Top 10 best 100 Watt solar panel Review 2017

100 Watt solar panel is the best choice if you just want a small solar PV system for your home or your RV. If you want more, you can buy 4-6 one and wire it together.

In this post, I will show you a very detail comparison of 10 best 100 watt solar panel in the market 2017. This is the best guide for everyone that has nothing in mind about how to make a wise buying decision.

If you want to buy a kit: 100W Solar Panel Kit Buying Guide 

Best 100W solar panel

Why you should invest to solar power


Because of electricity prices on the rise and solar costs rapidly declining, solar power has become very popular and is the fastest growing energy source in the world.

20-30 years ago, if someone told you that you need to buy a solar panel for home, it is future! I think they just wanted to sell a very expensive and inefficiency thing to you. But now, everything is changing quickly, solar PV system is a cheap and practical option, new technology makes solar panels be better and very high efficiency. It can provide enough power for your home or your RV with few small panels, and save you hundreds even thousands of dollars per year on electrical bills. When you invest outright for your PV solar project, you will see a return on investment almost immediately.

5 reasons why you should invest to solar power right now:

  • Solar system is affordable
  • Your real estate values will increase. Having a good solar energy system in place is a great selling point for a home.
  • Enjoying economical, clean, reliable power to your home for a quarter of a century or more.
  • If you have an RV to travel around, having owned solar panels is an absolute necessity.
  • You can get the incentive from the government, it can save a lot of money.

I want to show you about my case, I have a 3 kW solar PV system on my roof. I bought my solar PV system at the end of 2015, the price was $1.6/watt (about $4,900 for a 3 Kw system). And if you bought this system in 2012, the average price was about $2.25/watt (around $6,000). So in 4 years, the cost reduced 30%. If you buy a system in 2017, good quality 3kW solar systems range in price from $3,500 to $5,600.

Some Great impacts of my 3 KW solar PV system:

  • My system does the same work as 0.8 acres of trees
  • Reduced 5831 lbs a year of carbon dioxide
  • Reduced 0.1 lbs per year of sulfur dioxide
  • Reduced 1.7 lbs a year of nitrous dioxide

You can see here how much did I save the last year 2016.

In one year, my 3 KW solar PV system generated total $2,432.26 in value for me, it is a very big number. And in the summer time, when the number of peak sun hours up to 6.8 per day, I can get more.

I have a friend who is also passionate about solar energy like me. We talk about it a lot if don’t want to say every time. He has 2 solar PV systems for his home and office, 6 kW and 9 kW system. You can see images below are data that he showed me for what he did get in the last year 2016:

What can you power with 100 watt solar panel?


How much power can 100 watt solar panel generate?

A solar panel is rated by the amount of power it creates at Standard Test Conditions, or STC. It is provided in product information:

These conditions include the intensity of the sun: 1000W/m2, the angle of the light hitting the panel directly, the temperature at 25℃ or 77℉, and other criteria. So actual mileage may vary, based on all of these factors in the real world.

When a 12V solar panel is rated at 100W, that is an instantaneous rating, if all of the test conditions are met, when you measure the output, the voltage will be about 18.9 volts and the current will be 5.29 amps. Since watts equals volts times amps, 18.9 volts x 5.29 amps = 100 watts. To figure out how much power is generated over a period of time, you can to multiply the watts times the number of hours it is running. So in one hour, 100W x 1 hour = 100 watt hours.

To determine how much power the solar panel will generate in a day, we have to find out how many of sunlight per day, it is called “Peak sun hours”, you can find it easily in insolation world map.

You can see my previous picture (3 kW system), in July I can get 6.8 hours of sunlight, but in December only 2.7 sun hours. So in July, my 100W solar panel generated 100W x 6.8 = 680 Wh. I know, that’s figuring on losing about ⅓ of your power. I now end up with 453-watt hours of power that I have made with my 100W solar panel on a July day. Obviously, these numbers will vary depending on the location and the season.

What can I do with that power?

