Solar panels are a great way to generate power that you can truly feel good about. Solar power is renewable, green, and it’s free!
But, let’s face it, solar technology is complicated, and it can be difficult to know what you need to get started on a solar energy system of your own. For this reason, solar panel kits were designed. These kits contain the gear you need to get started on your solar journey.
In this article, we’re examining the best solar panel kits on the market. We’ll start with our favorite products, and then jump into a buying guide to help you understand all the ins-and-outs of this product category.
These are our favorite solar kits on the market. We’ve included plenty of variety on this list. We’ve included kits for those with basic needs, to those looking to build an advanced solar panel system.
1. BEST OVERALL: Renogy 100 Watt 12-Volt Monocrystalline Starter Kit
Renogy is one of the most trusted brands in solar power, and this kit is a great example why. It’s a high-quality, high functioning kit that has everything you need to get started.
The standout component of the kit is the 100W (watt) monocrystalline solar panel. Monocrystalline is considered the most efficient material for generating solar electricity. It has a cell efficiency of 21%, which basically means it is among the fastest chargers on the market.
The panel generates power well even in low light conditions. It’s built for 500Wh per day, and can charge a 50Ah battery from 50%-full in 3 hours (depending on the light).
This kit also includes a 30A (amp) PMW charge controller. This is a great controller to start out with, as it allows you to expand your kit to 400W if you see fit. If you find your needs are more expensive, you can add up to 3 extra 100W solar panels (provided you have the space in your battery bank).
If you’re unfamiliar with solar charge controllers, skip ahead to our buying guide where we give you the low-down on all the components included in a solar panel kit.
The kit also provides all the cables and mounting hardware to set up the panel almost anywhere. It’s ideal for boats, RVs, or any outdoor environment. The panels are laminated and corrosion-resistant, and were designed to be used outdoors for decades.
It’s easy to see why Renogy is among our favorite kits on the market. Just be aware that this kit does not include batteries or an inverter. Unfortunately, as you’ll see throughout our list, these components are almost always sold separately.
- High quality monocrystalline solar panels – charge efficiency of 21%.
- Highly durable and built to last for decades.
- Charge controller allows for expansion of system up to 400W.
- Built for 500Wh per day.
- Kit doesn’t include batteries (although this is the case for most kits).
2. TP-Solar Solar Panel Kit 100W
Next up, we have a quality solar panel kit from TP-Solar. This is another excellent 100W starter kit.
The solar panels themselves work efficiently and are built to last. They’re made of monocrystalline materials, and have a very efficient charge rating. The panels are designed for extended outdoor use, and have been tested in heavy wind and snow.
The package comes with a 20A charge controller. The controller allows you to expand your system up to 400W on a 12V (volt) battery and 800W with 24V. The controller protects against all common issues, including overcharging, short circuiting, over voltage, discharging, and reverse polarity.
The kit also has all the screws, brackets, cables, and components you need to get started. There are even pre-drilled holes in the panels for quick-and-easy mounting.
- All the components you need to get started.
- Effective 20A charge controller protects against common issues and allows for expansion.
- Panels have been tested in harsh outdoor conditions.
- We wish the controller had an LED display.
3. BEST BUDGET: SUNER POWER 50W Kit
This product comes is our “best budget” option due to its affordable price tag. That being said, it’s still a high-quality panel, and it’s still got everything you’d expect from a quality kit.
This is a 50W kit, so it’s more ideal for smaller components and device charging. If you’re looking to build a solar kit that’s not quite as extensive as some other options on our list, this is a great place to start.
It’s a high-quality monocrystalline panel, built for efficient charging with a 3-stage charge system. It also includes a controller to protect against common issues, such as overcharging, over-discharging, short-circuiting, etc.
Overall, it’s a quality kit, but definitely for those with less extensive needs. If you want a solar kit as a backup, or for portable device charging, then this kit might be for you.
- Highly affordable.
- Quality monocrystalline panels.
- Efficient charge controller.
- Only 50W – for those with lesser charging needs.
4. Renogy 400W Kit
Contrasting our last choice, this kit is for those looking to generate a lot of power with their solar panel kit. This is another high-quality option from Renogy. The kit contains 4 efficient solar panels, and can output up to 400W of power.
The panels are monocrystalline in design, and have a charge efficiency of 21%. It’s the usual high-performance you expect from Renogy products.
The kit also contains one of Renogy’s premium charge controllers – the Rover. The Rover is built with conversion efficiency of 98%, and tracking efficiency of 99%. Needless to say, that’s about as good as it can get. It supports a 4-stage battery-charging process to help the batteries charge faster and more efficiently.
This kit also contains a junction box, and various fuse components to protect the charge controllers and the battery.
Overall, this product leans toward heavy duty solar kit territory. If you’re looking to build a solar power system that can support a wide variety of devices, then this is where you want to start. It has everything you need to get started, and an intuitive instruction manual for getting it all set up.
- 4 panels for 400W of power.
- Premium charge controller for maximum conversion and tracking efficiency.
- Includes junction box, ASL fuse, and waterproof in-line fuse.
- Intuitive instruction manual.
- Definitely be sure you actually require this much power.
5. DOKIO 300W Portable Solar Panel Kit
Here’s an example of a kit that was built with portability in mind. As opposed to the kits we’ve looked at so far, this one wasn’t built to be mounted in one place. It was built to be moved and transported, and to provide you with portable power on-the-go.
It all starts with the foldable design of the solar panels themselves. These panels can be folded up into a compact carrying package. It resembles a large suitcase, but only weighs 17 pounds. There are carrying handles attached to the sides, which makes transporting a breeze.
The panels themselves are highly capable. You get 300W of power in total, which is extremely impressive for a portable solar panel. It’s made possible through high-efficiency monocrystalline technology. The panels are also extremely efficient for their size, and are only 0.9 inches thick.
