The demand for cleaner and more cost-efficient energy is rapidly increasing as more and more people realize the environmental and economic impacts of burning fossil fuels. And the easiest and most cost-effective way to go green is by investing in the best solar panel kits.
The best thing about solar panel kits is that they come with all the essentials you need to install and run your own solar power system. This helps eliminate the hassles of ensuring that all components are compatible, giving you a good start on your installation.
From starter kits, premium kits to more affordable solar panel kits, there are lots of solar panel kits available on the market that you can choose from for reliable, constant access to clean energy. However, the different types of solar panel kits vary greatly in terms of features, capacities, and styles, which makes finding the right one challenging for you.
As such, in this article, we’re going to look at some of the best solar panel kits on the market and what to look for when shopping for a solar panel kit to ensure you find one that best suits your lifestyle and energy needs.
Best Solar Panel Kits
|Solar panel kit||Best for||Maximum Wattage||Battery Voltage||Inverter Wattage||Output Amperage||Warranty||Efficiency|
|SereneLife 200W Solar Panel Starter Kit||Best Overall||200W||12V||800W||67Ah||1-YEAR||21%|
|Renogy 400W Solar Starter Kit||Best Starter Kit for Home||400W||12V||N/A||200A||25Years||21%|
|ECO-WORTHY 200 Watts Solar Panel Kit||Best Off-Grid Solar Panel Kit||200W||12V||N/A||20A||25Years||21%|
|SUNGOLDPOWER 200 Watt 12V Monocrystalline Solar Panel||Best for Shed||200W||12V||N/A||20A||25Years|
|GVSHINE [30W Panel Foldable] Solar Panel Lighting Kit||Best for Emergency Power||30W||14V||N/A||12A||5-YEAR|
|Topsolar Solar Panel Kit||Best for 12 volt battery charging||20W||12V||N/A||10A||25-year||21%|
|ACOPOWER 400 Watts 12/24 Volts Polycrystalline Panel Solar RV Kits||Best Polycrystalline RV Kit||400W||12-24V||N/A||25-year||17%|
|WindyNation 400W Solar Panel Kit||Best All-in-one||400W||12V||1500W||135A||5-year||16%|
|WEIZE 200 Watt 12 Volt Solar Panel Starter Kit||Most Efficient||200W||12V||N/A||600Wh||N/A||21%|
Review of Best Solar Panel Kits
Best Overall: SereneLife 200W Solar Panel Starter Kit
SereneLife Solar Panel Starter Kit tops our list as the overall best kit for off-grid applications for its solid-build quality, outstanding supply, convenient controller and user-friendliness.
This solar panel kit features two IP67 waterproof solar panels designed with marine-grade anodized aluminum frames. This ensures maximum protection of the solar cells against harsh weather elements as well as make installation a breeze for you.
With an IP67 waterproof rating, you can use this kit on your boat or for other marine applications without worrying about it getting damaged. The two high-efficiency 100 Watts 12 Volts monocrystalline solar panels can easily provide you with 67 amperes per hour or up to 800WH per day.
It boasts a 30A PWM controller equipped with an intuitive LCD display, which allows you to easily read and adjust the various parameter settings to your energy requirements. The controller comes designed with two 5V/2A USB ports, enabling you to conveniently charge your smartphone and other small gadgets.
When it comes to ease of installation, the solar panels come with pre-drilled holes at the back for hassle-free mounting. You also get a mounting kit with everything you need to get the solar system up and running within no time. These include a set of mounting brackets and all the necessary cables and wires for easy installation.
- Outstanding supply great for various off-grid applications
- Has a convenient and easy to operate controller
- IP67 rating makes it a great all weather solar panel kit
- Made of high-quality material for maximum durability
- Allows charging of small devices via the included USB ports
- Monocrystalline solar cells ensure consistent performance
- Great for those starting on solar
- Easy to install and connect
- Sleek, portable design allows for easy storing and transporting
- Doesn’t come with a battery
Best Starter Kit for Home: Renogy 400 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Solar Starter Kit
If you’re new to solar and want an efficient and reliable starter kit for your RV home, you can’t go wrong with the Renogy 400 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Solar Starter Kit.
