Renogy 100 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Foldable Solar Suitcase Review
- Foldable, briefcase-like design
- High efficiency monocrystalline cells
- Integrated charge controller
- Integrated mounting stands
- Highly durable build
Maximum Power: 100W
Max. power voltage: 18V
Max. power current: 5.56A
Dimensions (folded): 19.9 x 27.2 x 2.8 in (50.54 x 69.1 x 7.11 cm)
Weight: 26.6 lbs. (12 kg)
Renogy’s foldable set of two 50-watt panels is an interesting upgrade over traditional panels. Its prime focus is portability, by bringing the required storage space down by a factor of two. Among other salient features is the integrated charge controller, christened ‘Voyager’. This panel stands out from the crowd of panels that pretend to be portable by being a genuine and complete portable panel.
100 watts of monocrystalline-cell generated power means sufficient energy for sizeable off-grid durations and above average performance. The protected corners improve the panel’s durability, an essential trait for portable panels. We will cover all the aspects that make this panel unique in more detail in this Renogy 100 watt 12 volt monocrystalline foldable solar suitcase review.
Despite being an unconventional and portable module, the 100W 12V foldable panel by Renogy keeps the output hardware standard. The output leads from the charge controller have MC4 connectors on their ends. With another set of MC4 sporting cables equipped with alligator clips at the end, the panels can be easily connected to a battery, provided it is a 12V unit. Batteries, such as gel, lithium-based, or flooded are compatible with this set of panels. The charge controller’s negative ground system makes the set compatible with RVs, trailers, and boats.
Portable panels without a durable build are a failed proposition. Renogy takes this into account and offers a set of panels with a solidly built frame and strong glass. The aluminum frame as well as mounting kickstand are immune to rusting and fairly lightweight. The reinforced corners can take some small blows during transportation. The mounting stand’s quality is acceptable, though not excellent, and it is complete with an adjustable mechanism and end-stoppers. The tempered, anti-reflective glass on the cells of this panel optimizes performance with strength. The junction boxes and connectors are waterproof, leaving no room for worrying about rainy weather.
Easy Of Use
A challenge that the designers of portable panels always face is making light yet sturdy models. Despite being robust enough, the panel is easy to lift and carry for short distances. The 26.6 lb. weight is almost double that of a traditional panel, but does not hinder its portability. The charge controller comes with a concise LCD display that indicates battery charge capacity and charging voltage. The MC4 connectors and alligator clips do not require special training or experience to deal with, and the folding-unfolding and latching of the panels is equally easy.
Renogy’s 100W foldable product is loaded with modern features. It comes with monocrystalline cells, which promise better power generation in a compact size. The hinged panels have adjustable and light kickstands, allowing maximum sunlight absorption by placing at desired angles. The 20A charge controller houses an easily readable display and basic controls. The charge controller improves charging time and also protects the batteries from overcharging and overheating. The set of panels also comes with a protective casing, to make transportation even more secure. However, all of this does come at a higher cost. Many people may despise anything over $2/watt, but most may consider this worth it — given the list of features.
Among everything that this foldable unit boasts of, we were most impressed by its design. Neatly placed mounting stands and a cleverly integrated charge controller make the unit complex but not complicated. The black frames complement the mono-Si cells. The corner protectors as well as the back-sheet also come in the dark shade. We would have liked to see a dash of a brighter shade in some places like the eclipse series, though. The handle, hinges, and latches look and feel reliable. Overall, the product easily gets full marks for design.
What We Like
Portable solar panels may not be a necessity for everyone. But for frequent travelers that leave the grid behind, the Renogy 100W 12V monocrystalline foldable suitcase is a nice machine to have. It is laced with everything that makes a panel worthy of the portable tag. The foldable design and mounting stands impart great ease of use. The charge controller and cables are perfect for quick connections and safe output. To summarize, this is one of the best portable solar units on the market, and there is almost no room for improvement.
- Excellent and convenient design
- 20A charge controller improves performance as well as safety
- Integrated mounting stands make it a genuinely portable unit
- High cost
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