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8 Best Small Solar Panels in 2021

As the name suggests, the small solar panels are physically smaller than the traditional solar panels. They can be used for small scale work as they produce much less electricity. Small solar panels are often used in portable applications.

When exposed to sunlight the photovoltaic cells in solar panel receives the solar energy and absorb it. The absorbed energy gets transferred to a semi-conductor which helps create an electric field that produces voltage and current. They are combined to deliver power per the equation P=VI where P is power, V is voltage, and I is the current. Small solar panels can charge phones, can be used on camping trips and small projects requiring solar panels.

So if you’re looking for eco-friendly, portable panels that can power your pocket calculator, watches, wearable device, and other devices, small solar panels are the best option for you. Here we’ve collected comprehensive information about ‘The Best Small Solar Panels in 2021’ to help you find the right option. 

What to Look For in a “Small Solar Panel

  • Cost: One of the first factors you consider while selecting the small solar panel is its cost. The solar panel, which has various features, might be a bit expensive. But if you’re considering use for a long time, choose an expensive one that offers a long life span and ensures good quality. It proves economical in the long run than choosing the cheapest option, which wouldn’t last even a year.
  • Type: There are two types of solar panels: monocrystalline and polycrystalline. The type of panel you choose will affect the cost, the electricity it produces, and the area of coverage of your solar panel. 
    • Monocrystalline panels: They are a more efficient option. You can produce electricity with just a few panels, and it takes up less space. But Monocrystalline panels are often the more expensive option.
    • Polycrystalline panels: They are typically less efficient than monocrystalline and have a bluer tint. You would need more panels to generate the same amount of electricity. However, they are less expensive.
  • Size: Another essential factor to consider is size—the physical size and size in Watts. Install a solar panel according to your need and size as it will affect the price too. 
  • Color: There are two options: black and silver or white, black sheet. The black sheet is a uniform-looking panel, but they hold heat, which reduces the panel’s efficiency, and it does more. Aside from that, both function in the same way.
  • Warranty: Always consider purchasing a small solar panel that comes with a warranty. Make sure it delivers the essential function and offers long-term success.
  • Quality: Since you’re investing in a small solar panel, it is essential to check and do a bit of research about the product’s manufacturer. It will help you know about the supplies and whether the company offered what it promised. Other than that, always buy from trusted brands and manufacturers.
  • Efficiency: Assess your requirement and purchase a product that produces power more efficiently. Don’t end up spending more money on the large solar panel. The small solar panel which generates power with needed efficiency is always the better choice.

Best Small Solar Panels

If you’re buying the Small Solar Panels for the first time, these product reviews will assist you in getting a perspective to make a perfect purchasing choice. In this part, we’ve collected a list of the 8 Best Small Solar Panels in 2021. They are as follows:-  

Renogy 100 Watts 12 Volts Monocrystalline Solar Starter Kit

small solar panel

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The Monocrystalline Solar Starter Kit by Renogy is considered one of the best portable solar panels in the market. You can immediately start using this kit when connected with a battery using the 8 feet cable. This kit produces up to 400W, which enables power to devices and applications.

  • Type: Monocrystalline
  • Input Voltage: 18.9 Volts
  • Power Source: Solar-Powered

What We Love

We love that Monocrystalline Solar Starter Kit by Renogy comes with a negative grounding controller, which is helpful for motorhomes when it is negatively grounded. It weighs 20lbs and is capable of producing wattage between 100W and 400W. In some conditions, it creates an output of 500Wh in a day which is truly astounding. 

What We Didn’t Love

We didn’t love that it’s unfoldable, and the charge controller keeps stopping after few uses.

Our Verdict

Suppose you’re looking for a highly efficient portable solar panel cable producing wattage between 100W to 400W. Then, this product is recommended to you as it is beneficial and is environmentally friendly.

 

Zamp 80P Portable Charge Kit – Best 80-Watt Portable Solar Kit

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The portable solar kit by Zamp comprises pretty much everything you need for a solar charging system.

  • Wattage: 80W
  • Flexible: No
  • Number of Panels: 1
  • Weight: 26.3 pounds
  • Type of Panel: Foldable

What We Love

The Zamp Solar kit is a 5-stage, weatherproof, 80P and PWM solar charge controller. The Zamp solar kit provides 4.6 amps of charging power per hour and can be used when you need portable solar power. 

