Shopping for a solar panel kit?
You've come to the right place.
What are solar panel kits?
A solar panel kit consists of an array of panels, batteries, wiring, electrical components, and hardware that can be used to generate electricity from sunlight.
A good solar panel kit will provide everything you need to install a fully functioning and safe power supply.
Solar panel kits come in many different configurations to meet a wide range of applications and power requirements.
Some solar panel kits include energy storage/batteries, while many do not.
Types of Solar Panel Kits
1. Solar Panel kits (panels + accessories, but no batteries/energy storage)
2. Solar Power Kits (includes batteries/energy storage)
What do solar panel kits typically include?
Solar panel kits usually include all of the equipment you'll need to generate DC and/or AC current from the sun.
Most kits today include at least the following components:
Who Should Buy a Solar Panel Kit?
If you need a regular supply of power away from a reliable power grid, then a solar panel kit is the least expensive way to get that power today.
Solar panel kits are often used to generate power and keep the power on in the following situations:
What’s In This Buying Guide?
In this in-depth buying guide, we review the best solar panel kits for your home, off-grid cabin, RV, camping and other applications.
We also explain the different kinds of kits available in the market and how to choose the right one for your needs.If you are looking for a solar generator/power station, read our reviews of the best home backup solar generators, the best camping solar generators, and the best small portable solar generators.
Best Solar Panel Kits & Solar Power Kits
The best solar panel kits include everything you need to set up and run your system. They'll also give you advice on what size system you should install, depending on your needs.
- 1Best For Remote Worksites: Bluetti AC200P 2,000 Watt Kit
- 2Best For Camping: Goal Zero Yeti 500x Portable Power Station + Nomad 50 Solar Kit
- 3Best Portable Power Station: Jackery Explorer 1500 + 4 SolarSaga 100W Panels
- 4Best For RVs: ACO Power Solar RV Kits
- 5Best For Home Backup (Devices & Small Appliances): EcoFlow EFDelta 1260Wh Solar Power Kit
- 6Best For Whole Home Backup: Goal Zero Yeti 6000x Power Station + (4) Nomad 200 Panels
- 7Best Solar + Wind Kit: Nature's Generator Platinum System 1800W
- 8Best DIY Kit for Off-Grid Cabins: ECO-Worthy 1200W/4.8kWh Complete Solar Kit
- 9Best DIY Home Solar Power Kit: GoGreen Solar 5kW Kit
- 10Best Home Solar Installer: Sunpower
Best for remote worksites
2000Wh LiFePO4 battery
3 x 200W
Goal Zero Yeti 500x
Best for camping
505Wh Li-ion battery
1 x 50W
Jackery Explorer 1500
Best portable power station
1534Wh Li-ion battery
4 x 100W
ACO Power RV Kit
Best for RVs
2560Wh LiFePO4 batteries
2 x 100W
EF ECOFLOW EFDELTA
Best for home backup
1260Wh Li-ion battery
2 x 160W
Goal Zero Yeti 6000x
Best for whole home backup
6071Wh Li-ion battery
4 x 200W
Best for whole home backup
1920Wh lead acid battery
3 x 100W
Best for off-grid cabin
2400Wh gel battery
6 x 195W
Best DIY home solar kit
13 x 410W
1. Best For Remote Worksites: Bluetti AC200P 2,000 Watt Kit
Why we like it
The Bluetti AC200P provides plenty of capacity (2,000Wh) and high power output (2,000W) to meet the needs of most remote worksites.
With 17 outlets, you can power a wide range of devices and appliances.
One of the best features is the 700W max solar input, allowing extra-fast charging from solar panels. This is handy when working in a remote area where solar is the only way to keep the power station charged.
The included three 200W solar panels can recharge the battery in 4-7 hours.
Battery: LiFePO4 2,000Wh, 120V
The Bluetti solar kit has two main components: the power station and the solar panels.
The Bluetti AC200P power station is designed for light and medium duty applications. It houses a 2,000Wh LiFePO4 battery with over 3,500 life cycles.
It also comes with a powerful inverter that can produce 2,000W of continuous AC power and up to 4,800W of surge power.
The power station has a built-in MPPT solar charge controller, so there’s no need to buy a separate one.
To recharge the power station, the kit includes three 200W solar panels. The solar panels use high-efficiency (up to 23.5%) monocrystalline cells and a durable ETFE laminate.
In addition, they are foldable for easy storage and portability.
Other accessories include;
The only extra accessory you may need is an extension cable (allows you to set up the power station inside with the solar panels outdoors).
We also recommend getting a trolley if you plan to move the power station around a lot. It’s tedious to carry by hand.
