Solar Panel Kits: What are they? Are Solar Energy Kits Worth It?
In the last ten years, electric solar panel kits have become popular.
It makes sense. People want to conserve the environment while saving money. They want to buy solar cells to reduce their power consumption and long-term costs.
Not only that, but installation kits are inexpensive. Many models on the market will help do just about any job. Some people even choose to buy solar cells or portable solar power kits for tiny house heating.
What to Look for in Solar Panel Kits
Portable solar power kits offer a chance to attain energy independence for regular people. There’s no longer a considerable upfront cost associated with going solar. The type of solar power kit you install will depend on your technical know-how. If you are an expert with wiring or panels, you won’t experience any difficulty.
People who buy solar cells are looking for affordable panels that are durable and practical. These days, many people are choosing Grape Solar installers to handle the work for them. You also will need to check reviews before purchasing any solar equipment. Find out what others are saying. Not all kits will offer the same value, and it’s worth looking for any “gotchas.” Check with Grape Solar installers for more information.
If you’re handy, consider how installation kits can be to your advantage. You can build them yourself to get off the grid once and for all. Decide on the wattage you require and pick a configuration that works. You’ll find there are kits from 50W to 265W. Whether you need them for a traditional home or an off-grid mobile site, you’ll find one.
What are solar panel kits?
As the name implies, these are bundles of solar energy generation equipment. They are sold in an easy to assemble a package to help homeowners avoid guesswork. There are many different versions of these kits for sale, each of them designed for particular purposes or needs. Choosing one requires deciding on a budget and which features you cannot live without for even a day.
What do solar panel kits include?
Most kits will include light mounting hardware. Some will also offer battery bank solar or monocrystalline panels. If you have any questions about the specific nature of the solar-kit and what it contains, don’t hesitate to ask the vendor. You’ll require a full kit that includes everything you need to produce solar energy.
At the essential minimum, a complete solar kit must contain:
- A battery
- Charge controller
Some vendors will sell “kits” that don’t have all of these items. That means you’ll need to buy them separately. That’s never a good idea because a bundled kit should offer compatible products at a discount. Battery bank solar will be a wise choice, provided you know your total required yield.
How Much Energy Do You Need to Produce?
Naturally, the amount of energy you require will determine how many panels you need. It’s crucial that you make a precise estimate of your KW needs to decide on how many solar-panels it will take.
It’s worth considering homeowners costs. Over time, any premium paid for installation kits will return a profit.
Homeowner costs for solar are dropping all the time as inventory increases. Electric solar panel kits cost 70% less now than they did ten years ago. It’s an ideal time to shop for the light mounting hardware and panels you want. Reduce your energy bill and experience the benefit of using clean, solar energy.
Are Solar Energy Kits Worth It?
By any measurable metric, an investment in solar energy is worthwhile. Since you save on a monthly bill, the upfront costs are the biggest hurdle. However, it’s worth checking with different vendors to find a deal.
You also need to consider if you’re doing this deal based on apples for apple comparison of current costs. For an older home that needs new energy options, solar will almost always make sense. Even if you finance the equipment, you’ll save every month after the first one. Many homeowners find they’re able to get a positive return quickly enough to justify the investment.
Incentives May Help Close the Deal
It’s worth investigating if there are any incentives to help you go solar. Many American states will help you pay for the costs of a new kit or installation. That simple fact could offer enough savings to motivate your move towards solar. One thing is certain. Solar energy is sustainable and affordable, so it’s worth the effort to set it up.
The curb appeal of your home goes up instantly when you have solar, even if it’s just for backup power generation. Nobody wants to be without power. Having a clean-energy generator scheme in place will add resale value to any property.
Capitalize on the Benefits of Solar Energy
The argument for sustainable energy is strong. It’s the ideal technology for anyone and carries many distinct advantages.
- It helps reduce carbon emissions and your environmental impact.
- You’ll save a lot of money over the lifetime of your house.
- You don’t have to worry about ever-fluctuating energy prices.
- You’ll be able to sell excess energy back onto the main grid.
- Solar allows anyone to become 100% energy independent.
Any of these features should to enough to motivate you to check out a solar kit. When you combine them all, you end up with an ironclad argument for purchasing modern electrical generation equipment that will boost your quality of life. Not only can you help reduce your carbon footprint, you’ll save a ton of cash in the process. Why fight progress when you can embrace solar energy with a simple upgrade? Don’t forget, solar is also a perfect source of tiny house heating. Either way, expect total homeowners costs to plummet.
