World's top miner plans to hire 21,000 women, rectify imbalance

BHP Billiton Ltd wants women to account for half of its workforce by 2025 as the world’s top miner seeks to change the gender balance in an industry dominated by men.

The company isn’t “as inclusive or diverse as we could be,” CEO Andrew Mackenzie said in a statement on Thursday. BHP has a workforce of about 65,000, including contractors, of which 18% are female. Based on these numbers, its target would mean an additional 21,000 women employed by the middle of the next decade, including both its own staff and contractors.

The $800 billion mining industry has long been a male-dominated business, with women even banned from working underground in some countries until recently. Men hold a majority of executive positions in resources companies, lagging behind other sectors. While the proportion is growing, female directors accounted for only 10.9% of miners’ boards on average in 2014, compared with more than 15 percent in consumer goods and services, according to a study by Women in Mining UK and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

“Without new initiatives it would take us 30 years just to get to 30% female representation,” BHP’s Mackenzie said in the statement. “More must, and will, be done. And our 2025 aspirational goal is to achieve gender balance at all levels of the organisation over the next decade.”

Out of BHP’s direct workforce of 27,000, women also account for 18%. The company says it’s seeking the target for direct employees and will encourage contractors to mirror the same balance.

“Opportunities exist to work with our suppliers to align our supply chain processes with our inclusion and diversity aspirations,” BHP said in an email. “We will work together with our supply chain partners to understand where we can create opportunities to support our commitment for inclusion and diversity.”

BHP will feature “counter-stereotypical images” such as women miners and young female leaders in its internal and external visuals, in a bid to attract and retain diverse talent, the company said. It will also seek to mitigate bias in its policies and processes, and develop flexible work options.

“The task itself is massive,” said Kate Hobbes, a senior consultant at First Principles Consulting in Queensland, whose clients include medium-sized mining companies in Australia. “To hit 50%, BHP is going to have to completely change the way they do business.”

Mining companies with gender diversity in their boards outperformed all-male boards in 2014 by 49% on the basis of the ratio of a firm’s enterprise value to its proven mineral reserves, according to the study by Women in Mining UK and PricewaterhouseCoopers. All-male boards also showed 92% more negative ratings on earnings per share.

Separately, Fortescue Metals Group Lt., the world’s No. 4 iron exporter, will begin reporting progress on female participation in its workforce each quarter as it seeks to improve its gender balance, CEO Nev Power told reporters on Thursday. Wo- men currently account for 16% of the Perth-based producer’s staff, the company said in a statement. Bloomberg

India's fuel demand rose 2.1 percent in October

NEW DELHI: India’s fuel demand rose 2.1 percent in October compared with the same month last year.

Consumption of fuel, a proxy for oil demand, totalled 17.78 million tonnes, data from the Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC) of the oil ministry showed.

Sales of gasoline, or petrol, were 4.5 percent higher from a year earlier at 2.65 million tonnes.

Cooking gas or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) sales increased 2.6 percent to 2.42 million tonnes, while naphtha sales surged 17.1 percent to 1.30 million tonnes.

Sales of bitumen, used for making roads, were 58.4 percent up, while fuel oil use edged up 13.2 percent in October.

(Reporting by NEW DELHI newsroom)

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Centre approves Rs 1,810 cr investment for Himachal hydro project

New Delhi: The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on Wednesday approved the investment of Rs 1,810.56 crore for the 210 MW Luhri Stage-I Hydro Electric Project located on the river Satluj in Shimla and Kullu districts of Himachal Pradesh.

This project, being implemented by the Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam Limited (SJVNL) on Build-Own-Operate-Maintain (BOOM) basis, will generate 758.20 million units of electricity annually.

The Luhri Stage-I Hydro Electric Project shall be commissioned within a span of 62 months.

The power generated from the project will help in providing Grid stability and will improve the power supply position. Besides adding valuable renewable energy to the grid, the project would also lead to reduction of 6.1 lakh tons of carbon dioxide from the environment annually, thus contributing to improvement in air quality.

The construction activities of the project will result in direct and indirect employment to around 2,000 persons and will contribute to overall socio-economic development of the State, a government statement said.

Further, Himachal Pradesh will benefit with free power worth around Rs 1,140 crore from Luhri Stage-I Hydro Electric Project, during the project life cycle of 40 years. The project affected families will be provided with 100 units of free electricity per month for ten years, the statement said.

Best Solar-Powered Security Camera of 2020

Best solar security camera: top-rated reviews

“Someone is at your front door,” says Alexa.

“Alexa, show front door cam,” you respond. Then, as you look down at your phone you see it. “Sweet, my package is here!”

While this situation would likely bring a smile to pretty much anyone’s face, the flipside isn’t as pretty, unfortunately. For that reason, we’ve rounded up the year’s best solar-powered security cameras all in one place to help you, your family, and your loved ones stay prepared for any situation.

So without further ado, to aid your search, let’s examine a snapshot (sorry, I couldn’t resist!) of our top 13 picks.

Our Top 13 Solar-Powered Security Cameras at a Glance

To help you find the best solar-powered security camera for you, and make your search easier – here’s a quick look at our top 13 most-highly reviewed picks.

  1. Ring Solar HD Security Camera (Best Overall): Our best overall pick to buy, the Ring Solar HD Security Camera impresses with its smart integration, ease of use, easy installation, and many features it offers, such as two-way audio, excellent battery life, and straightforward and easy to see visuals.
  2. ieGeek Solar Outdoor Security Camera (Budget Pick): With its smart night vision feature, two-way audio, real-time notifications, and being usable through an app with iOS or Android, this ieGeek model earns our top wallet-friendly pick.
  3. Ankway Solar Security Camera (Easy Setup): With useful features like rotating and zooming in on videos, real-time alerts, an IP rating built to withstand -30 degrees, and quick and easy setup, this Ankway Solar Camera is more than worth the investment in our books.
  4. ZUMIMALL Solar-Powered Home Security Camera: With automatic file saving, a good IP rating down to -4 degrees, and being able to customize exactly what alerts you want to get, this is a well-rounded camera to look at for the price.
  5. Conico Solar-Powered Security Camera: Supported by iOS and Android, this camera will push real-time alerts to your phone and has customizable settings on what you want to be alerted to.
  6. YESKAMO Solar Security Camera: The Yeskamo has dual antennas for 50% more distance coverage, real-time alerts, and a battery charge of about four months if not getting direct sunlight for it to charge.
  7. REOLINK Store Argus Eco+: With a battery and solar-power panel combination the manufacturer claims you’ll never have to recharge; this camera gives you several features like two-way audio, easy installation, clear, crisp images, and real-time alerts.
  8. REOLINK Store Go+: Two-way audio, real-time alerts, 7-day playback, encrypted cloud storage, and extra storage through a micro SD card make this a great pick.
  9. REOLINK Store Argus Pro: You can use an app with this camera to control it remotely, and it is compatible with IOS and Android.
  10. Zumimall Solar Surveillance Camera: The Zumimall has night vision and micro SD storage capability, real-time alerts, two-way audio, and ability to operate down to -4 degrees to ensure that it doesn’t quickly drain in the winter.
  11. FUVISION Home Security Camer: A reliably built camera, the FUVISION is known for having an IP65 rating of working at -4 degrees, two-way audio, and rotating views while live streaming to check on things in more detail. 
  12. REOLINK Argus Eco: This REOLINK has motion detection, excellent battery life, and picture quality.
  13. EKEN Solar Security Camera: While solar-powered, this camera comes with a charging cable long enough for the mounting stand if you need it, so you don’t have to take it down to charge it depending on where it is.

Solar-Powered Security Camera Reviews

Here are our comprehensive solar-powered security camera reviews to further aid your search, and help you find the perfect one for your home, budget, and setup. Starting with our best overall pick, the Ring Solar HD Security Camera, let’s take a closer look, shall we?

#1 Ring Solar HD Security Camera (Best Overall)

I like that this camera is easy to install and that Ring’s customer service is extremely helpful. This model works great with the solar panels that go with it and keeps this one topped off at a good battery percentage without the need of a huge amount of sunlight.

It has neat top features like Live View, working with Alexa, and customizable privacy features that make it stand out above its competitors. It also can work with all your other Ring devices, making this a reliable all-around security system if you have over one item in their lineup. This would be handy in any situation, depending on where you set it up and our best overall pick.

#2 ieGeek Wireless Solar Security Camera (Budget Pick)

The first thing that’s great about this camera is its incredibly durable design meant to repel nearly anything that nature might throw at it. Then, it’s 100% wireless makes installation a breeze for those used to installing equipment with wires. In addition, according to the manufacturer, there’s no need to take the battery off to recharge it, as it houses a 1500mAh rechargeable battery. 

I like that it has those easy functions but great visuals through different sensors, and it’s smart about turning on night vision. There’s also two-way audio on this that would make it easy to communicate with anyone, such as delivery men. These factors all lead it to be my budget pick for this list.

#3 Ankway Solar Security Camera (Easy Setup)

The easy setup on this one alone makes it worth the money, allowing for a hassle-free set-up. The Ankway operates down to -30 degrees, making it even better in the cold weather for those that may live in colder areas. It has a lot of features like rotate and zoom on videos, real-time alerts (handy if you’re not home or on vacation!), and two-way audio. 

I especially like that it has real-time alerts that would be handy for knowing when packages are delivered or if there is anyone around my property while I’m away from home. An app goes with this to help with those features and sends a message directly to your phone, making it even handier.

#4 Zumimall Wireless Outdoor Security Camera

Zumimall says that this camera will only capture human motion when it’s on guard duty, and when it does, it will send instant alerts to your phone through its app. When it does this, it will save videos automatically, so you have them on file in case you need them. 

It can save these to either the cloud or an SD card, making it handy if you need to pull up footage in case anything happens. The images are stunning, and it operates down to -4 degrees, which is reasonable considering many batteries drain fast with colder weather. (1)

#5 Conico Wireless Outdoor Security Camera

WiFi capable and with instant notifications, this solar-powered security camera will get you 1080p image quality, all while being on a powerful 10400mAh rechargeable battery. This ensures that the Conico will be powered on its own when the power goes out. 

There’s motion detection, which is adjustable, so you’re not getting alerts all the time, and alerts get pushed to your phone in real-time for those you have enabled. The app is easy to use, and it’s great that it’s supported on both the iOS and Android platforms, which ensures that everyone can use this camera without fail.

#6 Yeskamo Solar Security Camera

Wire-free and easy to install, the Yeskamo security system is powered by built-in 18650 rechargeable batteries with 10400mAh capacity capability.  It has a lifetime charge before recharging of up to four months, assuming there are ten triggers a day. Still, with its solar panel and making sure that it gets proper coverage, you barely have to charge it for security coverage, making it efficient for energy needs.

I like that it has dual antennas for extra coverage, as sometimes that distance is hard to cover when you’re looking for an excellent place to put it. Real-time notifications keep you in the know, and with two-way audio, you’re looking at a reliable camera.

#7 REOLINK Argus Eco+ 

The Reolink is efficient in its power use and one that the company says that you rarely must charge. This is great for those who don’t want the hassle to worry about recharging a battery every so often and instead speak to the solar panels’ reliability to keep it charged. 

This is great for keeping you in the know-how with its real-time alerts, two-way audio, and clear, crisp images; plus, it’s easy to install, making this great for any situation. I’d find this useful anywhere I needed it, like where I needed to keep tabs on the front door, a driveway, or other areas that might have people coming up to the house.

#8 REOLINK Store Go+

As most are on this list, this is wireless and hassle-free in set up. That appeals to me because time is valuable, and I don’t want to fuss with cords, drilling, or anything else while installing one. Some outstanding features about this are that it has two-way audio, encrypted cloud storage, and the ability to slot a micro SD card. 

There’s also a seven-day playback feature that automatically comes with it to have videos on hand when you need them. The company claims that you can put this anywhere, including campers, RV’s and trailers, so you can keep tabs on them and ward off burglars.

#9 REOLINK Store Argus Pro

This is an affordable option that most people will like, as it’s easy to install, is wireless, so it’s tangle-free, and has a rechargeable battery. The battery is meant to be so efficient that you’ll never have to charge the battery and can only rely on the solar panels for its energy source. 

You can use an app with this camera to control it remotely. It is compatible with IOS and Android. It also has the capability of supporting SD cards with up to 64GB of data for videos and images, or you can store your data in the cloud. 

#10 Zumimall Solar Surveillance Camera

The night vision on the Zumimall is fantastic, and the camera is easy to set up, which is a bonus. Also, I like that it stays charged in a wide range of weather conditions and hardly ever needs to be charged, which is useful for when you want to put it somewhere that’s difficult to get to. 

This would be handy for placing it in places like the garage where a ladder might be impossible to access. It has micro SD storage capability, real-time alerts, two-way audio, and operates down to -4 degrees to ensure that it doesn’t quickly drain in the winter.

#11 FUVISION Home Security Camera

The FUVSION is a solidly built little camera that’s easy to install, making this great for those that are looking for hassle-free installation. The sturdy construction makes it durable and it gets an IP65 rating, which rates for various conditions. (2)

It can rotate views, which is a prominent feature that could be used for surveying the area after one of its real-time alerts. The sound on it is great with its two-way audio, and it’s an affordable option that will be kind to your wallet.

#12 REOLINK Argus Eco

I like that this camera has an easy-to-use app that you can install up to 4 cameras on, giving you more coverage depending on your needs. This would be useful when you have multiple areas that need to be covered across your home or several outbuildings. 

It’s easy to set up, like most of its predecessors on this list. It has motion detection, great battery life, and picture quality, and is well worth the money. The ability to get a second solar panel with this one makes the battery last even longer without having to be charged; though, with the use of its panels, this isn’t necessary.

#13 EKEN Solar Security Camera

Like all the cameras on this list, this one is easy to install and hassle-free to place in hard to reach places because you’ll rarely have to charge. Just make sure you have it in the right placement spot to get maximum sun exposure. (3) This is great for the outdoors and pans in and out for more detailed views. 

I like that it has a charging cable long enough for the mounting stand if you need it, so you don’t have to take it down to charge it depending on where it is. It has two-way audio and gives outstanding quality on its automatically saved images to any SD card. This is an additional storage space of up to 128GB with no monthly fee.

Buyers Guide (Top 5 Tips to Know BEFORE You Buy)

#1 Consider the Placement of Your Solar Security Camera(s)

The placement of your security camera is vital when you’re talking about where to place your panels for maximum efficiency. You’re going to want to make sure that your panels are getting at least a good solid 6 hours of sunlight a day. 

For placement, if you’re in the northern hemisphere, you’re going to want to place your panels facing as true-south as possible to get maximum sunlight. This will ensure that the camera is as efficient as possible for battery life. 

#2 Consider the Weather Your Camera(s) Must Endure

Waterproof Ratings

Most cameras will come with an IP rating, which goes from IP00 (the least durable in weather) to IP69 (the most durable in weather). You’ll want to get one with the best ratings possible; however, most usually come with an IP65-IP69 rating to withstand most weather that includes dust, cold, rain, wind, high pressure, and anything else that mother nature can throw at it. (4)

Dust Ratings 

IP ratings will also rate a camera based on its ability to keep dust out of the housing and how much it protects the equipment from harm. This is great for most conditions that the average person’s camera will endure. It’s wise to check on the conditions for your area and check the IP ratings of the camera you’re buying to ensure it’s suitable.

#3 Know What Type of Wireless Communication Technology You Need

WiFi

A lot of these cameras, use WiFi connectivity so they can communicate with you for real-time alerts, stream video, and be able to record and store data. Knowing what type of connectivity you need is vital to ensuring that you have great coverage. 

Most cameras come with a 2.4Ghz connection, however, some may need a booster depending on where your WiFi router is located. Some cameras come with dual antennas if you require extra distance to be covered.

3G/4G

For those areas where WiFi isn’t readily available, there are cameras that are 3G/4G internet capable. These are usually cameras that can be mounted on places like campers, trailers or RV’s so that you have easy viewing despite not having WiFi connectivity. 

Ensure that you’re looking for this with a camera before buying it if that’s what you need, as the majority of them will come with WiFi capability.

#4 Look for Bonus Features That Excite You

Once basic needs are covered, then it’s a good idea to look into the bells and whistles. Looking for features that excite you like two-way audio, streaming video, human-only detection, or other bonus features it’s a wise move to help you get the most out of your investment.

Real-Time Notifications

Real-time notifications are on almost every security camera with the help of an app, to your phone, giving you quite a bit of control over what’s going on. You can customize these in most cases to give you notifications during certain times, or for certain events. Some can even snooze notifications during a certain time frame that you specify.

Two-Way Talk

With this function, you’re able to talk through the camera to whoever is on the other side giving you instant communication. This is great in situations where your family or someone might be outside and needs to talk to you but you’re unable to come to the door.

Advanced Motion Detection

Most of these cameras have PIR motion detection on them, Pyroelectric (“Passive”) InfraRed Sensors. These help with detecting movement and heat signatures that come into range of your camera and send you alerts based on your preferences. 

User-Friendly Mobile App

Having a user-friendly mobile app makes things much easier, and most of these cameras come with one. This helps with getting real-time notifications, any live streaming, up to date information, and any other features that the camera might have. Some cameras can be controlled with their app in functionality when it comes to zooming, tilting, and other physical aspects.

#5 Find the Top Deal for You

On this list, there are some cameras that are more affordable than others. Balancing quality over price is something that you should keep in mind when shopping. 

For things like security, it’s not always best to get the cheapest thing on the market for obvious reasons. On the other hand, you shouldn’t have to sell your kidney in order to keep your family safe and have peace of mind, either. With that said, to find the top deal for you it’s recommended to look at all the factors discussed above, plus overall shipping costs, speed, and of course, the final price.

FAQ

Here are some of the most popular frequently asked questions to know before you buy a solar security camera.

How Do Solar-Powered Security Cameras Work?