You can charge the Bluetti AC200P from an AC wall outlet, from a vehicle’s 12V port, or via solar panels.
For folks in remote worksites, solar is the best option. The Bluetti AC200P can accept up to 700W of solar power, one of the highest we’ve seen in any portable power station.
This allows you to charge the battery in just 5-7 hours using the three 200W solar panels.
The 400W AC adapter will recharge it in about 5.5 hours. You can get a second AC cable and adapter and dual charge it in just 3 hours.
There’s also an option to combine solar and AC charging, which cuts down recharge time to 2.5 hours.
Using a vehicle’s 12V port, it’ll take about 20 hours to recharge the Bluetti AC200P.
The Bluetti AC200P is one of the most versatile solar power stations. It has four kinds of outputs, with a total of 17 individual outlets.
The Bluetti AC200P power station on it’s own weighs 60.6lbs. Add the solar panels and the combined kit weight is 74.9lbs.
This is not a kit you want to carry too often by hand. It’s ideal for a long term setup in a truck or building. If you need to move it around the worksite frequently, get a trolley.
The Bluetti AC200P solar kit is a great choice for remote workstations that need a high-capacity solar power station that can power a wide range of electronics.
The three solar panels provide fast solar charging, making it easy to keep everything powered. And since you can charge the power station while still using it, you don't have to pause your work to recharge it.
2. Best For Camping: Goal Zero Yeti 500x Portable Power Station + Nomad 50 Solar Kit
Why we like it
The Goal Zero Yeti 500x offers plenty of power for campers, while being lightweight and compact.
It’s great for powering devices and camping appliances such as mini fridges and CPAP machines.
Battery: Li-ion NMC 505Wh
Solar panels: 50W Nomad solar panel
Charge controller: MPPT (built-in)
Max solar input: 150W, 13-22V
Inverter: 300W (1200W surge)
Combined kit weight: 19.7lbs
This Goal Zero solar kit includes a lightweight portable power station and a foldable solar panel.
The power station is the new Yeti 500x. It packs 505Wh of charge in a lithium ion battery with a lifespan of 500 cycles.
Built into the power station is a 300W AC inverter and an MPPT charge controller. So you don't need to set up an external inverter or charge controller.
The solar panel is the small 50W Nomad 50. The 50W max output is a bit low, but you can chain up to 3 of the solar panels for a total output of 150W.
The Nomad solar panel folds into a compact case that’s easy to travel with. It has loops so you can hang it from a tent, vehicle or some other surface when charging.
As for accessories, here’s what you get;
The Yeti 500x is not a very big power station, so a decently sized solar panel is enough to keep it charged. However, the Nomad 50 is a bit on the lower side.
According to Goal Zero’s own estimates, it’ll take 12-24 hours to charge the Yeti 500x with the 50W solar panel.
If you plan to camp for extended periods, we recommend adding one or two more Nomad 50 panels and chain them together. Goal zero says you can chain up to three of the Nomad 50 panels.
You can also charge the Yeti 500x in your vehicle, though you’ll need to buy the Goal Zero car charging cable separately.
The third charging option is a wall outlet using the included 60W adapter. It takes 10 hours to recharge the 500x, or 5 hours if you upgrade to the 120W charger.
The Goal Zero Yeti 500x solar kit is designed for light campers who carry mostly devices and a couple of small appliances with them.
It powers only small appliances such as mini fridges and CPAP machines. It can charge devices like phones, tablets, cameras, and drones.
You can also plug in various DC tools and electronics like an air pump, a car tire compressor, lights, and others.
Here are the various outlets.
The Yeti 500x weighs 12.9lbs while the Nomad 50 solar panel is 6.8lbs for a combined weight of 19.7lbs.
That’s light enough that most people can carry it by hand over short distances and around the campsite.
The whole kit is also compact. The solar panel folds to a small case measuring 17 x 11.25 x 2.5 inches while the power station measures 7.5 x 11.25 x 5.8 inches.
They both take up very little space in your vehicle and tent.
Most campers don't carry power-hungry appliances. So the 300W Yeti 500x is perfect for them. The 505Wh capacity should be enough for a couple days of camping, or longer when you use the Nomad 50 solar panel.
Avoid the Goal Zero Yeti 500x if you often carry power-hungry appliances when camping like a coffee maker or a blow dryer. It’s best for gadgets and light appliances.
If you need more power, consider the Jackery Explorer 1500 kit that we review next.
3. Best Portable Power Station: Jackery Explorer 1500 + 4 SolarSaga 100W Panels
Why We Like It
If you need a capable solar panel kit that you can easily carry with you, we recommend this Jackery Explorer 1500 and Solar Saga panels combo.
It is ideal for campers and anyone else who needs to power bigger and more power-demanding appliances.