With 453 Wh of power I get from my 100 watt solar panel, I can use it for:

  • I can run my laptop that uses 45W for 10 hours.
  • I can power 5 of my 10W LED lights for 9 hours.
  • I can run my PC desktop that uses 75W for 6 hours.
  • I can run a Microwave oven for 15’.
  • I can run my LCD Tivi for 3 hours

I was very tired when tried to estimate what I can do with my 100 watt solar panel. But I know a tool that can help a lot to calculate electrical consumption by using appliance energy calculator by US Department of Energy

How many 100 watt solar panel do you need?

To know about how many 100W solar panels do you need for your home or your RV, I recommend you read my article: How to Size your home Solar PV System.

But if you don’t have time to read my article, I have a powerful calculating tool: solar sizing calculator. Just put your numbers and see the result.

 

How to choose the best 100 watt solar panel?


Don’t make mistakes when going solar, read this post before making decision: 7 Common Mistakes Everyone Makes When Build Solar PV System

1. Manufacturer quality

A good way to begin buying solar panel is by asking family members, friends, neighbors and co-workers about any experience of the manufacturer you want to buy from. Then read consumer reviews who bought one before you on websites like Amazon or eBay.

Company reviews by actual customers are a great way to determine which companies have provided satisfactory experiences, and which have generated complaints. While a high rating indicates a company is more likely to provide a positive customer experience, keep in mind that an occasional bad review is bound to happen. What the solar manufacturer did to correct a negative experience can provide insight into their level of integrity and their dedication to customer satisfaction.

Customer Service:

Customer service is one of the most important things when we choose solar panel manufacturer. Because we will use these panel for a long time, may be over 25 years. So we need to know about how they actually care about their product.

Most manufacturers provide warranty up to 25 years for most of their products { not include bendable and thin plastic panels}. But when your system runs into a problem, you will realize that always has the differences between providers.

In terms of warranty, Renogy is the best choice. They have very good reputation, excellent customer services and very high review from the buyers. 

When selecting your solar retailer, make sure you go with a reputable company with proven experience. You should find out things like:

  • How long have they been in the solar industry?
  • Whether they are an established company that will be around in the future if things go wrong.
  • Warranties and workmanship guarantees cease if the company goes out of business.

2. Solar cell Material and Technology

The material used in the construction of solar cells affects the durability, light absorption, and conversion efficiency. Each material has its pros and cons, and choice reflects the individual wants and needs of the buyer.

Crystalline silicon panels are constructed by first putting a single slice of silicon through a series of processing steps, creating one solar cell. These cells are then assembled together in multiples to make a solar panel. Crystalline silicon, also called wafer silicon, is the oldest and the most widely used material in commercial solar panels.

There are two main types of crystalline silicon panels: Monocrystalline and Polycrystalline

Thin film solar panels are made by placing thin layers of semiconductor material onto various surfaces, usually on the glass. The term thin film refers to the amount of semiconductor material used. It is applied in a thin film to a surface structure, such as a sheet of glass. Contrary to popular belief, most thin film panels are not flexible. Overall, thin film solar panels offer the lowest manufacturing costs, and are becoming more prevalent in the industry.

Earth friendly solar cell material requires more maintenance, but the materials are biodegradable, and many solar cell manufacturers offer the choice. Flexible solar panels bend enough for tight applications; some materials flex, others do not.

3. Monocrystalline or Polycrystalline?

Monocrystalline panels use solar cells that are cut from a piece of silicon grown from a single, uniform crystal. Monocrystalline panels are among the most efficient yet most expensive on the market. They require the highest purity silicon and have the most involved manufacturing process.

Polycrystalline panels use solar cells that are cut from multi faceted silicon crystals. They are less uniform in appearance than monocrystalline cells, resembling pieces of shattered glass. These are the most common solar panels on the market, being less expensive than monocrystalline silicon. They are also less efficient, though the performance gap has begun to close in recent years.

I recommend you read my article about the differences between Monocrystalline vs. Polycrystalline

4. Why you need junction boxes

Solar junction boxes are protective enclosures that house electrical components for combination, connection, and termination for photovoltaic systems. They are also referred to as PV junction boxes and module junction boxes. A junction box protects the electrical connections of the solar panel from environmental conditions. Wire leads connecting the panel to the string and bypass diodes are located inside the junction box. The leads make the panel easy to connect in the string during the system’s installation process.

