What Are The Top-Rated Solar Starter Kits In 2017 – Buyer’s Guide

Source: Amazon

If you’re planning to lower your monthly electricity bills by using a solar power starter kit, then you should have an idea about the basics solar power starter kit, then you should have an idea about the basics.

For starters, the basic components of a solar power kit are solar panels, battery, controller charger and an inverter.

Its main function is to work as a backup or an alternative source of energy when power outages or emergencies occur.

There are several types of solar starter kits in the market today. But take note, not all of them may be suitable for your needs or energy requirements.

5 Top-Rated Solar Starter Kits in 2017

The solar power industry has undeniably started to boom in the United States. In fact, living off the grid in a sustainable way is not impossible anymore.

So, if you’re among those who are committed to a more sustainable living and cost-efficient electricity, then these solar starter kits will help you.

Solar Starter KitPrice CheckRatingIdeal Daily Output (Watt Hours)Price
Renogy 100 Watts 12 Volts Monocrystalline Solar Starter Kit Price Check4.5500Wh$
WindyNation 100 Watt Solar Panel Off-Grid RV Boat KitPrice Check4.5350Wh$
Goal Zero 42011 Sherpa 100 Solar Recharging KitPrice Check498Wh$$
Grape Solar GS-400-KIT 400-Watt Off-Grid Solar Panel KitPrice Check4.51,200Wh$$$
Komaes 400 Watts 12 Volts Monocrystalline Solar Starter KitPrice Check42,000Wh$$

1. Renogy 100 Watts 12 Volts Solar Starter Kit

Source: Amazon

Considered the excellent starter kit to begin a solar energy living, the Renogy 100 Watts 12 Volts Solar Starter Kit produces an ideal output of 500Wh per day. It provides several benefits such as quiet power production and grid independence.

Specifically designed to customers that are new to solar energy usage. The Renogy starter kit comes as a top choice, thanks to its great power output.

It also comes with the tools necessary for a new solar power system, including a Renogy 100W 12V Monocrystalline Solar Panel, a 30A PWM Wanderer Charge Controller, a 20ft 10AWG MC4 Adaptor Kit, an 8ft 10AWG Tray Cable and a set of Z-brackets.

One of the outstanding features of this solar power kit’s the wattage, which allows it to recharge RVs, boats, sheds, cabins and other large items.

This panel also comes with an excellent 25-year warranty for power output. In addition, a 5-year material and workmanship warranty are also present, making the kit satisfactory and a worthy investment.

It’s crafted with bypass diodes to minimize power drop caused by shade. It also ensures excellent performance even in low-light environments.

📌 Made from high purity silicon, the kit’s solar panel is durable with high solar cell efficiency (monocrystalline 18.4 percent, polycrystalline 17.9 percent).

Moreover, it can also withstand even heavy winds and snow at the same time producing electricity in low-light settings. Its corrosion-resistant aluminum frame allows the panels to be long-lasting while its TPT back sheet ensures smooth performance for a long period of time.

The Renogy kit, which is sealed, gel and flooded charging algorithm ready, guarantees no hot-spot heating and EL (Electroluminescence) tested solar modules.

Its IP65-rated junction box, on the other hand, provides complete protection against environmental particles and low pressure water jets.

Its 4-Stage battery charging process ensures a rapid, efficient and safe battery charging. The device is also equipped with pre-drilled holes, which are found at the back of the panel, that allow for fast and secure mounting.

As for the kit’s Renogy Wanderer 30A PWM Charge Controller, it’s equipped with multiple electronic protections for overcharging, overload, short-circuit and reversed polarity.

The controller is also a perfect solution for future expansions, allowing you to expand your system up to a maximum of 400W.

Meanwhile, the negative grounding controller ensures the broader off grid applications and safety, especially to be used on a vehicle that has battery negative on the chassis.

But you might need a little extra investment on the right charge controller so it’s like a generator with a much higher return and prevent system failure.