Solar-powered security cameras work through a solar panel to capture the sun’s rays and convert it into a current, which is then used to charge your battery. When sunlight isn’t available, the camera uses the battery as a backup to power it and then uses the solar panel again once it’s exposed to sunlight once more. 

Though you may not believe it, the panels can even get power from the sun on rainy or cloudy days as light does still filter through the clouds. (5)

What Security Cameras Work Without WiFi?

While there are security cameras out there that work without WiFi, they’re limited in their availability as WiFi-enabled one’s give you more flexibility in terms of features and accessibility. 

However, that said, there are those like the ones you can get with home security systems that don’t need WiFi to set up.  There are also cameras that use 3G/4G as their way of connecting instead of WiFi so that they can be placed in more remote locations or in locations where the internet is spotty or unavailable.

What Are the Best Solar-Powered Security Cameras?

The best solar-powered cameras out there are those with a large battery capacity, panels that are efficient, wireless, and durable, have a good weather rating, and are easy to install. Anything else that the camera might have in features, like two-way audio, 1080p visuals, and PIR motion detection, is just a bonus. 

The Bottom Line: What is the Best Solar-Powered Security Camera to Buy Today?

After researching, testing, and comparing over a hundred solar security cameras available on the market today, we highly recommend the Ring Solar HD Security Camera as the best solar-powered security camera in terms of budget, quality, and features. 

Not only is it great for encompassing all of your security needs, but it also has tons of bells and whistles that will keep you on technology’s cutting-edge. With this model, you can rest easy at night, feeling safe, secure, and informed.

With its customizable features like privacy settings, setting up multiple cameras, and working with Alexa, this solar security camera model provides homeowners with an easy and efficient solution.

Want more top-rated solar equipment to help bring your home into the future? If so, check out our best solar charge controllers for those with solar panels, or if you’re looking to add some, or our Homepage here at Your Energy Blog for our full list of highly-rated gear.

References

  1. https://www.thoughtco.com/why-batteries-discharge-quickly-cold-weather-607889
  2. https://www.enclosurecompany.com/ip-ratings-explained.php
  3. https://energyeducation.ca/encyclopedia/Solar_panel_orientation
  4. https://www.pcmag.com/how-to/dust-resistant-waterproof-making-sense-of-gadget-ratings
  5. https://www.seia.org/initiatives/what-happens-solar-panels-when-its-cloudy-or-raining

The post Best Solar-Powered Security Camera of 2020 first appeared on Your Energy Blog.

Best Solar Charge Controller of 2020

Best solar charge controllers: top-rated MPPT controller reviews

A solar charge controller is a necessary part of any solar electric system. It is what mediates your battery bank and the solar panels that power it, regulating both the voltage and current flowing to the battery (1).

A solar charge controller ensures your battery remains safe from overload, over-discharge, and overheating. It also draws maximum power from your solar system, resulting in higher efficiency (2).

In this article, we’ve rounded up our top 13 best solar charge controllers you can buy this year to help guarantee your success with your solar setup, and help you avoid getting stuck with a lemon. In addition, there’s a buyer’s guide at the end with valuable tips you can use when shopping for one yourself. Without further ado, let’s get started with our quick comparison of the top picks before we get into the real nitty-gritty – the reviews.

Quick Comparison of our Top 12 Best Solar Charge Controllers (For Those in a Hurry)

Here is a quick look at the 13 best solar charge controllers.

  1. Victron SmartSolar MPPT SCC125110210 250V/100A (Best Overall): With high voltage and amperage limits, advanced MPPT technology, and easy installation, this is by far the best overall option.
  2. Victron SmartSolar MPPT CCTRL-VT-MPPS-85A 150V/85A (Budget Pick): For those who want a budget option that still has high voltage and amp limits, this controller happens to be a great pick.
  3. Victron SmartSolar MPPT SCC125085210 250V/85A: If you’re looking for a medium solar charge controller that you can monitor and control with a smartphone app, this Victron model is a great pick.
  4. Victron SmartSolar MPPT SCC115070210 150V/70A: If you want to chain your solar charge controllers together, you should get this controller. It comes with great CAN bus ports that allow you to connect more than one easily, reliably, and efficiently.
  5. Victron SmartSolar MPPT SCC125060210: With a five-year guarantee on the controller and two years on the battery, this is our top choice to buy with a great warranty.
  6. Victron SmartSolar MPPT SCC115060210 150V/60A: This Victron offers pre-programmed charge algorithms so that you can find the best mix of volts and amps, and you get this customization at a reasonable price. 
  7. AMPINVT MPPT-120A 12V 24V 36V 48V 120A: With multiple load control options and an LCD, this controller works for arrays of all sizes.
  8. Outback Flexmax FM80 12V 24V 36V 48V 80A: The Outback brings multiple load control modes, a reasonable price tag, and a reputation for reliability. 
  9. Victron SmartSolar MPPT CCTRL-VT-MPPS-100A 150V/100A: With intelligent MPPT and remote control, this smart system can bring the most power, even in cloudy conditions. 
  10. MidNite Solar Classic 150 150V/96A: This controller works on all sizes of arrays and allows you to control voltage, and it has modes for wind and hydropower. 
  11. Morningstar Corporation Tristar MPPT TS-MPPT-60 150V/60A: This internet-connected controller can work in hot conditions and has impressive efficiency. 
  12. MidNite Solar Classic 200 200V/79A: Best for small arrays, this controller works in extreme conditions and with wind and hydro.

Solar Charge Controller Reviews

Here is a closer look at the best solar controllers. Read our in-depth solar charge controller reviews to find the perfect one for your solar setup.

1. Victron SmartSolar MPPT SCC125110210 250V/100A (Best Overall)

This model is our best overall option. It has a lot going for it, including the MPPT functionality and the 250 volt and 100 amp limits. If you have an especially large solar array and need a charge controller that can handle that much power, then it’s hard to do much better than this.

On the other hand, even if you have a small set up, but plan on growing it soon and need a charge controller you can grow into, this is still an excellent choice.

While this solar charge controller certainly isn’t cheap, it is worth the money if you take advantage of its abilities, and it continues Victron’s tradition of making high-quality products.

2. Victron SmartSolar MPPT CCTRL-VT-MPPS-85A 150V/85A (Budget Pick)

If the SmartSolar charge controller before this one sounded too expensive for you, then this one should make for a better deal. At about two-thirds of the price, it sacrifices neither quality nor functionality, and it is our top budget pick.

The voltage and amp limits are still very high at 150 volts and 85 amps. This product is also an MPPT controller, so it should track the maximum power point under all weather conditions.

It also contains Bluetooth capabilities, allowing you to set it up and monitor it with any Bluetooth enabled device. What’s more, it comes with a solid five-year warranty.

3. Victron SmartSolar MPPT SCC125085210 250V/85A

The selling point for this particular Victron model is that it offers many of the features of the SCC125110210, with a slight reduction in the maximum amperage, which makes it our choice for the best for medium arrays. The lower amps naturally lead to a small decrease in price for those who want something cheaper but still feature-rich.

You can opt for the SmartSolar control display, which shows your battery’s status at a glance. Best of all, it has a remote control and monitoring capabilities via your Smartphone.

4. Victron SmartSolar MPPT SCC115070210 150V/70A

This Victron SmartSolar MPPT charge controller has many of the same features as the others in its family. It is our top choice for daisy chaining. At 150 volts and 70 amperes, its limits are lower than usual. However, considering the great price, it’s a good buy and offers good value for money.

The best feature of this solar charge controller by far has to be the addition of CAN bus ports. CAN, in this case, stands for Chain Additional Units.

You can chain it with other SmartSolar chargers via a single RJ45 cable, allowing them to synchronize their charge states and draw energy from your solar system more efficiently.

5. Victron SmartSolar MPPT SCC125060210

The rating on this controller is even lower than the one above. It has 150 volts and 60 amperes. This product is for those with smaller solar arrays who don’t want a powerful solar charger but still need lots of features.

It uses MPPT technology to draw power from the solar panels, and it has an efficiency rate of 99%. It also features CAN bus ports if you would like to create a daisy chain of solar charge controllers. Best of all is that it comes with a five-year warranty.

6. Victron SmartSolar MPPT SCC115060210 150V/60A

Yes, yet another 60-ampere limit solar charge. It has many of the same features as the one above, and it comes at roughly the same price point. So what makes it so special?

This product comes with eight pre-programmed charge algorithms so you can toggle between them, going for the best mix of charge voltage and amperage for your battery. However, if that doesn’t satisfy you, you can also program a unique charge algorithm, tweaking it according to your needs.

7. AMPINVT MPPT-120A 12V 24V 36V 48V 120A

My favorite thing about this model is the multiple load control options. It can supply 12, 24, 36 and 48 volt systems adequately, and comes with a maximum 120-ampere limit, making it great, even for large arrays.

It also comes with an LCD that shows you real-time statistics so you can stay on top of your controller operation.

8. Outback Flexmax FM80 12V 24V 36V 48V 80A

This product is another great solar charge controller with multiple load control modes. The only difference here is that this one has a lower total amperage limit of 80A. It is, therefore, cheaper as a result.

The Outback can quickly charge batteries of different voltages, ranging from 12 VDC to 60 VDC, has an LCD, and operates on reliable MPPT technology.

9. Victron SmartSolar MPPT CCTRL-VT-MPPS-100A 150V/100A

This Victron solar charge controller comes with intelligent MPPT tracking, which tracks the maximum power point, even when the sky is partially cloudy, and your solar array isn’t operating at maximum capacity.

It has a remote control and monitoring capabilities that work both with and without an internet connection, so long as you have a Bluetooth device. With an exceptionally high 100A limit, it can work even with large solar arrays. It doesn’t come with an LCD, but you can buy the optional one.

10. MidNite Solar Classic 150 150V/96A

This excellent solar charge controller happens to be the most popular offering from MidNite. It can output 96 amperes and has a 150V maximum. These specs make it suitable for use on all sizes of arrays, even large ones.

It is also versatile with MPPT modes for solar, wind, and hydropower. I also like that it has HyperVOC technology, which extends the open-circuit voltage when necessary.

11. Morningstar Corporation Tristar MPPT TS-MPPT-60 150V/60A

Morningstar has an excellent reputation for making high-quality products, and this controller does not disappoint. It runs on MPPT technology, is rated to operate efficiently, and works at temperatures as high as 45-degrees C and 113-degrees F.

And speaking of efficiency, it has up to 99% efficiency. It also comes with an ethernet port, allowing you to connect it to your wired network and control it from anywhere.

12. MidNite Solar Classic 200 200V/79A

And finally, we have another solar charge controller from MidNite. This one has a max amperage of 79A, which makes it great for small solar arrays.

However, it still has a high voltage limit at 200V and can charge batteries from 12V to 72V. The terminals are also very resilient, with a temperature limit of up to 75 degrees C. Finally, it can work with solar, hydro, and wind, making it highly versatile.

Buyers’ Guide: Top 5 Tips – How to Buy the Best Model for You

When shopping for a top-rated solar charge controller, it is essential to know which factors are most critical to consider before you buy. We know it can often feel overwhelming when you’re not sure what to give a priority and what to leave out.

In this section, we will look at our top five most important factors to consider before you buy a solar charge controller to further aid your search.

1. Know the voltage of your solar panels and battery

There are two aspects: the PV open-circuit voltage and the input voltage.

The open-circuit voltage, which is also known as the VOC, is the number of volts produced by your solar panel array when it has a load on it. You can find out what this number is by measuring the positive and negative leads with a voltmeter.

The VOC is significant because it’s the maximum number of volts that the solar panels in your array can produce. This number will tell you how many panels you can wire to your solar charge controller.

You want to go for a controller that can either handle the full open-circuit voltage from your solar array or make sure there are not too many solar panels in your solar array for your solar charge controller.

As long as the number of panels in your array remains below the solar charge controller’s limit, your system won’t get damaged.

For smaller arrays, a simple solar charge controller with a VOC of 50 volts should do. If you have an extensive system, you should get a charge controller with a VOC of 150 volts or more.

The next thing to consider is the maximum input voltage, which is especially crucial if you’re considering purchasing a PWM solar charge controller. Such controllers cannot convert the input power to match the output power the way an MPPT solar charge controller does.

Getting a solar charge controller with a high input power limit allows you to charge your batteries more efficiently and, therefore, spend less per unit of power.

2. Know the total wattage of your equipment you’re looking to power

You should also consider the maximum amount of power or wattage that your solar charge controller and solar system can handle at any given time, along with the total wattage of your equipment. You certainly don’t want to get yourself a solar charge controller incapable of handling all the power coming from your system (4).

The general rule of thumb is that for every 100-watt solar panel, you can expect about six amperes of power during periods when there is full sunlight.

If your setup is more extensive, you can expect a higher power output and will need a more powerful solar charge controller. If your solar system is simple, then you should be able to handle it just fine with a solar charge controller with a lower max power rating.

3. Know the two different types of solar charge controllers available.

There are two main types of controllers (3). These are the PWM and MPPT systems. PWM stands for Pulse Width Modulation, while MPPT stands for Maximum Power Point Tracking.

These two solar charge controllers have strengths and weaknesses and are suited to different situations. You must understand your solar system’s capabilities before deciding which type of solar charge controller to get.

PWM

The PWM solar charge controller is the most common type of solar charge controller on the market. It is simpler than the MPPT controller and much cheaper. It’s also easier to install and use.

On the flip side, PWM solar charge controllers are not nearly as effective as MPPT controllers when used with large solar arrays.

A PWM operates by slowing down the power input amount to the battery as the battery’s power approaches its capacity. By the time the battery is full, the PWM controller lets in just enough power to keep the battery power without supplying too much power.

PWM controllers need the battery and solar panel array to have the same voltage.

Another disadvantage of PWM controllers is that they are more sensitive to weather changes than MPPT controllers. When the weather gets either too hot or too cold, the PWM controller will lose some efficiency.

MPPT

MPPT solar charge controllers are more complex than PWM controllers. As a result, they are more expensive. The functions of using an MPPT controller is pretty much the same as with a PWM. They reduce the amount of power input to the battery to a trickle to not overfill the battery.

MPPTs show their strength when it comes to big solar arrays. They can adjust their input, making sure they pull as much power from your solar system as possible.

MPPTs are also capable of matching their power output to the input requirements of the battery. This feature makes them far more efficient than PWM controllers.

4. Look for bonus features that excite you

There are other features that, while not necessary, might meet your specific needs. Here are a few you might be interested in:

Manual load control

Charge controllers often come with automatic load control, which turns off the output when the battery is too low. This feature will stop your battery from discharging completely, which prolongs its lifespan.

If, on the other hand, you also want to be able to turn the load off when you wish, you can opt for a charge controller with manual load control.

LCD

Perhaps you want to know the current, voltage, charge, and other details, so you know whether your solar charge controller is working correctly.

In that case, a controller with an LCD should come in handy. A good display should visualize all the crucial details of what’s going on in your charge controller.

Battery temperature sensor

Charge controllers can get very hot sometimes. They’re dealing in energy, after all, and are always sending and receiving it. Many manufacturers add a temperature sensor to the charge controller.

A temperature sensor prevents your controller from carrying out any overcharging, which can increase battery temperature.

Multi-stage reduction

The charge controller should be able to handle different amounts of charge coming from the solar array. Multi-stage reduction capabilities refer to the ability of a controller to move the energy through multiple processes. These processes include Bulk, Float, Absorption, and Equalization.

There is a reason for each process. Bulk, for example, allows the energy to reach the ideal voltage. Absorption ensures that the energy from the charge controller gets discharged into the battery. Meanwhile, float ensures that a specific charge is maintained before more power goes to the battery. Equalization assures that the voltage never drops during absorption.

Most charge controllers have at least Bulk, Absorption, and Float. However, you can also opt for a 4-stage model that includes Equalization as well.

Adjustable charging voltage set point

Charge controllers with so-called ‘multi-voltage functions’ have a charging voltage set point that is adjustable. That means that you can choose the voltage at which the solar charge controller operates.

Voltage can vary depending on the type of battery you’re charging. This feature is worth considering if you want to get maximum efficiency out of your solar charge controller.

Remote access

Some solar charge controllers allow for remote access so you can change the settings via a browser or app on your phone. If you think you might spend significant amounts of time away from home, this is a great feature.

5. Find the top deal for you

If you want to get the best value, here are some things to consider.

Warranty

Due to their high price, it makes sense to check for an attractive warranty when shopping for a solar charge controller.

If you look for a product with a decent warranty, you know that you bought a high-quality product and can trust its longevity. Generally, three to five years is a reasonable length of time for a warranty.

Limited-time deals

Some manufacturers offer limited-time deals, where they provide significant discounts on their solar charge controllers for a few days or weeks. These are great times to do your shopping as they allow you to get the same features and functionality that you would have got anyway but at a reduced price.

Final Price

Considering how expensive these controllers can get, it’s always recommended to have a clear budget in mind and pay attention to the final price of the product you’re buying.
The final price will include all the factors mentioned above, and when weighed properly – will help you with getting the most ROI, or return on your investment.

FAQ

Here are some common questions that people ask when purchasing a solar charge controller.

1. Which is better MPPT or PWM?

MPPT is the most efficient of the two, and the best way to draw energy from a solar system to a battery. They are about 15% better at charging than PWM controllers.

They also drain more energy from your system than PWM controllers. They can handle large solar arrays with high energy outputs, making them better at harnessing the power of solar arrays than PWM controllers.

2. How many solar panels can a charge controller handle?

The answer depends on the size of the solar charge controller. The number to look at in this case is the amperage. You want to get a controller with at least a 25% higher amperage than the solar system.

For example, if your solar panels and battery need 20 amps to work, you should have at least 25 amps on your controller. Therefore, the maximum number of solar panels a charge controller can handle is the number that provides 80% or less of the controller’s amperage rating.

3. Are MPPT controllers worth it?

Yes. You might have some doubts about this issue, considering how much more expensive MPPTs are than PWM solar charge controllers. However, given that they will charge your battery more safely, faster, and more efficiently, they are worth the price for most people (5).