This solar starter kit features four high-performance monocrystalline panels with an efficiency rate of up to 21 percent. The four solar panels combined provide you with about 2000Wh each day, which is sufficient to power your RV home off-grid.
This system comes with a 30A PWM charge controller that’s designed specifically for use with RVs. The charge controller helps improve charging efficiency as well as protect your battery from overcharging, discharging, overloading, and short-circuiting while it’s charging.
The controller is wall-mountable, making it convenient for use in your RV where space is a huge concern. The panels have corrosion-resistant aluminum frames, which ensures they last you for decades even with extended outdoor use.
Installing this system in your RV is pretty simple as the panels come with pre-drilled holes at the back and Z-brackets for quick and secure mounting. However, with four large solar panels, this system requires plenty of roof space for maximum sunlight exposure.
As such, if your RV doesn’t have enough roof space or just need an efficient starter kit with a smaller footprint that can keep your small devices and gadgets juiced up during your adventures, you may want to consider getting the Renogy 100W 12V Monocrystalline Solar Starter Kit.
- 21 percent efficient monocrystalline cells ensure outstanding performance
- Designed to reduce power drops while in the shade
- The charge controller can be mounted, making this great for RV use
- Comes with the necessary mounting hardware for easy installation
- Designed to ensure fast, safe battery charging
- Can be expensive for some
- Not ideal for small RVs due to its large size
- Doesn’t come with the battery
Best Off-Grid Solar Panel Kit: ECO-WORTHY 200 Watts Solar Panel Kit
The ECO-WORTHY 200 Watt Monocrystalline Solar Panel Kit appears top on our list as the best off-grid kit for RVs due to its heavy-duty construction, efficient performance, simple setup, and reasonable price tag.
First off, this solar panel kit features two 100-Watt monocrystalline solar panels that are not only space-efficient but also solidly built, featuring a 35mm heavy duty aluminum frame. The high efficiency solar panels can provide you with up to 800Wh per day with ideal sunlight.
The panels also perform pretty well during cloudy days, meaning they will still provide sufficient power for your needs even with unfavorable weather. This kit comes with a 20A PWM charge controller that handles the system’s maximum output without any problem.
The controller has a built-in LCD display that displays the system’s crucial data and status clearly. You also can seamlessly switch modes and easily adjust the different parameter settings from the controller. Besides that, you get two 5V/3A USB ports, allowing you to charge two of your devices simultaneously.
While this is one of the best kits out there for off-grid applications, you may not be able to expand your output due to the limited capacity of the included charge controller. As such, if you need more than the 0.8kWh per day, you may opt for the ECO-WORTHY 400 Watt Solar Panel Kit with an output of up to 1.6kWh per day. For your home, you can choose the ECO-WORTHY 1KW Complete Solar Panel System Kit with a massive output of upto 4kwh daily.
- Takes only a few minutes to put together and get it up and running
- Mounting hardware included
- Generates enough power for RV off-grid
- Quick and safe battery charging
- Space-efficient panels, great for virtually any RV
- Made using high-quality materials for maximum durability
- Low-capacity charge controller
Best for Shed: SUNGOLDPOWER 200 Watt 12V Monocrystalline Solar Panel
Another great 200 Watt solar panel kit on our list, the SUNGOLDPOWER 200 Watt 12V Monocrystalline Solar Panel makes the best inexpensive kit for powering your shed.
This solar panel kit features two Grade-A 100 Watt monocrystalline solar panels that can easily give you up to 200 Watts on a sunny day. This means that this system can power your shed’s lights, security cameras, and run other low-draw appliances without any problem as long as there’s consistent sunlight.
The kit has a 20A Solar Charger Controller with a display that lets you easily know the status and important data of your system performance. It also enables you to switch modes and control parameter settings for optimal performance.