When selecting solar junction boxes it is important to consider the casings, which should have strong aging and UV light resistance to protect them in severe outdoor environments. Like many enclosures designed to withstand severe conditions, solar junction boxes are often rated with a two-digit number based on the (Ingress Protection) IP Code, IEC 60529. Common IP ratings include:

  • IP 54 is mostly protected from dust and cannot be damaged by light water originating from all directions.
  • IP 55 is mostly protected from dust and cannot be damaged by low-pressure water jets.
  • IP 65 is completely protected from dust and cannot be damaged by low-pressure water jets (ie, from a 6.3 mm nozzle).
  • IP 67 is completely protected from dust and cannot be damaged by immersion in water up to 1 m deep.
  • IP 68 is completely protected from dust and cannot be damaged by immersion in water deeper than 1 m.

5. Why you need MC4 connectors

What is an MC4 connector? If you’re asking this question, you’ve probably noticed that most modern high power solar modules are manufactured with wire leads that have MC4 connectors on the ends. Years ago, solar modules were built with a junction box on the back that required the installer to manually attach wires to the positive and negative terminal posts. This method is still used, but it’s slowly becoming a thing of the past.

Modern solar modules tend to use the MC4 connectors because they make wiring your solar array much simpler and faster. The connectors come in both male and female types which are designed to snap together. They meet the requirements of the National Electric Code, they’re UL certified and the preferred connection method of electrical inspectors. Due to the locking mechanism of the MC4 connectors, they will not come unplugged and are well suited for outdoor environments. The connectors can be separated but it requires a special MC4 unlocking tool.

Which type of solar panel is best for you?


1. Renogy 100 watt Monocrystalline solar panel for 12V battery charging

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Perfect for 12-volt battery charging or multiple panels can be wired in series for 24/48-volt battery charging or for grid-tied applications Diodes are pre-installed in junction box and a pair of ...

Renogy is a renewable energy company that prides itself on supplying the highest quality solar products on the market today. They started as a small project by students at Louisiana State University.  Renogy has ranked #444 as one of Inc. 5000’s fastest growing companies in America!

Renogy’s 100 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Solar Panel is Renogy’s most popular product! High in power but sleek in size, this 100W solar panel is the perfect item for off-grid applications. Use it for your RV when camping, or during beach trips with the family, either way, this monocrystalline panel provides you with the most effective per space. With a set of MC4 connectors coming directly off the panel, connecting with other Renogy panels is a breeze. If off-grid solar PV system interests you, then start with Renogy today! This is the best choice for you.

Key Features:

  • Designed for: RV, residential, boats, caravans, motorhomes…
  • Perfect for 12-volt battery charging or multiple panels can be wired in series for 24/48-volt battery charging or for grid-tied applications
  • Guaranteed positive output tolerance (0-3%); withstands high winds (2400Pa) and snow loads (5400Pa)
  • Corrosion-resistant aluminum frame for extended outdoor use, allowing the panels to last for decades.
  • IP65 rated junction box provides complete protection against environmental particles and low pressure water jets.
  • Ground mount compatible.
  • Compatible with on-grid and off-grid inverters.
  • Pre-drilled holes on the back of the panel allow for fast mounting and securing.
  • Pre-drilled holes included for grounding.
Buy it Now at Amazon

2. RENOGY 100W Monocrystalline Foldable Solar Suitcase

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If you are looking for a perfect off-grid solar panel, don’t miss this one. Renogy 100W Solar Suitcase is a whole system in one! This lightweight suitcase comes equipped with two 50W monocrystalline panels, a 15in set of wires with MC4 connectors, and a protective casing for safe portability.  With its adjustable aluminum stand, latches and heavy duty handle, Renogy’s 100W Solar Suitcase will make solar on the go as easy as 1-2-3!

You can make a connection with alligator clips and a 15-foot cable, so it’s mainly used for storing power in large batteries when you’re off the grid or in an RV. It’s not light enough for hiking, but offers a solid option for base camps. When folded, the portable solar generator is a little over 2 feet wide. Inside the case, you can stand up the black solar panels at the best angle using included folding legs. There is also a solar charge controller that tells you how much energy has been stored. Through the controller, you can set up overcurrent protection and adjust the voltage. For portability, the case comes with a sturdy handle and latches shut.