Battery: Li-ion 1534Wh
Solar panels: 4 x 100W SolarSaga panels
Charge controller: MPPT (built-in)
Max solar input: 500W, 12-30V
Inverter: 1800W (3600W surge)
Combined kit weight: 76.4lbs
The Jackery kit comes with the Explorer 1500 portable power station and four 100W SolarSaga panels.
The Explorer 1500 packs 1534Wh of power in its lithium-ion battery, making it capable of charging larger appliances.
It can also charge electronics for longer, making it suitable for extended camping, remote worksites, off-grid cabins and home backup.
Similar to other solar power stations, the Explorer 1500 has a built-in MPPT charge controller as well as an inverter (1800W), so no need to install any external components.
You also get four foldable SolarSaga panels, each with a max output of 100W, for a total output of 400W.
The solar panels are foldable for easy storage and portability. They come with built-in kickstands for easy positioning when charging.
Other accessories include;
When you are outdoors or during a blackout, the four solar panels recharge the Explorer 1500 in about 4-7 hours depending on how much sunshine is available.
If you want to recharge the battery as quickly as possible, use the AC charger. It has a max input of 500W, filling the battery in a quick 3 hours.
The car charger is the slowest with a max input of 100W. It takes about 15.5 hours to recharge the Explorer 1500. It’s more ideal for topping up the battery when you are on the go.
While it’s not as versatile as the Bluetti AC200P with its 17 outlets, the Jackery Explorer 1500 covers all bases. That is, AC, DC, and USB.
The pure sine wave AC inverter has a continuous output of 1800W and a surge capability of up to 3600W. That means you can plug in just about any appliance in one of the three AC outlets.
This includes space heaters, window AC units, a coffee maker, and even a full size refrigerator.
That said, larger appliances will run for just a short time. For instance, a 1500W space heater will operate for about 1.5 hours if you run it at full blast.
As for DC, you only get one port - a 12A, 10A car port. Even the smaller Goal Zero Yeti 500x has two DC outlets and the Bluetti AC200P has a handy 25A RV port.
If you have many DC-powered tools and appliances, the Explorer 1500 is probably not the best choice for you.
For your gadgets and devices, the Explorer 1500 has three USB ports. These include a 5V 2.4A USB-A port, a Quick Charge 18W USB-A port, and Power Delivery 60W USB-C port.
While these cover charging needs for all sorts of gadgets, the number of ports are fewer than in most solar power stations, which limits how many devices you can plug in at the same time. The Yeti 500x has four USB ports, while the Bluetti has five USB ports.
The Explorer makes up for it with two additional USB ports on each SolarSaga panel; a USB-A and USB-C port.
But these are not as useful as the built-in ports on the power station. You can only use them when the solar panels are spread out in the sun.
The combined weight of the power station and solar panels is 76.4lbs. The power station on its own weighs 35.2lbs.
The entire kit takes up minimal space thanks to the compact power station and foldable panels. So it should be easy to fit it in your vehicle.
Both the power station and panels are light enough to move by hand over short distances such as around the campsite. The power station comes with a sturdy built-in handle.
The Jackery Explorer 1500 and SolarSaga 100 kit is suitable for campers and anyone who needs to power small and large appliances outdoors or at home.
Avoid it if you are a light camper who mostly needs to power small appliances and charge gadgets. Get the Goal Zero Yeti 500x kit instead. It’s cheaper and lighter.
4. Best For RVs: ACO 200W MPPT30A Power Solar RV Kit
Why We Like It
Unlike a power station that has everything built into it, a kit like this one from ACO is much better for setting up a permanent power system in your RV.
All the components come separately, so you can set up the system to suit your needs and RV layout.
Battery: 2 x 12V 100Ah LiFePO4 (2560Wh total capacity)
Solar panels: 2 x 100W monocrystalline solar panels
Charge controller: MPPT 30A
Inverter: 1500W (3000W surge)
Battery weight: 23.8lbs
Panel size: 40.2 x 20.1 x 1.4 inches
Here’s everything that’s included with the ACO solar RV kit.
Depending on your installation needs, you may need extra accessories such as additional cable or fuses.
The monocrystalline panels included with the ACO kit offer many advantages with the biggest being their high efficiency compared to poly solar panels.
This allows them to be smaller while still producing a lot of power. Each panel is 40” long and 20” wide, and produces up to 100W of power for a combined output of 200W.
Of course, in real life conditions, you’ll not get the full 200W from the solar panels.
On average, the two solar panels generate around 960Wh of charge per day, meaning they can recharge the battery bank in a couple of days.
It helps that the kit comes with an MPPT charge controller. It has extra high efficiency, ensuring you get the most power out of the solar panels even in low light conditions.