You also get two sets of Mounting Z Brackets, MC4 Y Branch Connectors, and 10ft MC4 Connector cables, so you can easily assemble and install it on your shed yourself without the help of a professional.
- Great panel size, doesn’t take up plenty of roof space
- Backed by a 25-year warranty
- Generates enough power to power low-draw appliances and charge battery
- The monocrystalline panels are responsive even when it’s cloudy
- Comes with all mounting equipment for easy installation
- Compatible with other panels to create a custom system
- Requires consistent sunlight
- Cannot run appliances and charge your battery simultaneously
- Battery isn’t included
Best for Emergencies: GVSHINE [30W Panel Foldable] Solar Panel Lighting Kit
If you’re looking for an efficient solar panel kit that can reliably meet your power needs during emergencies, you can’t go wrong with the GVSHINE Solar Panel Lighting Kit.
Featuring a high power 30W Polycrystalline solar panel, this system generates sufficient power to illuminate your space during emergencies like hurricanes, snowstorms, and power blackouts. They can also come handy in various off-grid applications such as when you’re camping, fishing, or farming.
One of the selling points of this kit is the foldable design of the 14V 30W polycrystalline solar panel, which makes storing easy and convenient for transporting to your adventures. It also comes with a 12Ah power system which you can charge by solar or via AC or DC power.
It also comes with 5 LED bulbs with ON/OFF switches and has a total of five USB charging output ports. This allows you to charge your devices and also light several LED bulbs.
- High power Polycrystalline 11V 30W solar panel
- Waterproof construction makes it a great all-weather multi-purpose solar kit
- Fast charge ports keeps devices juiced up always
- Lightweight and foldable design allow great portability
- Super easy to install and operate
- All the necessary accessories are included
- Cannot power large appliances
Best for 12 volt battery charging: Topsolar Solar Panel Kit
The Topsolar Solar Panel Kit provides the easiest and most efficient way to charge your 12 volt batteries off-grid. This means that you can use this solar panel kit in your RV, boat, marine, or even your car.
Measuring 18.9 x 13.4 x 0.7 inch and weighing only 4.8 pounds, this solar panel kit is incredibly lightweight and portable, which allows for hassle-free transporting. Despite its small size, this kit is powerful enough to charge standard batteries and power 12-volt appliances and devices, thanks to the highly efficient monocrystalline solar panel.
The system can generate a maximum power of about 20 watts and up to 1000V DC of system voltage. The panel features a corrosion-resistant aluminum frame and a tempered-glass coating to ensure lasting durability and added protection against harsh weather elements and tear and wear.
It also has an IP67 rated controller, meaning you can conveniently use it no matter the weather conditions.
- Compact and lightweight design allows for easy transporting
- Delivers high-power output considering the size
- High-quality construction for lasting durability
- IP67 rated controller allows for al-weather use
- Comes with a mounting kit, which makes installation a breeze
- Adjustable panel angle for enhanced solar efficiency
- Not ideal for huge power needs
Best Polycrystalline RV Kit: ACOPOWER 400 Watts 12/24 Volts Polycrystalline Panel Solar RV Kits
Featuring four 100-watt polycrystalline panels, the ACOPOWER 400 Watts 12/24 Volts Polycrystalline Panel Solar RV Kit generates enough power to meet your daily RV needs efficiently.
This versatile solar panel kit comes with a MPPT solar charge controller, which lets you to conveniently monitor and adjust the various settings of the panels remotely. Apart from being easy to operate, this kit is also quite easy to install on your RV as it comes with all the necessary mounting hardware.
It also comes backed by a 25-year warranty, ensuring lasting durability and consistent performance. Providing you with up to 400 watts of power, you’ll have no problem charging your batteries or running your devices on the go with this kit.
- Can be used with both 12 and 24-volt batteries
- Provides sufficient power for your daily needs off-grid
- Great build quality lasting up to 25 years
- Allows addition of panels for increased wattage
- You can adjust the various panel settings remotely
- Can be expensive for some
- The polycrystalline panels are less efficient compared to monocrystalline panels
- Takes up alot of roof space
Best Complete Solar Panel Kit: WindyNation Complete 400 Watt Solar Panel Kit
If you’re looking for a kit that comes with everything you might need to get started with solar, your best choice is the WindyNation Complete Solar Panel Kit.