This package also contains a charge controller which is suitable for any 12V battery. The charge controller also includes 2 USB outlets for portable devices. Whether you are looking to charge a portable generator, or just need some extra power for your camping trip, this device will fit the bill.
Overall, a very high-quality portable panel. If you want a panel to travel with you on the road, then this is the one for you.
- 300W of power.
- Foldable design with easy carrying case.
- Includes charge controller for battery or for USB devices.
- Not ideal if you want a device that can be permanently mount.
6. BEST PREMIUM: WindyNation Solar Panel Kit WITH Batteries
This is a high-quality solar panel kit. But there’s one important detail that separates it from the rest – it comes with a battery! In fact, there are several buying options for this product, some that come with multiple batteries, and some that also contain inverters. Because of this, it takes our “best premium” option.
This kit contains 3 100W solar panels (for a grand total of 300W of power), a 30-amp charge controller, all necessary connectors and cables, a DC to AC power inverter, and 2 100aH AGM batteries. It truly is an all-in-one kit.
But the package is only as good as the components themselves, and we’re happy to report that all components are high-quality, functional, and efficient. In fact, WindyNation is one of the most trusted names in solar products.
The solar panels themselves are made with polycrystalline design. Poly is known to be slightly less efficient than monocrystalline, but the difference isn’t too dramatic. Poly panels are also cheaper, so you save money in this regard.
This is the perfect kit if you want everything you need to build a 12V off-the-grid system. It’s a little unclear why so few kits contain batteries, so it’s refreshing to find a high-quality kit that actually does. If you’re new to solar power, or just looking for a convenient buy, then this is the kit to go for.
- All-in-one kit – includes batteries and inverter.
- All components made with high-quality design.
- Cost savings by buying everything at once.
- Polycrystalline panels aren’t quite as efficient as monocrystalline.
What’s in a Solar Panel Kit
Let’s start by widening your knowledge in this area. In order to pick the best solar panel kit for your own set-up, it’s best to first understand each component that’s included in the kit. Here’s what you can expect in most solar panel kits:
Solar Panel – Of course, you’ve got the solar panel. An obvious addition to the kit, but no less worth mentioning. As you may or may not already know, a solar panel (also called a solar photovoltaic device) converts sunlight into electricity. Depending on the size and efficiency of the panel, it will create more or less energy. This is measured in terms of wattage. The more wattage included in the kit, the more power you can expect to generate with your panels (assuming equal amounts of sunlight).
Charge Controller – A solar panel isn’t all you need to generate power. A charge controller is a very important device for transmitting the power from the panel to the battery (where it will be stored). A charge controller helps to regular the power transmitted by the solar panels, and also helps to protect against common issues such as overcharging of the batteries, short-circuiting, and other problems that may occur. Charge controllers often include an LED interface so you can control and monitor these issues.
Cables – The power needs a way to run from the panels through the entire system. This is why solar kits often include a network of cables to make this happen. They’ll often include not only the cables themselves, but also tools to properly organize and install the cables. For example, many kits will include a device for running the cables through the roof of an RV.
Mounting Hardware – Many people buy solar panels kits with the goal of mounting the panels in a permanent location (such as a roof, on top of an RV, on a boat, in their yard, etc.). Kits will often include components for effective mounting of these devices. The panels themselves will also often have pre-drilled holes which allow for easy attachment.
Batteries and Inverter (The Important Components NOT Found in Most Kits) – The above components are what are most often included in a solar panel kit. However, you’ll probably also need two other important components to complete your solar power set-up – batteries and an inverter.
Batteries provide a place to store the solar power that you’ve created. It goes without saying why this is important. You need to be sure to buy a kit that matches the voltage requirements of your batteries.
You might also require an inverter. An inverter will transfer the DC power created by the solar panels into useable AC energy. AC energy is what is used to power household appliances and gadgets.
While there are solar panel kits which include batteries and an inverter, it’s not very common.
The Best Solar Panel Kit – Factors to Consider
There are many solar panel companies on the market today so here are some factors to consider in order to make the best choice for your personal solar panel kit:
Your Power Requirements
Your first major consideration should be how much solar power you are looking to create. The kits are usually organized based on wattage. More wattage means more power, but it also means more solar panels, batteries, and a more extensive charge controller is required (not to mention more space and extra components).
Basically, you want to base it on your usage. See how much power you will need to generate to support your usage requirements, and base your choice of kit on that. We recommend you start small, and expand the kit if needed. Many of the kits on our list support extra panels if you want to expand down the line.
Quality of Components
Take some time to evaluate the quality of each component in the kit. We’ve only included options on our list that we can attest to in terms of quality, but there are still variations in quality between the different kits.
Be sure that the kit includes a quality charge controller. Pay attention to the maximum wattage supported by the controller, and the required voltage of the batteries. Aside from that, ensure that the controller provides adequate protection against common issues. We also prefer a controller that has an LED display for monitoring the power settings.
Finally, look for panels that are monocrystalline in design. These panels generate electricity most efficiently, and will have your devices charged in less time, and in less ideal light conditions.
Conclusion + Top Pick
Thanks so much for reading our guide to the best solar panel kits on the market. As you can see, not all kits are created equal. The best solar panel kit for you depends very much on your personal consumption needs. You need to evaluate the amount of power you are looking to generate, so that you can buy a kit that suits these needs.
We don’t think you can go wrong with any of the Renogy Solar Panel Kits. These kits contain everything you need to get started (minus the batteries). Renogy is one of the most trusted names in solar technology, and it’s easy to see why. The kits are functional, efficient, durable, and intuitive. Perfect for a beginner or for a solar veteran.