Even though the Renogy 100 Watts 12 Volts Monocrystalline Solar Starter Kit’s an excellent choice for starters, it does not include a battery and the monocrystalline cells increase the cost. Its charge controller also needs an upgrade to optimize the efficiency of its solar panels.

In comparison with the WindyNation 100 Watt Solar Panel Off-Grid RV Boat Kit, the Renogy kit offers a much higher output of 500Wh than WindyNation’s 350Wh. Other than that, their features are almost similar to each other.

Pros
  • Great solar panels
  • Easy hook up instructions
  • Quality Construction
  • Great value
  • Easy, reliable, intuitive and safe
Cons
  • Charge controller setup should be easier
  • Charge controller needs to optimize its panel’s efficiency
  • Aluminum cable should be replaced with 10 AWG copper

2. WindyNation 100 Watt Solar Panel Off-Grid RV Boat Kit

Source: Amazon

Perfect for backup power or off-grid power system solutions, the WindyNation 100 Watt Solar Panel Off-Grid RV Boat Kit attracts owners of RV’s and boats.

It offers an average of 350 Watt hours or 33 Amp hours of charge per day, depending on the availability of the sunlight.

The kit includes the basic components of a solar power starter kit:

  • 100-Watt solar panel
  • User adjustable LCD 30-Amp solar charge controller Battery temperature sensor
  • 40 ft. of UL listed 12 AWG solar cable
  • MC4 Connectors for wiring
  • 4 Solar Panel Mounting Brackets
  • Fastener Sets

To harness the sun’s free energy, it’s also equipped with a 12 volt battery and a DC-to-AC inverter. The WindyNation 100 Watt Solar Charging Kit’s one of the best solutions for providing back-up power or off-grid power.

📌 The WindyNation 100 Watt Solar Panel Off-Grid RV Boat Kit offers up to 100 Watts of clean, renewable and free power. However, the downside for this type of kit’s the fact that it’s a low-end model and has certain limitations.

Compared to the Goal Zero 42011 Sherpa 100 Solar Recharging Kit, the WindyNation is far better when it comes to its ideal power output of 350Wh per day. it’s also much cheaper compared to the Goal Zero system.

Aside from the aforementioned features, the kit also boasts premium grade PWM solar charge controller with digital display, which details the system information:

  • Solar panel charging amperage
  • Battery voltage, battery temperature
  • Amperage of load draw (if a load is connected)
  • Solar generated amp-hours to battery

System settings such as solar disconnect and load disconnect voltages are user adjustable through the charge controller’s MODE and UP and DOWN buttons.

Pros
  • Controller is far superior than others
  • Battery temperature sensor is a great feature
  • Adjustable settings
  • Versatile and well-built
  • Great sunlight operation
  • Good quality construction
  • Easy to install
Cons
  • Poor wording on being a complete starter kit
  • Missing documentation on user manual
  • Battery temperature wiring quite on the short side
  • No inline fuse holder included

3. Goal Zero 42011 Sherpa 100 Solar Recharging Kit

Source: Amazon

Known as a versatile, rugged and reliable portable solar kit source, the Goal Zero 42011 Sherpa 100 Solar Recharging Kit could be as adventurous as you need it to be.

With its included solar panel, it allows you to charge all your electronic gears and devices for a complete off-the-grid power.

Designed to charge all your devices, the kit’s equipped with a Goal Zero Sherpa 100 power pack, a Nomad 20-Watt solar panel and a Sherpa 100-Watt bolt-on inverter.

It also comes with a versatile range of ports including two ultra-fast, smart USBs for mobile phones and tablets, a 12V port for lights, an innovative port specifically for laptops and a detachable AC inverter for DSLR cameras.

This can also be charged in three ways — from the wall by being plugged into a regular wall outlet or plugging into a 12V adapter car and/or with the included Goal Zero Nomad 20 solar panel to harness the free energy from the sun.

📌 As for the kit’s Nomad 20 Solar Panel, it’s an additional foldable panel to help collect sunlight and manufacture solar power.

It comes with a portable power pack or a built-in USB port to help charge the same type of gear possible to charge through the Sherpa 100. The system’s overall capacity is 20 watts but the battery itself can hold approximately 98Wh.