Probably the only complete solar panel kit on our list, this system comes with everything a solar kit should have including the batteries and an inverter, so you don’t need to buy any additional component separately.
This also means you can immediately install it and start using it right out of the box. The kit comes with high-quality, well-engineered components including a powerful 1500W Inverter and a 30A charge controller. This allows you to add extra panels in case you need more power in the future.
The kit comes with four 100-watt polycrystalline panels, which can provide you with 135 Amp hours per day or up to 1600 watt hours with ideal sunlight. This means you’ll be able to power all the devices and appliances in your RV with this kit without any issue. The package also includes cables, connectors, and the all required mounting hardware for a fuss-free setup.
However, if you don’t need that much daily power output or want a cheaper but efficient alternative, consider the WindyNation 100-watt Solar Panel Complete kit.
- Performs efficiently, even during cloudy days
- Great quality solar panel kit with well-made components
- Arrives complete with all the essential components and hardware
- Quite easy to set up and install
- Generates a massive power of up to 1600 watt hours daily
- User-friendly controller LCD screen makes it easy to operate the system
- The quality of the Inverter could be improved
- The polycrystalline cells aren’t as efficient as monocrystalline solar panels
Most Efficient 200-Watt Kit: WEIZE 200 Watt 12 Volt Solar Panel Starter Kit
With two 100-watt monocrystalline solar panels with a high efficiency conversion rate of up to 21 percent, this solar panel kit by WEIZE is easily the most efficient 200-watt system on our list.
Another stand out feature of this solar panel kit is its durable construction that features tempered glass panels with anodized aluminum frames and sealed junction box. This makes the panels not only resistant to corrosion but also weatherproof, so you can use the kit outdoors without getting damaged easily.
With this kit, you can get about 300 to 600Wh per day, which is enough to meet your daily power needs for your RV, shed, and other off-grid uses. The panels come with pre-drilled holes on the back and are designed compatible with Z-brackets, which makes installation hassle-free for you.
On the other hand, if you prefer a kit with a single panel but still extremely efficient, you may consider checking out the WEIZE 100 Watt 12 Volt Solar Panel Starter Kit.
- Uses monocrystalline panels with a high 21 percent conversion efficiency.
- Comes with a charger controller, mounting brackets, and extension and tray cables
- Well-made with high-quality materials for maximum durability and lasting performance
- Pre-drilled holes makes installation easy
- Doesn’t come with an inverter and battery.
Buying Guide: Things to Consider When Buying A Solar Panel Kit
Buying a solar kit can be an expensive investment, hence it is important to know exactly what you are looking for before making the move.
Some of the major considerations you will have to make include; the amount of energy you need to harvest, how big a solar array you need to provide this kind of energy, and whether you want to go off-grid or stay on-grid.
This guide will look into various factors that will allow you to make an investment that is worthwhile as follows;
● Your power consumption or load
The amount of electricity you consume per day is a key consideration as you decide your solar kit needs. Look at your energy consumption habits, and look at the lowest possible, bearing in mind that energy conservation is also energy generation.
The kind of appliances that use electricity and their capacity in terms of wattage is a key consideration in determining the power load. You do it by establishing the wattage of your appliances as indicated on the appliance or instructions manual. Identify all 12 volts electrical appliances, how many watts they consume, and identify how many watts you consume daily by estimating the number of hours you would use each appliance daily.
After identifying the amount of energy you need in your house, next will be identifying the correct equipment and size that is required to meet your consumption. A major consideration here is the solar panel, its wattage, and size.
Solar panels have different wattages depending on use. Most standard solar panels are 100W. A kit may contain a number of panels, and a combination of panels will provide the wattage that you need, depending on your load. A laptop or a refrigerator can be run on 100W.