The Bottom Line: What is the Best Solar Charge Controller to Buy Today?

And with that, we come to the end of our review. Now that you’ve seen our list of the best solar charge controllers on the market, a helpful buyers’ guide, and the answers to the most popular faqs – picking the perfect model for you should be a lot easier.

However, if you’re still not quite sure which is one is right for you, we highly-recommend our #1-rated model, the Victron SmartSolar MPPT SCC125110210 250V/100A. It has an excellent balance of features, functionality, and price. Also, it should serve your needs reliably for many years to come and allows you to grow your solar system without getting a new controller with each addition. Ultimately, it’s tough to go wrong!

Want more highly-reviewed solar gear to complete your setup like the Victron SmartSolar MPPT 250V/100A? If so, check out our best solar-powered generator of the year, and more here at YourEnergyBlog.com – where we work harder to find you the top solar equipment on the market.

  1. https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/balance-system-equipment-required-renewable-energy-systems
  2. https://www.solar-electric.com/learning-center/solar-charge-controller-basics.html/
  3. https://news.energysage.com/what-are-solar-charge-controllers-do-you-need-one/
  4. https://web.archive.org/web/20071217075631/http://www.eere.energy.gov/consumer/your_home/electricity/index.cfm/mytopic%3D10640
  5. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/engineering/charge-controller

The post Best Solar Charge Controller of 2020 first appeared on Your Energy Blog.

Best Solar Generator of 2020

Best solar-powered generator: top-rated reviews

We rely on electricity so much that many people don’t realize that an extended power outage could result in hundreds of dollars of wasted groceries and even refrigerated medication going bad. (1) Electronics such as laptops can also be vulnerable to power surges as the electricity comes back on, especially when it’s sporadic. (2)

It’s better to prepare yourself, and the best solar generators have brought backup power into more contemporary times compared to old gas-powered options. We’ve researched some of the top choices to give you reliable solar generator reviews.

Quick Comparison of our Top 11 Best Solar Generators (For Those in a Rush)

If you don’t have time to read the whole review, here’s a quick comparison of how our top choices compare to one another:

  1. Jackery 1000-watt (Best Overall): For those who want the best solar generator for all-around use, that’s not too cheap, yet still a reasonable price; this is our top overall solar generator.
  2. Jackery 500-Watt (Budget Pick): With a more affordable price, a portable build, and an exceptional track record, we’ve labeled this best for those on a budget.
  3. Pecron Q3000S (Most Powerful): For powering equipment that uses a lot of energy, running a full-sized fridge, and quiet operation, this model packs a punch.
  4. MAXOAK BLUETTI 2400 (Best 1000W “High-Load Continuous”): If you want an option for home power-outages to keep a fridge going, using a mini heater, and long battery life, this is the choice for running appliances for several hours.
  5. ExpertPower Alpha2400 (Best Solar Generator Kit): Those who want everything included—the generator, cables, and solar panels—as well as easy setup, and user-friendly design, this is a kit worth checking out.
  6. FF FlashFish 300: A compact model that is also reliable and incredibly affordable, this is our pick for the best small but mighty solar generator.
  7. BALDR 330: If you want to know if you can get a hold of someone with the brand, but also want quality construction and reliable use, one of the best customer service options for a solar generator is going with a BALDR.
  8. EF ECOFLOW 1800: Hands-down, the best solar generator for use with tools like a circular saw or a hammer drill–it also has a clear display and sleek design.
  9. MAXOAK BLUETTI 1500: If you want something not too expensive, not too cheap with outstanding customer service and a convenient carrying handle is the BLUETTI 1500.
  10. Aeiusny 500: For the best budget-friendly, small, camping solar generator with a light, look at the Aeiusny.
  11. Westinghouse 100: If the brand name is crucial, the best reputation on this list for a small solar generator is the Westinghouse. This unit also has a variety of outlets and ports, and is ultra-portable. 

Solar Generator Reviews

We’ve spent several hours researching solar generators, exploring features, and testing some of the models out ourselves. Here are our in-depth results to aid your search.

1. Jackery 1000 Watts (Best Overall)

The Jackery 1000 Watt solar generator is robust and sufficient for most individuals as an emergency device, and we’re labeling it the best overall solar generator. We tested it and could get 1000 watts from this generator for a solid hour without interruption. We like that you have four ways to recharge the Jackery (solar, car outlet, wall outlet with 163W max, or another generator).

This portable model is our personal favorite for the best solar generator, thanks to several features. First, you get plenty of outlets—USB-C, USB-A, car outlet, and three AC outlets. The Jackery 1000 can also power devices like mini-fridges, coffee makers, electric grills, blenders, and even support larger home appliances like a fridge.

Keep in mind; this model will not power items that are more intensive power-suckers, like a microwave or a hairdryer (although only the most robust models will).

You get pure sine wave energy with a long-lasting battery, and this generator is also lightweight, making it simple with which to travel. Better yet, this generator is incredibly quiet.

Compared to some generators we’ve researched, which can go for a few thousand dollars, this one is reasonably-priced. The fair price combined with the quality, longevity, low sound output, and the ability to use this generator while charging it makes it our top pick for the best overall solar generator. You’ll feel satisfied with the investment on this generator when the power goes out.

2. Jackery 500 Watts (Budget Pick)

The combined low cost mixed with the quality of Jackery models made this model our top budget pick solar generator. After hours of research, we’re a fan of Jackery solar generators, as you’ll see from our top overall pick. For a more affordable option—and we’re talking a remarkably budget-friendly model as far as generators go—the Jackery 500 is outstanding.

This ultra-lightweight solar generator can power items like small blenders (not full-sized models), RV lighting, portable movie projectors, and mini coolers. We recommend this model for those who only want a quiet solar generator for camping items, as it doesn’t have enough power to support things like drills, coffee makers, large blenders, or hairdryers.

While the wattage is lower, we love this generator for devices like laptops when you’re on the road. The Jackery 500 has a pure sine wave inverter, which means you can safely use it with laptops, phones, and tablets without damaging them. The inverter also makes this generator quieter and guards your electronics against overheating or voltage overload.

You get four ways of charging this model: solar, wall outlets with 80W max, a car outlet, and another generator. We’ve also noticed that Jackery generators hold their charge for a long time (several months and even a year).

3. Pecron Q3000S 2000 Watts (Most Powerful)

With 2000 watts to run high-energy devices, this is our favorite for the most powerful solar generator. If you want a robust generator that also has the eco-friendly and quiet benefits of solar, the Pecron Q3000S is one to consider. This 2000 watt power station can offer peak output of an impressive 4000 watts and has a lithium battery backup for those weeks when the clouds won’t dissipate.

This generator has pure sine wave output that can power a mini-fridge, a pressure cooker, electric grills, drones, laptops, and even an induction cooker (up to 1300w). Are you concerned about charging your laptop or tablet with this powerful solar generator? You’ll have no worries with its overcharge, over-voltage, and overheat protection.

This generator is slightly larger than the lower-output models, but it comes with wheels and a handle to roll it around with ease, much like a small rolling suitcase. You won’t get the lowest price tag with this eco-friendly generator, but for those who need a robust, quiet, solar-powered option for frequent RV trips or as an emergency backup for a house, it could be an ideal fit.

4. MAXOAK BLUETTI 2400 Watts (Best 1000W “High-Load Continuous”)

Not everyone wants a tiny device just to charge a smartphone, so for home power-outages, this is our pick for the best 1000W “high-load continuous” solar generator. For those who want a solar generator that will serve as an emergency backup for their home, the MAXOAK 2400 is an excellent option. You can power a standard refrigerator to this thing and run it for a couple of days! When you experience a blackout (3) for more than a day, you’ll be thankful for this eco-friendly generator.

With ample power and more prolonged use, overheating could be a concern. However, this generator has a cooling fan that automatically starts when attached to appliances with over 100 watts.

This solar generator is best for more extended use on emergency items, such as a refrigerator. For electric drills, emergency lighting, appliances like a full-sized fridge, laptops, a TV, and even a CPAP machine, this model is excellent.

You also get a convenient carrying handle and an LCD screen to monitor the amount of power left on the generator. One notable perk with this product is the customer service. As we sifted through hundreds of reviews, time and time again, feedback on the customer service was outstanding.

5. ExpertPower Alpha2400 (Best Solar Generator Kit)

Many solar generators are technically “solar compatible” but don’t include panels, so we found the Alpha2400 for the best solar generator kit. The Alpha2400 is a full solar generator kit with a detachable solar panel, an adjustable stand to catch the best sunlight, a cable to hook up the panel to the generator, and the device itself. This power source is heavy and durable. While something super heavy might not sound ideal at first, it does work as a slight theft deterrent, so that’s a feature to keep in mind.

You can power a decent array of electronics with this model, such as a mini-fridge, game consoles, fans, a CPAP machine, TV, laptops, and even a washing machine. Two standard, 1000-watt AC outlets pair with four USB ports to plug-in appliances and devices such as tablets or smartphones.

Like the other top picks on this list, the ExpertPower Alpha2400 also has over-voltage, low-voltage, and temperature protection for your more delicate electronics. This kit is convenient for smart buyers who want the whole solar setup in one package.

6. FF FLASHFISH 300 Watts

I like the FF FlashFish solar generator for the pure value you get from this little power source. This model is super budget-friendly, and you get a surprisingly long draw time from a single charge.

While you aren’t going to get days of power for a full-sized fridge out of this device, you can use it with a mini-fridge for up to seven hours. You also can power laptops, a TV, a CPAP machine, and an outdoor projector.

I like that this lightweight generator has three USB ports for charging a few electronics at once, as well as two three-pronged AC outlets. Built-in safety guards protect sensitive devices from over-voltage, and a cooling fan prevents overheating.

The solar panels come separately, and the manufacturer recommends an 18v/50w solar panel (that does not exceed 100 watts). So, you’ll have to get the right panels and connecting cables to use this generator. Still, it’s an affordable option for emergencies and road trips.

You won’t find an abundance of small, super-portable, budget-friendly solar generators that offer such a reliable charge. For those who want an affordable generator that is lightweight and can help with emergency lighting or small devices, this is one to consider.

7. BALDR 330 Watts

This portable solar generator is lightweight (only 7.1 pounds) and simple to use. You only need an MC4 cable connected to a solar panel to get it up and running, and it does not require an MPPT or PWM charge controller. For lightweight, easy-to-use solar generators, this one is an excellent option.

This generator has a lower wattage than some of the heftier models, but the upside is that the charge time is relatively short. You can fully juice this one up in about six or seven hours instead of 12 or even 18.

Note: the solar panels are sold separately, and the manufacturer recommends TogoPOWER panels.
Don’t expect to power blenders, coffee makers, hairdryers, electric kettles, or other devices over 330 watts with this generator. However, you can run a mini cooler, 32” TV, emergency lighting, tablets, phones, and laptops with the BALDR 330.

Even with the small size and lower wattage, you can still power a CPAP machine for a few nights with this generator. Another bonus—customer service is fantastic when dealing with BALDR. If a reliable brand with a fast-response service is crucial to you, BALDR might be an ideal fit.

8. EF ECOFLOW 1800 Watts

So far, we’ve covered a handful of solar generators that can power many smaller devices, and a few that can support a mini-fridge, or even a full-sized refrigerator. However, if you want an eco-friendly generator with enough power to handle everything from a microwave and a standard refrigerator to a circular saw and air compressor, look at this model. You can even run a welding machine (up to 1800 watts) from this generator.

You’d have to pay a bit more than some models for this solar generator, but the battery life and power do not disappoint. Whether you want a power source for your RV or a reliable emergency backup to power your fridge and lights at home during a blackout, this is a worthwhile investment.

This generator has plenty of safety features, including sensors that will prevent quick-charging right after you quickly drain it. However, most of the time, you can get a rapid charge of roughly four hours through the solar panels.

Pure sine wave energy makes this generator safe for juicing up your laptop, and it’s compatible with any solar panel (up to 400 watts).

9. MAXOAK BLUETTI 1500 Watts

If you like the MAXOAK brand and considered the BLUETTI 2400, but don’t want to spend that much on a solar generator, the 1500 version of the BLUETTI is worth considering.

You don’t get quite the “oomph” as the 2400 model with this one, but it’s still robust enough to power a mini-fridge, a car vacuum, a 32” TV, an electric drill, and even a full-sized refrigerator for up to an hour and a half.

Customer service is excellent. For most users, this handy solar generator works well and holds a charge for a long time. This model can blend the reliable power you might need in a blackout with a savvy sense of purchasing something that won’t break the bank.

Like the other generators in our top picks, the pure sine wave energy makes it safe to charge electronics like laptops. Over-voltage, overcurrent, and temperature control are some of the added safeguards. We particularly like that the LCD screen shows the remaining power and error codes for potential malfunctions. Like some of our other favorite generators, you can juice this one up with solar panels or a wall socket for those rainy days.

10. Aeiusny 500 Watts

The Aeiusny solar generator comes fully charged, which is a nice little perk for this portable, affordable power source. This model is also super quick to power up—you’ll probably be able to juice it up faster than you can figure out how to pronounce the company name.

Don’t let that stop you from considering this handy generator, though. Customer service is easy to reach with their email, and this device is well-built. You can refill the battery with solar power, but you can also recharge with a wall outlet, cigarette lighter socket, or another generator.

This generator is not suitable for keeping a full-sized fridge going during a blackout, but it’s fantastic for camping trips. You can run a computer, car cooler, camping lights, and even a CPAP machine (with the heater and humidifier off) with this portable generator.

This solar generator works best if you refresh its charge at least every six months. For the person on a tight budget who wants a backup generator for their smartphone, laptop, small lights, and would also like an emergency flashlight built into the unit, the Aeiusny is one to check out.

11. Westinghouse 100 Watts

Westinghouse is an exceptionally reputable name in generators, whether they be solar-powered or traditional gas-powered. So, when we found this portable, budget-friendly, solar-optional iGen 160s model from Westinghouse, we had to take a look.

I like that you get a two-prong and three-prong outlet, a USB-1, USB-2, and USB-C ports, as well as three 12-volt DC ports on this small generator. This ultra-quiet generator can power laptops, tablets, headlamps, cameras, and other small devices. All of the standard electronic safety features are built-in, including over-voltage, over-current, low-voltage, and short circuit protection.

A handle and a flashlight are also designed into this 3.75-pound generator. Solar panels are sold separately, but you can plug in any solar panel to the DC13V-25V/2A max port that fits 5.5 x 2.1mm.
If you don’t get a solar panel immediately, or have a long stretch of rainy weather, you can charge up this model with a house outlet or car cigarette lighter. Those who want a small generator with a reputable name and top-notch quality will be happy with this long-lasting, tiny powerhouse.

Buyers’ Guide (Top 3 Tips – How to Buy the Best Solar Generator for You)

Investing in something potentially-pricey like a generator can be daunting. We did the homework first to make it simpler for you.

1. Know how much wattage you’ll need (in 3 easy steps)

Wattage is crucial and one of the most vital components when selecting a generator.

STEP 1: Find out the “wattage draw” of your equipment (estimate: minimum, maximum, & continuous draws)

If you don’t know where to start, you can try out an energy calculator (4) to get an estimate. For appliances like refrigerators, you can multiply volts x amps. Most refrigerators will have a sticker with these numbers either within the door, at the back, on a kickplate, or listed on the rear interior wall.
Typical fridge use consumes somewhere between 100 and 250 watts or roughly 1 to 2 kilowatt-hours (kWh) in a single day. (5)

If the power goes out, a fridge can be an essential item to keep running. However, many people think big appliances like these suck up the most energy, partially because they need to stay powered to keep your food cold.

You might be surprised to find that running a hairdryer takes about 1500 watts—15 times the power it takes to keep your fridge going! (6)

A standard-sized microwave can suck up between 850 and a whopping 1800 watts during use.

STEP 2: Estimate the “runtime(s)” you’ll need for your equipment

If you purchase a small generator that cannot power hefty power-users, like a microwave, the runtime won’t matter because you won’t be able to utilize these items with your power source.

If you get a more robust generator, you should be able to keep a full-sized refrigerator going, and even items like a blender (which can use up to 1000 watts) or a coffee maker (anywhere between 600 and 1500 watts) when in use.

You’ll need to keep track of a general runtime for any item you plan to plug into your solar generator. A hairdryer might only use five minutes of energy at 1500 watts. A full-sized fridge using around 200 watts is less but needs to remain on continuously.

List all items you will need to plug into your generator, roughly how many minutes they will continuously run, and what they drain in wattage.

STEP 3: Find a solar generator that can both power all your equipment and satisfy your desired runtime(s)

If you know that you won’t use a generator for much besides powering your smartphone and a small fan while camping, a small, budget-friendly model will likely work well for you.

However, if you plan to invest in a solar generator that can help out while traveling in addition to being an energy backup for your house in the case you lose power for a couple of days, consider something heftier. Generators can be tough to justify when everything is fine with your energy, the weather, and you have no plans for travel.

If your entire city loses power, and hotels aren’t even a backup option, what sort of generator will you need to keep your food fresh and at least a small heater or a few lights running?

2. Look for bonus features that excite you

Once you’ve settled on the general requirements you need in a solar generator, check the “extras.” Each model has specific little features that set it apart from others for varying reasons. Some things to consider that might or might not work best for you:

  • USB ports to charge smartphones, work laptops, or tablets for kids
  • A built-in flashlight
  • Lightweight to carry with you
  • Heavier to prevent theft if you leave it outdoors
  • Three-prong outlets to plug in anything from a mini-fridge to an electric grill
  • Various charge options, such as recharging via your car, a solar panel, or your wall outlet
  • Included solar panels (some are not)
  • The ability to support a variety of power tools
  • Extra-long battery life when not in use
  • Weather resistance
  • Pure sine wave energy (just like our best pure sine wave inverter of the year)
  • Notably-exceptional customer service
  • Rolling wheels or a carrying handle
  • LCD display to monitor the remaining charge

3. Find the best deal for you

Just because generators can be expensive doesn’t mean you have to break the bank. Don’t forget to check these factors when picking your solar generator.

