Goal Zero Portable Solar Panel

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Goal Zero Boulder 100 Review

Goal Zero Boulder 100 Review

Overall Rating 8
Portability 9
Compatibility 8
Durability 8
Ease of Use 9
Value for Money 8

Aniket

Written by qualified solar engineer Aniket. Last updated:

Our Verdict

Goal Zero’s Boulder 100 is a portable 100W solar panel. It sports a robust, lightweight, corner-protected frame and minimal wiring. It also comes with a handy kickstand that allows you to easily set it up at the required angle. At close to 10kg (22 lbs), it’s portability is not entirely a highlight. For the quality and features, it should be worth buying for most users.

Easy setup and connections with Goal Zero power packs make it practical and one of the best portable solar panels. The only drawbacks, similar to the Boulder 50, are the relatively higher price and a relatively average kickstand. But if you don’t mind those drawbacks, the Boulder 100 is a great buy. Let us find out a bit more about this Goal Zero Boulder 100 in the review.

Compatibility

The 14-22V port of the Boulder 100 means most 12V devices or batteries can be connected to it. The panel can be directly connected, without the need of a charge controller, to Goal Zero’s power packs or power stations. These include the Sherpa 100 and all of the Yeti series power stations. It is easy to connect with a single pin and no multiple ports that create confusion for beginners. This also adds safety from high voltage series connections.

Durability

Despite its extra 2-3kg with respect to a standard 100W panel, the Boulder 100 is stronger. The protected corners play a superb role in protecting the panel from any possible shocks. The kickstand on the rear, though intended for mounting, also serves some protection, especially to the plastic junction box. While standard panels can sustain a drop of an inch or two at the most, the Boulder 100 goes farther in that aspect. The tempered glass also gives much needed front-side protection from the elements or minor accidents.

vertically standing goal zero boulder 100

Ease of Use

The most important factor that maximizes usability of this panel is its metallic stand. Made of simple L-angles welded together and clamped to the aluminum frame, it is a basic but useful structure. There is no need of supporting panels by rocks and chairs anymore, as it takes a mere few seconds to swing the kickstand out to the desired degree and set it up. The use of single pin barrel jack is a unique choice, which makes connecting and disconnecting power stations simpler and safer.

Features

The Boulder 100 comes with the standard Boulder series features such as foldable kickstand and protected corners. The panel is made from laser-cut monocrystalline cells that promise higher efficiency, thus making the panel more compact. It is weather-resistant, meaning it is water-proof, and to some extent, it’s shock-proof as well.

Design

In the first glance, this solar product is a large black rectangle with ‘Boulder 100’ and ‘Goal Zero’ written at the bottom side of the frame. The black mono-cells add to the sleek look of it, while the protected corners add a hint of green, making it look slightly youthful and sporty. The kickstand could have been more aesthetically pleasing, and rubber stoppers at the stand ends could help prevent foot injuries, but the stand does not provide those.

side facing goal zero boulder 100 using its kickstand

What We Like

A portable panel is supposed to sustain more than a regular, permanently mounted panel. On this front, the Goal Zero Boulder 100 is a clear winner. Performance-wise, the mono Si cells deliver the amount of energy as specified by Goal Zero. The standout features certainly are the kickstand and corner protection, guaranteeing ease and safety. Though the costs could have been lower, the product is worth the money.

Pros:

  • Integrated kickstand allows easy setup
  • Excellent build quality with premium components (frame, glass)
  • Higher strength and durability due to corner protection

Cons:

  • 20-30% heavier than a regular 100W panel
  • Costs significantly higher than other non-portable modules

We hope you liked this article. Please rate it or leave us a comment.

Average rating 5 / 5. Vote count: 2

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Goal Zero Boulder 200 Briefcase Review

Goal Zero Boulder 200 Briefcase Review

Overall Rating 8
Portability 9
Compatibility 7
Durability 8
Ease of Use 9
Value for Money 6

Aniket

Written by qualified solar engineer Aniket. Last updated:

Our Verdict

Though Goal Zero’s arsenal of solar products are mainly portable panels, portability is not a forte of the Boulder 200 Briefcase. It is the largest solar of their products but with that carries 200 watts of output power and can provide a substantial amount of juice for battery power stations like the Yeti series.

If you need to power a number of off-grid devices and quite frequently, then the 200 briefcase is certainly for you. This Goal Zero Boulder 200 Briefcase review looks at a few useful features that make it truly rugged and outdoor-specific. Some of them are the easy fold-and-carry system, mounting kickstands, and sturdy build. Its weight, dimensions, and cost may not be to everyone’s liking, but it surely compensates with its performance and build quality.