There are different types of solar panels to choose from. These include;
- Mono-crystalline panels; made of single silicon crystal doped silicon cells. They are a bit expensive but most efficient.
- Poly-crystalline: made up of more than one doped silicon crystal, these are cheaper and less efficient than mono-crystalline.
- Amorphous: require more space to generate electricity as compared to mono and poly-crystalline solar cells.
- Thin-film: light in weight, cheaper
● Efficiency rate
An important indicator of solar quality is its efficiency rate. That is how well a solar photovoltaic cell can convert sunlight into electricity. The best solar panels on today’s market have an efficiency rating of approximately 22%.
You should closely note the efficiency of the solar panel, installation space, and maximization of electricity production before buying a solar kit.
The performance of the solar panels is also a factor to consider. Measured through a temperature coefficient rating, it will give you an idea of how your solar panel performs in less-than-ideal conditions. Solar panels work better at lower temperatures. The ideal temperature is 25° C/77° F.
● Battery Voltage
If off-grid, you will require batteries to store power. It is important to note that the number of volts the kit produces will determine the type of battery you will need to purchase. Most panels produce 12V. Larger kits can service up to 48V.
At a minimum, a 12V 100 Amps battery would be able to power your basic appliances and devices. An appropriate inverter can be used to convert the volts from DC to AC for more specialized uses.
Please note that not all solar power kits will include batteries. However, if power-cuts are a major problem in your area, go for a kit with batteries.
● Charge Controller
Identify the appropriate charge controller. You identify this by use of the amps produced by your panel and the type. Charge Controllers are categorized into two, PWM and MPPT.
- Pulse-width modulation (PWM) charge controllers, are the older and somewhat less expensive version and could be up to 25 percent less efficient.
- Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) charge controllers are newer and more expensive and efficient in terms of capturing the power produced by your solar panels.
Your budget is the major determinant here, though MPPT would be ideal. An additional panel would also come in to offset the efficiency loss of a charge controller.
Not all appliances will run on DC that is produced by solar panels. This is why you need an inverter to convert DC to alternating current or AC.
You may go for a kit that has a string inverter, that is connected to an array of solar panels or a micro-inverter is attached to each solar panel. Kindly note that the string inverter is cheaper and has a lesser life compared to the micro-inverter.
Other factors to consider when purchasing a solar panel kit include;
● Kit contents
A solar kit has several components that come with it. At a minimum, a kit has;
- Solar panels,
- Charge controller (for off-grid systems),
- Wiring, to connect the solar panels to the charge controller.
Bigger and more advanced kits have the following;
- Mounting hardware to connect solar panels to the roof.
- Wiring to go from the charge controller to the battery and from the battery to the inverter.
- Installation manual (important for DIY)
It is important to note that the more equipment that’s provided in a kit, the better, as it generally costs less to bundle items, and it also assures parts compatibility.
Most companies will offer a warranty to guarantee the quality of their products. Checking the terms of the warranty is important. A key condition in any warranty is the term. For solar panel kit components, most manufacturers will offer at least a 10-year materials warranty and some offer a term of even 25 years for the solar panel. Remember, the longer the warranty term, the better the quality of the solar panel kit components.
● Payback period
A solar panel kit will provide power (almost constant power) for a duration of up to 25 years at the same initial installation cost. On the other side, electricity supplied from the grid by your power supplier constantly increases from one year to another. In this case, consider the duration of time in which the investment in the solar panel kit will be returned by the generation of electricity from the same. This is the payback period.
FAQs for solar panel kits
● What do solar panel kits include?
Different solar panel kits come with different components, but all offer mostly the same capabilities. The basic components are solar panels, connecting cables, fuses/breakers, a charge controller, and mounting hardware. Others may have a battery and an inverter.
● Do I need to hire a professional to install the solar panels?
Some solar panels kits are DIY, whereas others require professionals to install. You can install simple low voltages off-grid solar systems by yourself.