Shipping

If you’re buying through Amazon (worth doing if you want an ample amount of reviews to check through), you can get free shipping on many solar generators. Prime members don’t have to worry about shipping.

However, if you’re not a Prime member (even if you shop elsewhere), consider shipping before you checkout. Bulky items like generators can cost a heart-stopping amount to ship if you buy from a random outlet or don’t get Prime’s benefits from Amazon. Next to “shipping,” click on “details” to read the short but fine print.

Limited Time Deals

Sellers will often lower an item’s cost, like a solar generator, during off-seasons or around certain holidays. You can keep an item “saved for later” in your cart and check back on the price. Our favorite way to get notified of lowered prices lately is Honey. (7) You might have heard of Honey recently, as it’s become huge for snatching deals.

It’s free, and you install it into your internet browser. We are not always the best at keeping track of the exact amounts of items we plan to buy in the next few months, and we’ve used this add-on to automatically notify us when something we’re looking at falls to a lower price.

Warranty

Most generators will come with the option for a warranty, usually a one-year or three-year option. The decision on a warranty for your unit will ultimately be up to you, but a few things to keep in mind:

Most warranties will not cover damage such as you accidentally cutting the cable that connects your unit to the solar panel, the only breakdown of manufactured items or batteries that are “lemons.”
If you only plan to use the generator as an emergency backup, you may need a warranty in the first year or initial few years, but less likely than ten years from now.

Consider the cost of a more extended warranty versus the price of the generator you choose. If you spend over $1,000 on a solar generator, getting a more extended guarantee is likely a smart idea.

Final Price

Remember that your final price will include the product cost, tax, shipping (if applicable), and any warranty you decide to purchase. Some of these costs might bump up the price of your solar generator a bit.

Don’t let this scare you out of buying a piece of equipment that can help keep you warm, keep you fed, and charge up potentially vital devices like a phone when you need one. A unit can be like insurance—when you don’t use it, you might grumble, but when the day comes you need it, you won’t regret investing in it at all.

FAQ

Here we answered some of the most frequently asked questions to know before buying one of the best solar-powered generators of the year – to further aid your search and help ensure you find the perfect one for you.

What size solar generator do I need?

It’s not so much the generator’s physical size, but instead, the power it can support that matters. Check back to the three steps on calculating your wattage needs and run time of the equipment you plan to use your solar generator with and focus your sights on models that can handle your power needs.

If you don’t have any units at all, you might want to consider one that can power your fridge in case of a home blackout, and will also work for trips in an RV. Make sure you use proper safety when utilizing any generator. (8)

Are solar generators worth it?

In our opinion, solar generators are an exceptional innovation and worth it when you need them. Not dealing with the noise, fumes, and handling of gasoline is a perk, no doubt, and getting the variety of charging methods is also a bonus.

If a real emergency arose, these units could supply you with power and keep that power going without any electricity to charge the battery, and without needing to travel to a gas station to refill your gas can.

All you need is the power of the sun and a proper setup, and then you’re ready for a wide range of situations.

Consider this: A solar generator could be potentially lifesaving. If you need to keep a small heater running during a frigid winter power-outage, you don’t have to worry about poisonous fumes from a solar generator as you do with a gas-powered model. You don’t have to keep a solar generator outside for that reason. (9)

You can charge most solar generators with a wall outlet, so even if solar panels aren’t ideal in the winter, you can still use these and have them on standby for such situations.

As we mentioned, a generator is much like insurance—you might not want to spend the money at the moment, but when you desperately need it, you’ll feel so thankful you invested in protecting yourself. Setting out a solar panel to recharge your generator in a potential city-wide loss of power is a benefit worth every penny if you ask me.

What is the best solar generator to buy?

In our books, the best solar generator to buy this year is the Jackery 1000-watt, our best overall choice. At the end of the day, the best unit for you will depend mainly on what equipment you’re looking to power, what main features you’re looking for, and your budget — but overall this model provides most with what they’re looking for.

The Bottom Line: What is the Best Solar-Powered Generator to Buy Today?

Now that you’ve seen all our top solar generators of the year here at Your Energy Blog, most important buyers’ tips, and answers to the most popular faqs – you’re well on your way to choosing the best one for you.

However, if you’re still not quite sure which one to go with, we highly-recommend our #1-rated Jackery 1000-watt. For most people, this model would work well in many situations, it’s able to power a massive range of equipment, and it’s in a sweet spot when it comes to price. It’s not too cheap and tiny, but it’s not the most expensive option by a long shot. Ultimately, it’s pretty tough to beat!

  1. https://www.ready.gov/power-outages
  2. https://www.ready.gov/sites/default/files/2020-03/power-outage_information-sheet.pdf
  3. https://nbc25news.com/weather/stormready-survival-guide/how-to-pick-the-right-generators-to-keep-power-on-during-outages
  4. http://energyusecalculator.com/electricity_refrigerator.htm
  5. https://reductionrevolution.com.au/blogs/news-reviews/fridge-power-consumption#:~:text=Domestic%20fridge%20power%20consumption%20is,%24150%20per%20year%20per%20fridge.
  6. http://energyusecalculator.com/electricity_hairdryer.htm
  7. https://www.joinhoney.com/explore
  8. https://www.energy.gov/ceser/activities/energy-security/emergency-preparedness/using-portableemergency-generators-safely
  9. https://www.ready.gov/winter-weather

The post Best Solar Generator of 2020 first appeared on Your Energy Blog.

Best Solar Lantern of 2020

One of the oldest, free, renewable, and nature-friendly energy sources, solar power is growing in popularity because of its energy efficiency, low maintenance, and cost savings. (1) Are you looking for the best solar lantern for your yard, emergency kit, or next camping trip?

We can help. Not only will we list our top picks of 2020, but we’ll try to answer any questions you might have about buying a solar lantern and what to look for before you buy–ensuring you get the top fit for you and your next camping trip or outdoor gathering.

Quick Comparison of our Top 13 Picks (For Those in a Rush)

  1. Superdanny Outdoor Solar Lantern 8-Pack (Best Overall): An attractive lantern with excellent run time, functionality, and romantic design that can hang or be set on a hard surface—best for people who want a balance between function and aesthetic.
  2. Ollivage Dancing Flame Outdoor Solar Lights (Budget Pick): A dancing flame lantern with the most affordable price for the quality, unique design, and excellent solar run time. This is the best lantern for people who need a lot of lanterns at a decent price.
  3. LuminAID’s 2-in-1 Solar Lanterns (Best Camping): A lightweight, collapsible lantern designed to be multi-functional, efficient, and reliable which is best for long camping trips or unforeseen disasters. T
  4. TomCare Classic Flickering Flame Solar Lanterns (Best Multi-Finish): A flicker-flame, old-world style lantern that is very affordable and comes in three finishes of antique silver, bronze, or white. This lantern is best for someone who needs their lantern to blend well with their landscape.
  5. TomCare Retro-Style Flicker Flame Solar Lanterns (Most Stylish Design): An affordable, flicker flame metal lantern with a distinctive traditional lantern design that’s high quality and sophisticated. This lantern is best for impressing guests at a party.
  6. Jian Ya Na Solar Lanterns: A clean, modern design with flicker flame LED lights, this lantern is easy to hang and has excellent run time.
  7. YoungPower Hanging Solar Lantern: Another dancing flame solar lantern that imitates a realistic flame and is an affordable, no fuss, easy-to-hang lantern.
  8. LampLust Solar Candle Lantern: A unique, durable, sophisticated design that is eighteen inches tall, making it the tallest lamp on our list.
  9. EOYIZW Hanging Solar Lanterns: Flicker flame LED lantern that is affordable, versatile, and durable to create a mesmerizing outdoor atmosphere.
  10. LuminAID Bloomio Twist Solar Lantern with Bluetooth: A high tech, multi-functional, collapsible lantern can connect and be controlled from an app on your phone.
  11. TomCare Vintage-Stump Solar Lantern: Designed to look like a tree stump, this lantern is the most unique design on our list, and it’s definitely a conversation piece.
  12. Smart Garden Solar Damasque Morrocan Lantern Light: High quality, durable and unique, this lantern will spark conversation while creating the atmosphere of a Morrocan festival.
  13. Greenlight Planet Sun King Pro Portable Solar Lantern: A lightweight, multi-functional, portable light that’s great for camping or doing projects around the house.

Solar Lantern Reviews

Now that you’ve seen our top thirteen solar lanterns for outdoors at a glance, let’s examine them closer, shall we? Check out our comprehensive solar lantern reviews to further aid your search, and find the perfect one for you. Without further ado, here’s our top overall choice of the year, the Superdanny 8-Pack.

1. SUPERDANNY Outdoor Solar Lantern 8-Pack (Best Overall)

The Superdanny Outdoor Solar Lantern 8-Pack is the best solar lantern and our best overall pick for excellent run time, functionality, and romantic design. If you want a gorgeous lantern that can hang or sit on the ground or table, then you’ll love the Superdanny Outdoor Solar Lantern.

Using warm light LED bulbs, this solar lantern’s run time is tough to beat. It fully charges after four to five hours of direct sunlight. And will run for six to nine hours depending on the season, giving you dusk to dawn capability if needed. It also has a switch to turn on an automatic sensor.

This lantern is designed to be multi-functional for any weather condition. Made for all-weather outdoor use, the lantern is made from high-quality, waterproof plastic and metal. It also comes with a nineteen-foot rope for stringing the lanterns to illuminate an outdoor gathering.

Its modern design lends itself to creating ambient light on a table, hanging above a patio for late-night activities, or lighting a pathway to your home. And the swirl of fairy lights creates a romantic, whimsical environment, giving it an air of sophistication for your next outdoor party.

2. Ollivage Dancing Flame Outdoor Solar Lights 4-Pack (Budget Pick)

The Ollivage Dancing Flame Outdoor Solar Lights wins our budget pick because it has the most affordable price for the quality, unique design, and solar run time. The solar lantern uses a flickering LED light that mimics the look of a real flame.

The antique flame effect elevates the atmosphere for parties, gatherings, barbecues, and camping trips. The lanterns use warm yellow light to set the mood. The lanterns can hang, be clipped, or placed on a level surface to provide adequate lighting.

Made from high quality, durable plastic, the Ollivage Dancing Flame Outdoor Solar Lights are waterproof and can be used during any weather condition. It also comes with a one year warranty and excellent customer service. For what you get, you can’t beat the price.

The lanterns can charge using solar or USB power. When fully charged, the solar lanterns can run for up to twelve hours and have automatic sensors that will turn on the lights when it gets dark. The USB charger is a nice touch to help out in a pinch when sunlight is scarce.

3. LuminAID 2-1 Solar Lantern (Best Camping)

Our pick for the best solar camping lantern, the LuminAID’s 2-in-1 Solar Lanterns, are practically designed to be multi-functional, efficient, and reliable for long camping trips or unforeseen disasters. This is a great solar lantern to pack with your tent or keep in your emergency kit.

Designed for disaster relief, the lantern is collapsible, waterproof, and lightweight. This lantern also has an added feature of floating on water, making it ideal for river trips or camping by the lake. And the collapsible, lightweight design makes it easy to stash in your pack for a long hiking trip.

The lantern has the 2-in-1 function of being a light and a phone charger. It can recharge your phone or tablet with a 2.1 Amp output port. When you’re out in the middle of nowhere, having a phone charger is a bonus.

And these lanterns can be charged by solar or USB power. The solar panels need ten hours of direct sunlight to charge fully. If you don’t have time, you can also charge it quickly using the USB cord. When fully charged, it provides up to 24 hours of light. Set to its low mode setting, it can run for up to 50 hours.

4. TomCare Classic Flickering Flame Solar Lantern 2-Pack (Best Multi-Finish)

The TomCare Classic Flickering Flame Solar Lanterns are our pick for best multi-finish because of their old-world style, affordability, and high quality that comes in three finishes. These attractive solar lanterns come in antique silver, bronze, or white.

Made from durable, rust-resistant metal, these solar lanterns are surprisingly affordable. Other solar lanterns at this price point are generally made of plastic. And coupled with the flickering flame LED lights that create a real flame simulation, these lanterns easily create old-world ambiance.

Made to endure all weather conditions, these waterproof solar lanterns have a white light that can fully charge in direct sunlight after eight hours. The lanterns will run for up to ten hours and give off a fair amount of light.

The manufacturer does point out that the lanterns won’t work if the two lights are installed too close together. That being said, it does come with a one-year warranty and quality customer service to address any issue you may have.

5. TomCare Retro-Style Flickering Flame Metal Solar Lantern 2-Pack (Most Stylish Design)

Very similar to the TomCare Flicker Flame Solar Lanterns, these retro-style solar lanterns are our pick for most stylish design because of their distinctive traditional lantern design, affordability, and high quality that comes in two finishes. These stylish solar lanterns come in bronze or white.

These solar lanterns are very affordable and are made from durable, rust-resistant metal. The flickering flame LED lights create a real flame simulation, which really adds to the vintage-inspired look. These lanterns will create an old-world ambiance for your next gathering.

Made to endure all weather conditions, these waterproof solar lanterns have warm light that can fully charge in direct sunlight after eight hours. The lanterns will run for up to ten hours and are fairly bright. However, they’re better for setting the mood rather than lighting up the basketball court.

The manufacturer does point out that the lanterns won’t work if the two lights are installed too close together. That being said, it does come with a one-year warranty and quality customer service to address any issue you may have.

6. JIAN YA NA Solar Lantern 10-Pack

A clean, modern design, the Jian Ya Na Solar Lanterns, will impress your guests at your next gathering. Easy to hang using the large ring or clip can attach to many surfaces. These lanterns also have a flickering flame LED light that mimics a real flame without the fire hazard.

Made from all-weather, rust-resistant plastic and metal, these lanterns are entirely waterproof. It’s warm white light is very bright, making these lanterns a solid pick for lighting a patio or outdoor entertainment area.

When in direct sunlight, the solar lantern only needs four to six hours to charge depending on the season. Using an automatic sensor, the lanterns will turn on when it gets dark and shine brightly for up to nine hours.

Incredibly easy to install, the Jian Ya Na Solar Lanterns only requires two steps for operation. Turn the sensor to automatic and peel away the protective film from the solar panel before hanging it in sunlight to charge.

7. YoungPower Hanging Solar Lantern 4-Pack

Another dancing flame solar lantern that imitates a realistic flame, the YoungPower Hanging Solar Lantern, is an affordable, no fuss, easy-to-hang lantern. These warm light lanterns create a welcoming atmosphere for relaxing around the campground or patio lounging.

The YoungPower Hanging Solar Lantern is built to last and made from durable, waterproof ABS plastic for all-weather outdoor use. It comes with a metal hanging ring and clips for easy set-up. Lightweight and easy to use, this is a great camping accessory.

These solar lanterns provide excellent light and long run time. You can charge them using solar or USB power for times when the sun isn’t optimal. The lantern charges within four to five hours and will run for up to twelve hours for dusk-to-dawn illumination.

The YoungPower Hanging Solar Lantern provides quality lighting and looks like a real flame. They’re very durable for everyday outdoor use, and they come with a one-year warranty to ensure you’re satisfied with the quality. Truly, a fantastic all-purpose lantern.

8. LampLust Solar Candle Lantern

The LampLust Solar Candle Lantern has a unique, sophisticated design. Standing at eighteen inches tall, this is the tallest lantern on our list. Perfect for setting along a pathway or as a centerpiece on a table, the solar lantern creates an intimate atmosphere for your next gathering.

Made from durable, rust-resistant metal and glass, this attractive lantern also comes in a fourteen-inch model to create a complementary pairing for extra table light. The LampLust Solar Candle Lantern is high quality and beautiful, garnering the envy of neighbors.

The solar lantern is built to run. As long as the lantern gets adequate sunlight, it can illuminate any yard or patio for six to eight hours. And the candle’s flicking warm light creates an inviting ambiance and decent brightness.

A unique hexagon shape with a black finish gives it a touch of elegance while still providing practical, energy-saving illumination. Known for quality products, LampLust offers a 90-day warranty to ensure complete customer satisfaction.

9. EOYIZW Hanging Solar Lantern 4-Pack

The EOYIZW Hanging Solar Lanterns cast a yellow firelight using flicker flame LEDs to create a mesmerizing atmosphere. While these lanterns can sit on a table, hanging them around your patio, porch, yard, or pathway would be a good choice.

Relatively inexpensive, the EOYIZW Hanging Solar Lanterns have an upgraded, thick ABS plastic shell. So they are great for all weather conditions in any season. In a black finish, the lantern has a more masculine style, reminiscent of a barbeque grill.

The EOYIZW Hanging Solar Lanterns have an upgraded solar panel making them more efficient. They only need six to eight hours to charge in full sunlight for a run time of ten hours. This unique designed solar lantern also comes in purple or blue flame to create a party atmosphere.

The clip makes them easy to hang, giving your yard torch light ambiance. And because they are solar, they are easy to maintain and very energy efficient. The solar lantern comes with a one-year warranty.

10. LuminAID Bloomio Twist Solar Lantern with Bluetooth

Going high tech, the LuminAID Bloomio Twist Solar Lantern with Bluetooth can connect and be controlled from an app on your phone. This is an ideal lantern for on the go, whether you’re headed camping or to the beach, just collapse and put it in your bag.

The app has many features, allowing you to change colors, adjust brightness, check the battery, and set light timers to a specific time. You can customize the lantern’s light to any color. Built for functionality over decorative design, the LuminAID Bloomio Twist Solar Lantern is collapsable, lightweight, and easy to carry.

The LuminAID Bloomio Twist Solar Lantern can run all night. It does take longer than other solar lamps to charge completely at around twelve to sixteen hours. But it also comes with a USB port for charging in a pinch. And you can adjust the brightness for longer run time.

