Best Solar Panel Kits – Top Reviews for 2019

Going solar for your home or business might sound like an intimidating change, especially when tens of thousands of dollars are involved in the process, but this doesn’t have to be the case. DIY solar panel kits cost merely a fraction of complete solar power systems.

In addition, while they do not provide the same amount of electricity per day, they are nevertheless a great way to dip your toe in the sea of renewable energy. Once you are accustomed to using such a kit, it’s easier to consider a more permanent transition.

RENOGY 800 Watt 12 Volt Solar Premium Kit

RENOGY 3600 Watt Monocrystalline Solar Cabin Kit

ECO-WORTHY 800 Watt Solar Panel Kit

What Are the Best Solar Panel Kits in 2019?

There are a variety of starter kits for solar power currently on the market, but if you want to make the most of your purchase, it’s a good idea to stick to some of the most reputable manufacturers. We’ve put together the top reviews for solar panel kits in 2019 to help you out.

RENOGY 800 Watt 12 Volt Solar Premium Kit

Editor's Pick

This premium solar panel kit by Renogy is not the most powerful out there, but it strikes an excellent balance between cost, quality, and reliability. With 8 included monocrystalline solar panels, it is more than enough to efficiently charge a back-up battery for homes, as well as for cabins, RVs, and other off-grid applications.

In addition to the panels, the kit includes a commander charge controller that guarantees peak conversion at 98% efficiency, a 20ft 10AWG MC4 adaptor kit, an 8ft 4AWG tray cable, fusing components, and eight sets of Z brackets for convenient installation. Both the panels and the other components are well-protected against the elements in order to ensure a long lifespan when used outdoors.

The eight solar panels are fairly light-weight, easy to maneuver and install, as well as equipped with TPT back sheet for durability. The latest Renogy technology is employed in their design for an overall impressive conversion efficiency and fast battery recharge times.

PROS:

  • 8x100W solar panels; ideal for recharging back-up batteries at home
  • Includes a charge controller and all necessary installation gear
  • High quality components ensure peak conversion rates and durability
  • Made to function outdoors; weather-proof

CONS:

  • Not powerful enough to function as the sole electricity source in a home
  • Slightly more expensive than other options

RENOGY 3600 Watt Monocrystalline Solar Cabin Kit

Most Popular

The Renogy 3600W is one of the most powerful DIY solar panel kits for homes currently on the market. Although not enough to fully replace conventional electricity in the average house, it is more than sufficient for a cabin, work shed, garage, or back-up battery, especially in off-grid locations.

The set includes 12 300W monocrystalline solar panels that are sleek in appearance and highly efficient in terms of energy conversion. Their design features PERC solar cells, which makes each panel 15% to 20% smaller and lighter than its more traditional 72 cell counterpart. The panels can easily be installed on a roof without the help of a professional technician or they can be propped up on the ground for better orientation.

Finally, the kit comes with a MidNite Classic 150 MPPT Charge Controller, which is not only efficient, but also durable and reliable. The MidNite Solar MNPV6 Combiner Box makes it possible to stack multiple charge controllers and thus to expand the system when needed.

PROS:

  • One of the most powerful DIY solar panel kits on the market
  • Includes 12x300W highly efficient solar panels; enough to power a cabin or a back-up battery at home
  • Comes with a MidNite Solar MNPV6 Combiner Box for outdoor use and future expansion
  • Reliable, durable, and weather-proof panels and components

CONS:

  • More expensive than other options

GRAPE SOLAR GS-2300-KIT Residential

Grape Solar’s solar panel kits for home are intended to function in parallel with a traditional grid in order to decrease monthly electricity bills and the household’s impact on the environment. At a peak output of 2300W, this kit is not powerful enough to fulfill the energy requirements of an average house on its own, but it can decrease the amount of electricity drawn from the grid by up to 40%.

Each of these DIY solar panel kits consists of 10 polycrystalline 230W PV solar panels that are coated with tempered glass for enhanced durability. Due to their qualitative build, the panels can be used even in areas with heavy rainfall, hail, high winds, and snow.

Everything required to install the panels and connect them to the grid comes with the kit for no additional cost. The rack-mount system is easy to assemble and can be used to position the panels correctly on most roof configurations. An inverter with an AC/DC system disconnect for additional safety is also included.

PROS:

  • Powerful starter kit that can generate up to 420kWh per month
  • 10x230W solar panels and an inverter are all included in the kit
  • The rack-mount system that comes with the kit is easy to assemble and install
  • Weather-proof; can withstand heavy rain, snow, and heat

CONS:

  • Fairly expensive compared to other options

WINDYNATION 400 Watt Solar Kit

If you are looking for DIY solar panel kits that are suitable for back-up battery charging and other light applications, this set by WindyNation might be the best choice for you. Although less powerful compared to the other options presented here, it is also less costly and more than sufficient for occasional use.

The kit features four 100W polycrystalline solar panels for a total output of 400W, as well as a charge controller with LCD display and adjustable settings, four 100Ah (or 1.2kWh) deep-cycle batteries, MC4 connectors, 40ft 12AWG cable, and the necessary mounting hardware. In other words, everything you need to set up and start using the solar panels is included in the set.