Compatibility

The 200W Briefcase is best compatible with Goal Zero’s Yeti series of power stations, thanks to its 14-ampere DC current at 14-22 volts. Unlike the other panels of the Boulder series, it comes with a square Anderson power pole. The single pin output simplifies connecting and disconnecting but makes universal battery pack compatibility difficult, though not impossible.

the back of a goal zero boulder 200

Durability

Similar to other Boulder series panels, the 200 briefcase comes with two 100W panels and rigid aluminum frames. The corner protectors do a nice job of reducing impact shocks and increasing durability and portability. The tempered glass is considerably tough. It would have been a cleverer design to have the glass fold inward for safer transportation.

Ease of Use

At just over 44 lbs, this may not be the lightest and easiest to carry, but it is easy to set up. Both panels have their foldable kickstands that make mounting the panels at a desired angle easily possible. Just one output pin for the whole set makes the connecting and disconnecting effortless.

goal zero boulder 200 inside its briefcase

Features

A standard 200W panel could easily be a meter and half long, while the briefcase is only half of that after folding it. The kickstand bring remarkable easy to unpack, pack, install, and disconnect. The protected corners and lightweight frame achieves good balance in strength and weight. The price point, however, is not going to be a favorite feature, given the fact that it costs nearly twice the price of other standard solar panels.

Design

Design-wise, the Goal Zero Boulder 200 Briefcase is simply a scaled-up version of the Goal Zero Boulder 100 Briefcase. The idea of hinging two panels together to make a foldable unit is perfect. Individually, the fully black panels look modern. The corner protectors add protection as well as style, with green highlights on them. Overall, the set definitely looks one of the best among portable panel options.

What We Like

The Briefcase 200 is a perfect outing companion for those with multiple devices and frequent power requirements. The ability to carry 200W of rated power in one hand is definitely a plus, if weight isn’t the greatest issue. Kickstand and single pin output make it suitable even for beginners’ use. On the durability and utility front too, this product makes a clear statement.

Pros:

  • Integrated kickstand allows easy setup
  • Excellent build quality with premium components (frame, glass)
  • Higher strength and durability due to corner protection
  • Double the power in given dimensions (folded), making carrying easier

Cons:

  • Very heavy, at 41.9 lbs and difficult to carry
  • Costs significantly higher than other non-portable modules
  • Panel faces remain outwards when folded

We hope you liked this article. Please rate it or leave us a comment.

Average rating 4 / 5. Vote count: 4

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

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Goal Zero Boulder 50 Review

Goal Zero Boulder 50 Review

Overall Rating 8.6
Portability 8
Compatibility 9
Durability 8
Ease of Use 10
Value for Money 8

Aniket

Written by qualified solar engineer Aniket. Last updated:

Our Verdict

The Boulder 50 is a rugged looking 50-watt solar panel with useful features such as protected corners and an integrated stand. If you are looking to buy a panel to charge one of Goal Zero’s battery units such as the Sherpa or Yeti, it is a perfect choice. A sturdy frame and high efficiency cells bring more power.

It can be used easily by placing it on your truck’s hood or beside your tents. It can even be utilized in your backyard. Besides a couple of acceptable drawbacks, the Boulder 50 turns out to be an impressive performer, as we will find out in more detail in this Goal Zero Boulder 50 review. If you have a considerable outing frequency with moderate power requirements, the Boulder 50 might be the perfect fit.

Compatibility

The Boulder 50 comes with a rated open circuit voltage of 18-22V, meaning it should be compatible with any device or battery that runs on 12V DC. Depending on the battery/power pack’s charge capacity, it may take a few hours to fully charge it. As far as Goal Zero products are concerned, all power packs and power stations are perfectly compatible with the Boulder 50. The connecting jack is designed to be specifically compatible to Goal Zero’s power packs, but can be used with other brands too.

Durability

Goal Zero describes the Boulder 50 as rugged, durable and rigid, and the product does stand true to the description. A solid anodized aluminum frame with corner protection sets Boulder 50 apart from standard, non-portable panels. The junction box at the back sits nicely below the frame level and the glass in front is termed ‘strong, tempered glass’. For starters, tempered glass is toughened thermally treated glass which either does not break or breaks without dispersing shards. It is difficult to achieve an optimum balance between durability and weight, and this product succeeds in doing so.

front facing goal zero boulder 50

Ease of Use

This solar panel can be easily carried in one hand, especially with the travel case. Setting up the panel is equally easy. It takes only a few seconds to pull out the stand and place it in the desired direction at the desired angle. There is an easy to plug 8mm barrel jack pin that can be plugged into the power pack or another 50W panel. The replacement of MC4 connectors by barrel jacks ensures parallel connection at all times, eliminating chances of battery damage from high voltage series connection.

Features

The most distinguishing features of the Boulder 50 are certainly the availability of the kickstand and reinforced corners. Easy plugging pins mean no more confusion with circuit diagrams and inaccurate polarity connections.