It has an origami design and can fold up flat for easy storage and portability. It’s also waterproof so it can hang by the pool. And it’s dustproof, so it’s the perfect lantern for overnight hiking.

11. TomCare Vintage-Stump Solar Lantern 2-Pack

The TomCare Vintage-Stump Solar Lantern is the most unique design on our list. Designed to look like a tree stump, it’s definitely a conversation piece. And when the flickering flame LEDs illuminate, it almost has a volcanic feel.

Meant to blend into the landscape of your yard or garden, the solar lantern stumps are quite large and provide a warm, firelike ambient lighting. They come in two sizes of seven-inch or eight-inch height.

It is made from quality, durable resin for all weather conditions. The lantern stumps are waterproof, heat resistant, frost resistant. It also comes with a one-year warranty and quality customer service.

12. Smart Garden Solar Damasque Morrocan Lantern Light

Make a statement with the Smart Garden Solar Damasque Morrocan Lantern Light. High quality, durable, and unique, the lantern will spark conversation. These round solar lanterns are very stylish and will create the atmosphere of a Morrocan festival.

The lantern produces cool blue illumination that casts a fun pattern on the ground. Fully charged, the Smart Garden Solar Damasque Morrocan Lantern Light can last up to six hours. Energy-efficient and environmentally friendly, this lamp will beautify any patio or garden.

It is made from durable metal made for all-season use. And despite the thick metal pattern, the light still gives off quite a bit of light. Be careful if you set this lantern on a table instead of hanging because the base can rust in high humidity environments.

13. GreenLight Planet Sun King Pro Portable Solar Lantern

The Greenlight Planet Sun King Pro Portable Solar Lantern is a very functional pick. Not intended for decorative purposes, this solar lantern is all business. A lightweight, multi-functional, portable light that’s great for camping or doing projects around the house.

Meant for everyday use, the portable lantern offers adequate light when your project calls for it. Whether you’re working on your car, have an emergency, or just want to read in the dark, this lamp has got your back. It has three light modes so you can customize brightness based on your needs.

A handheld solar lantern that also comes with a stand when you need both hands. It has 120 lumens and can provide up to forty-five hours of light. It also has a USB port for faster charging or charging your phone or tablet using solar power.

Ranked by MIT as the best solar light, this is an essential light to throw in your tool or emergency kit. It’s also very compact and lightweight, making it ideal for taking on hiking trips. It’s also very affordable for the high quality and excellent run time.

Buyers’ Guide (Top 5 Tips – How to Buy the Best Solar-Powered Lantern for You)

Want some useful buying tips for finding the right model for you? We’ve got you covered. Here we’ll list our top five tips, so you can feel confident buying a solar-powered lantern.

1. Keep in Mind Your Solar Lantern’s Main Purpose

While solar lanterns are revolutionizing light for third-world countries (2), they’re also convenient to have around the house and in the yard. Because of their energy efficiency and cost savings, solar lanterns have many uses.

Decoration

As solar technology advances, the design and cost of these lanterns are transitioning from functional to decorative. Many companies have capitalized on solar panel technology to create stylish, elegant lanterns that people want to buy as decorative accents.

Solar lanterns are an attractive way to provide sustainable, cost-effective lighting while still creating an elegant ambiance for your next gathering. No longer just for the environmentally conscious, these lanterns are an affordable and stylish alternative for outdoor lighting.

If you’re buying a model for decorative reasons, this will come down to personal preference. There is no wrong answer at the end of the day. If the design appeals to you, it appeals to you. Don’t be afraid to be unique, and stand out.

Practical Lighting

According to the Climate Technology Centre & Network, solar lanterns are a cheap alternative for providing four to five hours of high-quality light. Most solar lanterns use LED lights like most outdoor solar equipment you’ll see today including solar gutter lights, because their ability to produce high-intensity lighting, and their bulbs can last for up to twenty-seven years. (3) This makes them an ideal solution for practical lighting.

Because solar lanterns can produce high-intensity light, you can use them for many practical situations such as lighting a home, yard, parks, streets, and even schools. A Stanford University study found that solar lamps can even improve education in off-grid regions. (4)

Camping

When you go off-grid or for long backpacking trips, these lanterns are essential. As a renewable source of light when electricity isn’t available, solar lanterns are a smart choice. Not only are they safer than kerosene lamps, but they are also brighter and more environmentally friendly than kerosene lamps. (5)

Solar lanterns are practical, lightweight, and compact, making them ideal for stuffing into a backpack. And many solar lanterns designed for camping have multiple functions like allowing you to charge small electronics like your phone. Which is handy, that is, if you can get a phone signal.

Emergencies

Probably one of the best uses of a solar lantern is for emergencies. Often the first thing to fail in an emergency or natural disaster is the electricity. Having a solar lantern is an essential part of an emergency kit, according to New York Magazine. (6)

Solar Lanterns designed for emergencies are often multi-functional, durable, and compact, making them easy to store in a kit or your car. When buying a solar lantern for emergency purposes, you should look for functionality over aesthetics.

2. Look for Waterproof and/or Snowproof Ratings

If the intended use for your lanterns is outdoors, you’ll want to find ones that are waterproof and/or snowproof. This is critical for the durability and longevity of your units.

Most manufacturers love to tout their lanterns’ durability, so finding the information about whether the light is weather resistant should be relatively easy to find. But, to help make your life easier almost all of our picks on our list are all-weather, waterproof outdoor models.

3. Consider What Material is Best for Your Environment

Depending on where you’ll use your unit, it will affect which material is best for your outdoor use. Most lanterns that are all-weather are either metal or ABS plastic. Both of these materials are very durable and can last a long time outdoors.

Metal

The best metals for outdoor solar lanterns are iron, aluminum, and stainless steel. Most solar-powered lanterns are made from rust-resistant aluminum because of its affordability and lightweight composite. The Aluminum Association states that aluminum is:

  • Lightweight
  • Non-corrosive
  • Non Sparking
  • Noncombustible
  • Nontoxic
  • Strong

And aluminum can be recycled, making it a sustainable choice. (7)

ABS Plastic

Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) plastic is the most common plastic used to make products. The total global production of ABS plastic was 11.2 million metric tons in 2018. (8) ABS is incredibly strong and non-corrosive. ABS plastic doesn’t degrade under heat or cold, and it’s waterproof, making it an all-weather material.

Because it’s also relatively inexpensive, it makes solar technology more affordable. ABS plastic is very easy to clean and is dust resistant. When camping, you’ll probably want an ABS plastic model.

4. Look for Bonus Features that Excite You

Several solar lanterns come with lots of bonus features. Here’s our list of the top ones to look for.

Extra Lumens

Lumens measure how much light you get from a LED bulb. The more Lumens the light has, the brighter the light. A typical model will have five to forty Lumens. (9) Solar-powered lanterns that have more than 40 Lumen are much brighter.

Although, if the light has more Lumens, you may want to look for brightness control settings. Some have app-based brightness control settings, while others may have a switch to dim or brighten.

Dancing Flames

Dancing flames is a popular feature because the LED flickers to mimic realistic flame. This gives a torch-lit illumination that is both romantic and mesmerizing—all the benefits of candlelight without the fire hazard.

2-in-1 Phone Chargers

Another popular feature, the 2-in-1 phone charger feature, is nice to have for emergencies and camping. Because many of the solar-powered lanterns have a USB port for electrical charging in a pinch, this port also doubles as a way to solar charge your phone or tablet.

More LEDs

Many lanterns differentiate themselves by offering more LEDs than others. This is typical in dancing flame lanterns to achieve the firelight effect. The more LEDs the lantern has, typically, the better light it produces.

One-of-a-kind Designs

One of the biggest differentiators between lanterns is the design or style. While many models have classic or modern designs, you’ll notice a few will have one-of-a-kind designs that stand out from the pack.

If you’re looking for a decorative model, you may want to buy a one-of-a-kind design as a conversation piece among friends. Some designs also follow more cultural styles for a more sophisticated ambiance. Whether you buy a tree stump model or a Morrocan model, this comes down to personal taste.

5. Find the Top Deal for You

To find the top deal on solar-powered lanterns, we have a few tips that may help.

Shipping

When shopping for a solar-powered lantern, check for free or minimal shipping costs to get the top deal for your money. Instead of going into the store, searching for a unit, and buying it then hoping you like it – you can find a model you love online, with free shipping, and get it delivered straight to your home. Isn’t the future great?

Limited Time Deals

Sometimes the big retailers or manufacturers offer limited-time deals that you can find on their websites. Usually in the spring and at the end of summer is the best time to find these deals.

Final Price

The last factor you should consider is, of course, the final price. This is the price when all these factors are rolled into one. When you find these deals, snap them up quickly.

FAQ

Do you still have a few questions about solar-powered lanterns? Here are the most common questions:

Which are the brightest solar lights?

A standard model will have 5 to 40 Lumens. Five Lumen is a very dim candlelight brightness. But some models have upwards of 120 to 150 Lumen. These are very bright lanterns.

If you decide to get a model with 120 or more Lumen, make sure it comes with a brightness control setting. Not everyone enjoys being blinded by the light, you’ll want the option to turn it down. And remember, the higher the Lumen, the faster it will drain the battery, so your run time will be shorter.

What are the best rated outdoor solar lights?

In our opinion, the best rated outdoor solar lights are the LITOM 12 LEDs Solar Landscape Spotlights. These waterproof solar spotlights easily stake into soft surfaces like grass or dirt. They are designed to highlight gardens, driveways, porches, walkways, pools, and patios.

While these aren’t your typical lanterns, per se, they are high-quality solar lighting. Keep in mind, you will not be able to stake the spotlights into hard surfaces like cement or wood.

What is the best solar lantern?

The best solar lantern will vary from person to person and by need, but in short, we recommend the SUPERDANNY 8-Pack for those looking for the top overall option. Then, for those on a tight budget, we recommend the Ollivage Dancing Flame 4-Pack. However, if you stick to any of our top picks, you’re likely in really good shape.

The Bottom Line: What is the Best Solar Lantern of 2020 to Buy?

Hopefully, if you’ve made it this far, you found a solar lantern that will best fit your needs. Or least, maybe now, you know exactly what to look for before you buy one.

But, if you’re still on the fence and not sure which model is right for you, we highly-recommend our top overall choice the SUPERDANNY Outdoor Solar Lantern 8-Pack. It has excellent run time, functionality, and a romantic design. If you want a set of gorgeous lanterns that can hang or be set on the ground for a fantastic price, then this is the one to buy.

Want more top-rated solar equipment to help illuminate your home like the SUPERDANNY Outdoor Solar Lantern 8-Pack? If so, I recommend checking out our best outdoor solar post lights of the year, or our homepage, to see our full list of highly-reviewed solar gear.

  1. https://solargardenlightshq.com/amazing-solar-energy-facts/
  2. https://acumen.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Report-The-Economic-Impact-of-Solar-Lighting.pdf
  3. https://www.ctc-n.org/technologies/solar-lamps
  4. https://siepr.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/publications/WP1029_0_61.pdf
  5. https://www.cnn.com/2012/01/10/tech/innovation/solar-powered-led-lamps/index.html
  6. https://nymag.com/strategist/article/how-to-build-a-blackout-kit.html
  7. https://www.aluminum.org/aluminum-advantage/student-educational-resources
  8. https://www.statista.com/statistics/856670/acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene-global-production-capacity/
  9. https://www.homedepot.com/c/ab/how-many-lumens-needed-for-outdoor-lighting/9ba683603be9fa5395fab90170e343cd

Best Solar Gutter Lights of 2020

Solar gutter lights: top-rated reviews

Did you know that approximately 10% of the average home’s energy expenditures go towards lighting? (1) Switching to more efficient lighting both inside and outside the house can make a world of difference in lowering your electricity bill and saving energy. So, we’ve rounded up the best solar gutter lights of the year all in one place because they’re not only decorative, but practical – for increased security, safety, and energy reduction. Check out our top 21 picks below!

Quick Comparison of our Top 21 Picks (For Those in a Rush)

  1. ROSHWEY 6-Pack (Best Overall): With bright lighting, easy installation, and lightweight durability, this is our top choice for the best overall.
  2. JSOT 6-Pack (Budget Pick): This is our top budget pick for its incredible price, high-quality construction, and bright lighting.
  3. InnoGear Store 2-Pack (Best with Mounting Poles): For those looking for larger solar gutter lights, mounting poles, and more brilliant illumination, this is our top choice for best light with mounting poles.
  4. InnoGear 4-Pack: With 24 LEDs, a sensitive motion sensor, and easy installation, the InnoGear 4-Pack provides powerful illumination for a wider area.
  5. iSunMoon Store 9m LED 6-Pack: This 6-pack of LED solar lights have larger solar panels, four different installation methods, and great price value.
  6. DBF Store 6-Pack: This new generation of gutter lights from DBF includes higher brightness, 9 LED chips, and longer working time.
  7. ROSHWEY 4-Pack: These solar gutter lights are easily adjustable, have a built-in light sensor, and use 18 LEDs for increased brightness.
  8. CREATIVE DESIGN 2-Pack: This 2-pack of solar lights has 46 bright LEDs, is easy to install, and contains a larger solar panel.
  9. Hoshine 2-Pack: This environmentally-friendly 2-pack of solar gutter lights boasts 12 hours of working time with each full charge, an 80 x 80cm solar panel, and 6 LEDs.
  10. SUNFACE 6-Pack: The SUNFACE solar deck lights are a beautiful clear amber color with two optional color modes and a highly-efficient solar panel.
  11. KJ-KayJi 6-Pack: This long-lasting solar light has a working time of more than 8 hours, emits brighter light with 9 LEDs, and has 4 different installation methods for your convenience.
  12. Roopure 4-Pack: With 2 intelligent working modes, high photo-sensitivity, and longer working time, the Roopure solar lights are durable and made of high-strength ABS and metal.
  13. CREATIVE DESIGN Black 2-Pack: The black solar lights are incredibly bright, with 80 LEDs that produce 450 lumens, an upgraded solar panel, and 4 working modes.
  14. UniqueFire Black 6-Pack: Equipped with 12 high-power LEDs and a new energy management chip, 2 different installation methods, and an advanced solar panel, the UniqueFire solar gutter lights prove to be a high-quality product.
  15. UniqueFire Warm White Light 6-Pack: The UniqueFire Warm White Lights have 25 upgraded high-powered LEDs, a new energy management chip, and a longer light time.
  16. Yescom Store 10-Pack: This pack of 10 solar gutter lights from Yescom is priced at a great value, uses the latest improved solar panel technology, and is portable.
  17. Rowrun Store 4-Pack: Built with high-quality crystalline silicon solar panels, rechargeable solar power, and a unique UFO design, these solar gutter lights come in a pack of 4 at a great price.
  18. ELYXWORK Black 2-Pack: These outdoor security lights are super bright, waterproof, and simple to install.
  19. UniqueFire Cool White Light 6-Pack: With longer lighting time, 2 different installation methods, and 9 flood light LEDs, this solar gutter light is both decorative and practical.
  20. GMFive 6-Pack: This 6-pack of solar gutter lights from GMFive is small and portable, eco-friendly, and bright.
  21. Portfolio Solar Gutter Light: This solar gutter light is environmentally friendly, sits well on gutters despite its heavier appearance, and has a long working time after being fully charged.

Solar Gutter Light Reviews

Choosing the best solar gutter lights is not easy with so many different options out there. We rounded up our top 21 choices of the best available in the market. However, as you look through this list, make sure you can find one that is right for you.

1. ROSHWEY 6-Pack (Best Overall)

This uniquely-designed solar deck light is our top choice for the best overall because of its bright lighting with 9 LEDs, easy installation, and lightweight durability. The Roshwey 6-Pack not only illuminates your house or backyard but is a decorative light that looks like a UFO.

It packs power with large solar panels and a 1.2V 1600mAh rechargeable battery, making sure that it provides more light than other solar gutter lights without losing light time. You can attach this light to a wall or pathway using a single bracket or clip it onto a fence or gutter with two adjustable brackets. It is easy to install with no wiring required.

It is made with high-quality, eco-friendly ABS material that gives these lights a long service life. With an IP 55 waterproof rating, it is more durable than other lights and can withstand all types of weather, including rain, snow, and wind. (2)

2. JSOT 6-Pack (Budget Pick)

The JSOT 6-Pack is a high-quality solar gutter light with longer light time for half the price, making it our top budget pick. With 9 LEDs, this solar power design emits brighter light without being too harsh, making it an ideal decorative light for the outdoors. It has a detachable lamp shade so you can alter its aesthetic look.

This solar deck light is easy to install and can be mounted to the wall or on a fence using brackets to illuminate your backyard, driveway, or pathways. It is made to withstand all types of weather and is completely waterproof. It charges automatically during the day and powers on at night for up to 8 hours with no manual control necessary.

For those on a tighter budget or just looking for an incredible value, we highly-recommend the JSOT 6-Pack.

3. InnoGear Store 2-Pack (Best with Mounting Poles)

For those looking for larger solar gutter lights, mounting poles, and brighter illumination, the InnoGear Store 2-Pack is our top choice for the best light with mounting poles. This product is 3 times larger than other lights with a 2600mAh solar power capacity, which means it can absorb more sunshine than other lights even if it is not in direct sunlight. It has 80 bright LEDs and can produce over 450 lumens.

This light is unique because of its aluminum mounting poles, which can be installed quickly and easily to extend from the gutter or wall. It is made of IP 65 waterproof technology and has two layers of the hermetically-sealed internal loop, making it durable in any weather conditions. The lights also use a motion sensor that can detect people within 26 feet.

The InnoGear solar gutter lights have 4 working modes: ¼ brightness, ½ brightness, dim mode to full brightness when it detects motion, and maximum brightness when motion is detected.