This portable solar power system is mainly for RVs, car campers or charging batteries at a cabin. The output is a bit too aggressive for charging cell phones or laptops. If you prefer to charge your smaller devices, your best option is purchasing an external battery, charging that first, then plug in your devices to the storage system. That being said, the Renogy solar panels are a good option to have around your home in case of an emergency. If there is a major power outage or natural disaster, you can quickly set up and recharge batteries you have in storage.

This is an efficient solar system that gives you a high wattage and a quick charge. The solar power kit is easy to set up, doesn’t require a lot of special instructions and will hook up directly to any battery with positive and negative terminals. It’s heavy though, so you shouldn’t intend to lug the panels around. The Renogy foldable solar suitcase is best tucked away in an RV and used for extended stays in the outdoors.

Key Feature

  • Excellent performance in low-light environments
  • German-made solar cells
    Adjustable, corrosion-resistant aluminum stand as well as a heavy duty handle and latches for longevity
    Protective casing
  • Designed for expansion, you can add panels to the system based on your available space.
  • 1-year warranty on rest of the kit components
Buy it Now at Amazon

3. HQST 100 watt Polycrystalline for 12V battery charging

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The HQST 100 Watt 12 Volt Polycrystalline Solar Panel is a simple two piece set for use with a 12V battery. The makers promise that it will provide high module energy conversion and great performance in low light for a reliable option.

One of the clear advantages of this product is the quality of the components. There are users talking about the strength of the frame and the quality of the solar cells. Some reviewer had bad delivery experiences, yet the solar panels arrived in fairly good condition and worked well.

At the time of writing this review, about 86% of reviewers on Amazon had given this product 5 stars for its performance. Most are perfectly happy with what they receive. However, there are some factors that buyers need to consider before purchasing this option.

Key Features:

  • IP65 rated junction box provides complete protection against environmental particles and low-pressure water jets
  • Pre-drilled holes on the back of the panel allow for fast mounting and securing. Compatible with different mounting systems such as Z-brackets, Pole Mounts, and Tilt Mounts.
  • The panel is lighter in weight and produces a steady current under full sun. The frame is well constructed with a good protective lens panel.
  • Very high output at a very good price.
Buy it Now at Amazon

4. WindyNation 100W solar panel – 12V battery charging

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The Windy Nation 100 Watt Solar Panel allows you to start producing free, clean power from the sun! Perfect for RV's, boats, cabins and back-up power! Multiple WindyNation 100 Watt Solar Panels can ...

WindyNation manufactures components for small wind & solar generators, with an emphasis on the growing community of do-it-yourselfers (DIYers) interested in doing more than just learning–but also doing!

The WindyNation 100 Watt Solar Panel is one of those systems that is designed to be provide everything that users need for solar power on their RV or boat.

There are plenty of positive reviews for this system stating that it works pretty well for what it is. However, it is still a low-end model with a few too many drawbacks for most buyers. The specification for this set-up talks about the versatility of the product for use in “RVs, cabins, homes, boats, back-up and remote power use”, but the limitations on the power and equipment included mean that it suits some of these situations better than others.

Buyers with short-term plans and low expectations of the power outage can get a lot out of this WindyNation solar panel kit on their boat or RV, but it will not suit everyone.

Key Features:

  • One panel is perfect for 12 Volt battery bank charging
  • The additional MC4 Connector pair allows for a quick and waterproof connection of the solar extension cable to the MC4 connectors attached to the back of the solar panel.
  • Great for camping or remote cabins. Power devices in remote back country locations
  • Capable of withstanding 1-inch diameter hail traveling at terminal velocity
  • Panel arrives ready for connection with an extra pair of MC4 Connectors for the extension cable (see technical specifications)
Buy it Now at Amazon

5. Instapark 100W Monocrystalline (Included Charge Controller)

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Instapark is a Solar Panel Distributor focusing on the North American market and was established in 2001. Besides Solar Modules, Instapark is also a major seller of laser modules, laser pointers and voltage converters.

The Instapark 100 watt monocrystalline solar panel offers you a quiet, clean while carbon-free alternative. Capable of converting virtually unlimited solar energy into clean, green, most importantly, free electricity, this solar panel is made of high efficiency mono-crystalline solar cells embedded in transparent vinyl acetate behind tempered glass with heavy back sheet ensuring maintenance free performance.

