produce every hour. So the average U.S. home (900 kWh/month) in an area that gets five peak sunlight hours per day would need 6,000 watts.
What are the 3 Types of Solar Panels? The three types of solar panels are monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin-film solar panels. Each of these types of solar cells is made in a unique way and has a different aesthetic appearance.
Based on that information, solar panel manufacturers typically offer warranties of about 25 years or more. And in the case of newer or well-built systems, panels can last for 30 years.
Best Solar Panel Kits
Number one on the list is from the Renogy brand. The name of the product is Renogy 100-watts monocrystalline solar starter kits. For its easy installation and portable nature made our list in the first place.
It is perfect for the newcomers who are fascinated to learn the interesting concepts and apply them to real-time applications like boats, sheds, cabins, and trailers.
You can get this wonderful solar panel kit at reasonable prices. The kit mainly comprises a controller that helps to monitor the solar panel effectively, and a negative ground controller ensures safety.
Compared to others, you can expand the power supply up to 400 watts, the input voltage of 12V DC, and implement the PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) technology. When you keep an eye on the charge controller, you will be able to see LED indicators and flooded batteries.
Renogy has manufactured this solar power kit specifically for outdoor purposes. This 100W solar kit has a foldable design to increase its portability and enhance its user experience. Also, it is highly compatible with a wide range of battery types. Renogy has increased the durability of this product with a corrosion-resistant aluminium frame making it safe for use in harsh climate conditions. You don't have to worry about overcharging and reverse charging your batteries, as a charge controller is also provided with this solar power kit.
A user guide and hardware components guide the newbie, starting with an installation process to the maximum amount of power you can apply for performing the specific operations.
The performance of the Renogy solar starter kit is very good and is specially designed for customers who are new to solar technology. However, do not damage the rear surface of the solar panel as it will not deliver power to the respective modules.
- Reasonably priced.
- Battery protection.
- Can charge any other home appliances by supplying a maximum of 12V.
- Installing a solar panel is quite complicated.
- No upgrade option for the microcontroller.
on our list is the DOKIO 150W solar kit that has a unique foldable design. A carrying handle is included in the kit, making it easy to carry and use for camping purposes. Furthermore, the panel is only 2.4cm thick and weighs only 4.1Kg. DOKIO Offers this kit in a complete package with all the connectors and cables for quick and safe installation. This product, however, is not as durable as some of the other products on our list.
The whole product of one company offered as a quite efficient and reliable system. All designed by one company, solar panels to inverters to storage makes it an ideal choice. The ability given to the buyer to design their own solar system is unique. Also, a 25-year warranty on the whole system is something not readily available with every company. The microinverter as a design standard makes the complete system run easily for at least 25 years as compared to the 12-year life of a string inverter.
The proprietary solar system from SunPower is more of a customised offering. It depends on the space available and the type of load you are connecting to the system. The company claims 55% more energy than conventional solar panels at the same place installed for the same time scale.
The proprietary Maxeon solar cell technology and the solar panels like the X-series manufactured in-house have 21% and more efficiency. In addition, the copper foundation of the solar cells and hence the solar panel make them more durable and long-lasting. The direct current from each solar panel is converted to the alternating current near the panel by a microinverter like Enphase IQ 7X. The micro-inverter is either supplied to the connected load or to the grid or to the energy storage option available from SunPower as SunVault. The battery system in this system is allowed to essential power loads of the house of business in case of a power outage.
Most or all the components are of the same company making it more reliable and aesthetically correct. The solar panels, microinverter, mounting frames, and energy storage with the help of a monitoring system make it an ideal system for homes or businesses. The system generates more power in less space, less use of hardware, easy connection to energy storage, lifetime warranty, and easy monitoring are very convenient features.
- Very efficient solar panel
- Complete system warranty of 25 years
- Ability to monitor energy generation and consumption
- Ability to supply to the grid
- Ability to store energy if required
- Invisible mounting frame
- Easily expandable
- The service will demand higher prices
- Not easy to connect for anyone without experience & skill
The 310-watt PhonoSolar 60 cell monocrystalline solar panels, which appear all black in colour, are efficient in solar energy conversion to electrical energy. In a 5kW solar panel kit, 17 of these are connected to form an array. Each solar panel is connected to a power optimiser which refines the DC current and sends it to the battery or inverter. The inverter converts DC to AC and is supplied to the load or connected grid.
