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Renogy solar panels review 2023: Bending rules

Enjoy having solar panels at home but wish you could take them on the road? Meet Renogy. This Californian brand helps campers, sailors and boondockers to use solar energy in their travels. Is their equipment any good though? Let’s find out in our Renogy solar panels review.

Renogy is a Louisiana students’ project

Renogy started as a small students’ initiative at Louisiana State University in 2010. With support from Louisiana Business and Technology Center, it has grown into one of the most reputable manufacturers of solar equipment for mobile installations. Their headquarters are located in California, but solar panels that Renogy offers are made in Thailand.

Renogy offers a wide range of products: from panels to batteries and portable solar kits. All of their equipment is made for mobile solar systems: RV, boat and camper installations. Let’s look at Renogy PV modules and see if they are any good.

Renogy panels: Specifications and pricing

Mobile solar installations are small since the energy needs of a traveler are not as high. That’s why Renogy solar panels have low power ratings: they range from 5 to 200 Watts. These are often 12 Volt panels that can provide just enough power for lights on your boat or for a house battery of your RV. Renogy makes rigid monocrystalline panels, as well as flexible thin-film panels which are light and can be installed on uneven surfaces. The company also has a couple of high-output panels for home systems in their product line, but it’s not their priority and we won’t take them into account.
The efficiency of small rigid Renogy panels varies from 15% to 17%. Flexible panels show conversion rate from 13% to 15%, which is standard for thin-film modules. Don’t confuse cell efficiency, that is sometimes indicated in the datasheets of Renogy flexible panels, with module efficiency.

Renogy solar panels prices can vary greatly. Modules can come from $1 to $2 per watt. You can’t compare them to Trina or REC panels though; it’s a different product. Looking at what other thin-film panel manufacturers offer, you could say that Renogy products fall in the middle of the price range. There are brands that offer similar panels for lower price, but there are more expensive products as well.
When it comes to quality, Renogy solar panels reviews on Amazon are mostly positive and top products have ratings above 4 stars. Most panels from Renogy get a 5-year product warranty and a 25-year performance warranty. Small panels lose around 1% of their output per year but they are guaranteed to retain above 80% of initial power output after 25%.

Renogy: pros

Let’s now look at the advantages and disadvantages of Renogy panels separately, starting with pros:
  • Good reputation. Renogy is one of the better-known manufacturers on the thin-film panels market.
  • Great quality and positive reviews from customers.
  • Wide range of products for mobile solar installations: rigid and flexible panels, charge controllers, inverters, deep-cycle batteries, portable kits with wires and mounting, and monitoring systems.

Renogy: cons

Let’s move on to disadvantages. Thankfully, this list is going to be short.
  • Products are in high demand: some panels and kits can be hard to find and purchase.
  • Narrow focus. While there are a few Renogy solar panels for home and business projects, it’s not their speciality. You would be better off using panels of another brand for that purpose.

Renogy solar panels overview: for trips and travels

We’ve listed the better and worse sides of Renogy panels. Now it’s time for our engineer to take a look at a couple of models from the Renogy product line and share his opinion.

RNG-50D-SS: Something to rely on

RNG-50D-SS: Something to rely on

A 50 Watt monocrystalline Renogy solar panel is a smaller-scale variation of a standard home solar panel. It is a good choice for 12 and 24 Volt off-grid solar installations. The panel lacks flexibility but it’s more durable and reliable than a thin-film panel. The module weighs 7.2 lbs and is 22.9 x 20.0 inches in size. Renogy offers a 5-year product warranty for it and a 25-year performance warranty: you can expect it to retain at least 80% of output by the year 25.

RNG-50DB-H: Solar with a twist

RNG-50DB-H: Solar with a twist

Here is a panel with the same 50 Watt power output but a thin-film one instead. It is 90-95% thinner than its rigid counterpart — 0.08 inches. It’s also 2.5 times lighter than the rigid panel: only 2.87 lbs. The panel can be installed on uneven surfaces, like the roof of your RV or a boat deck, and it’s typically fixed in place with silicone adhesive.

RNG-100DB-H: Traveller’s best friend

RNG-100DB-H: Traveller’s best friend

This 100 Watt flexible panel is one of Renogy’s all-time hits. A set of these panels will power all that you have in your RV or on your boat. Just like standard home panels, it uses MC4 connectors. Note that the datasheet indicates cell efficiency at 21%, but the actual conversion rate of the module is 14%-15% which is a normal efficiency for thin-film panels.

A1SolarStore recommends Renogy foldable solar suitcase

This is a portable kit with a 200W solar panel, a 20A waterproof Voyager charge controller and alligator clips. All this comes in a suitcase that you can take with you and unpack anywhere. The panel is compatible with sealed lead-acid, flooded, gel or lithium 12V batteries. The controller comes with a 2-year material and workmanship warranty. The panel has a 3-year material and workmanship warranty.

A1SolarStore verdict: Renogy is an amazing brand for travelers

We have looked at Renogy as a company and at the qualities of their panels, evaluated their pros and cons and highlighted the models that stood out to us. Let’s list down the most important points about the brand:
  • Renogy is an American brand with headquarters in California and production facilities in Thailand.
  • It offers solar equipment for small off-grid systems, such as RV, boat or camper installations.
  • Its product line includes PV modules, controllers, batteries, off-grid inverters, complete kits with wiring and mounting, and monitoring systems.
  • The company offers rigid monocrystalline and flexible thin-film panels of low wattage (5-200 Watts). Their efficiency ranges from 13 to 17% which is normal for this type of modules.
  • Compared to similar products from other manufacturers, Renogy panels are in the middle of the price range.
  • Renogy products are of great quality and get good customer reviews.
  • Solar panels get 3-5 years of material and workmanship warranty. The modules come with a 25-year performance warranty and retain over 80% of their output by the end of year 25.
Overall, we can confidently say that Renogy is an important brand for the market of mobile solar systems equipment. They put out a great competitive product and make using solar energy while traveling easy. On that note we end our Renogy solar panel review 2023 and will be back with more articles and guides soon!
Illustrations – Natalya Absalyamova


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