Most reviewers who used the Instapark solar power product was very satisfied with their purchase, and stated that the sun-converting device was sturdy, efficient, and remarkably engineered.

Key Features:

  • Designed for RVs, cabins, homes, boats, back-up and remote power use…
  • This solar panel is designed and engineered to primarily charge 12-Volt batteries
  • Multiple-module system can be put together with built-in MC-4 connectors
  • Surprisingly lightweight and easy to carry
Buy it Now at Amazon

6. Eco-worthy 12V 100W Polycrystalline solar panel

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Our photovoltaic modules are designed for commercial and domestic applications and suitable for both grid-tied and off grid systems. We offers both high performance and reliability. The silicon ...

Eco-worthy is a manufacturer and wholesaler of solar panels and renewable energy products since 2002. Eco-worthy was founded by several eco-friendly impassioned engineers and had achieved significant progress ever since that time. Till now, Eco-worthy owns a full series of products. Eco-worthy recommends renewable energy, solar power and other energy efficient options which offer many clean, green solutions for both now and future.

The Eco-Worthy brand is becoming more and more popular because they offer good quality panels at competitive prices. Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that the Eco Worthy Panels are the best panels out there. What I am saying is that if you want solar panels that work, these panels will serve you well for the money.

The most popular Eco-Worthy solar panels are the 100 Watt Polycrystalline panels. They also have the monocrystalline 100 Watts panels for a little more money.

These panels are suitable for various applications. From my research, they have been used for RVs, Caravans, Off-grid applications (this means that they can be used within a complete system that does not depend on the electric grid from the city), they can also be used to generate solar energy which is fed back into the electric grid, some people have installed them on their boats and so on. They would function anywhere electric power is need as long as you have a way of placing them as directly as possible under the sunlight.

Basically, the 100 watts Eco-worthy solar panels can be used in any application that requires the charging of 12 volts battery. It can also be used for 24 volts and 48 volts battery systems, however, you will need to connect more than one panel in series.

Key Features:

  • Designed for on-grid, off-grid solar panel system, caravan, RV, boat, Greenhouse solar panel system
  • Suitable for 12v battery use, if you wanna use 24v system, you could connect 2 panels in series.
  • Easy installation with pre-drilled holes.
  • Each solar panel comes with 90cm 12awg cable with MC4 Male/Female quick connectors
  • Waterproof IP-65 Rated Junction Box: Advanced water and dust proof level (complete protection against environmental particles and low-pressure water jets).
  • Corrosion-resistant aluminum frame for extended outdoor use, allowing the panels to last for decades as well as withstand high winds (2400Pa) and snow loads (5400Pa)
Buy it Now at Amazon

7. Allpowers 100W Bendable solar panel 12/18V

Allpowers is the chinese company founded in 2008. it is a professional manufacturer dealing in high conversion efficiency solar cell, portable solar chargers and solar portable system.

Allpowers 100W bendable solar panel utilizes SunPower Solar Cell with a higher-than-average 23% to 25% efficiency and an internal blocking diode prevents reverse current drain at night.

Key Features:

  • Designed for: RVs, boats, tight spaces, or crowded areas that are typically off limits for traditional glass and aluminum models.
  • Suitable for 18V and 12V battery use.
  • Bendable – the panel can curve of 30 degrees max
  • The panel is only 0.1 in thick and powerful and lightweight.
  • 18-month product guarantee and friendly customer service
Buy it Now at Amazon

8. Suaoki 100W 18V solar panel

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SUNPOWER SOLAR CELL: Suaoki utilizes SunPower Solar Cell with a higher-than-average 23% to 25% efficiency and an internal blocking diode which prevents reverse current drain at night SUPERIOR ...

The Suaoki 100 watt Solar Panel system is a flexible and bendable solar panel that uses SUNPOWER cells technology for high energy efficiency and promises a reliable performance.