Battery Capacity & Output
The battery bank consists of a pair of 12V 100Ah lithium batteries with a total capacity of 2560Wh. That’s enough capacity for moderate use.
As for the inverter, it has a pure sine wave output of up to 1500W with a surge capability of 3000W.
It can power most RV appliances including a water heater, water pump, fridge, coffee maker, toaster oven, heater, and air conditioner.
Just keep in mind that the ACO kit is designed for moderate use. The batteries drain quickly when using high-draw appliances like a water heater. For instance, the kit will power a 1000W heater for about 2.5 hours.
The main downside of the ACO RV kit is that installation is more involved and requires some skill and experience in electrical systems. It’s not plug and play like a solar power station.
If you don't know much about wiring a home or RV, we highly recommend getting a pro to do it for you.
The ACO solar RV kit is a great choice for RV owners looking for a lithium battery solar kit that can power most appliances.
Avoid it if you need more capacity than the 2560Wh offered in the ACO kit. Also not suitable for those who prefer a no-installation plug and play system like the Jackery Explorer 1500.
Why We Like It
If you only need to charge your devices and maybe power a couple of appliances during a power outage, the EF ECOFLOW EFDELTA solar generator is perfect.
The battery has enough capacity to last you a couple of days or so. With the included solar panels, you can easily outlast a prolonged outage.
Battery: Li-ion 1260Wh
Solar panels: 2 x 160W monocrystalline
Charge controller: MPPT (built-in)
Max solar input: 400W, 10-65V
Inverter: 1800W (3300W surge)
Combined kit weight: 61.7lbs
The EF EcoFlow solar kit includes the EFDelta portable power station and a pair of foldable monocrystalline solar panels.
The power station has a lithium ion battery with a capacity of 1260Wh. That’s enough capacity to charge devices and power small and medium size appliances.
You can also plug in large appliances (the inverter can handle up to 1800W), but they’ll drain the battery too fast. The battery capacity is the limiting factor.
The solar panels have an output of 160W each, for a combined output of 320W. They come with an adjustable kickstand so that you can optimize sun exposure.
The kit also includes cables for recharging the power station from a wall outlet, the solar panels, or a vehicle’s 12V socket.
As with most power stations, the EF ECOFLOW EFDELTA has three recharge options: solar, AC, and car.
The AC option is the fastest. EF ECOFLOW uses what they call X-Stream technology to quickly charge the battery to 80% in just one hour and 100% in 1.6 hours.
Using the two solar panels is slower and takes 5-10 hours depending on how much sunlight you receive.
You can add an extra solar panel (EF ECOFLOW says you can chain up to three of the 160W panels) as long as you do not exceed the 400W maximum input the EFDELTA power station can handle.
The EF ECOFLOW EFDELTA power station has a total of 13 outlets.
These output options are great for home backup. You can charge multiple devices at the same time and plug in several appliances (as long as you do not exceed a total draw of 1800W).
The upside of having a lower capacity power station is that it's lighter and easier to move around. The EF ECOFLOW EFDELTA power station on its own weighs 30.9lbs while the solar panels weigh 22lbs.
So you can carry either by hand and set them up where the sun is shining.
To make moving them easier, the power station has a handle and the panels are foldable.
The EF ECOFLOW EFDELTA solar kit is a great choice if you want a solar panel kit that will keep your devices charged and power a few electronics like a mini fridge or TV during a power blackout.
Avoid it if you want a whole home backup kit. Check out the Yeti 6000x that we review next.
6. Best For Whole Home Backup: Goal Zero Yeti 6000x Power Station + (4) Nomad 200 Panels
Why We Like It
If you want a whole house backup solar system but don't want to go through the trouble and cost of wiring different components, the Yeti 6000x is for you.
It’s a plug and play power station that comes complete with four solar panels with a combined output of 800W.
The Yeti 6000x combines an enormous battery (6071Wh) with a powerful inverter (2000W) to power anything you want in your home for an extended period.
Battery: Li-ion NMC 6071Wh
Solar panels: 4 x 200W monocrystalline Nomad solar panels
Charge controller: MPPT (built-in)
Max solar input: 600W, 14-50V
Inverter: 2000W (3500W surge)
Combined kit weight: 194lbs
This kit includes the Yeti 6000x power station, four Nomad 200 solar panels, and a number of cables and adapters to complete your setup.
The 6000x packs a massive 6071Wh battery. It also has a built-in inverter, MPPT charge controller, and battery management system.
The solar panels are rated at 200W, providing a combined output of up to 800W.
The Yeti 6000x is huge, so you get a roll cart for easier mobility. Other accessories include a 600W AC power supply, extension cables, and a solar panel connector.