Find the Right Solar Energy Kit Today
Whether you’re a handy person yourself or not, there’s a kit that should fit your needs. Just double check all of the details to ensure you’re getting the right thing. Speak with a professional if you have any questions about whether a specific kit is correct for you. Solar energy is an irreversible trend that’s good for everyone.
Pick up a new kit today and begin your journey towards total energy independence!
Solar panel kits for sale: how they cost and how to compare them
Most home solar panel systems are installed by a qualified solar installer, but more DIY-minded homeowners are exploring options like solar panels for sale online and solar panel kits for home available for purchase in hardware stores. If you’re one of the millions of Americans considering solar, you’ve probably come across some of the DIY solar products available – but do you know how to choose the best product out of all the solar panels for sale? Here’s your complete guide to finding the right option for your home.
Solar panel kits overview: are they right for you?
While many property owners choose to work with a professional solar installer to get a solar energy system set up, you can install yourself if you have DIY experience and know-how. Solar panel kits are solar energy systems that haven’t been set up completely yet. They usually come with all of the necessary components for a home solar panel installation, including panels, inverters, wiring, mounting hardware, and sometimes even the proper permitting and engineering documents to help you finish the installation.
While solar panel kits can cost less than the full price of a professional solar installation, many solar shoppers aren’t able to properly install solar panels themselves due to the electrical and mechanical complexities involved. For these types of shoppers, it’s always a good idea to work with a professional solar installer do the job for you for safety reasons.
When to buy (or not buy) a solar panel kit for your home
The solar panels for sale online and residential solar panel kits available in hardware stores can be the ideal solution for some situations. If you’re not trying to power your entire home, but rather are looking to add solar electricity generation to your RV, boat, or “tiny house,” then shopping for small solar panel kits and installing them yourself makes sense. Often times, these kits are referred to as “solar generators” and may include a portable solar panel and storage setup to make it easy to transport the system from place to place.
Similarly, solar panel kits are a good solution if you’re trying to power an area of your property that isn’t connected to an electric line. This is one of the top ways that DIY solar can save you money – running a new electric line is costly, and because powering a barn or toolshed typically doesn’t require a huge electricity load, a small solar panel kit can provide all the electricity you need.
Off-grid solar kits vs. grid-tied solar kits
In many cases, solar panel kits for sale are meant to be installed as off-grid systems. The primary difference between an off-grid solar kit and a grid-tied system is that an off-grid system must provide all of the energy for your home or property, while a grid-tied system can rely on backup power from the electric grid in times where there’s not enough solar energy to go around. In order to completely rely on an off-grid installation, you will need to install a battery or set of batteries to store excess power, so you can pull energy from them when the sun goes down.
An off-grid DIY solar solution can be a solid way to power a shed or a portion of your home, but it may be difficult to install panels, produce adequate power, and store enough for nighttime with an off-grid installation.
Solar panel kits for sale: different DIY solar energy systems available
If you want to install a DIY solar project, compare several options beforehand. Grape Solar and Renogy Solar are two of the main manufacturers offering different DIY products for both grid-tied and off-grid systems, which you can find more information on in the table below (in addition to other products):
Solar panel kits for sale: examples of grid-tied and off-grid options
When you buy a solar panel kit and install it yourself, you likely won’t have the benefit of backup power from the grid. If you want to be able to power your home at night or on cloudy days, you’ll sometimes need to install a solar battery as part of your solar energy system. That adds an extra cost and can cut into the savings you gain by shopping for solar panels for sale on your own.
On top of the limitations of off-grid solar, installing solar is a complicated proposition. Most of the solar installers out there have years of experience installing solar energy systems for years. Solar is a worthwhile investment, but it will cost thousands of dollars at the start – not exactly the ideal situation for a trial-and-error DIY installation.
Need another reason to work with a solar installer instead of buying solar panels online? Many of the best solar panels for sale on the market aren’t available for you to purchase directly. To buy them, you have to be a solar installer who has a relationship with a solar equipment distributor. In fact, solar installers often get a better price on solar panels for sale, because they are buying in bulk. If your priority is to build a high-performing residential system for your house, your best bet is to work with a qualified, pre-vetted solar installer like the ones on the EnergySage Solar Marketplace.