For a 5kW solar kit facing south in the USA or Canada, getting 5 hours of sun each day for a month can generate 350-850 kWh, taking 400 sq ft. of your roof space.
A power optimiser is connected to each solar panel or module, which refines and regulates the direct current generated by the panel. This is done by the MPPT or maximum power point tracking technology, which optimises the current and voltage from each panel to its optimum level. Like the micro-inverter, the power optimiser treats each solar panel as a separate entity, and any shade or redundancy in any one solar panel does not affect the output of the whole system.
The current optimised by the power optimiser is DC to DC, which is then supplied to the string inverter. The string inverter or centralised inverter converts DC to AC or alternating current, supplied to connected load or the grid via the control panel or the junction box.
The addition of a battery is also possible in this kit if required. For the same system, Tesla's Powerwall can also be connected and is compatible. Having a battery is a nice option if you want to go totally off the grid and use only solar energy as your power source.
- Efficient design.
- Energy storage is possible like a battery.
- Cheaper than micro-inverter technology.
- 25-year warranty for panel and power optimiser.
- Ability to monitor energy production.
- Can supply electricity to the grid.
- Not easily expandable.
- Not easy to connect for anyone without experience & skill.
- Life of inverter 8-12 years with a possible expandable warranty of 20 years.
- The life of the battery and its future cost is similar to an inverter.
The top solar 20W solar panel kit is the perfect product for powering up small-sized batteries. It is a cost-effective solar charging kit that is highly compatible with 12V batteries. It is a small-sized, lightweight product that is highly portable for camping purposes. It includes a 10A charge controller, which is an essential feature to safeguard the solar system and the connected devices. Pre-drilled holes on its aluminium frame make it easy for you to install it anywhere without professional help quickly. Top solar provides a 25-year transferrable output warranty and 1-year materials and workmanship warranty.
For our top selection and our vote for the all-around best residential solar panel, we're going with LG. LG is a top-tier electronics company, and its solar panels are known for their quality and durability. Truly, these are premium products that work well with almost any home solar configuration.
A quick look at LG's technical stats confirms this. In terms of efficiency, LG solar panels are almost unbeatable. (They are rated as 22% efficient; the only brand we've found that can surpass that is SunPower, and by less than a full percentage point.) A competitive price point and robust 25-year warranty just sweeten the deal and make LG the most recommendable of home solar panels.
Grape Solar's 400-watt Solar Panel Kit is the perfect solution for a shed or small cabin. It comes with four 100W panels, an 1800 watt pure sine wave inverter, a 35 amp charge controller, and the wires to connect the solar panels to the charger and the controller to the battery. The only thing you need to bring is a 12V battery and the mounting hardware.
The 35 amp charger controller is large enough to safely add one more 100W panel for a grand total of 500W. However, like the other controllers above, it's a PWM controller, not an MPPT, so you can't add a lithium battery, only a lead acid. However, PWM controllers are cheaper, so there's certainly a balance of performance and cost going on.
The included inverter is also a good piece of equipment. At 1800W, the inverter that comes with the kit is large enough to charge all your gadgets simultaneously. It's also powerful enough for a blender or hairdryer, but possibly not at the same time.
The inverter includes two 3-prong outlets and a USB outlet. It's also a pure sine wave inverter, which means it can power more sensitive electronics like some CPAP machines, power tools, and some laptops.
Grape Solar makes quality solar components, and this kit is no exception. Many buyers are using it for their off-grid cabins and tiny homes with reliable results. Customer service is stellar, with friendly staff that is knowledgeable on the finer points of their technology.
Renogy, the top-tier brand that topped our list with its 400W starter kit, also offers a variety of other systems. For example, the 3600W Solar Cabin Kit is a powerful addition to any small household. With advanced panels and a host of high-quality equipment options, the kit is ideal for remote cabins, off-grid residences and commercial rooftop systems.
Although the price tag may seem startlingly high for newbies in the DIY solar market, it's actually a reasonable cost when considering the size of the bundle. The kit comes with a MidNite Classic MPPT charge controller and a MidNite Solar MNPV6 Combiner box. However, you will need to purchase a 48V battery bank separately.