Design

On the design front, the panel looks sleek with its monocrystalline cell matrix and a black anodized aluminum frame. The mounting kickstand is clamped neatly into the frame and swings in and out easily. A better-quality kickstand with rubber or plastic protection on ends could have been a plus. The wires are optimum length and the corner guards sport a lime color in a black border. Overall, the panel looks modern and robust.

side facing goal zero boulder 50

What We Like

The unique features of the Boulder 50 make it a true portable panel, as easy as transporting and setting up a foldable chair. The performance is also promising, thanks to the dark monocrystalline cells. Although it does go considerably higher on the pricing part than standard panels, the features surely make up for it. In case you are eager to explore other options of portable panels, this post will be of help.

The Boulder 50, though, is a worthy upgrade on the previous Boulder 30, and promises real portability and ease of use.

Pros:

  • Excellent build quality with durable components
  • Easy installation, thanks to integrated kickstand
  • Corner protection for added strength and rigidity

Cons:

  • No rubber/plastic stoppers on the kickstand makes it slightly unsafe on the ends
  • Costlier than standard solar panels

We hope you liked this article. Please rate it or leave us a comment.

Average rating 5 / 5. Vote count: 1

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

goal zero boulder 100 briefcase featured image

Goal Zero Boulder 100 Briefcase Review

Goal Zero Boulder 100 Briefcase Review

Overall Rating 8
Portability 9
Compatibility 8
Durability 8
Ease of Use 9
Value for Money 7

Aniket

Written by qualified solar engineer Aniket. Last updated:

Our Verdict

The Boulder 100 Briefcase is one of the most innovative products in Goal Zero’s catalog. Essentially a set of two panels joined by hinges to form a foldable briefcase-like structure, it is perfect for those who want 100W power but not a large 40×26 inch panel. The two 50W panels are electrically connected in parallel, serving 100W power to recharge any 12V battery pack.

The panels are constructed from high efficiency monocrystalline cells sandwiched in tempered glass and a light frame. The kickstands make mounting at any angle quick and easy. The L-shaped corner guards are a welcome feature. The implications of these features are discussed further in this Goal Zero Boulder 100 Briefcase Review.  All in all, the Boulder 100 Briefcase is a perfect camping companion to buy if compact size and decent power are your requirements. For a more powerful version of this product, the Goal Zero Boulder 200 briefcase is a great option

Compatibility

Similar to other panels of the Boulder series, the Briefcase is also compatible with all of Goal Zero’s energy storage products such as the Yeti 150 or Yeti 400, among others. The charging time varies with the battery capacity. Ideally, being a set of parallel-connected panels with 14-22V output, it can go with any 12V battery unit. The catch, however, is the single pin output of the set. This means an adapter will be required for products other than Goal Zero’s.

Durability

The briefcase has all the factors of individual Boulder panels that make them durable. This includes the corner reinforcements and sturdy aluminum frame. It could have been best to have the panel faces fold inward into its briefcase form. This would have ensured higher safety for the glass.

Ease of Use

There are two main things that make using the Boulder 100 Briefcase easier than standard panels. Instead of a positive and negative terminal, it has a single pin output to plug into the power station. Panels also always need to be set at an angle to receive sunlight at 90 degrees. Both the panels in the briefcase come with their own kickstands which make setting up the panel at an angle takes only a few seconds.

side facing goal zero boulder 100 briefcase propped up using its stand legs

Features

The main features of the briefcase are certainly the fact that one can get a 100W solar system almost in the size of a 50W panel. The weight does, however, goes above double the typical 50W panel’s weight. A robust yet lightweight Al frame, added with protected corners, enhances its portable nature.

Design

Once folded and put into the sheath, the set can almost pass as a briefcase, which is why it is rightly christened so. Fully black panels and black borders make it look modern. The corner protectors with a green portion add to its style. The kickstands are simple and easy to use. They could certainly be of better quality, though, and with end protection to avoid injuries.

front facing goal zero boulder 100 briefcase in its briefcase

What We Like

The Boulder 100 Briefcase does have its flaws, including its price tag and the slightly disappointing kickstands. Nevertheless, it is a highly practical unit that can be fit and carried fairly easily, and worthy of a spot in any list of this year’s top products. It is also genuinely portable, thanks to stronger build and mounting kickstands. The single pin output is easy to use. If you are a frequent traveler with off-grid power requirements who doesn’t mind paying a bit more for a well-built product, the Boulder 100 Briefcase is for you.

Pros:

  • Integrated kickstand allows easy setup
  • Excellent build quality with premium components (frame, glass)
  • Higher strength and durability due to corner protection
  • Double the power in given dimensions (folded), making carrying easier

Cons:

  • Considerably heavy, at almost 12kg (26.4 lbs.)
  • Costs significantly higher than other non-portable modules
  • Panel faces remain outwards on folding

We hope you liked this article. Please rate it or leave us a comment.

Average rating 5 / 5. Vote count: 1

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

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