What We Didn’t Love

It is quite a bit expensive. 

Our Verdict

This product is highly recommendable, and it comprises all you need to establish a complete solar charging system.

 

WindyNation 100-Watt Solar Panel–Best 100W Standard Panel

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The WindyNation is the top choice for having fixed/standard 100W solar panels. It is designed specifically for use with RVs, cabins, homes, and many more. It is incredibly versatile and elementary to install.

  • Wattage: 100W
  • Weight: 18 pounds
  • Type of Panel: Standard
  • Warranty: 25-year warranty

What We Love

The product is designed to be used with 12-volt batters and provides you with 100 watts of clean power. Depending on the sunlight, the panel offers between 300 to 600 watts. 

The panel is budget-friendly and reasonably portable. The solar panel comes with a 5-year warranty for its parts and 25 years for the panel.

What We Didn’t Love

The quality of the product is low. 

Our Verdict

The product is recommended as the panels are budget-friendly, and almost anybody can afford and set up the panels.

 

ECO-WORTHY 40 Watt 12 Volt Polycrystalline Off Grid Portable Foldable Solar Panel Suitcase Built-in Kickstand with 3A PWM Charger Controller

small solar panel

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The ECO-WORTHY, as the name suggests, is eco-friendly and efficiently produces clean energy from the sun’s renewable source of energy, thereby sustaining the environment. This ECO-WORTHY model is one of the best and well-known to be folding solar panels.

  • Wattage: 40 watts
  • Package Dimensions: 22.2 x 17 x 4 inches
  • Weight: 12 Pounds

What We Love

We love that the ECO-WORTHY has a corrosion-resistant frame made of aluminum, ensuring that your panel can withstand extreme weather conditions such as rain, heavy snow, and strong winds.

It is a polycrystalline model, and It comes with a safety mechanism to protect against overload, overcharge, over-discharge and Reverse connection.

What We Didn’t Love

We didn’t love the fact that it has meager output.

Our Verdict

We recommend this product as it is very affordable and trustworthy. You can take it like an office briefcase. It comes with various protection and durability, as mentioned earlier.

 

ALLPOWERS Solar Panel Bendable 100W–Best Flexible Portable Solar Panel

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As the name implies, ALLPOWERS is 100W Bendable, lightweight, easy to install, use, and has superior durability. The junction box of ALLPOWERS Solar Panel is sealed and waterproof.

  • Wattage: 100W
  • Weight: 4.7 lbs
  • Warranty: 18-month warranty
  • Flexible: Yes
  • Type of Panel: Monocrystalline

What We Love

We love this product because the panel weighs 70% less than its standard analog and is less than 5% thick, allowing for simple storage, installation, and transport. 

It has 32 solar cells and captures 23.5% efficiency more than the conventional solar panels. As the name implies, it is bendable and can be curved to a maximum 30-degree arc. 

The installation is low cost and convenient. It can be affixed by adhesive on the pre-drilled holes in the panel.

What We Didn’t Love

It is strictly advisable not to connect more than three solar panels in parallel and over four solar panels in series connection.

Our Verdict

Since the product is a monocrystalline panel, it’s very durable and can handle extreme foul weather. It is very efficient for collecting, converting solar panels and can be purchased even on a tight budget.

 

Other Small Solar Panels Worth Considering 

Below you’ll discover some more small solar panels. If the earlier is not suited for your need, consider the following:-

Go Power! GP-PSK-130 130W Portable Folding Solar Kit with 10 Amp Solar Controller

The Go Power! People who travel in RVs and campervans can use the solar kit to have a more impressive energy output. During the day, it provides 130W in an hour and has an in-built 10 amp solar controller.

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Goal Zero Boulder 100 Briefcase, 100 Watt Monocrystalline Solar Panel

The entire solar panel weighs less than 26lbs and can serve in an emergency, withstanding the harshest environment. 

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ACOPOWER UV11007GD 100 Watt

It comes with two foldable 50-watt solar panels, and the cells used are of high-quality monocrystalline. It can function as a battery, generator kit, or both at the same time.