4. InnoGear 24 LED 4-Pack

With 24 LEDs, a sensitive motion sensor, and easy installation, the InnoGear 4-Pack provides powerful illumination for a wider area. It does not require any wires or adapters and can be mounted easily with 2 keyholes in the back to hang on or off screws.

Made with high-strength ABS material, this rectangular-shaped solar light has a waterproof level of IP 65, giving it a longer lifespan even in harsh weather. It is a durable choice for outdoor lighting.

The motion sensor on this light detects up to 16 feet around. It stays dim in the dark but goes to full brightness when activated. It has a simple on/off switch, keeping its operation hassle-free.

5. iSunMoon Store 9m LED 6-Pack

This 6-pack of LED solar lights from iSunMoon Store have larger solar panels, four different installation methods, and great price value. They are lightweight and smaller than other solar lamps, making it easier to mount on your gutter and illuminate smaller areas.

Depending on weather conditions, it has an average run time of up to 8 hours, and automatically turns on at dusk to illuminate the night and turns off at dawn to charge. It takes between 6-8 hours for the light to be fully recharged.

The iSunMoon solar gutter light can be fixed to a wall or pathway in 2 ways with a single bracket. It can also be clipped to a fence or gutter using 2 adjustable brackets. With a waterproof level of IP 55, this product can withstand most weather conditions.

6. DBF Store 6-Pack

This new generation of gutter lights from DBF includes higher brightness, 9 LED chips, and longer working time. It has a built-in 1500mAh rechargeable battery and uses a highly efficient solar panel that will light up for more than 8 hours when fully charged. It has a light sensor, so it will automatically turn on and off on its own.

These creatively designed solar gutter lights are durable in various weather conditions. It is made of ABS and IP 55 waterproof material, making it perfect for outdoor use. It comes in black or white to match your porch, yard, or house color scheme. These solar-powered lights come with a 12-month warranty to ensure quality.

7. ROSHWEY 4-Pack

The ROSHWEY 4-pack of solar gutter lights are easily adjustable, have a built-in light sensor, and use 18 LEDs for increased brightness. They are easy to install on the wall outdoors using the long bracket and screws, or you can combine 2 brackets to clip it onto fences or gutters.

The solar panel is 5.7 x 2.3 inches, making it larger than other solar lights, and has a conversion rate up to 18%, reducing charge time when placed in direct sunlight. When fully charged, the lights can stay illuminated for up to 10 hours. These highly-efficient solar lights are also made of IP 55 waterproof material that protects it from rain and snow.

8. CREATIVE DESIGN 2-Pack

This 2-pack of solar lights from CREATIVE DESIGN has 46 bright LEDs, is easy to install, and contains a larger solar panel. There are 34 LEDs on the front and 6 LEDs on each side, producing over 500 lumens to provide wider illumination on your porch, driveway, or pathways. It is easy to install using the included mounting poles to get maximum solar energy.

These lights are made of ABS and IP 65 waterproof material, meaning it is water-resistant and heatproof. It also comes with a sensitive motion sensor with a sensing angle of 120 degrees. The solar panel is larger and comes with a built-in 2600mAh Li-ion battery to speed up charging time and offer longer working times.

9. Hoshine 2-Pack

This environmentally-friendly 2-pack of solar gutter lights boasts 12 hours of working time with each full charge, an 80 x 80cm solar panel, and 6 LEDs. It has 3 lighting modes: dark, dim, and bright, and can sense motion up to 26 feet using a Passive Infrared (PIR) core.

The Hoshine solar lights require up to 4.5 hours to fully charge and are made of reliable aluminum and plastic material. With 6 LEDs, it can produce up to 200 lumens.

These durable solar lights stay on eco mode during the night and turn on during the evening and off at dawn automatically. These lights are easy to install and can be fixed on porches, walls, eaves, and fences.

10. SUNFACE 6-Pack

The SUNFACE solar deck lights are a beautiful clear amber color with two optional color modes and a highly-efficient solar panel. The panel is made of polysilicon, which converts up to 19.5% of sunlight into energy, ensuring a faster charge and longer working time.

One of the unique highlights of this model is it’s two optional modes. You can either set it to warm white or rotate colors (RGB color) to set the ambiance of your garden or porch. It is IP 65 waterproof and heatproof, meaning it can withstand severe weather conditions. The installation is simple and can be done in less than a minute.

Though it may not be the brightest light, it still illuminates your path and sets a warm tone to your outdoor environment.

11. KJ-KayJI 6-Pack

This long-lasting solar light from KJ-KayJi has a working time of more than 8 hours, emits brighter light with 9 LEDs, and has 4 different installation methods for your convenience. The solar deck lights bracket distance has an adjustable range of 0-50mm, making it suitable to fix on various surfaces. It comes in cool white or warm white to set a different tone for your driveway, porch, or other pathways.

It is not only aesthetically appealing decorative light, but is practical with improved brightness. The larger polycrystalline solar panels absorb more sunlight than old gutter lights. It is IP 55 waterproof and automatically turns on at night and off during the day. It comes with a 30-day return refund and an 18-month warranty, ensuring quality control.

12. Roopure 4-Pack

With 2 intelligent working modes, high photo-sensitivity, and longer working time, the Roopure solar lights are durable and made of high-strength ABS and metal. These motion-activated lights are designed with larger polycrystalline silicon solar panels and a 1500mAh rechargeable battery to last longer throughout the night.

The solar lights have 10 LED ultra-bright chips, which illuminate up to 300 lumens, similar to a floodlight. The longer aluminum mounting pole extends the panel away from the gutter or wall to receive maximum sunshine. It is easy to install with a 120-degree wide-angle for greater brightness. The Roopure solar light is one of the most reliable solar gutter lights out there with a lifespan of more than 3 years.

13. CREATIVE DESIGN Black 2-Pack

The black solar lights from CREATIVE DESIGN are incredibly bright with 80 LEDs that produce 450 lumens, an upgraded solar panel, and 4 working modes. The different modes are dim or bright illumination that stays on throughout the night, or motion-censored dim or bright illumination.

The upgraded solar panel is bigger with 17% efficiency and can decrease battery charging time when placed under direct sunlight. The built-in 2600mAh Li-ion battery allows for a longer working time as well. The solar gutter lights are water-resistant with a waterproof level of IP 65, and are heatproof. It is easy to install with an included aluminum mounting pole.

14. UniqueFire Black 6-Pack

Equipped with 12 high-power LEDs and a new energy management chip, 2 different installation methods, and an advanced solar panel, the UniqueFire solar gutter lights prove to be a high-quality product. The solar panel is one of the most advanced using photoelectric conversion, converting electricity at a 20% higher rate than other solar panels. (3)

This outdoor light emits bright light for up to 8 hours when fully charged and contains a 1500mAh rechargeable Ni-MH battery. No wiring is necessary to install it. You can easily fix it onto a wall, deck, gutter, or fence using the provided brackets. This high-quality solar-powered light is smaller but heavy-duty to withstand any weather conditions, ensuring a long lifespan.

15. UniqueFire Warm White Light 6-Pack

The UniqueFire Warm White Lights have 25 upgraded high-powered LEDs, a new energy management chip, and a longer light time using a 1800mAh rechargeable Ni-MH battery. (4) The most advanced solar panel technology converts sunlight into energy 20% more than other panels. It turns on and off automatically and is easy to install with brackets on the wall, fence, or gutter.

The lights have a waterproof level of IP 64 and are made of environmentally-friendly ABS material that is designed to endure through bad weather. It has an illuminating angle of 80 degrees and can light up to 10 feet away. The warm light will make your porch or backyard feel cozy, unlike harsher floodlights.

16. Yescom Store 10-Pack

This pack of 10 solar gutter lights from Yescom is priced at an excellent value for the amount you receive. Using the latest improved solar panel technology, this solar light is energy-efficient, long-lasting, and portable. It can stay illuminated for up to 10 hours after being fully charged.

There is an on/off switch that can be used for manual operation, but it also automatically turns on and off in the evening and morning. It is durable with a waterproof level of IP 44, and can be used indoors or outdoors. It is made of 3 LEDs and produces 30 lumens, making it a smaller but still effective light that can be used almost anywhere.

17. Rowrun Store 4-Pack

Built with high-quality crystalline silicon panels, rechargeable solar power, and a unique UFO design, these solar gutter lights from Rowrun come in a pack of 4 at a great price. The efficient solar panel is able to work for 8-10 hours at night after spending 6-8 hours in direct sunlight. It uses photo sensor technology to turn on and off automatically at dusk and dawn. It has 9 LEDs that generate 100 lumens of brightness.

This model is constructed with eco-friendly ABS material, which is heat-resistant. It also has an IP 55 waterproof rating, making it perfect for the outdoors and rainy weather. It is easy to install to the wall or pathway using a single bracket, or you can clip it to the fence or gutter using 2 brackets.

18. ELYXWORK Black 2-Pack

These outdoor security lights are super bright, waterproof, and simple to install. It uses 8 high-output surface mount LEDs that produce 35 lumens of light. It can be used to illuminate pathways, decks, and fences. The ELYXWORK solar lights power on for up to 8 hours when fully charged. When in direct sunlight, it requires between 6-8 hours of charging time.

The solar light is made of durable plastic and has an IP 44 waterproof rating. It is able to withstand all weather conditions and can be used to illuminate porches, balconies, gutters, fences, etc. Screws and brackets are included for easy installation, and it comes with a 1-year product warranty to ensure quality and customer satisfaction.

19. UniqueFire Cool White Light 6-Pack

With longer lighting time, 2 different installation methods, and 9 flood light LEDs, the UniqueFire Cool White Light is both decorative and practical. The 9 LEDs emit stronger light than the previous model to improve safety for people and property and generates 100 lumens for improved brightness.

It uses a 1500mAh rechargeable Ni-MH battery to keep the light running for up to 8 hours after being fully charged. It only charges when it is in “ON” mode, and a full charge may take 1-2 days.

These solar gutter lights are made from high-quality, eco-friendly ABS material and has an IP 55 waterproof rating. It has 2 convenient installation methods using brackets and screws with no wiring required.

20. GMFive 6-Pack

This 6-pack of solar gutter lights from GMFive are small and portable, eco-friendly, and bright. They’re designed to be attached to garden fences and gutters for increased visibility, and each one has 3 LEDs that produce 20 lumens. Typically, to charge these solar gutter lights it takes around 4.5 hours, and from there they can stay illuminated for up to 9 hours.

The 60 x 60mm solar panel is made of monocrystalline silicon and uses a 1200mAh Ni-MH rechargeable battery to store energy. The light is mainly made of acrylic and alloy material. It comes with a mounting bracket and an expansion pillar-hinge to make it easier to attach to gutters or fences. It may not be the most durable in harsh weather, but it provides adequate light when you need it.

21. Portfolio Solar Gutter Light

The Portfolio Solar Gutter Light is ideal for illuminating pathways and patio spaces. It is environmentally friendly, uses photocell control to turn on and off at dusk and dawn automatically, and has a long working time after being fully charged. It is heavier than other lights at 1 pound, but its illumination covers a wide area.

This solar gutter light model produces 20 lumens and can run for up to 8 hours in the night. As an outdoor accent lamp, it is made of plastic and can be mounted on gutters easily to receive the most light and provide just the amount of light you need to keep you and your property safe.

Buyers’ Guide (Top 7 Tips – How to Buy one of the Best Solar Gutter Lights of the Year)

1. Look for more lumens (aka: extra brightness)

Lumen counts measure the levels of brightness in a lightbulb or LED. (5) The more lumens there are, the more light you get. Depending on your preference, you may want a solar gutter light with a higher lumen count–and therefore more brightness–or a lower count to set the ambiance of your space.

2. Look for more LEDs

Similar to most solar lighting equipment like outdoor solar lanterns, in the case of solar gutter lights – the more LEDs, the better! A higher LED count produces more lumens to illuminate a larger area. Because they don’t use as much energy as traditional fluorescent lighting, LEDs can carry more power and produce more light without using up all of the solar energy. (6)

Think of them as little efficient light bulbs. When there are more of them, they collectively create a brighter environment. If you are looking to illuminate a larger space, more LEDs will help provide the light you need.

3. Look for extra-durable materials

Materials such as ABS and aluminum make up most solar gutter lights because they can withstand most weather conditions. They are also cheaper to use while still making your solar gutter lights durable and attractive. Look for high-quality materials with a high waterproof rating and material reliability to ensure they last for a long time. (7)

4. Look for an extra-large battery capacity

Solar gutter lights use 4 types of batteries: lead-acid, NiCAD, NiMH, and Lithium-Ion (Li-ion) batteries. Li-ion is often the popular choice overall because of its fast-charging rate and higher capacity. (8)

However, a quick charge doesn’t mean much if your solar gutter lights can’t hold much power at one time. When buying a solar gutter light, you want an extra-large battery capacity so it can store more energy and lead to longer working times at night.

5. Look for multi-packs that include more units

Most people aren’t usually in the market for just one solar gutter light, so buying multi-packs is a great way to get more for your money. You can get many high-quality solar gutter lights for a fair price, and it is often cheaper buying them in packs rather than individually.

6. Look for models with multiple installation methods

Installing conventional lights in your backyard can be tiresome, especially if there is only one way to mount them. Multiple installation methods are much more convenient when trying to attach your solar light in different places.

Look for solar gutter lights that come with mounting brackets and screws so you can easily fix it on a wall or clip it to a fence or gutter. Lights that come with mounting poles are also another excellent installation option to consider.

7. Find the best deal for you

Ultimately, whether you’re shopping for the best solar flagpole light, best solar gutter light, or any other new solar lighting for your home, or area in need, to find the best deal – it needs to meet your unique needs. Consider factors such as how much you are willing to pay, the number of solar gutter lights you need, shipping costs and speed, and the area you want to illuminate while looking for the best deal for you.

The Bottom Line: Should you Buy one of the Best Solar Gutter Lights of 2020 Today?

Now that you’ve seen our in-depth guide to the best solar gutter lights of the year here at Your Energy Blog, 21 in fact, all that’s left is to choose the model that right for you. If you’re not sure which solar gutter lights to go with, we highly-recommend the Roshwey 6-Pack, our top overall choice.

They’re not only practical but aesthetically pleasing to enhance your outdoor ambiance. Then, they have extra-large 1600mAh rechargeable batteries, which allows them to store more energy than your average unit. In addition, they’re easy to install pretty much anywhere and prove to be sturdy over time.

With their above-average durability, high-quality construction, and excellent price – these solar gutter lights have everything you look for in our books.

  1. https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/articles/big-savings-outdoor-lighting#:~:text=Outdoor%20solar%20lighting%20is%20an,to%20light%20around%20your%20home.&text=It%20uses%20the%20solar%20cells,have%20little%20or%20no%20maintenance.
  2. https://www.enclosurecompany.com/ip-ratings-explained.php#:~:text=IP65%20Enclosure%20%2D%20IP%20rated%20as,or%20powerful%20jets%20of%20water.&text=IP%2068%20Enclosures%20%2D%20IP%20rated,complete%2C%20continuous%20submersion%20in%20water.
  3. https://www.nrel.gov/research/re-photovoltaics.html
  4. https://www.industrytap.com/new-solar-energy-chips-100-times-more-efficient/2874
  5. https://www.lumens.com/how-tos-and-advice/light-bulb-facts.html
  6. https://www.sepco-solarlighting.com/blog/bid/131928/Why-Solar-Power-and-LED-Lighting-Makes-a-Perfect-Combination
  7. https://www.outdoorlights.com/dc-metro/resources/blog/2018/december/choosing-the-best-material-for-your-outdoor-ligh/
  8. https://www.buyabattery.co.uk/blog/top-tips-garden-solar-light-batteries/

The post Best Solar Gutter Lights of 2020 first appeared on Your Energy Blog.

Best RV Solar Kit of 2020

Best RV solar panel kit: top-rated reviews

Did you know that the cost of a full solar setup continues to fall every year? (1) However, RV solar kits come in all different sizes and functions, and they’re much cheaper than a full solar setup. If you’re stuck wondering which is the best RV solar kit for you, our guide should be able to provide you some excellent ideas, tips, and tricks for making your decision.

Quick Comparison of Our Top 17 Picks (for Those in a Hurry)

Don’t have time to read the whole article? Check out our quick comparisons of our top picks below:

  1. ACOPOWER 500W Kit (Best Overall): This kit is our best overall because it’s sturdy, beginner-friendly, and easily expandable, and not to mention well-priced.
  2. Renogy 100W Kit With 30A PWM Controller (Budget Pick): This kit is our best budget pick because it’s accessible, inexpensive, and a fantastic bang for your buck. 
  3. WindyNation 400W Kit (Best With Inverter + Battery): This kit is our best kit with an inverter and battery because it comes with everything you need to get started coupled with impressive power output.
  4. ECO-WORTHY 1400W Wind Solar Power Kit (Best Wind Solar Kit): This is our best wind and solar kit because it’s adaptable to nearly all weather types, easy to install, and comes with almost everything you need to get started. 
  5. Renogy 800W Kit (Best Luxury Kit): This is our best luxury solar kit because it’s very efficient, BlueTooth-capable, and incredibly high-quality (with a price to match).
  6. SUNGOLDPOWER 200W Kit: This is a slightly-larger budget kit with excellent customer service, an impressive warranty, and high-quality panels.
  7. ECO-WORTHY 120W Kit: This budget kit comes with a generous amount of wires and brackets, one powerful panel, and a rock-bottom price. 
  8. WindyNation 200W Kit With 200ah Battery: This kit is inexpensive, small, and ready to install immediately at the cost of some modern amenities.
  9. XINPUGUANG 600W Kit Flexible Solar Panel Kit: This flexible solar panel kit is effortless to install, surprisingly durable, and extremely lightweight. 
  10. Renogy 200W Kit With 30A PWM Controller: This 200W kit doesn’t stand out from the competition, but it’s dependable and full of the quality you’d expect from Renogy.
  11. WindyNation 400W Kit With 400ah AGM Battery: This WindyNation kit is ready to install, and while it doesn’t come with an inverter, it has a convenient LCD screen for easy readouts.
  12. WindyNation 200W Kit With 200ah Battery And Inverter: This 200W WindyNation kit does come with an inverter, and while the power output is a bit low, it’s ready to install and use instantly.
  13. Renogy 400W Kit: This Renogy kit is dependable and high-quality, and while it seems to be missing some pieces you’d expect, it does come with an optional Bluetooth connection.
  14. ECO-WORTHY 800W Complete Kit: This complete kit from ECO-WORTHY comes with a unique two-in-one inverter and controller, which can be great for portability, and it has excellent space-saving prospects.
  15. ECO-WORTHY 200W Kit: This small kit from ECO-WORTHY doesn’t have the most outstanding expandability, but it’s both affordable and surprisingly high-quality. 
  16. TP-solar 100W Foldable Kit: This foldable kit from TP-solar isn’t designed to power an entire RV, but it’s incredibly portable and great for small peripheral devices. 
  17. Renogy 200W Foldable Kit: This foldable kit from Renogy is excellent if you don’t want to install a permanent solar kit, but in exchange, it’s heavy and a bit pricey. 