The Suaoki flexible is a must have for anyone who wants to harness the power of the sun for your next camping trip. It features a flexible body that allows it to easily be rolled up and taken anywhere you are going! It makes for a perfect gift for your outdoorsman friends and family. With this onboard your boat or with you on your camping trip, you can easily harness the sun’s power and use it to your own advantage, whether it’s to charge your devices, or to give you light, the Suaoki solar panel is sure to be your guide in the dark.

Key Features:

  • The bendable Solar Panel can contour and flex in an arc against curved areas to a maximum of 30 degrees. Mount it with the 4 corrosion-proof metal mounting holes on a rooftop, RV, boat, cabin, tent or any other irregular surface, making it perfect for home, travel, camping, and hiking.
  • Pre-drilled holes on panels for fast mounting with Corrosion Test
  • Junction box with diodes make charging safer
  • Safety MC4 connector with a pair of 31 inches cables.
Buy it Now at Amazon

9. Komaes 100 Watts 12 Volts Monocrystalline Solar panel

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Komaes 100 Watts 12 Volts Monocrystalline Solar Panel -Komaes will provide you with a clean,quiet and renewable way of ensuiring

Komaes will provide you with a clean,quiet and renewable way of ensuiring tha batteries are full charged and capable of providing a steady supply of electricity. They can be used in Solar power stations;Rural electrification,small home power systems;Power supply for traffic,security,gas industry;12V and 24V battery charging system;Other industrial and commercial applications.

Key Feature

  • Great A monocrystalline silicon battery.
  • Solar panel will automatically keep battery getting charged as long as it exposured under the sunlight
  • High modules conversion efficiency. Ideal output: 500 watt hours per day (depends on sunlight availability)
  • Solar panel can be mouted on rooftop, boat, recreational vhicles…
Buy it Now at Amazon

12 Comments
  1. Reply
    Vy Vy March 7, 2017 at 1:19 pm

    Thank you. I have searched on the internet whole day to find the difference between many 100w solar panels in the market. And you make everything easier with a very informative post.

    • Reply
      Mankato March 13, 2017 at 4:12 am

      Hope it helps you a bit

  2. Reply
    Mrasd March 12, 2017 at 3:45 pm

    This is the best review ever for 100 watt solar panel. I also have a system, 400w system wired by 4 renogy panels on my RV roof. I agree with you that renogy is the best one, I have bought since 6 years ago, till now it always performance great.

  3. Reply
    I have 1500W PV system in my garden March 13, 2017 at 1:08 am

    There are a lot of affordable panels out there for you, but I recommend that if you really want to build your own system, don’t care about the price, just focus on quality.
    Because all sort of panel has the same results in first 2 years, but about 4-5 years, you will know what i mean.

    • Reply
      Mankato March 13, 2017 at 1:38 am

      Great advice. Price is important thing, but it’s not all

  4. Reply
    Jhon Alexander March 13, 2017 at 3:53 am

    Great article Mankato. I wonder to see you to discuss about PV system. Now my family is living off-grid with 6kw system on rooftop. It’s hard to say about how much i love living off-grid here, but the feeling is cool.
    I think you need to write more about solar inverter and battery, because choosing it always harder than panels.

    • Reply
      Mankato March 13, 2017 at 4:19 am

      Solar inverter and battery will be coming soon

    • Reply
      Mankato March 13, 2017 at 4:09 am

      6kW system, could you tell me how much did you spend on it?

  5. Reply
    Eddline March 13, 2017 at 8:51 am

    Thanks for review. But 100w solar panel is very small. If you were in summer time, and you have 5 hours of peak sun, it only can generate 0.5kW = 5 hours for using laptop. At least 4 100W panels.

  6. Reply
    Little Princess March 13, 2017 at 4:40 pm

    You are right that was a long post, took me awhile to read everything and I mean everything. Nice to see posts like this showing up online. Great detail in every aspect, should help many readers out.
    I am looking for my very first 100 watt solar panel. You gave me what i need

  7. Reply
    Andy Frost March 14, 2017 at 1:13 am

    I bought 15 of HQST 100w and am planning on getting another 10 pcs. But i will buy a panel kit instead of only panel and i can save a few bucks.
    I put these on the roof of my RV, everything is perfect, i love it so much. But more power is always better, so i need more.

  8. Reply
    Amanda Lile March 14, 2017 at 6:30 am

    a very informative review

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