Similar to their other power stations, Goal Zero doesn't include the car charger cable. You have to buy it separately.
Something else you may want to get is the Yeti home integration kit. It lets you connect the Yeti 6000x to a max of four circuits in your home. This makes it easy to power lights, outlets and essential appliances if there’s a blackout.
The large battery in the Yeti 6000x requires a lot of juice to recharge. That’s why it comes with 800W of solar charging capacity via the four Nomad solar panels.
The 6000x power station can only take in 600W. But because solar panels usually don't produce the maximum stated wattage, having a total output of 800W means you get the full 600W input even on cloudy days.
The solar panels recharge the battery in 11-18 hours.
The included 600W AC power supply can recharge it in 12 hours.
The Yeti 6000x comes with an array of USB, AC, and DC outlets.
There are just two AC ports with a continuous output of 2000W and a surge capability of up to 3500W. You can plug in virtually any household appliance.
We just wish there were a few more AC ports to plug in more appliances and take advantage of the powerful inverter.
For devices and gadgets, there are four USB ports - two USB-A, USB-C, and USB-C PD.
And for DC tools, lights and appliances, there are three DC outlets including a 12V car port and a HPP 25A port.
The entire kit (Yeti 6000x + four solar panels) is big and heavy. It’s not even ideal for camping.
We only recommend it for home backup or an RV.
Thankfully, it comes with a roller cart so you can move it easily around your home.
The Goal Zero Yeti 6000x and Nomad solar panel kit is a great choice for anyone looking for a plug and play whole house solar backup system
Avoid it if you’d rather set up your own system with individual components. This gives you more freedom to choose exactly what you want such as battery capacity, type of charge controller, and so on.
7. Best Solar + Wind Kit: Nature's Generator Platinum System 1800W
Nature’s Generator Platinum system is a bit different from other solar panel kits. It’s designed to be highly modular, giving you the option to add as much power as you want.
It accepts input from both solar panels and wind turbines so you can adapt to any offgrid situation.
Oh, it also uses a lead acid battery rather than the usual lithium-ion battery.
Battery: AGM sealed lead acid 1920Wh
Solar panels: 3 x 100W
Charge controller: 200W built-in
Max solar input: 200W per unit
Combined kit weight: 299lbs
The Nature's Generator Platinum System has three main components.
1. The solar & wind generator
The main component is the generator that accepts solar and wind power. It consists of a replaceable 720Wh sealed lead acid battery, a 200W charge controller, and an 1800W pure sine wave inverter, all integrated into the generator.
This is the main controller unit that contains all the inputs and outlets plus a display.
2. Power pod
Power pods are the secret to the modularity and infinite expandability of Nature’s Generator.
The power pod is a separate unit that sits on top of the main generator on the cart. It has a bigger lead acid battery (1200Wh) and a built-in 200W charge controller.
The purpose of the power pod is to add power to the main generator. You can add as many power pods as you want and chain them together.
Each power pod comes with an expansion cable and port for connecting to the generator or another pod.
Combined, the Platinum System has 1920Wh of capacity. You can expand that to 3120Wh with an extra pod or 7920Wh by adding 5 extra pods and so on.
3. 3 X 100W solar panels
Three polycrystalline solar panels are included to charge the generator and power pod. Each has a 100W output.
Because of the 200W charge controller, you are limited to two panels for each unit (generator or pod). You can connect two of the solar panels to the generator and one to the power pod (the pod has its own solar input).
Each solar panel comes with a frame that can be adjusted to change the angle of the panel. It also has wheels for easy mobility.
The generator and the power pod can be charged in three ways: solar, wind, and AC.
For solar, you have the three solar panels with a combined output of 300W.
For wind, you’ll need a wind turbine from Nature’s Generator.
You can also charge the system from a wall outlet.
Note that any of the three charging methods charges both the generator as well as any connected pods. To reduce recharge time, each power pod also has a solar input so you can connect up to two 100W panels.
The main generator includes three 120V AC outlets with a max output of 1800W. You can plug in most appliances.
You also get a couple of USB ports. One of those ports is where you insert the provided Bluetooth smart key. You can then monitor the generator via the Nature’s Pulse app on your phone.
There’s also a single 12V DC output port on the generator as well as the power pod.
Tip: If you are using Nature’s Generator for home backup, we recommend getting the power transfer kit. It lets you connect your solar system to your home breaker panel. You can link up to 4 circuits.
The Nature’s Generator Platinum system is not designed for portability. With a combined weight of 299lbs, it’s heavy. Even the solar panels come with their own cart.
It’s best if you set up the generator and power pod somewhere permanently and then just wheel the solar panels around to catch the sun.