Despite its notable features and functions, Goal Zero 42011 Sherpa 100 Solar Recharging Kit has a major downside when it comes to its cost. It’s overpriced and a car charger is not included as a standard accessory.

For those who have already purchased this kit, it needs improvement as the battery capacity is quite small, as well as the pouch in the solar panel.

Among the solar kits listed, the Goal Zero 42011 Sherpa 100 Solar Recharging Kit has the lowest output capacity. But in spite of its low output, it delivers a powerful and reliable performance. it’s also long-lasting and provides great versatility.

Pros
  • Versatile, rugged and outdoor friendly
  • Solar panel is designed tough, durable and waterproof
  • Small, light and powerful
Cons
  • Not compatible for Macs or iPhones
  • Not so efficient inverter
  • Charger is not waterproof
  • Quite expensive

4. Grape Solar GS-400-KIT 400-Watt Off-Grid Solar Panel Kit

Source: Amazon

Ideal for charging your portable electronic devices, the Grape Solar GS-400-KIT 400-Watt Off-Grid Solar Panel Kit’s a durable, easy to maintain and effective solar panel kit that has become a popular choice among those who wanted to live off the grid or with sustainable and cost-efficient power source.

It’s also ideal for a variety of applications such as small pumps, operating LED lights, RVs, boats, 12V battery charging and charging small electronic devices like phones and cameras.

Made with relatively high energy efficiency of 18 percent crystalline solar cells for long-lasting service, this solar kit’s strong and well-designed. It has impact resistance and can withstand more than 50 pounds in a wind load or snow load.

It’s installed on rooftops or ground systems and comes with a 10-year limited product warranty and a 25-year power output warranty. it’s also easy to install and virtually maintenance-free.

Thanks to its anodized aluminum frame and a sealed junction box, it made the panel weatherproof for outdoor use while a two diode bypass minimizes power drop caused by shade. The power system provides approximately 1,200-watt hours or 100 amp hours of charge per day.

The panels also have MC4 connectors on the positive and negative leads for a secure, weather-tight connection. It also offers high transmittance, low iron tempered glass provides durability and enhanced impact resistance.

📌 The solar power kit can be used with on-grid systems and it includes:

  • 4-piece Grape Solar GS-STAR-100W polycrystalline solar panels
  • 35 Amp Xantrex charge controller
  • 2,000-watt pure-sine Xantrex inverter
  • Two outlets
  • 1 USB port
  • Cables and manual

As for Xantrex C35 Charge Controller, it’s the heart of the 100-series kits due to its versatility and reliability. It’s a PWM (Pulse Width Modulated) charge controller that will work with both 12V and 24V battery banks. This charge controller also makes the 100-Watt kit an expandable solar starter kit to a 400-Watt.

The kit’s Xantrex PROwatt SW 2000 Inverter, on the other hand, offers several safety features that are not found in other similar inverters such as its True Since-Wave AC output of 2,000 watts.

With high surge capability, the PROwatt SW 2000 provides the necessary current to startup demanding electrical loads such as variable speed power tools, advanced electrical appliances, microwaves and much more.

In addition to dual GFCI AC receptacles, the PROwatt SW 2000 is also equipped with an innovative USB connection for providing power to most USB chargeable devices like smartphones, speakers, and cameras.

The Grape Solar GS-400-KIT 400-Watt Off-Grid Solar Panel Kit has definitely met and exceeded the expectations of many consumers except for the fact that the kit lacks storage batteries and mounting hardware.

The kit also represents a quarter of its cost as you may still need to purchase panel racks, battery box, battery vent system, grounding systems, extra wire and MC4 connectors and a conduit, among many others.

The Grape Solar GS-400-KIT 400-Watts Off-Grid Solar Panel Kit’s by far the most expensive solar starter kit in our list. It also delivers one of the highest ideal output of 1,200Wh per day. it’s also one of the top-rated kits that brags good quality and easy installation.

