Foldable Solar Panels: Everything You Need to Know
Foldable solar panels, sometimes called solar suitcases or portable solar panels, make harnessing the suns power extremely easy, especially when camping or exploring the great outdoors! Solar energy is not only the most abundant source of renewable energy in the world: it is available at no cost all around the globe (other than the upfront cost of the panels of course, which we'll get to!).
Introducing foldable solar panels, the best technology available for making solar power portable, so you can use it wherever you need it.
What are Foldable Solar Panels?
Foldable solar panels are known by many names: foldable solar panels, folding solar panels, solar blankets, solar suitcases, and more. But whatever you call them, they all generally refer to the same thing.
Foldable solar panels are portable sets of solar panels that are designed to be folded up for easy transport and storage. They come in a wide variety of power capacities and qualities. They also come with a built in stand which makes them super easy for pulling out wherever you are, popping them open and voila, you're making power.
Here's a picture of one of our most popular 180 watt folding solar panels from Zamp Solar:
Are Folding Solar Panels Any Good?
Although there are plenty of poorly constructed options available, yes, foldable solar panels are often just as good as traditional, mounted solar panels. This is largely because they are made of the same technology as the solar panels you see mounted on roofs, they have just been adapted to fold for increased mobility.
The portable nature of foldable solar panels makes them great for camping, tailgating, RVs, vanlife, festivals, and more. For a truly mobile solar powered system, foldable solar panels are often paired with solar powered generators or portable power stations to deliver maximum amounts of solar electricity on the go.
Foldable solar panels are often lightweight and are sometimes flexible, giving them a huge advantage over traditional mounted systems. Some models even come with a built in stand for a quick and easy set up to adjust the angle at which your solar system sits.
How Long Do Portable Solar Panels Last?
Like most PV solar panels, high quality portable solar panels last up to 30 years. Normal rates of degradation and efficiency loss apply to foldable solar panels. Some of the top manufacturers include power output and product warranties on folding solar panels in case of a malfunction or damage to the product.
The Best Foldable Solar Panels in 2020
Depending on your specific needs, we can recommend a few of the top foldable solar panels for your solar power system. Here are our choices for the best foldable solar panels.
Renogy is one of the most well known brands in the portable solar space. The 100 Watt Solar Suitcase is great for a smaller solar setup and is compatible with most portable solar generators. The system weighs just over 25 lbs and folds up into a convenient suitcase.
This product comes with two high efficiency monocrystalline solar panels and even includes a built in 20 amp waterproof charge controller with an LCD screen to regulate and report the amount of solar energy being harnessed. The system includes an aluminum frame and stand for an easy set up built to withstand the elements.
Buyers can rest easy knowing that the Renogy 100 Watt Solar Suitcase comes with a 25 year output warranty, a 3 year material and workmanship warranty, and a one year material warranty for accessories.
If you are well versed in portable solar power, you may have heard of the EcoFlow Delta, a highly capable solar generator known for its rapid AC charging. If you are away from an outlet, however, this EcoFlow produces this great 110 Watt Flexible Solar Panel as a great way to keep the generator charged off of the grid.
This foldable, flexible solar panel is not only highly efficient (20%-21%), but is also extremely lightweight. All in all, this panel can be folded and carried to direct sunlight easily, as the system only weighs roughly 13 pounds. When the system is completely unfolded, it is just over five feet long, but does not require a flat surface to setup, as the panel is divided into a few flexible sections that can be quickly placed on a rough hillside or the top of your van or RV.
If you’re looking for an affordable plug and play option for portable solar power and storage, EcoFlow’s 110 Watt Flexible Solar Panel, paired with its Delta solar generator, is a great option.
For those looking for a bit more power, we'd suggest looking at some Renogy options as they also make a state of the art 200 Watt solar suitcase if you’d like to maximize the solar input of your renewable energy system.
This suitcase folds up two 100 Watt Monocrystalline solar panels to deliver a full 200 Watts of power wherever you need it. The size of the system is supported by a heavy duty handle, set of latches, and an adjustable stand that is built to resist corrosion. The whole system weighs about 33 pounds in total.
The 200 Watt Eclipse Solar Suitcase comes with the same great 25 year 80% efficiency warranty from Renogy and the panels themselves are also built to deliver excellent performance even in low light scenarios.
Lastly, if you're looking for an American made, high quality foldable solar panel that will last the test of time. We would highly recommend looking at the Zamp solar panel kit options as they make up a large majority of our best selling portable panels.
Based out of Bend, OR Zamp specializes in portable solar solutions for RV's and off-grid living so they understand just how rugged their solar panels need to be. Not to mention, most RV's now a days come pre-wired and ready for Zamp solar panels.
We hope this guide helped answer some of your questions or skepticism surrounding folding solar panels. You can browse through our complete selection of foldable solar panels here.
If you still have questions or concerns choosing the best foldable solar panel for your needs, don't hesitate to reach out or give us a call today at 877-242-2792.