The lead acid battery is a major drawback of the Nature’s Generator Platinum System. But the modularity and expandability of the system is enough to make up for it.
If you want a versatile solar panel kit you can customize to your needs, Nature’s Generator is one of the best.
Avoid it if you’d rather stick to a lithium ion solar panel kit.
8. Best DIY Kit for Off-Grid Cabins: ECO-Worthy 1200W/2.4kWh Complete Solar Kit
Why We Like It
This Eco-Worthy solar kit includes 2400Wh of battery capacity and six solar panels that can produce at least 4kWh of power output per day.
This ensures you have reliable power supply in your off-grid cabin. You can power multiple appliances, while quickly recharging the battery bank.
Battery: 2 x 100Ah gel batteries (2400Wh total)
Solar panels: 6 x 195W monocrystalline
Average daily solar output: 4kWh
Charge controller: 60A PWM
Inverter: 3000W (6000W surge) pure sine wave
The Eco-Worthy kit comes with everything you need to set up an off-grid solar power system in your cabin.
The combined output of the six monocrystalline solar panels is 1170W. Assuming at least four hours of sunshine each day, you can expect a daily output of 4kWh or more.
That’s enough to charge the 2.4kWh battery pack almost twice over. And this is why the Eco-Worthy kit is great for off-grid cabins.
You can power all your appliances and electronics without worrying that you’ll run out of power.
The only upgrade we recommend to improve charging performance and efficiency is replacing the PWM charger controller with an MPPT controller.
Battery Capacity & Output
The Eco-Worthy kits comes with two gel batteries, each with a 100ah capacity. The combined capacity is 2400Wh.
We reckon 2.4kWh is adequate for most off-grid cabins. It can power an entire cabin without running out too quickly.
And with the six solar panels, it should be easy to keep the batteries from ever running empty.
Of course, if you want, you can always expand the system with more batteries and solar panels.
The kit also includes a powerful inverter that can handle high-powered appliances. It has a continuous output of 3kW and can handle surge demand of up to 6kW.
Note that this is a pure sine wave inverter, so it should work fine with all kinds of electronics.
Installation & Wiring
The Eco-Worthy solar kit is designed for DIY installation, but you still need to know your way around electrical wiring especially since the instructions provided are poor.
If you are not sure where everything goes, have an electrician set up the system for you.
The Eco-Worthy 2.4kWh kit is a great choice if you want a reliable solar power kit for an off-grid cabin.
Avoid it if you prefer the convenience and portability of a solar power station.
9. Best DIY Home Solar Power Kit: GoGreen Solar 5kW Kit
The GoGreen Solar 5kW kit produces enough clean power to meet 40-90% of the monthly electricity needs of the average American household.
Once you install the kit and tie it to your grid, you’ll enjoy significant energy savings.
Our favourite feature of the GoGreen kit are the microinverters that connect to each solar panel. We explain what they are shortly. They are game changers when it comes to solar power.
Battery: Not included
Solar panels: 13 x 410W monocrystalline
Max solar output: 5kWh
Charge controller: Not included (not necessary for a grid-tie system)
Inverter: Enphase micro inverters
This is not a complete kit. The GoGreen Solar 5kW kit only comes with the main components you need to set up a grid-tie solar power system.
These include the solar panels, solar panel mounting hardware, and micro inverters.
The package includes 13 monocrystalline solar panels, each with a max output of 410W. The combined output of all the solar panels is 5kW.
Each solar panel comes with its own racking and mounting for easy installation on the roof.
Each solar panel also gets its own micro inverter.
Note that wiring, connectors, and other accessories needed to complete the installation are not included. GoGreen can provide a shopping list so you can get them from a local store.
About the micro inverters
In a traditional solar panel kit, you connect all the solar panels together and direct their output through a single inverter.
Newer kits like the GoGreen Solar kit ditches the single inverter for individual micro inverters for each solar panel.
That means DC power from the panel is immediately converted to AC power by the micro inverter connected to it.
Micro inverters have several advantages.
The GoGreen Solar 5kW kit has an average output of 5,330 watts. According to GoGreen, the average monthly output is between 350 to 850 kWh depending on your location.
The average monthly usage for American households is 893kWh. So the GoGreen kit can offset between 40% and 95% of your monthly power usage, significantly reducing your power bill.
The GoGreen Solar kit is designed for DIY installation, to help you save money. But you’ll still need to follow your local regulations including possibly applying for permits and getting approval from your utility.
If you have no experience when it comes to electricity and wiring, we highly recommend hiring an electrician.
Note that this is a grid-tie solar system. It puts power into the grid.
If you want, you can convert it to a home backup system with one of GoGreen’s battery packages. Options range from 10kWh to 30kWh.