The 100W solar panel kit by ALLPOWERS is a great option for new solar DIYers or those looking for small power devices. Although the kit is cheap, it still offers some great perks, like a flexible panel, 18V output and super simple mounting design. Not only that, but ALLPOWERS boasts a 21% panel efficiency rating, compared to the standard 15% of other panels.
Although there are certainly cheaper 100W panels on the market, the ALLPOWERS model rises to the top because of its quality and features. However, be aware that you will still need to purchase a battery bank and charge controller separately, significantly increasing your overhead costs.
ALLPOWERS solar panels offer a relatively innovative feature: flexibility. The SunPower panel is semi-flexible, and the plastic back sheet can be bent into a 30-degree arc. This flexibility means that it can be mounted on a variety of irregular surfaces, like cars, trailers or boats.
How Do Solar Panel Kits Work?
We know that it's important for you to know the ins and outs of the technology you're looking to buy; that's why we're here to explain just exactly how solar panel kits work.
As standard, in a solar panel kit, you will find the following elements:
- One or more solar panels
- The appropriate mounting brackets for them
- The appropriate wiring
- A solar charge controller
Whilst this is not everything you'll need to power your home or appliances with solar, it's close enough (you'll likely only need to add a high-capacity battery on top before you can start making the most out of your renewable energy set-up).
Let's look briefly at how solar panels generate electricity. Solar panels are frames of weatherproof and waterproof material housing many smaller solar cells. It's these cells that do all the work: made of polycrystalline, monocrystalline, or thin-film silicon, they undergo a chemical and physical reaction when exposed to direct sunlight. This reaction is known as the photovoltaic effect, during which the forced displacement of electrons from one silicon layer to another generates volts of electricity. It's as simple as that! This electricity production process occurs over and over, infinitely, for as long as the panels are exposed to sunlight.
Using the mounting brackets in your kit, you can mount the solar panels just about anywhere. What's most important, though, is that you choose a spot where they are most likely to receive optimal sunlight during daylight hours and where they are least likely to be obstructed by shade and shadow.
Your panels are then connected to your charge controller by cabling. This charge controller acts like the brain of any solar array. Installed with MPPT technology (maximum power point tracking), a charge controller's job is to detect the load characteristic of your solar array at which the panels put out maximum power and to keep this characteristic constant. Since the strength of sunlight varies wildly throughout any given day, ensure the stability of this PowerPoint maximises the efficiency of energy conversion from the panels to your home. An MPPT controller also ensures that the electricity it then feeds to your battery/appliances is optimised (in terms of frequency and voltage) for said battery/appliances. And that's the long and short of it!
Pros and Cons of Solar Panel Kits
Let's take a look at the fundamental benefits and drawbacks associated with solar panel kits.
- Free electricity! Renewable energy costs nothing once installed, providing you with electricity year-round, for which you need not pay a single cent.
- Green energy. Renewable energy is also carbon-low, or even carbon-free, meaning that you're not contributing to global warming and the ensuing climate crisis whilst using it.
- Easy to install. You can install your solar kit all by yourself, with just a little help from installation guides (either online or via the included manuals).
- (Almost) everything you need. Whilst you'll still need a battery at least, and maybe an inverter, too, solar panel kits are great in that they have just about everything you need to build a solar array from scratch.
- Budget-conscious. Who said solar power was expensive? Sure, it can be, but with kits starting from $50, there are options here to suit just about anyone's budget.
- Durable. Solar panels need to be highly waterproof and weatherproof since they are exposed to all the elements. As such, they are designed to last for years without requiring nearly any maintenance at all.
- Sunlight dependent. Whilst free electricity might sound like a dream, remember that it all depends on consistent exposure to direct sunlight. During the winter months or overcast weather, your panels will underperform.
- No battery included. Marketed as 'kits', we can't help but notice that none of them come with a battery, which you absolutely will need if you want to run your home or vehicle on solar power.
Most kits don't come with a battery, so you will need to purchase that separately. Otherwise, you may need to purchase a solar charge controller if it's not included. MPPT controllers are the most energy-efficient, whereas PWM controllers are a cost-effective option for small loads.
The solar panel kit is perfect for newcomers who are fascinated to learn interesting concepts and apply them to real-time applications. It will be a great asset for the children to get into the core electronics.