RV life is not always easy off the grid.
Even the smallest of home comfort appliances consume enough power to drain the batteries.
That's why many RV owners opt to install solar panel kits as a part of their RV power supply system.
One such popular kit is the Renogy 100 watt solar panel kit.
In this Renogy 100 Watt Solar Panel Kit review you will learn why, although expensive, this may be the perfect power source for any RV, motorhome, truck, or van.
In comparison with a portable fuel generator, the Renogy 100 watt solar panel kit is lightweight, portable, noiseless, and durable.
Plus, it comes with a technologically advanced charge controller that ensures safe and efficient solar charging of any type of battery - AGM, lead acid, Li or LiFePO4.
Renogy sells the same basic kit in 100W, 200W and 400W solar panel versions.
The 100W kit is an affordable solar starter kit that is targeted towards people who are new to solar energy or just need enough power for a small 2-person sleeper. The kit includes everything you will need to get started.
The Renogy 100 watt solar panel can generate up to 100 watts of power at peak sun. It is compatible with a 12v battery, which you can use to store power.
While the power output is sufficient for light-duty use, you can connect several of these panels together to boost the overall output.
The associated Renogy 30 A PWM Wanderer charge controller can be used to provide up to 400 watts of solar DC power to your batteries. That said, this is an older PWM charger which isn't as efficient or as well suited to Lithium ion batteries. We prefer MPPT controllers for them.
That said the controller works just fine and guards against overload, overcharging, short-circuiting, and reverse polarity in your power supply system.
A tray cable is also included in the package, allowing you to connect the charge controller to the battery.
This RV solar starter kit is straightforward to set up and operate. It comes with all the hardware required to mount and ground the panel.
You can install it over your RV as a rooftop system or set it outside as a portable solar charging setup. The solar panel has multiple predrilled holes for this purpose.
Pros and Cons
Designed for RVs
The best thing about this solar panel kit is its compatibility with RVs and other transportation applications subject to weather. Renogy has long been one of the most trustworthy and recognizable names in the off-grid RV solar industry.
This is a high-quality 100-watt solar panel kit that is extremely popular and proven.
The kit has a rugged construction, weatherproofing where it matters, and a powerful output.
You can set it on top of your RV as a fixed solar charging setup or place it on the ground as a portable power source which you can adjust according to the sun's direction.
The included wires also make it simple to directly hook it up with your RV's power supply system.
100W of Power
The kit is capable of producing 100 watts of power. This is enough recharge capacity to keep cell phones charged, LED lamps on, small fans running, and keep routers, laptops, and other small devices running for a few days, depending on your battery capacity.
However, you will not be able to power bigger appliances like the refrigerator and microwave, but it is still enough to get you going.
The Renogy 100 watt solar panel kit is rated at 12 volts x 8 amp DC current input.
Ideally, you will connect it to your onboard RV battery or a dedicated RV power station to store the energy, then consume as needed.
It takes about 3 to 5 hours to charge a single 200a x 12V battery depending upon the weather conditions and battery size. With higher-capacity batteries, you can link up to four solar panels with the same charge controller to increase the output.
The solar panel included in this kit is one of the most proven offerings from Renogy. It is rugged and weatherproof enough to survive harsh traveling conditions. Plus, the use of heavy-duty materials also makes it the right choice for off-grid living.
This kit also includes a combiner cord that allows you to combine more than one solar panel in series.
The charge controller can support up to 400 watts of output, so you can easily string four 100 watt panels together to increase its output.
Renogy has included its Renogy 30A PWM negative ground Wanderer charge Controller.
It maintains the system's charging efficiency at 21% while protecting it from overload, overcharging, short-circuiting, and reversed polarity.
You can also use the provided Bluetooth module to operate the charge controller with your smartphone.
This kit comes complete with all the wiring you need to make it functional. There is an adapter kit to connect the solar panel to the charge controller.
Plus, it has a tray cable to connect the charge controller to the battery that also comes inside the package.
The Renogy 100 watt solar panel kit also comes complete with its installation hardware. The kit includes mounts, bolts, washers, and fasteners to make its installation a breeze.
We really like the IP65 rated junction box that makes this solar panel extremely weatherproof.
The included Wanderer charge controller is not waterproof, however, but the 20 feet long tray cable enables you to connect it with the panel from indoors.
It also has a mount bracket system that enables you to install the solar panel in off-grid situations.
Issues & Concerns
The Renogy 100 watt solar panel kit review is incomplete without going over some issues and concerns surrounding its usage. Take a look!
Where most solar kits include a battery pack to store the converted solar energy, this one from Renogy comes without one.
Another noticeable limitation is the absence of an inverter without which you cannot power your AC appliances. Most RV owners will custom-size their inverter anyway, so it's a logical choice not to include one.
No color-coded wires
All the wires in the kit are black. There is no color coding to ease the installation process.
This is an affordable solar starter kit that happens to be targeted toward those who have just started using solar energy.
When you order this model, you will get everything you will need to get started. It contains:
While its installation is effortless, this Renogy 100 watt solar panel kit review is incomplete without going over the steps briefly. Here is a step by step account to help you out:
This kit supports both roof-mounted and freestanding installation, so you first have to determine where you are going to place the panel. For the rooftop setup, you can use the provided hardware and the predrilled holes to secure the panel on your RV’s roof. The freestanding setup does not require any preparation as you can place the panel anywhere it receives direct sunlight.
Once the solar panel is placed, take the adapter kit and connect it with the charge controller. You should secure the other end with the junction box on the panel.
Now take the tray cable and use it to link the charge controlled with the battery terminals.
If done right, the kit will promptly start working. You can follow its progress with the charge controller or use the Bluetooth module to sync the kit with your cell phone.
Care and Maintenance
The Renogy 100 watt RV solar kit is a weather-resistant system that does not require much care and maintenance. Occasional cleaning and inspection are enough to keep them going.
Especially when you've been through rainy or dusty conditions, you should know that while the included solar panel is weatherproof, the other components of the kit are not.
Hence you should be careful to keep them indoors during adverse weather conditions.
This Renogy Solar starter kit comes with a 25-year power output warranty. Here is the detailed warranty information:
Besides the power output warranty, the kit is also covered against material and workmanship for 5 years.
Where to Buy
The Renogy 100 Watts 12 Volts Monocrystalline Solar RV Kit is almost always available on Amazon and online RV supply stores. You can also order one from the official Renogy website by clicking here.