The GoGreen 5kW Solar kit is a great choice for small to medium size homes looking for a high quality and reliable grid-tie solar panel kit.
Avoid it if you are looking for a solar backup system. Alternatively, go ahead and get the kit plus one a battery backup kit from GoGreen.
10. Best Home Solar Installer: Sunpower
Our final recommendation is not a solar panel kit, but rather a solar system installer. Sunpower provides the complete package including consultation, planning, the solar panels themselves, and installation.
You can also work with them to choose and install the best solar battery storage for your home if you want a home backup system.
If you are not comfortable with a DIY solar panel kit, Sunpower is the best alternative. They’ll do everything for you.
You can start by getting a solar savings estimate for your zip code. From there, you can figure out how much you want to spend on a kit.
By the way, Sunpower provides a financing option.
How to Choose The Best Solar Panel Kit For Your Needs
Now that you know all about setting up your own solar power kit, it is important that you decide which one will work best for you.
Application: what will you use it for?
Solar panels can be used for many purposes including charging batteries, powering appliances & CPAP machines, supplying electricity to a cabin or boat, and more.
It is important to find a kit that meets your specific need.
In this guide, we've done the legwork for the most common needs, but if you don't think any of our picks will work for you, then keep reading...
Will your solar panel kit be used on an RV or boat?
If you want to install renewable energy in your RV or boat, consider buying a solar panel kit designed for an RV. Boats and RVs typically share the same power requirements and components, after all.
Most RV solar panel kits include built-in charge controllers and waterproof solar panels that are safe to use in seawater conditions.
Off-Grid vs Grid-Connected Kits
Solar panel kits are often used to power a campsite, RV, cabin, boat, or camper van without connecting it to the electrical grid. This is known as an "off-grid" installation.
Most solar panel kits are designed for off-grid use and do not require special expertise to install.
Grid-connected systems like rooftop solar power, however, are far more expensive than off-grid systems. These usually require an electrician to install and approval by local authorities before you can begin the work.
If your application is grid-tied - even if only intermittently - then you'll need to make sure it's properly designed & approved by local authorities and your utility company before installing the solar panels. You'll also need to contact your electric company to let them know how much power will be generated by your system.
If you're thinking about installing a grid-tied solar panel kit yourself, don't - hire a professional installer instead.
How Much Power Do You Need?
You should plan ahead for future needs by calculating the peak and average daily energy in Watts that you use each day and throughout the month.
This will help you determine how many solar panels you will need to produce enough electricity for your needs.
NOTE: Add 25 percent to your estimated energy needs if you live in areas where weather is unpredictable or unusually foggy or cloudy.
A typical solar panel kit produces several hundred to a few thousand watts of electricity.
Smaller systems of <1,000W are ideal for powering small electronics such as radios, clocks, etc.
Larger kits of >1,000W are suitable for powering appliances such as refrigerators, air conditioners, heat pumps, electric water heaters, etc.
The largest home solar power kits range from 2.5kW to over 10kW and are intended to supply all the power you'd need in your home.
A solar panel kit should be able to supply at least enough current to run electronics such as a laptop, TV, radio, etc.
If you want to charge batteries or use an inverter to convert DC electricity into AC , then you will need a higher-wattage kit, typically more than 500W.
Most solar panel kits work on either 12 or 24 DC Volts and can supply power at that voltage without special equipment.
If you need more than that, then an inverter is required to convert the direct current into alternating current for use by appliances.
How Many Solar Panels Will You Need?
The number of solar panels you need depends on your energy requirements as well as the climate of your location.
To determine how many solar panels yuo need, figure out how much power you consume per day on average.
As you calculate the number of solar panels, also check how much space they’ll take up on your roof. Check the size (multiply L x W to get square footage) of a single panel and multiply it by the number of panels.
Cabins & Remote Work Sites
If you are getting solar panels for a cabin, an RV, or a remote worksite where you don't have previous usage data, your approach will be a bit different. You’ll need to estimate your future consumption.
Calculate how much power all major appliances consume each day. Multiply each appliance’s wattage by the number of hours it’s in use. For example a 50 inch LCD TV is rated at 150W. If you watch for four hours a day, it’ll consume 600W (150x4).
Add up the daily usage of all appliances then divide that number by peak sunlight hours to figure out how much power you need from solar panels. Add 25% to the final number.
Divide by the wattage of a single panel to calculate how many solar panels you need.
What Are The Best Types of Solar Panels?
The two types of solar panels you’ll come across are polycrystalline and monocrystalline.
Monocrystalline solar panels are more expensive but they are the best. They are more efficient and can produce more power using a smaller solar panel.
