Best quality/value folding 100w folding solar panels on Amazon now - for Marine/RV/portable.

PopDBop

Solar Enthusiast
Joined
Jan 10, 2021
Messages
80
What's the consensus on the best quality and best value folding PV panels on Amazon?

It seems like there are tons of cheap folding 100 watt solar PV panels designed for portable solar generators (i.e. Jackery, Bluetti), and/or to charge devices directly with built-in USB-A ports for charging cell phones and electronics, up to even USB-C PD ports delivering up to 60+ watts for charging laptops? I purchased and tried a couple, but with generally disappointing results. The problem is that the specs are rarely accurate, and the biggest problem has been Voc being way above the nominal rated voltage. For example, a nominal 12v/18v panel has an open circuit voltage of 22-25 volts depending on the sun, which could easily fry a charge controller that's just not able to handle that initial open voltage. And, it's always a gamble as to whether the panel will actually put out 100 watts or rated power at Pmax.

So, I thought I'd ask for recommendations based on experience from anyone using the panels for RV'ing, boating, camping, recharging solar generators, etc. I know that Hobotech generally endorses the Brogue RV panels, but they ain't the cheapest options. And I'm looking a buying a few of these.
 

MisterSandals

Participation Medalist
Joined
Nov 5, 2019
Messages
6,260
Location
Silicon Valley
For example, a nominal 12v/18v panel has an open circuit voltage of 22-25 volts depending on the sun, which could easily fry a charge controller that's just not able to handle that initial open voltage.
This seems like very standard voltages for a solar panel. An SCC that cannot accept 25V seems pretty odd. What SCC?

Have you looked for cheap panels in the size you like in your area on craigslist? With the panel info and a budget, its really easy to recommend/find an SCC that will work.
 

PopDBop

Solar Enthusiast
Joined
Jan 10, 2021
Messages
80
This seems like very standard voltages for a solar panel. An SCC that cannot accept 25V seems pretty odd. What SCC?

Have you looked for cheap panels in the size you like in your area on craigslist? With the panel info and a budget, its really easy to recommend/find an SCC that will work.
Yeah, you'd think. Maybe I should just shop for a couple good SCC's that will handle the voltages rather than worrying about the panels so much. The tricks is getting the panels and testing them first. I have another set that's rated nominal 18v and is putting out 32vdc+ on a sunny day. I I always check with the meter before hooking up anything.

Maybe my question should be what are some good deals/vales on SCC's readily available on Amazon that will handle a range of 12-36, 48v or even higher?
 

MisterSandals

Participation Medalist
Joined
Nov 5, 2019
Messages
6,260
Location
Silicon Valley
Maybe my question should be what are some good deals/vales on SCC's readily available on Amazon that will handle a range of 12-36, 48v or even higher?
Without knowing how many amps you need/want to charge, assuming a little because you are talking about folding panels:

Here is a top notch MPPT with a 5 year warranty. I recommend the bluetooth version since it makes firmware updates (common when first installed), setup and monitoring a breeze... fun even.


Probably more expensive than the cheapies you have been considering but this will give you many years of use. Even if you upgrade to a larger unit, this will be around as a backup nearly forever. A GREAT investment. Go bigger now if you think you will expand. I have the 100/30 and a 150/50 that i plan to use for a long time.
 

PopDBop

Solar Enthusiast
Joined
Jan 10, 2021
Messages
80
Without knowing how many amps you need/want to charge, assuming a little because you are talking about folding panels:

Here is a top notch MPPT with a 5 year warranty. I recommend the bluetooth version since it makes firmware updates (common when first installed), setup and monitoring a breeze... fun even.


Probably more expensive than the cheapies you have been considering but this will give you many years of use. Even if you upgrade to a larger unit, this will be around as a backup nearly forever. A GREAT investment. Go bigger now if you think you will expand. I have the 100/30 and a 150/50 that i plan to use for a long time.nd,
Right again, Captain Obvious. lol

I can save the money on 'cheapie' panels. But the electronics and batteries are super important. I know from personal experience. Thanks.
 

KellyDood

Solar Enthusiast
Joined
Jan 30, 2022
Messages
82
Location
Outside your window
I just returned a foldable that gets nice and compact but had wavering connection and would require a self-engineered framework to make it very usable (the couple stands they come with are typically inadequate).
Since I'm not backpacking this stuff, I lean towards something like this smaller-profile 100-watt I recently got - it's 34" x 27" for $80 and doesn't collapse in slight breeze if you make a simple mount for it https://www.amazon.com/Newpowa-Monocrystalline-Compact-Design-Efficiency/dp/B092LVSSP5/
 

Browneye

Dr. WattSon
Joined
Nov 2, 2021
Messages
1,137
Location
Southern California
Victron makes great products.
I took a chance with EPEver - I have two Tracer mppt controllers, and like them a lot.
Will has tried out the Rich Solar ones - they also have an inexpensive mppt.
Midnight is another popular and reliable brand.

Most models support up to 100Vdc. So choose your panels and wiring configuration to suit. MPPT turns your input volts and amps into 12V charging amps.

I bought a folding 'suitcase' several years ago and recently replaced the simple pwm controller attached to them with a Tracer mppt. The panels are 160W total, in series, feeding a 10A mppt SCC. The cool thing is you can orient them for best solar collection. They'll put out 8-9A in winter sun.

 
Top