As wattage increases, for example, up to 1,000W or more, solar installations become more complicated hence need a professional to do it. This is more so if it involves an on-grid connection that in most jurisdictions, it is only licensed electricians who are allowed to actually work in your electrical panel, and you can only hire one from the panel to do the installation.
● Are Solar Energy Kits Worth It?
If you buy a kit, rather than separate solar power components, the complete energy kit will be cheaper. It will save you time taken to identify and search the different parts if you decide to buy them independently. However, buying the kit doesn’t offer the freedom to customize your kit.
● Are solar panels expensive?
The cost of a solar kit is dependent on your needs, the seller, and the components of the kit. For an average homeowner, there are kits that go for as low as $100. On the other hand, there are bigger kits that can support an entire residential building that would cost up to $5,000 or more for all the equipment.
Remember that solar panels are an investment, rather than expenditure. And considering an average power bill of $100 per month, your investment will pay itself back in as little as a few years. However, the upfront cost may seem like a lot at first.
● What’s the difference between poly-crystalline and mono-crystalline panels?
Solar panels are made of solar cells. The solar cells are either mono-crystalline or poly-crystalline made from silicone.
Mono-crystalline panels are made of single-crystal doped silicon cells and are most efficient but costly. On the other side, poly-crystalline panels are made up of more than one doped silicon crystal, these are cheaper and less efficient.
● Will your solar panel kits be used on an RV or boat?
Solar panel kits can be used on your RV or boat. Since you need to power appliances on the go, you will require a customized solar panel kit, since most are designed for permanent installation.
There are portable solar kit models that have foldable or flexible panels, pre-wiring, pre-drilled holes, pop-out stands, lightweight materials, and durability that could function well on an RV or boat. They have a capacity that ranges from 100-200W.
If you want to use the kit on a boat, then you will have to look for marine-friendly equipment that would have marine charge controllers and waterproof panels.
● What’s the difference between Off-Grid and On-grid Kits?
On-grid kits are installed to work on the grid provided by your local energy utility. They are metered and any excess energy is put back into the grid. They don’t use batteries as energy is just taken from the grid when needed. This means that they are more efficient.
Off-grid installations are not connected to the grid. They use energy stored on batteries, and can be portable. They provide complete energy independence.
· What factors will affect the efficiency of solar panels?
Some of the main things that can affect the efficiency of your solar panel include the materials used in making the panel, how well the panel can handle heat and the reflective efficiency.
· What does a solar panel kit contain?
At the bare minimum, a complete solar kit should include one or multiple solar panels, a charger controller, and a dollar cable for connecting the controller to the panel.
Other solar panel kits also come with additional components like an inverter, batteries, cables, connectors, fuses, and mounting hardware such as brackets.
· What can you run on a 100-watt solar panel?
With a 100-Watt Solar Panel, you can run several low-draw appliances and devices including small devices and gadgets like phones, fans, routers,laptops, and lamps.
But, you may need to combine several 100-watt panels to get sufficient power to run larger appliances like refrigerators, HVAC systems, and TVs.
· Can a 300-watt solar panel run a refrigerator?
Yes. But you can’t run a refrigerator on a solar panel alone. The only way you can do this is by connecting the 300-watt panel to a battery and inverter to power up your refrigerator. Your 300-watt solar panel will charge the battery, which will then provide power to your refrigerator.
· How is solar efficiency calculated?
Solar efficiency is calculated by determining the amount of solar energy a solar panel can convert into electricity.
And you can calculate the efficiency of your solar panel by multiplying the amount of sunlight that reaches the ground in your area (incident radiation flux) by the total area of your panel(in square meters). Then, divide your panel’s wattage with this number and multiply the result with 100 percent to get the efficiency of your solar panel.
Buying a solar kit is not an easy task, especially if you don’t have the required technical know-how. Besides the solar panel kit’s features and included components, other things you should consider to make sure you purchase the right one for your unique needs are your budget, space, and your power needs. But, with the above list of the best solar panel kits , you can now easily find a solar panel kit that best meets your power needs whether it’s for your home, RV, or campsite.