Pros
  • Quality components
  • Good manual instructions and diagrams
  • Easy installation
  • Sturdy packaging
Cons
  • Wiring should be longer
  • MC4 connectors are quite unfit

5. Komaes 400 Watts 12 Volts Monocrystalline Solar Starter Kit

Source: Amazon

Promises to provide a clean, quiet and renewable alternative power source, the Komaes 400 Watts 12 Volts Monocrystalline Solar Starter Kit’s capable of offering a steady supply of electricity — be it rural, industrial or commercial applications or at home.

It’s packed with four 12V monocrystalline solar panels, 20A PWM charge controller, one pair of Solar MC4 connectors and a pair of 20-feet 13AWG Adaptor Kit MC4 solar cables.

The kit boasts its high modules conversion efficiency and its ideal output of 2,000-watt hours per day, depending on the amount and the availability of sunlight. It also has a long service life and high-efficiency solar cells.

The kit’s also notable for its special anodized aluminum frame design that is high corrosion resistant and can last up to 25 years (service life).

Moreover, it’s equipped with grade-A monocrystalline silicon battery for efficient power conversion. It’s designed with a tempered glass that offers 93 percent light transmittance.

📌 With its advanced cell encapsulation, it’s ideal for:

  • Solar power stations
  • 12V and 24V battery charging system
  • Traffic/security/gas industry power supply
  • Camping tents

The device also brags the neat welding and the pre-drilled holes at the back of the panel for fast mounting and securing. The solar panel, on the other hand, automatically keeps the battery charged as long as it’s exposed to direct sunlight.

Compared to the other solar kits in the list, the Komaes 400 Watts 12 Volts Monocrystalline Solar Starter Kit offers the highest ideal daily output of 2,000Wh. it’s also less expensive than other kits of similar types.

Pros
  • Efficient power conversion
  • Long-lasting service life
  • Neat welding (solar panels)
  • Easy installation and eco-friendly
  • Works even with winter sun
  • High corrosion resistance
Cons

Unstated

What Does A Solar Power Starter Kit Include?

The sun is a huge battery of power and through the advancements of technology, we have learn how to harness this energy. And today, building efficient and sustainable homes has become a common trend.

In fact, many have opted to install solar power starter kits in their homes for maximum energy efficiency and to promote a green approach to electricity.

So for starters, it’s a must to know what the basic components of a solar kit are. Hence, we provided a brief overview below.

1. Photovoltaic Solar Panels – These are large, flat panels that absorb and convert the energy from the sun into electricity.

2. Mounting Brackets – These will help you secure the panels to a surface, such as a roof or any area that is exposed to the sun.

3. Inverter – It converts the DC electricity that generated by the solar panels into the type of AC current that powers lights and appliances.

4. Battery – it’s used to store energy over time, giving you a free reign to use your device anytime and anywhere. However, the battery pack systems are often sold separately.

5. Cables – These are the wirings you’ll need to connect all the components of your solar power starter kits together.

CONCLUSION

With all the types of solar-powered starter kits in the market today, it’s best to determine what you’re really looking for and the power you needed

Take note of the specifications you want and the devices you wish to power because you’ll just be burning money if you choose the trial and error concept.

When planning to go solar, it’s also best to do it in small increments. For instance, starting out with the Renogy solar starter kit could be a smart move.

And once you have become accustomed or comfortable with it, it would be much easier to upgrade to larger solar power systems.

But of course, installing a solar power kit also comes with unique challenges. Even though experts said all panels should face true south, you still have to figure out the best position for your panels to capture the most amount of sunlight based on your latitude.

It’s also a common mistake to install the kit on shaded areas, so make sure to place the panels in fully exposed areas or under direct sunlight.

As for the size, it’s smart to choose the lower end of the scale if you just want to power an outdoor, motion-activated light for your shed.

If you want to power an entire cabin, however, then you need a higher-end solar power system.

Have you chosen the best solar power starter kit that suit your needs? Or do you already have one? If yes, feel free to share your experiences on your solar kits in the comments section below.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *