Solar energy is becoming the next big thing when it comes to renewable and reliable energy. This resource is preferred over others because it’s plentiful, green, clean and available in any part of the globe. Its uptake has however been low due to the high initial cost of installation. However, this is gradually changing as solar panels also known as photo-voltaic (PV) cells become more affordable, efficient and durable.
Other than the cost of installation, the cost of maintaining the same is relatively low considering you don’t incur any monthly power bills. We have taken a look at the top 10 best solar panels in 2018. Nonetheless, it’s also beneficial to know what makes a good solar panel.
- How to Choose a Solar Panel
- 10. WindyNation Solar Panel
- 9. Goal Zero 12004 Nomad Solar Panel
- 8. ECO-WORTHY Solar Panel
- 7. WindyNation Off-Grid Solar Panel
- 6. ALLPOWERS Solar Panel
- 5. HQST Solar Panel
- 4. ECO-WORTHY Solar Panel
- 3. Renogy Solar Panel
- 2. Goal Zero 11800 Nomad 7 v2 Solar Panel
- 1. Renogy Monocrystaline Solar Panel
How to Choose a Solar Panel
The following aspects are critical when choosing or comparing solar panels:
- Power: This is rated in watts and determines how many appliances can be connected to the solar system. The higher it is the more powerful the unit.
- Warranty: Solar panels have greatly improved and become more robust and reliable. Top brands are backed by a warranty of as many as 25 years.
- Area of Use: A panel that will be mounted on an RV, caravan or small apartment will be much smaller than the one(s) to run a large institution. Also, remote locations that fully rely on solar energy will need bigger and more powerful units compared to a home that only uses the solar system as a backup.
- Budget: High capacity or top-end panels cost more than low capacity or low-end types. You can start with a small unit and continue to add on additional pieces of overtime. 20-60 watts panels are fit for caravans and RVs while homes and offices do well with a panel that is at least 100 watts.
- Mode of installation: Rigid panels are meant to be fixed permanently while flexible or rollable solar mats can easily be uninstalled or carried.
Other important considerations include solar efficiency, durability, brand, dimensions and customer support.
Best Solar Panels in 2018
10. WindyNation Solar Panel
Designed for use in the home, RV, caravan, boats, remote locations, and backup power, this 100-watt solar panel by WindyNation is compatible with a 12-volt source. It is rated to provide between 300 and 600 watts of power depending on the intensity of the sunshine in a day.
The unit is made from a weather-friendly anodized aluminum frame and is backed by a 25-year warranty from the manufacturer.
9. Goal Zero 12004 Nomad Solar Panel
This small solar panel is suitable for small applications such as charging mobile devices. It consists of a super-efficient mono-crystalline panel that is rated at 20 watts and delivers 12 volts.
The light and compact solar panel features patented Chaining technology that allows for faster charge times and includes built-in smart-charging junction box. Due to its foldability, the panel is easy to install, uninstall, and carry.
8. ECO-WORTHY Solar Panel
Enjoying quality power without incurring high bills is more realistic with this solar panel by ECO-WORTHY. This 20watt, 12/24-volt unit consists of a highly-efficient Polycrystalline panel, 3A Charge Controller and battery clips.
It comes with a waterproof, rust-proof and long-lasting aluminum panel that has a lifespan of 20 plus years. The unit is designed for use with small DC appliances and is also quite portable.
7. WindyNation Off-Grid Solar Panel
This solar panel from the WindyNation brand is designed for off-grid power and is mounted on the roof. It is rated at 100 watts and will generate up to 350 watts every hour or approximately 33 Ampere-hours on a good day.
The frame is made from strong and durable aluminum that is resistant to rust, corrosion, and the elements. The unit comes with a charge controller, mounting brackets, MC4 connectors and can work with 12 or 24-volt system.
6. ALLPOWERS Solar Panel
DIYers (Do-it-Yourselfers) and other hobbyists will appreciate this solar panel by ALLPOWERS. The 5-volt unit generates 2.5 watts (500mAH) and consists of encapsulated solar cell that measures 13×15 cm.
It’s great for small tasks such as science projects, running small motors or charging DC devices. It features a solid-built, stylish and compact case that is easy to carry around. The surface is UV-treated while the PCB board is weatherproof.
5. HQST Solar Panel
Combining flexibility and efficiency is this 50-w2att solar power by HQST. The highly-flexible unit is made out of Monocrystalline cells that produce 12 volts and a maximum of 50 watts under the good sun.
It is easily fixed on flat or curved surfaces via adhesive, Velcro, zip ties or grommets and doesn’t require costly reconstructions or reinforcement. Quick installation is made possible through the pre-drilled holes.
4. ECO-WORTHY Solar Panel
Rated as one of the most efficient and reliable solar panels, the ECO-WORTHY solar panel is fit for home, RVs, caravans, remote locations and other applications. It is rated at 100 watts and works with either 12 or 24 volts and features thick, tempered and transparent 3.2mmglass.
The quick connectors and 35inch cables allow for easy and fast connections while the waterproof IP-65 junction box keeps water and moisture at bay.
3. Renogy Solar Panel
The Renogy brand is known for producing quality and reliable solar panel. This 100-watt monocrystalline panel is one of their favorite and produces 12 volts although it can generate 24 or 48 volts when connected in series.
It’s made from strong and weather-resistant aluminum that can tolerate winds of up to 2400Pa and snow storms not exceeding 5400Pa. The solar panel comes with 25-year transferable warranty from a manufacturer.
2. Goal Zero 11800 Nomad 7 v2 Solar Panel
The Nomad 7 V2 is light, compact and portable courtesy of its small and foldable size. It comes in a rugged design that suits it for the outdoors and is also resistant to different kinds of weather.
Suitable for small applications such as charging cell phones, tablets, and other hand devices, this 12volt panel can generate up to 7watts of power and features built-in USB port for charging.
1. Renogy Monocrystaline Solar Panel
Capable of producing up to 400 watts, this 100W Renogy solar panel is fit for the home, office, caravan, RV and other places. It’s made from a high-performance Monocrystalline solar panel and anodized aluminum frame.
Also, includes is a 30A PWM charge controller and 8foot, 10AWG cable. On a good day, the panel generates 500Wh and will take approximately 3 hours to fully charge a 50Ah battery.
Installing a solar system is becoming the norm as people seek to lower the power bills, embrace green energy and also minimize pollution and environmental destruction. The solar panel is one of the vital components of the system and greatly determines the reliability, durability, and efficiency of the energy system.
We have listed the top 10 best solar panels in 2018. Our review focused on capacity, durability, and ease of installation, wattage, and solar efficiency among other features.Which solar panel do you think suits you best? Kindly share your views and experiences.