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boulder 200 solar panel briefcase

Goal Zero Boulder 200 Watt Briefcase Solar Panel Review

The Goal Zero Boulder 200W briefcase solar panel is a great choice if you want to generate a lot of solar power on the go.

The Boulder 200 produces more power than the standard 50-100W portable solar panels, making it suitable for charging large power stations such as the Goal Zero Yeti 1000X, 1500X, and 3000X.

The briefcase design of the Boulder 200 makes it ultra-portable for campers, van lifers, and RV owners. However, we should note that the Boulder 200 is fairly heavy at 42lbs.

Keep that in mind if you are specifically looking for a lightweight, portable solar panel.

Also, the Boulder 200 is not designed for permanent installation. If you want a permanent solar panel for your van, camping trailer, RV, or boat, see our reviews of the best flexible solar panels.

They are easy to install on curved surfaces such as the roof of your RV.

If you are just starting on this whole solar panel thing and are unsure regarding which option is best for you, see our primer on solar panels.

If you are here because you are thinking about getting the Goal Zero Boulder 200, read on for our full review and why you should, or should not, get it.


Pros

  • High power output.
  • Portable briefcase-style.
  • Includes a carrying case.
  • Excellent build quality. 

Cons

  • Pricey compared to other brands.
  • Heavy. 

Unique Features

1. High Solar Power Output

Most portable/foldable solar panels are usually 50W to 100W. That’s okay if you have a Yeti 200X or 500X power station. You can recharge it in just a few hours.

But connecting a 100W solar panel to something like the Yeti 1500X could take days to recharge the battery.

That’s why the 200W Boulder solar panel is better for larger power stations (1000Wh and above).

You’ll be able to charge a large battery in less time and get better low-light performance.

The average charge time using the Boulder 200 briefcase is 6-12 hrs. for the Yeti 1000X, 9-18 hrs. for the Yeti 1500X and 18-36hrs for the Yeti 3000X.

The actual charge time will vary depending on weather conditions. The stated 200W output is achievable only under very particular conditions. Practically speaking, most customers got an output of 150-180W on the best days.

Note: You do not need to purchase a solar charge controller for the Boulder 200 solar panel.

Goal Zero Yeti power stations (and all other solar power stations), have a charge controller already built in.

2. Portable Briefcase Design

The Goal Zero Boulder 200 consists of two 100W monocrystalline solar panels connected to produce up to 200W of power.

The two solar panels fold into a neat briefcase design that takes up less space in your vehicle and is easy to carry around. A handy canvas bag is included to carry the solar panels in.   

While folded, the Boulder 200 measures 40 x 26.75 x 3.5 in. While unfolded, it measures 40 x 53.5 x 1.75 inches which is  pretty big, but shouldn’t be an issue outdoors.

The cable that connects to your Goal Zero power station is 6feet long, allowing you to keep the solar panels in the sun, and the power station safely shaded or even sheltered in the RV, vehicle or trailer.

If you want a longer reach, you can get this 15ft extension cable.

Shopping tip: If you are buying a solar panel for home use (meaning portability is not important), you’ll get a much better deal buying a regular solar panel. It’ll cost you about half the price of the Boulder 200.

3. High Build Quality

One reason the Goal Zero Boulder 200 is pricey is because of the added portability. It costs more to make a large solar panel portable.

The second reason is its build quality. If you want a portable solar panel kit that will see you through all sorts of conditions and situations, the Boulder 200 is a good bet.

The frame is anodized aluminium, keeping the briefcase lightweight but strong.

Additional corner protection prevents damage from impact, while a tempered glass covering protects the surface of the solar panels.

The kickstands are heavy-duty. They easily hold up the heavy solar panels.

The only complaint is that they are not adjustable, so you cannot change the angle of the solar panels to maximize solar exposure.


Issues & Limitations

Pricey (But Worth It)

Many customers might also have noted that you pay more for the Boulder 200 solar panel than portable solar panels from other brands.

If you are on a budget, consider another brand or buy a smaller solar panel like the Boulder 100.

But we think the Goal Zero Boulder 200 is worth it. The build quality, reliability, and durability are unmatched.

Heavy

Looking for a super lightweight portable solar panel? The Boulder 200 is not it. It weighs 42lbs.

It’s definitely not the best choice for hiking, or for older users.


Warranty

The Goal Zero Boulder 200-watt briefcase solar panel comes with a 24-month warranty.


Specifications

Max output:

200W

Open-circuit voltage:

21.8V

Solar port:

HPP

Weight:

42lbs

Size:

(folded): 40 x 26.75 x 3.5 in

Size:

(unfolded): 40 x 53.5 x 1.75 in

Warranty:

2 years


Where to Buy The Goal Zero Boulder 200

About the Author David Roberts

I'm a Mechanical Engineer who's obsessed with solar energy and sustainable living.

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