How to compare solar panel kits for your home
Not all solar panels are created equal. Solar installers select the equipment for their installations based on their technical specifications and the needs of the job, and homeowners shopping for solar panel kits should do the same. There are three main metrics to look at when comparing solar panel kits:
- Performance/temperature coefficient
EnergySage has developed a system that rates solar panels based on these three key criteria: efficiency, performance, and warranties. You can use the same criteria to compare your solar equipment options. (We’ve also conducted a complete review of Grape Solar panels, one of the most common solar panel kits available for sale. If you’re considering Grape Solar for your DIY solar installation, be sure to read our review first.)
Solar panel efficiency is one of the most important indicators of a solar panel’s quality. It refers to how well a solar photovoltaic (PV) cell can convert sunlight into electricity, and is presented as a percentage. Panel efficiency is particularly important if you have limited space to install a system and you want to maximize your electricity production.
For solar panel efficiency, a higher percentage is better. The best solar panels currently available on the market have an efficiency rating of approximately 22 percent.
Performance (temperature coefficient)
A solar panel’s temperature coefficient rating is a simple way to understand how well a solar panel will perform in less-than-ideal conditions. Like any other electronic device, solar panels work best when they are kept reasonably cool (ideally around 25° C/77° F), and their performance can suffer if they overheat. The temperature coefficient can tell you how your panel’s performance will decline during hot summer days. For every degree above 25° C (77° F), your solar panel’s electricity production will decrease by the temperature coefficient.
For example, Grape Solar’s GS-S-160-Fab8 panel has a temperature coefficient of -0.5%/°C. This means that, if the temperature of your solar panel increases from 25° C (77° F) to 26° C (79° F), its electricity production will decrease by -0.5%. If the temperature of your solar panel increases all the way to 35° C (95° F), its electricity production will decrease by 5%.
As you compare solar panels for sale, remember that a lower temperature coefficient is better. The best solar panels available on the market have a temperature coefficient of -0.25.
Every high-quality electronics manufacturer will offer a warranty to show that they stand behind their products, and solar panels are no different. Aside from the technical aspects of the equipment in your solar panel kit, look for a strong materials warranty (sometimes referred to as a product or equipment warranty). The materials warranty guarantees against equipment failures resulting from manufacturing defects or environmental issues. Most manufacturers of solar panels for sale will offer at least a 10-year materials warranty. The best manufacturers will offer materials warranties of 12, 15, or even 25 years.
There are easier ways to save money on your solar installation
In some cases – like installing a solar panel kit on an RV or toolshed – DIY solar can be a major money saver. However, as you investigate the solar panels for sale online, be sure you’re evaluating all of your solar options. That means getting multiple installation quotes from solar installers in your area, in addition to pricing out your DIY options.
In fact, comparing multiple quotes is one of the easiest (and free) ways to reduce your solar installation costs. EnergySage data shows that solar shoppers who compare their options on the EnergySage Solar Marketplace save 20 percent or more off the costs of installation, as compared to shoppers who don’t compare quotes from multiple installers beforehand. The reason is simple: when solar installers compete for your business, you win!
Best Solar Panel Kits
Solar energy is slowly revolutionizing the consumer market, and for those new to the eco-friendly industry, there’s no better place to start then with the best solar panel kits. A solar panel kit is basically a solar panel bundled with the essentials you’ll need to assemble and run your solar energy system. They are a dream come true for newbies looking to switch to renewable energy as they cut out the expensive middle man and allow for DIY installation.
Solar panel kits are ideal for those looking to power a small off-grid cabin, RV appliances, a boat, or other small electronics. Expensive large load kits are even capable of handling the entire energy consumption of a small household. Depending on your specific purpose, there’s a quality kit out there that will comfortably meet your energy needs.
6 Best Solar Panel Kits
Best Overall: Renogy 400W Solar Starter Kit with 40A MPPT Charge Controller
- Watts: 400
- Volts: 12
- The High Points: Comes equipped with a Rover MPPT charge controller.
- The Not-So Good: No battery bank included.
As one of the leading solar energy brands on the market, Renogy offers superior equipment at a competitive price. From efficient panels to reliable charge controllers, the popular brand always impresses. The trend continues with their 400W Starter Kit that comes equipped with a name-brand 40A Rover MPPT charge controller and four 100W solar panels.