RV Solar Kit Reviews

Here, you’ll find our comprehensive RV solar kit reviews, with all our top picks on the market today. While we fully endorse all of them, we’ve done our best to rank them accordingly to further aid your search starting with our best overall choice, the ACOPOWER 500W Kit. Let’s take a closer look.

1. ACOPOWER 500W Kit (Best Overall)

The ACOPOWER 500W Kit is our best overall pick for many reasons. First, because it’s sturdy, easy to assemble, and even more potent than the rating implies. Then, this MPPT-controlled kit comes with everything you need to get started, including a full five panels, a solar charge controller, and all the mounting gear and cables you could need.

Not only does it work with virtually any type of battery, but you can connect the panels in parallel or in series, too. This makes it extraordinarily expandable, and customizable over time. For those looking to buy the best solar kit for RVs of the year, we highly-recommend the ACOPOWER 500W Kit.

2. Renogy 100W Kit With 30A PWM Controller (Budget Pick)

If you’re looking for an inexpensive solar panel kit to get your feet wet, our budget pick from Renogy might be perfect for you. It includes everything you need except a battery.

This PWM-powered kit also comes with a monocrystalline solar panel, making it one of the most efficient on our list! According to the manufacturer, this kit can reach conversion rates of up to 21%, making you get a lot of bang for your buck. All this is incredibly impressive considering the kit’s already-low price. You can’t help but feel accomplished after spending your money so wisely.

3. WindyNation 400W Kit (Best With Inverter + Battery)

While most of the kits on this list don’t come with an included battery, this kit from WindyNation does. This 400W kit comes with four batteries and a compatible inverter, making this the best RV solar kit with an inverter and battery on this list, and not to mention one of the most ready-to-build kits, too.

While the extra batteries that come with this kit make it a bit pricey, you might end up saving a bit of money by purchasing everything in a bundle instead of a la carte. In any case, if you’re looking for something easy to set up and ready to go, this is an excellent option.

4. ECO-WORTHY 1400W Wind Solar Power Kit (Best Wind Solar Kit)

This solar panel kit from ECO-WORTHY stands out to us because it also includes a wind turbine. It’s incredibly easy to wire this turbine into the solar equipment, and it helps by providing a bit of extra supplementary power on the cloudiest days.

Not only is this the best wind solar kit on our list, but it comes with a one-year warranty as well, meaning you get a full 365 days to settle into the off-grid life risk-free. Unfortunately, the wind turbine itself is a bit difficult to turn except in very windy conditions, but in our opinion, having one is much better than not!

5. Renogy 800W Kit (Best Luxury Kit)

Renogy is a large, trusted name in solar panels, making this kit the best luxury kit on our list. You can trust that this set will perform, as it’s made from high-efficiency monocrystalline panels, and it comes with one of the most complete, fool-proof kits on this list (not counting an inverter and batteries). It even comes with a BlueTooth-enabled module that lets you connect your system to the Renogy app!

Unfortunately, this kit does not come with assembly or wiring instructions, and Renogy is unlikely to send you any, either, so this may be a better set for solar experts rather than beginners. However, if you’re up to the challenge, this high-quality kit will not disappoint.

6. SUNGOLDPOWER 200W Kit

This solar kit from SUNGOLDPOWER is a slightly larger budget kit that’s great for beginners. While it only comes with two panels, a power controller, mounting brackets, and other wires and connectors, it does come with a great warranty – the panels themselves come with a 25-year warranty. In contrast, the other components are only protected for a year.

This warranty on the panels is especially nice because they’re high-quality and efficient monocrystalline panels. Additionally, SUNGOLDPOWER customer support is impressively responsive and helpful – it’s always more pleasant to work with a friendly, quality company.

7. ECO-WORTHY 120W Kit

This 120W kit from ECO-WORTHY is small and relatively modest in terms of power output, but it’s modestly priced to go along with that. This kit comes with a single panel, a PWM controller, brackets, and connectors.

Despite being relatively small and inexpensive, the solar panel is powerful and may even outperform similar models. The kit comes with a surprising amount of brackets and connection material, too – more than generous enough for a basic, single-panel setup.

8. WindyNation 200W Kit With 200ah Battery

This smaller kit from WindyNation is similar to the #3 kit we looked at before but on a slightly smaller scale. This kit is less expensive, but at the cost of fewer panels, an older PWM controller, and no inverter.

However, you can’t deny the benefits of buying (almost) everything you need all at once in a single kit, and WindyNation corners that area of the market. Unfortunately, since this unit is a bit older, the controller’s usage directions are outdated, but it still functions as it should otherwise.

9. XINPUGUANG 600W Kit Flexible Solar Panel Kit

This solar panel kit from XINPUGUANG is unique because it comes with the first flexible panel to grace our list. Flexible panels like these are some of the easiest to install out of all of the solar panel types – no brackets needed.

The 600W solar kit comes with six flexible monocrystalline panels, connectors, cables, and a controller. However, our favorite about these panels is their weight – according to the manufacturer, they weigh 80% less than glass panels.

10. Renogy 200W Kit With 30A PWM Controller

This 200W kit from Renogy is an excellent mid-tier set for those who want to get started with solar, but want a bit more than a single-panel set.

Unfortunately, the two panels that come with this set don’t seem like enough to justify the price. The controller is a bit strange, as well, since it doesn’t show voltage or current. However, you can trust that they will be efficient, high-quality panels since they’re from Renogy.

11. WindyNation 400W Kit With 400ah AGM Battery

This kit from WindyNation is another expensive turn-key kit, but you get everything you need to get started immediately for the price. The only thing to keep in mind is that this kit doesn’t come with an inverter, so it won’t work for any items or appliances that require AC instead of DC power.

That aside, this is a surprisingly lovely kit, and it’s simple, easy to get working, and very dependable. This kit also has a controller with an easy-read LCD screen. This is a nice departure from previous screenless models, making it easy to read and interpret what’s going on with your solar setup.

12. WindyNation 200W Kit With 200ah Battery And Inverter

This kit is almost the same as #8, the 200W kit we looked at earlier, but this one comes with a bonus inverter instead of just the plug-and-play kit. The inverter alone almost doubles this kit’s price, so if you already have an inverter or would like to buy a cheaper one separately, this upgrade is unnecessary.

While this kit is excellent overall, keep in mind that it doesn’t come with fuses. If you want to add fuses to your installation, you’ll need to purchase them separately – this isn’t indicated anywhere in the product’s description.

13. Renogy 400W Kit

This 400W solar kit from Renogy is an expensive, high-efficiency version of the previous Renogy kits we’ve seen so far. This unit also comes with an optional Bluetooth module that can let you connect to the Renogy app, making this a very “smart” kit.

While the Bluetooth connectivity is excellent, the Renogy app itself sometimes experiences issues, which can be very frustrating – we wouldn’t recommend any plans to depend on the app for setup or diagnostics. However, while lacking fuses and flanges, the kit itself is of the quality you can expect from Renogy.

14. ECO-WORTHY 800W Complete Kit

This complete solar kit from ECO-WORTHY is slightly different from the others in that it comes with a unique feature: an all-in-one (or, more accurately, two-in-one) inverter-controller. By combining the inverter and controller into one unit, you save a bit on space, but it may be harder to access the controller if you store it somewhere out of the way.

Unfortunately, because of its unique nature, this kit is a bit more challenging to set up than its cousins, but if you have the required expertise, it definitely has potential.

15. ECO-WORTHY 200W Kit

This solar kit from ECO-WORTHY is a two-panel kit that comes with everything you need to get started. While it’s a bit limited in terms of power and expandability – if you want to add more solar panels, you’ll need to upgrade the controller, for example – it’s dependable and consistent.

Unfortunately, the manual that comes with this kit is a bit vague – it’s not conducive to setting up for novices and beginners. However, if you have a little patience or know-how, it’s likely this kit will not let you down.

16. TP-solar 100W Foldable Kit

This is the first (and only) kit from TP-solar we’ve seen on this list, and there are a few reasons for that. For one, this solar kit is not designed to power an entire RV. While it’s portable and quick to assemble, it’s designed to charge a single battery or a few electronics, not a full camper.

However, if your solar needs are low, this kit is relatively cheap for such a portable product, and it doubles as a compact unit that you can take hiking or camping.

17. Renogy 200W Foldable Kit

This surprising foldable kit from Renogy is slightly different from the other offerings from them so far. As the name says, this unit is foldable and portable, so it’s designed to be placed on the ground, on a pole, or on another surface outside your RV when you need it. Then, when you travel, you can bring it back inside again.

Overall, this solar kit is excellent, but with a few caveats. Firstly, you get less power for the price than you do with permanent panels, and secondly, it’s a bit cumbersome.

Buyers’ Guide (Top 8 Tips – How to Choose the Best RV Solar Kit for You)

Still having trouble narrowing down which is the best RV solar kit for you? We recommend starting by answering these eight questions.

1. Calculate Your RV’s Solar Needs

Before you even consider buying a solar panel (or multiple panels), you should figure out how much power your RV needs every day. Calculating your energy needs will give you a better idea of your solar setup’s final price before you even purchase it. If you draw a lot of electricity, for example, you may need more batteries and more panels than someone who mostly relies on propane.

If you want a precise number, you should look for the wattage draw of all of the appliances you keep in your RV. Then, you can consider switching to equipment with lower energy demands like a solar-powered refrigerator if you want to bring your total wattage draw down.

However, if you’re okay with a quick-and-dirty (and not always exact) estimation for your current equipment, a RV Solar Calculator works in a pinch. (2) Solar calculators like these, for RVs or otherwise, are located all over the web, so don’t be afraid to compare tools and use the one that works best for you.

2. Know the Three Main Types of Solar Kits Available

Not all solar kits are created equal. This is especially true for RVs, which differ significantly in size and power production. Aside from size and the number of batteries you have on hand, though, the type of photovoltaic cells in your solar panels can affect things like their power and price, too.

Amorphous

Amorphous solar panels are a newer photovoltaic technology. An amorphous solar panel is made up of several silicon crystals in a very thin layer. Since these solar panels stick flush against the roof of your RV, they’re sometimes less susceptible to damage, but they tend to wear out faster, too. Amorphous solar panels are more portable but slightly less efficient than the other types.

Monocrystalline

Monocrystalline solar panels are the most efficient variety of solar panels, but they tend to be the most expensive, too. As the name suggests, the cells in these panels are made up of a single crystal instead of several. Monocrystalline solar panels do exceptionally well in low-light conditions.

Polycrystalline

As you might have guessed, polycrystalline solar panels are similar to monocrystalline panels, except they’re composed of multiple crystals instead of a single one in each cell. Because it’s easier to create polycrystalline solar panels, they tend to be cheaper than their monocrystalline counterparts, but they’re a bit less efficient, too.

3. Consider the Mounting of Your RV Solar Kit

The decision of where to mount your solar panels is relatively easy for a stationary house. Where would they get the most sunlight exposure? However, this isn’t the case for RVs, since you might catch different amounts of sunlight depending on your location and the time of ear. Other factors can come into play, too, like the shape and height of your RV.

Stationary RV Solar Kit

Stationary RV solar kits are designed to attach to your RV, then never be moved again (or as little as possible). They’re a “set-it-and-forget-it” type of kit.

The benefits of a stationary RV solar kit are obvious. You don’t need to set it up each time you go to a new location, and it can even charge your batteries when you’re on the road. However, this also means that you need to take extra care not to damage them while driving and parking your RV, and you may not be able to reposition them as easily to maximize your sun exposure.

Flexible RV Solar Kit

Flexible solar panels, as their name implies, are not heavy and rigid like other solar panels. (3) These panels are stick-on models that often adhere like tape to your RV rather than needing a complicated installation. While these solar panels are incredibly easy to install, they tend to wear out faster, and they don’t produce as much power.

Foldable RV Solar Kit

Foldable solar panels reach a nice, happy medium between rigid solar panels and flexible panels. These solar kits are mostly rigid, but they’re designed to fold in one or more places along the panel. This makes them much easier to store and transport, so they make excellent “temporary” solar panels that sit on the ground or on a stand instead of being attached to your RV permanently.

Wind + Solar RV Kit

As you might already expect, wind and solar RV kits combine the benefits of solar panels with the help of an energy-generating wind turbine. Wind and solar combination kits give you a bit more flexibility since they allow you to continue generating electricity on windy, cloudy days.

4. When in Doubt, Oversize > Undersize (for Wattage, and Battery)

As wonderful as solar panels are, we still haven’t reached the technological level where they can be 100% efficient. Today, most common solar panels are between 15% and 20% efficient, while the very best can reach slightly upwards of that. (4) In other words, that means only about 15-20% of the energy your solar panels absorb gets successfully converted into electricity.

As such, if you’re stuck deciding whether to undersize your solar panels or oversize them, it’s always best to oversize. Unless your RV is permanently parked in one of the sunniest areas of the world, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be able to collect more power than you need. (This is where oversizing your batteries comes in, too.)

By overshooting your wattage and battery needs slightly, you’re much more likely to hit your projected energy needs.

5. Consider the Expandability of Your Solar Kit

An RV solar kit (which we’re assuming, in this case, is off-grid) is made up of two main components: the solar panels and the batteries. As you know, the solar panels collect energy from the sun, and the batteries store that energy. However, before that energy is stored, your controller needs to feed it to the batteries properly.

The capacity of your controller limits the size of your RV solar kit. No matter how fast your solar panels absorb power if your controller can’t direct the energy that quickly, the extra will end up wasted. As such, if you envision having more solar panels in the future, you may want to consider whether your current controller can handle that burden.

6. Consider What Kind of Solar Charge Controller You Want

The solar charge controller is an integral part of your RV solar system that shouldn’t be overlooked. The primary function of a solar charge controller is to monitor your batteries and control how much power goes to them at any given time. For instance, when your batteries hit a full charge, they shouldn’t receive any more electricity; not only is this dangerous, but it’ll wear them out much faster, too. (5)

Solar charge controllers come in two main types: MPPT, which is a newer and more advanced protocol, and PWM, which is older and more basic. We’ll go over the benefits of each of these protocols below.

MPPT (New)

MPPT, or Maximum Power Point Tracking, is a variable protocol that runs your solar panel at its maximum voltage, then converts that maximum voltage down to precisely what your batteries can accept. While MPPT controllers are more expensive and complicated, they’re compatible with a broader range of panels and batteries.

PWM (Old)

PWM protocol, while simpler and gentler than MPPT protocol, isn’t as efficient as its newer cousin. Because PWM controllers don’t convert the resulting voltage, your solar panel and batteries must be compatible if you want them both to work at their maximum capacities. (6)

7. Look for Bonus Features That Excite You

This one is pretty self-explanatory: which cool features would you most like to see in your RV’s solar kit? If you research by reading RV solar kit reviews, you’ll learn a lot about portability, durability, cost, and other aspects of owning an RV solar kit, but you may miss out on some of the more fun things.

You don’t need to splurge for every bonus feature in your solar kit, especially if these features make your final price too high. However, it’s a good idea to at least use them to narrow your search. For example, some of our favorite bonus features from this guide include:

  • An included wind turbine for extra power
  • Batteries included
  • The ability to run the kit parallel or in series
  • Bluetooth compatibility for in-app control
  • Long-term and transferable warranties
  • Friendly and helpful customer support
  • Flexible or foldable panels
  • Controllers with status displays for easy troubleshooting
  • Plug-and-play capability (i.e., you can install it and use it instantly)
  • All-in-one vs. separate controllers and inverters

8. Find the Top Deal for You

Finally, we’ve come to the most crucial part: the price of your RV solar kit. While picking and choosing based on size and features is all well and good, if you can’t afford it in the end, you’ll get nowhere. Make sure to consider the long-term price of the kit, sales and tax incentives, and any energy savings you might receive, too. (7)

Warranty

Your RV solar kit’s warranty can factor into the total long-term price if you end up running into durability trouble. The size, quality, and type of solar panel kit you buy will help determine the warranty that comes with it, but you may also be able to purchase an extended warranty if you so choose.

Limited Time Deals

Limited-time deals are great for getting high-quality solar kits for rock-bottom prices. While these deals can vary throughout the year, one of the best times to purchase solar panels is, surprisingly, during the winter. Since many people decide to buy solar panels in the spring and summer, the winter season can be slow, which means better deals and incentives for you. (8)

Final Price

Don’t forget about special discounts, like tax incentives, when purchasing solar panels for RVs because they can have a significant impact on the overall final price you pay. The Solar Investment Tax Credit, or ITC, for example, was put into effect in 2006 and exists to this day. In 2019, this tax credit covered up to 30% of your solar purchase, while it fell to 26% in 2020. The tax credit is projected to fall again to 22% in 2021. (9)

FAQ

Do you still have questions about purchasing an RV solar kit? If so, no worries! Here are the most popular frequently asked questions to know before buying one to further aid your search.

