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 weighs 42lbs, so I wouldn't recommend hiking 20 miles with it.
Couple of caveats though:
- the Boulder 200 is not designed for permanent/fixed installation. If you want a permanent solar panel for your cabin, RV, or boat then you'll want to purchase Goal Zero's Nomad 200. Or, check out our reviews of the best flexible solar panels which can be installed on curved surfaces.
If you are just starting on this whole solar panel thing and are unsure regarding which option is best for you, read our primer on solar panels.
OK, so let's dive into the review.
1. High Solar Power Output
But using a 100W solar panel to charge a larger power station like the Yeti 1500X will take days to recharge the battery.
The 200W Boulder solar panel, however, is designed for power stations >1000Wh.
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: If you are attaching to a Goal Zero power station, you do not need to purchase a solar charge controller for the Boulder 200 solar panel. Goal Zero Yeti power stations and most other larger solar power stations have a charge controller 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 a 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)
You will pay more for the Boulder 200 solar panel than for equivalent power portable solar panels from other brands.
But we think the Goal Zero Boulder 200 is worth it.
The build quality, reliability, and durability are unmatched.
Not Feather Light
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.
The Goal Zero Boulder 200-watt briefcase solar panel comes with a 24-month warranty.