Check Price on Amazon

 

Small Solar Panels: Working and Worth

What do we mean by small solar panels, and how does it work?

The small solar panel is the miniature version of the conventional solar panel that converts light into electricity. It absorbs the light from the sun and stores it into the photovoltaic cell and provides power to the needed product. It is used in places where it is either not economical or not productive to use large solar panels.

 

Why use a small solar panel?

The small solar panel can be used in places where large conventional solar panels cannot be used. They get charged when exposed to sunlight, absorb light, and store it into the photovoltaic cells to provide power. They can be used to charge pocket calculators, watches, cameras, and other wearable devices. The small solar panel can ensure a continuous supply of energy and recharge batteries efficiently.

 

Are they worth it over other conventional options? 

The rising cost of electricity has turned many people towards a renewable form of energy which helps them save money on their electricity bills. The small solar panels absorb the sun’s rays, convert them into electricity, and supply the needed power to the product. It is pretty easy to install and to use. Hence, they are a better and ideal option against the other conventional options.

 

Should you just DIY a small solar panel?

One of the best to create your small solar panel is to assemble store brought micro cells. If you have loads of time at your hands, you can DIY your small solar panel. The steps to which are as follows:-

  1. The first step in creating your own small solar panel is to purchase wired micro polycrystalline solar cells. Investing in the wired cell will make you project more straightforward and less expensive. 
  2. Cut backing for specific cells out of a thin plastic board. Carefully measure a square of 2mm and a width of about 1mm, a bit larger than your solar cells. 
  3. Solder and grease cells together to form a circuit. Grease the areas around metal when using unwired cells. Bond the wire to the contact and melt the tiny dab of solder onto cells’ metal contact.
  4. Use a silicon-based super glue to attach the cell to plastic output. On the two opposite corners, apply a small dab of glue at the back of a cell. Gently squeeze them, making sure that there is no space between them. (Tip: Allow the glue to rest for at least 24 hours.)
  5. The next step is to paint the cells using 2-part epoxy. Mix a clean container and use the dowel to apply a uniform 1mm layer over the plastic backing and solar cell.
  6. After the epoxy has dried for 24 hours, your solar panel is ready to use. The last step is to connect it to the circuit. Connect the positive wire to the negative port and connect the negative wire to the charge controller’s positive port. 

Pros and Cons of a small solar panel

Pros:

  • One of the significant advantages of having a small solar panel is saving on monthly electricity costs.
  • The power produces by the solar panel is clean and helps reduce the carbon footprint.
  • It can be used to charge multiple devices like pocket calculators, watches, cameras, and many more.
  • It is not very costly.
  • It provides energy from the sun’s renewable form of energy which helps sustain the environment by causing no pollution.
  • Solar panels are a greener option against traditional fossil fuels energy. 

Cons:

  • The initial cost of purchasing a whole solar system sometimes is very costly.
  • It is weather-dependent, although it works on cloudy and rainy days. Frequently, it is costly to store solar energy. 
  • Even small solar panels can take up lots of space when in bulk quantity, thus crowding the area.

FAQs

How to clean a solar panel?

Yes, you can clean your solar panel. The cleaning process takes only a few minutes since it is a very small devive. Use a moistened sponge with no chemicals, only water, and clean your solar panels.

Are solar panels durable?

If high quality is purchased, it will probably last for 20-30 years if you provide proper maintenance. 

Do small solar panels work at night?

Solar panels do not produce energy at night; however, solar panels can power or charge your devices using the energy stored during the daytime.

Tips and tricks for using a small solar panel

  • When using small solar panels, use your devices during the day to take an advantage of the sunlight.
  • Monitor your usage to know that you’re using your solar panel efficiently. 
  • Swap your electricity using the application to energy-efficient applications to utilize solar energy efficiently.
  • Shop around for a better small solar panel with a warranty and guarantee.
  • Monitor your solar panel. Make sure nothing is obscuring its view from absorbing the sunlight.
  • At times, dust and debris can be collected on the solar panel. Wipe the dust and other stuff using a moist sponge dipped in water. Make sure not to use any additional chemicals except water.

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