Polycrystalline solar panels take up more space to produce the same amount of power as mono panels.
If you need a steady supply of electricity that exceeds the power output of your solar panels or you need power after the sun goes down, then you'll need a place to store that energy.
This is what batteries do and explains why power stations are often bundled with solar panel kits and sold as full-duty solar power kits.
Deep Cycle Lead Acid Batteries are made of many small lead acid power cells connected together. Each cell has two terminals which must be joined by wires before it will work. A battery bank consists of many such cells.
Seawater Batteries use water from the ocean to store electricity. This method produces less power than other methods, but also requires no maintenance.
Uncommon in most solar power kits sold today, seawater batteries can be a great choice for ocean vessels and coastal homes.
Lithium-Ion batteries are commonly found in today's portable power banks and solar panel kits. These batteries are lighter-weight and more efficient than the previous two types, but cost considerably more.
How Much Battery Storage Will You Need?
How much battery storage you need depends on the amount of time you’ll be relying solely on the battery bank for power supply.
Say you need to draw from the battery for 12 hours a day when there is no sunshine. Divide your daily usage (see the calculations we did above) to see how much power you consume in 12 hours.
Let’s say it’s 15kWh. You need a battery bank that can supply the same capacity.
If you are getting a lead acid battery bank, multiply the required capacity by two because lead acid batteries can only be discharged to 50%. If your nightly consumption is 15kWh, you’ll need a 30kWh battery setup.
For lithium batteries, you can usually discharge it to 80%. Multiply required capacity by 1.2 to get the actual battery size you need. In our case, it’s 15kWh x 1.2 to get 18KWh.
If you are still tied to the grid, you don't have to get a battery that matches your consumption. In fact, you can do without a battery at all since you draw power from the grid at night.
But if you want to further lower your power bill, you can get a small backup battery (maybe 2 to 5kWh) to power your home for some time at night.
How Much Battery Capacity Do You Need for Hiking and Camping?
If you are buying a power station kit for outdoor adventures, the capacity of the power station depends on the number and kind of electronics you carry with you.
If you only carry gadgets like your phone, camera, and drone, a small kit with a 200-500Wh battery will do. If you also have a few small appliances, you can bump that up to a 1,000Wh.
If you carry appliances like a coffee maker or blow dryer, a 1000-2000Wh kit with a powerful inverter is recommended.
Combiner, Charge Controller, and Inverter
A Combiner combines the outputs of multiple solar panels together so that they can be connected to an inverter box.
Charge controllers help prevent battery damage from overcharging by regulating the amount of current being sent from your solar panel to the battery bank. MPPT charge controllers are the best.
An inverter converts the power from your solar panels into alternating current which allows you to use your battery bank to power 115V/230V household appliances.
Make sure the inverter included with the kit can handle the wattage of your largest appliance.
Do I need to purchase extra equipment or accessories?
Solar power systems require many parts. You can buy all of those items individually, but solar panel kits include everything you need.
Do I need to hire a professional to install my solar panels?
All of the kits we’ve featured above can be installed by anyone who has basic knowledge of electricity.
You may need some soldering equipment and tools though.
That said, hire a professional if you don't have any experience wiring electrical systems.
What's the difference between polycrystalline and monocrystalline panels?
Polycrystalline solar panels are cheaper than monocrystalline panels but do not generate as much electricity. Most people who buy a solar panel kit will not notice the difference today. Just focus on the overall system specs and you'll be fine.
Are Solar Panel Kits Easy To Install?
All of the small solar power systems we reviewed in this guide are easy to install. You don't need any special skills or experience to get started.
That said, if you have any doubts about your capabilities or are planning to connect your system to the grid, then hire an electrician to help.
What are the different types of solar energy kits?
There are two basic kinds of solar panel kits sold today, including:
Solar Panel kits: these include solar panels + accessories, but omit batteries/energy storage
Solar Power Kits: these include batteries/energy storage
How To Get The Most Out of Your Solar Panel Kit
Clean Your Panels
Keeping your solar panels clean will help them perform well. It's also good to know how to repair your solar panels so that you don't need to replace them. Cleaning a solar panel also helps keep the sun from overheating the panels.
Never use abrasives to clean solar panels. Instead, gently wipe them down with a soft cloth and mild cleaning solution. Check your panels' output frequently so that you know how much energy they're producing.
Solar panels last a very long time, sometimes up to 20 years, so you don't need to worry too much about replacing your panels.
You might want to think about buying extra batteries though.
Optimize The Position and Angle Of Your Solar Panels
Your solar panels will collect most energy when they face southwards. As for the angle, match it to the latitude of your location.
If you are using ground solar panels, you can usually adjust their angle to track the position of the sun through the day.