Are Solar Panels for an RV Worth It?

Solar panels can absolutely be worth it for an RV. While they have a high upfront cost, solar panels are especially well-suited to RVs because of their off-grid capabilities. RVs pair exceptionally well with solar panels because of the limited amount of power that they use, too.

Not only can solar panels save you money on electricity, but they allow you to experience more off-grid camping locations, too. In our opinion, that makes them worth it for the lifestyle advantage alone.

Can I Run My RV AC With Solar Power?

While the technical answer to the above question is yes, air conditioners use a lot of electricity. It would require lots of solar panels and batteries to run your RV AC on solar power alone. However, there are many other options for you to consider, too, such as fans, evaporative coolers, and even propane-powered air conditioners.

What Is the Best RV Solar Kit?

While the best RV solar kit for you can differ depending on your needs, we think the best one is the ACOPOWER 500W Kit. Not only is this kit affordable, expansive, and sturdy, but it’s easy for beginners to work with, too, making it great for just about anyone.

The Bottom Line: What Is the Best RV Solar Panel Kit to Buy Today?

The technological landscape for photovoltaic power is continuously changing and improving. As such, the best RV solar kit might be different tomorrow than it is today. However, if you were to purchase one today, we highly-recommend the ACOPOWER 500W Kit, our top overall choice of the year.

In our books, here at Your Energy Blog, not only does this kit come with everything you need to get started, but it’s not just a single-panel kit, either – this kit comes with five full panels to get you going. While it doesn’t come with batteries, it’s an impressive (and savvy) purchase for beginners and experts alike.

  1. https://news.energysage.com/solar-panel-efficiency-cost-over-time/
  2. https://www.thedrive.com/reviews/28074/best-rv-solar-panels-and-kits
  3. https://us.sunpower.com/flexible-solar-panels
  4. https://news.energysage.com/what-are-the-most-efficient-solar-panels-on-the-market/
  5. https://www.wholesalesolar.com/charge-controllers
  6. https://www.solacity.com/mppt-vs-pwm-charge-controllers-whats-difference/
  7. https://news.energysage.com/much-solar-panels-save/
  8. https://news.energysage.com/top-5-reasons-to-shop-for-solar-in-the-winter/
  9. https://www.seia.org/initiatives/solar-investment-tax-credit-itc

The post Best RV Solar Kit of 2020 first appeared on Your Energy Blog.

Best Solar Pool Cover of 2020

Best solar pool covers: top-rated reviews

As any pool owner knows, it can cost a small fortune to heat the water. Using the right solar pool cover can save you up to 70% on heating costs by absorbing solar energy and blocking evaporation (1). Here, we’re going to go over the best solar pool cover options available today.

Quick Comparison of our Top 15 Best Solar Pool Covers (For Those in a Rush)

  1. Sun2Solar 33’ Round (Best Overall): Our overall top favorite pick, the Sun2Solar 33’ Round combines versatility and ease of use to heat your pool efficiently.
  2. Intex Solar Cover 16’ Oval (Budget Pick): A thin, light cover that works well in warm weather, the Intex Solar Cover 16’ Oval is our top choice for pool owners on a budget.
  3. Sun2Solar 24’ Round (Best Lightweight Pick): Our favorite pick for lightweight cover is thin enough to move and use with ease, yet thick enough to insulate most sized pools while preventing evaporation.
  4. Leisure 24’ Round (Most Durable): It’s thick size, robust design, and long warranty period make the Leisure 24′ Round our top choice for the most durable solar cover.
  5. Sun2Solar 20’x40’ (Best for In-Ground Pools): If you have an in-ground pool, we recommend the Sun2Solar 20’X40’ thanks to its large size, heavyweight thickness, and versatility.
  6. Blue Wave NS520 16’x32’: This cover is clear, offering quick and efficient heating, with a large size and medium thickness that can insulate in even colder weather.
  7. In The Swim 24’ Round: This thin, lightweight cover is easy to shape to any pool while offering plenty of insulation, yet durable enough to hold up against regular use. 
  8. Sun2Solar 16’x32’: A medium-weight solar cover, this model gives you a great value option, offers superior insulation, and can be trimmed to fit any pool shape.
  9. Blue Wave NS525 18’x36’: Fast-acting and efficient, this medium-weight pool cover is able to heat water drastically. 
  10. Sun2Solar 25’x50’: This oversize pool cover is ideal for both rectangular and irregularly shaped pools, easy to set up, and is thick enough to provide plenty of insulation.
  11. Intex Solar Cover 18’: This lightweight, efficient pool cover comes with its own carrying bag for easy portability.
  12. Blue Wave NS500 18’x33’: This clear, oval-shaped cover is a medium weight, making it efficient yet easy to set up. 
  13. Sun2Solar 30’x50’: This large, rectangular, medium-weight solar cover can be trimmed to fit most pools and is a breeze to set up. 
  14. Blue Wave NS131 36’: This large, circular pool cover is made of durable material that’s lightweight yet effective at raising your pool’s base temperature. 
  15. Intex Solar Cover 15’: This thin yet effective solar cover offers a simple set up, fits snugly, and is easy to carry around with you. 

Solar Pool Cover Reviews

With so many options to choose from, it can be tough to choose the right solar cover for your pool. We’re here to help you decide with our top 15 picks for the best solar pool cover of 2020.

1. Sun2Solar 33’ Round (Best Overall)

Our choice for the best overall solar pool cover is this model from Sun2Solar. It can fit round pools up to 33’ in diameter, and the material is easy to trim to size for smaller pools without voiding the warranty (2).

This solar cover comes in both clear and blue depending on your heating needs, and it’s 16-mil thick for superior insulation. The cover can prevent up to 95% of evaporation.

The Sun2Solar 33’ Round includes a free six-pack of grommets, making it easy to set up and remove the cover without any assistance. The grommets can also help hold the cover in place when it gets windy out.

2. Intex Solar Cover 16’ Oval (Budget Pick)

This solar cover is our top budget pick because it offers an affordable price tag without sacrificing efficiency or durability. It’s an attractive light blue color to keep your pool looking its best, even when covered.

This Intex solar cover is under 8-mil thick, making it easy to move, set up, and store as needed. A single person can easily cover and uncover the pool in just a few minutes.

This cover works best in warmer temperatures. It can block debris and prevent up to 95% of evaporation, all while heating the water underneath to a comfortable degree.

3. Sun2Solar 24’ Round (Best Lightweight Pick)

This SunSolar cover offers an ideal fit for 24; round pools. If you have a smaller or irregularly shaped pool, you can trim the cover to fit. It’s light blue in color, both for aesthetics and to ensure you get the right balance of heat gain and heat retention.

Using this solar cover can help to reduce evaporation by up to 95%, saving you money and keeping your pool warmer for longer.

At 8-mil thickness, this cover is our best lightweight pick. It’s easy to put on and take off of your pool by yourself. It’s ideal for warmer temperatures and can help extend swim season into the cooler parts of spring and fall.

4. Leisure 24’ Round (Most Durable)

This 12-mil solar cover is thick enough for most climates, offering plenty of insulation and tight seals around the edges. It’s designed to fit 24’ pools, though when properly weighted, it can protect smaller pools as well.

The Leisure 24’ Space Age cover raises water an average of 15 degrees on a sunny day. It can also stop up to 95% of evaporation when in use.

This pool cover comes with a 7-year limited warranty and a 2-year full warranty. The manufacturer is confident in its ability to hold up against heavy wear and tear, even year after year.

5. Sun2Solar 20’x40’ (Best for In-Ground Pools)

This rectangular solar cover is ideal for in-ground pools or just about any shape. It’s extra-large 20’X40’ size can be trimmed down as needed without affecting the warranty to fit most in-ground pools, as well as above-ground models.

This cover is 16-mil, making it thicker than many other options. It’s a good choice for insulating pools in cooler climates or during winter weather.

The Sun2Solar 20’X40’ blocks up to 95% of evaporation, especially when sealed tightly around the edges of your pool. It also helps to speed up the heating process so that you don’t have to wait as long to take a dip.

6. Blue Wave NS520 16’x32’

This clear solar blanket allows in the maximum amount of light so that your pool can soak up as many solar rays as possible. It can heat pools more quickly than blue or tinted covers.

The cover fits rectangular 16’X32′ pools and measures 14-mil, which is thick enough to insulate against wind and cold weather without being too heavy. The Blue Wave NS520 can raise your pool’s temperature by up to 15 degrees and prevents up to 95% evaporation.

With this solar cover, you get a six-year limited warranty. It’s thick and durable so that it can withstand months or even years of wear and tear.

7. In The Swim 24’ Round

This lightweight, 8-mil thick cover is a dark blue to help retain heat better. It can raise your pool’s temperature up to 10 degrees with just a week of consistent sunlight.

The cover fits up to a 24’ round pool. Thanks to its thin design, however, it’s easy to cut to shape for smaller pools or those that aren’t round.

In the Swim is confident in their products, using durable materials and a sturdy overall design. They offer a 3-year limited manufacturer’s warranty for this solar pool cover if it fails due to a defect.

8. Sun2Solar 16’x32’

At 12-mil, this cover runs down the middle of the thickness spectrum. It’s light enough to make it easy to carry and set up, yet thick enough to provide plenty of insulation and block up to 95% of evaporation.

This cover from Sun2Solar is designed to fit rectangular pools measuring 16’X32’, though it can easily be cut to work with a different shape. Altering the solar cover won’t affect the manufacturer’s warranty.

This solar cover comes in clear or light blue, depending on how quickly you want to warm up your pool and how much heat you want to retain.

9. Blue Wave NS525 18’x36’

This clear solar pool cover warms pools quickly and efficiently, holding the heat under a 14-mil thick sheet. It can raise temperatures around 15 degrees on a sunny day.

The Blue Wave NS525 can prevent up to 95% of evaporation. It fits best on an 18’X36′ pool, either in-ground or above-ground.

This solar pool cover comes with a six-year manufacturer warranty that covers issues such as manufacturer defects. The material is fairly durable and is resistant to both UV light and chemical wear.

10. Sun2Solar 25’x50’

This rectangular pool cover is ideal for 25’X50’ pools. If you have an irregularly shaped in-ground pool, you can easily cut the cover to size without worrying about going against the warranty.

At 16-mil thickness, this solar pool cover makes an efficient insulator. It’s also durable enough to last for years as long as you take care of it properly.

This pool cover comes with a six-pack of grommets to make it easier to keep your pool cover in place. With the grommets, it’s also easier to set up and take down the Sun2Solar cover as needed.

11. Intex Solar Cover 18’

This lightweight pool cover is 12-mil, making it thick enough to insulate water without being too heavy to handle. It fits 18’ round pools, fitting just inside the edge and floating on the surface.

This Intex 18’ Solar Cover can reduce evaporation as much as 95% while warming the area below.

This pool cover is easy to set up and store. It comes with its own reusable carry bag so that when you’re not using it, you can pack it up into a compact space. It will fit easily in just about any closet or car trunk, making it easily portable.

12. Blue Wave NS500 18’x33’

This solar cover is 12-mil to make it a manageable medium weight. It’s thick enough to insulate your pool and raise the temperature up to 15 degrees.

The Blue Wave NS500 has a unique oval shape that fits snugly over 18’X33’ pools. It’s made of clear, weather-resistant plastic for fast and effective heating.

This solar cover can reduce evaporation by up to 95%. It comes with a five-year warranty that covers most manufacturer defects.

13. Sun2Solar 30’x50’

Fitting 30’X50’ rectangular pools, this solar pool cover from Sun2Solar is 12-mil thick to protect and insulate your pool. If you have a circular or irregularly shaped pool, you can trim the oversize sheet to fit your needs.

The solar cover can prevent 95% of evaporation on sunny days while retaining solar heat. It comes in clear or blue, depending on which look you prefer.

A six-pack of grommets is included with the cover to help with placement. The grommets allow you to hold the solar cover in place, even on windy days, and make it easy to remove as needed.

14. Blue Wave NS131 36’

This sleek blue solar cover from Blue Wave is both attractive and functional. It’s made of durable UV-protected polymer that holds up against chemicals and UV wear.

This solar pool cover is super lightweight and 8-mil thick, making it ideal for small, circular pools under 36’ in diameter and warmer climates. It’s easy to maneuver and lift on and off your pool when in use.

Despite its thin profile, this solar pool cover can raise your pool’s temperature by as much as 15 degrees. It also prevents up to 95% of evaporation when on top of your pool.

The Blue Wave NS131 comes with a 3-year manufacturer warranty.

15. Intex Solar Cover 15’

Made for 15’ round pools, this Intex solar pool cover fits just inside the edge to offer a seal against both debris and heat loss. It floats in place, making it easy to set up and remove.

The Intex 15′ Cover can block up to 95% of evaporation while also insulating your pool. It’s 8-mil, making it thin and lightweight yet efficient.

A small storage tote comes free with the solar cover so that you can pack it away when not in use. The bag is compact enough to fit in your closet, attic, or car and is easy for a single person to carry.

Buyers’ Guide (Top 3 Tips – How to Buy the Best Solar Pool Cover for You)

1. Pay attention to your solar pool cover’s “thickness”

You can find solar pool covers available in a wide variety of thickness options. Thickness is typically measured in mil, which is one-thousandth of an inch.

8-mil

In general, the thinnest solar pool covers you can find are around 8-mil thick. These solar covers tend to be more cost-effective than thicker options, but they don’t retain heat as well. They’re best reserved for warmer climates and smaller pools.

12-mil

If you’re looking for something slightly more durable, a 12-mil solar pool cover will generally hold up better than an 8-mil model. These solar covers also insulate better, and they don’t usually cost much more than thinner options.

14-mil

Solar pool covers around 14-mil thick are popular amongst pool owners just about everywhere. They’re thick enough to insulate your average pool in most climates, and they’re fairly affordable considering their effectiveness and longevity.

18-mil

Though you can find thicker specialty solar covers, most standard options top out at 18-mil thick. These solar covers are often pricier than others, but they also offer superior insulation and performance.

2. Look for bonus features that excite you

Many of the best solar pool cover options include bonus features that can improve ease of use or efficiency. There are several things to look for that your solar cover might include:

Storage Bag:

Some solar pool covers come with a storage bag that makes it easy to carry and store them in a single compact location.

Carrying Strap:

If your solar pool cover has a bag, it might also come with a dedicated carrying strap for easy transport.
Weights or Grommets: Included weights or grommets can help keep a pool cover in place by allowing water to flow over the surface.

Clamps or Fasteners:

If you don’t use weights, clamps or fasteners can help to keep a solar cover snugly situated along the edge of a pool.

Side Hangers:

When your solar pool cover isn’t in use, side hangers give you a convenient place to store the cover along the edge of your pool frame.

Cleaner:

It’s important to clean and maintain your solar pool cover to keep it free of algae, mineral deposits, and debris that can impact its effectiveness.

3. Find the top deal for you

One of the most important considerations for many pool owners when shopping for a solar cover is their budget. A model’s cost can tell you more about the product than you might think.

Warranty

If a brand gives their product a long warranty, it’s usually because they have confidence in their wares’ quality. It’s a good idea to look for solar pool covers that offer an extended warranty, as they tend to be of high quality. An extended warranty also allows you to purchase relatively risk-free.

Limited Time Deals

If you’re diligent about checking prices, you’ll find that many big solar pool cover brands have regular sales. If you shop at the right time, you can find popular pool cover models at a fraction of their ticket price. Often, pool covers go on sale when the weather starts to get warm, as they’re in lower demand.

Final Price

The final price of a solar pool cover can give you a fairly good indication of its quality. In general, high-end solar pool covers and well-known brand names will cost more, but they will also perform better and last longer. If possible, it’s best to avoid cheaper solar covers if your area experiences harsher weather, and instead opt for higher-quality options that will be more durable.

FAQ

Do solar pool covers really work?

Yes, definitely! Here’s how: Pool water absorbs around 75% to 85% of solar energy that hits the water, keeping it warm on sunny days without using an electric or gas heater (3). While adding a solar cover can help insulate the pool, an opaque model can block the natural heat from solar rays.

A solar pool cover solves this problem by allowing more energy to reach the water beneath. In addition to trapping heat and preventing evaporation, a solar pool cover will actively heat the water as well, making it a more effective and efficient choice than traditional options (4).

For those with a inground pool looking for a more powerful heating solution than a cover, you check out our solar pool heaters for inground pools reviews for top-rated options with solar panels.

What is the best thickness for a solar pool cover?

The thickness of the solar pool cover that you choose will largely depend on the climate where you live as well as the size of your pool. In general, a thicker 14 to 18 mil solar cover is better, as it provides superior insulation.

What color solar pool cover heats the best?

Believe it or not, the color of your solar cover can have a significant impact on heating (5). If you’re looking for a solar pool cover to heat the water underneath, a transparent cover will allow in the most sunlight. However, it will also allow more heat to escape, unlike a darker color. In general, most people choose light blue to gain a balance between heat gain and heat retention (6).

The Bottom Line: What is the Best Solar Pool Cover to Buy Today?

Now that you’ve seen all of our favorite picks here at Your Energy Blog for the best solar pool cover of 2020, you’re well equipped to decide which one is best for your home. If you’re still on the fence, we highly-recommend our #1 rated option, the Sun2Solar 33’ Round. It’s a versatile choice that can efficiently heat most sized pools while preventing up to 95% of evaporation. For those looking to buy the best solar pool cover of the year today, it’s tough to go wrong with this one.

  1. https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/swimming-pool-covers
  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3BRptuQfzI
  3. http://large.stanford.edu/courses/2014/ph240/davis2/docs/28038.pdf
  4. https://www.wapa.gov/EnergyServices/Documents/ResDSMguide07.pdf
  5. http://scienceline.ucsb.edu/getkey.php?key=4010
  6. http://www.csun.edu/~psk17793/S9CP/S9%20color_of_light.htm

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