PROS:

  • More affordable than other options
  • Includes all the necessary components to install and run the solar panels
  • Easy installation; requires no additional hardware
  • Comes with four rechargeable batteries in addition to other components

CONS:

  • Less powerful than other options
  • Perfect for small off-grid applications, but not suitable for extensive residential use

ECO-WORTHY 800 Watt Solar Panel Kit

Best Value

For those on a tight budget who are looking for solar panel kits for homes with a decent PV output, the Eco-Worthy 800W is an excellent alternative. This set is significantly more affordable compared to other options with a similar output and it is powerful enough for several home and off-grid applications.

The kit by Eco-Worthy comes with 8 100W polycrystalline solar panels. The latter are built using high-grade silicone for maximum conversion efficiency and an ideal PV output. In addition, each set includes a solar charge controller, an off-grid pure sine wave inverter, 33ft 12AWG cable, a combiner box that allows further expansion of the system, and 8 Z mounting kits for quick and easy installation.

PROS:

  • 8x100W solar panels; enough to charge a back-up battery or power a small off-grid cabin
  • Very affordable compared to other options
  • The kit includes a charge controller, inverter, and installation hardware
  • The combiner box allows further panels to be added to the system

CONS:

  • Less durable than other options
  • Instructions for installation are fairly minimal

Basic Components of a Solar Panel Kit

All solar panel kits for homes have a series of kernel components. The latter are responsible for creating an electrical charge and then converting it into usable energy that can either be stored or fed into home appliances. For those that want to connect their solar kits to the traditional electric grid, additional modules will be required.

Solar Panels

These are the life of any solar panel kit, as they are responsible for creating electricity with the help of photovoltaic (PV) cells. Solar panels are also the components that are easiest to spot, since they are usually mounted somewhere outdoors, where light can easily reach them throughout the day.

Charge Controller

Sometimes referred to as a charge regulator, this element of DIY solar panel kits is responsible for maintaining the appropriate electricity charge. This process is crucial to avoiding battery overcharge and providing generators with energy only when needed. Systems without batteries typically won’t require this part.

Inverter

Solar panel kits generally produce direct current (DC) electricity. However, all of your home appliances require electricity in the form of alternate current (AC) in order to function. The inverter’s job is to convert the former into the latter with as little loss of overall power as possible.

Other Components

If you want to use your solar panel kits for homes in an optimal manner, battery generators are a good idea for storing additional energy to use on cloudy days or to reduce grid electricity consumption. A power/kilowatt/utility meter becomes useful in these conditions, as it enables users to measure how much excess power is fed into the grid by the solar system.

How Many Solar Panels Should You Buy?

How Many Solar Panels Should You Buy

The best way to determine how many PV panels to buy for your DIY solar panel kits is to first calculate your daily electricity load, which is how much power you’d be using every day, on average. Moreover, batteries are a great addition to any homemade system.

Daily Electricity Requirements

The typical daily electricity requirement that your solar panel kits for home should aim for is around 6kWh for an average household, considering that a refrigerator and two light bulbs require just under 1.4 kWh if they run for 8h straight. While you won’t always use in-door lighting for this amount of time, it’s likely that your fridge will stay plugged 24/7.

You can calculate your own daily electricity load by multiplying the amount of time you’d be running an appliance with its required kW. Afterwards, you add the results from all other appliances. Don’t forget to include everything – from refrigerator to microwave ovens, as well as light bulbs.

Choosing the Right Kit

In order to make sure that your solar panel kit can provide enough power, you need to calculate how much your system can produce given a certain amount of sunlight. For instance, a 100W panel will normally give you 400W of electricity if it gets 4 hours of sunlight. To achieve 6 kWh per day with just 4 hours of sunlight, you’d need 15 100W panels.

One thing to keep in mind is sunlight exposure. Some geographic regions get 5, 6, or even 8 hours of good sunlight every day. Rather than banking on the fact that you’d get more, however, it’s wiser to purchase a good generator to go with your DIY solar panel kit. This will ensure that excess electricity will be stored to be used for cloudy days.

Depending on your location and surroundings, ground mounted solar panel kits might be better than roof ones, as it easier to ensure that your panels are positioned at an angle that can maximize sun exposure.

Off-Grid vs. Grid-Tied Applications

Off-Grid vs. Grid-Tied Applications

Another major decision for your solar panel kits concerns whether you’ll tie them to the grid or not. The grid-tied system takes the excess electricity you generate and feeds it into the traditional network everyone draws their electricity from. If you happen to live in an area where net metering is possible, then you may be able to receive credit for this energy that you feed into the system.

Battery installations for DIY solar panel kits are also popular. Instead of feeding the excess power into the grid, you’d be charging a set of generators that can power your house during cloudy days or night-time. Off-grid systems traditionally seek to maximize power-efficiency by having appliances and lights that are engineered for energy saving, such as DC LED lighting.

Solar panel kits for homes can also be made to go both ways, but it will be costly. Everything you need is a battery system that is good enough to feed excess electricity into the grid once it is fully charged. This version can be cost-effective, as certain systems are capable of generating a hefty amount of power given the right circumstances and location. The advantage for the latter two options is that the batteries can also work as back-up generators in case there’s an outage.

Given how straightforward and affordable DIY solar panel kits are nowadays, it’s truly a bargain to buy one and start saving on electricity bills. Renewable energy is not only a great way to reduce one’s carbon footprint, but also a gateway to lower household costs and achieve energy independence.

4.6 rating
Based on 29 reviews

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