The kit includes all the essentials, minus the battery bank, which is easy enough to purchase separately. And if you’d like to expand your energy potential in the future, you can purchase additional Renogy panels to connect to the system. The MPPT charge controller can handle up to 800W (24V) of power.
What Do Reviewers Say?
The majority of reviewers claim that the system is easy to install independently. However, they warn that the kit doesn’t come with installation instructions, so it’s important to do research beforehand. If you have any questions, Renogy’s support team is available to provide advice.
Several buyers have used their kits to power vans or trailers with great success. The 400W rating is ideal for small consumption use while still providing location independence. The lightweight design and easy installation is also a key selling point for travelers looking to power their rigs.
There have been a few complaints to Amazon because the MPPT charge controller was not included in the package. Some question whether or not there are quality checks conducted in the warehouse before the units are shipped. However, this issue was quickly resolved for the reviewer after sending in a support ticket.
Features & Considerations
Renogy’s solar panels use monocrystalline solar cells, which have the highest efficiency rating. This type of solar cell is also lighter, making it easier to install. The entire kit, including bolts, panels and a charge controller weighs in at a reasonable 90 pounds. Each panel is 39.7 inches by 26.7 inches by 1.4 inches.
The kit will need to be supplemented with a solar battery bank. A 300AH gel battery is enough to meet most homeowners’ needs. Alternatively, you can also use golf cart batteries, boat batteries or any other type of power bank to charge your devices.
The Rover MPPT charge controller is another quality addition. The Rover model is a top-tier piece of equipment in its own right. Overall, MPPT controllers are more efficient than PWM controllers, which is why we chose the Renogy MPPT kit over the cheaper PWM kit as our best overall.
The kit also includes mounting Z brackets, a 20ft 10AWG MC4 adapter kit, and 8ft 10AWG tray cables. The kit can be installed on any off-grid system, including RVs, trailers, boats and cabins.
For more specialized kits, like waterproof marine systems, Renogy offers a variety of other options at various price points. However, their 400W starter kit is the best overall option for general use.
Runner Up: Grape Solar 540W Off-Grid Solar Panel Kit
- Watts: 540
- Volts: 12
- The High Points: The kit is great for powering small, location-independent consumption systems.
- The Not-So Good: An expensive price point for relatively low wattage and no included battery bank.
Grape Solar’s unique 540W Off-Grid kit boasts minimal maintenance, easy installation and durability. With a price point that’s more expensive than most other similarly equipped kits, Grape Solar has a lot to prove. However, the well-reviewed system lives up to its marketing; buyers love their kits, no matter the price point.
Overall, the kit is best for off-grid systems like boats, RVs, cabins, sheds, vehicles and tiny houses. It’s not suitable for entire households as it only provides enough power to fuel small appliances and electronic devices. With USB ports and outlets, the system is easy to connect to.
Like the Renogy starter kit, Grape Solar’s kit doesn’t come with a 12V battery bank. This will need to be purchased separately. Otherwise, all essential hardware, including a charge controller, is included. This makes assembly a breeze as you don’t need to scramble to find the right parts for installation.
What Do Reviewers Say?
Reviewers love how easy the kit is to assemble. It comes with an instruction manual that explains the wiring and connectors. However, you will need to build your own frame/panel rack for mounting, which may be a nuisance for novice DIYers.
Even at the relatively high price point, buyers claim that the kit is a great value. With its high-quality materials and excellent customer service, Grape Solar’s solar panel kit exceeds expectations. This should be reassuring for anyone who is worried about investing in a more expensive kit.
Features & Considerations
The 540W rating is a good choice for those looking to fully power small appliances, like pumps, solar lights or laptops. It’s an “in-between” option as most kits offer 100-400W of power, or 1,000W+. Overall, the system can produce roughly 1,620W hours or 135A hours of charge per day.
The kit includes three 180W monocrystalline solar panels, which are the most efficient solar cells available. The panels are also built with an aluminum frame and sealed junction box, so the system is virtually weatherproof. Durability is an important consideration for solar panels, and Grape Solar hits the mark.
Along with the panels, the kit also includes a 40A Comet PWM charge controller. The PWM charge controller is not as efficient as an MPPT controller but it does the job. It also offers mobile monitoring which is great for those on the road.
While the kit does not come equipped with a 12V deep cycle battery which is necessary for operation, it does have a 15A inline-MC4 comparable fuse, a 1,800W pure sine inverter with two outlets and a USB port. The USB port is particularly useful for plugging in small devices.