Zamp solar panels review 2023: Travel with the sun
- 19 May 2023
- 7 min
Can you conquer the wild nature with solar panels? Americans seem to know more about it than the Chinese. That’s why this time we are looking at a company from Oregon with solar equipment for travelers — here comes our Zamp Solar panels review.
Zamp Solar makes panels for RVs, boats and campers
The company was founded in 2010 and it’s headquartered in Bend, Oregon, in the United States. This is also where all of their panels are manufactured.
The primary use of Zamp Solar products are mobile solar installations such as RV and boat PV systems. Alongside solar panels, Zamp Solar also offers charge controllers, portable solar generators, inverters, solar kits and accessories, such as extension cables, adapters, and mounting brackets.
Zamp Solar: Ready-to-go kits
Zamp Solar panels power output
The company from Oregon prefers selling kits instead of panels in retail. Zamp Solar PV modules typically come with things like wiring extensions, mounting brackets and SAE adapters. Sometimes a controller is included. Zamp also offers blemished solar panels with a discount on their website.
Zamp Solar panels don’t exceed 230 W in power output and lots of them are rated below 100 W. They are a compromise between standard rigid and flexible panels: light and thin but come with an aluminum frame and don’t bend.
The company doesn’t mention the efficiency of solar panels in the datasheets. Quick math shows us that the conversion rate of the most popular Zamp Solar panels varies around 16-19%. This is normal for semi-flexible panels — in fact, slightly higher than the average values of 14-17%. Mobile solar systems are small in capacity so efficiency is not the most important metric to look for. Using Zamp Solar panels for home is not recommended.
Zamp Solar kits and panels are significantly more expensive than products of their competitors, such as Renogy. The prices range from $300 for a 45 W kit to $3,400 for a 1 kW kit as of spring 2023. One of the most popular kits with an Obsidian series 100 W solar panel comes at $500. The kit includes the 100 W panel, mounting, wiring extension and SAE adaptor.
5-year product warranty, 25-year output warranty
The company itself recognizes that Zamp Solar panels prices are significantly higher than average. They explain that all of the products are developed and made in the US, they are modern and high quality. This seems to be true as Zamp Solar panels consistently get good reviews from customers that highlight the quality of the products.
Zamp Solar offers a 25-year peak output warranty. If the panels show less than 90% of their power output in the first 10 years or less than 80% within the period of 25 years, you can ask for repair or replacement. All products carry a 5-year product warranty - repair or replacement.
Zamp Solar: pros
What makes Zamp Solar panels stand out? Here is the list of their biggest advantages:
• High quality and good reviews. Customers seem satisfied with how Zamp Solar panels are built and point out good production levels.
• American-made product. The company is based in Oregon. Unless there is a shortage of raw materials, getting the panels shouldn’t be a problem and getting customer support is easier.
• Wide product line. Alongside solar panels, Zamp Solar also offers charge controllers, portable solar generators, inverters, solar kits and accessories, such as extension cables, adapters, and mounting brackets.
Zamp Solar: cons
What about the disadvantages of Zamp Solar products? Here is what can make you hesitate about choosing their panels:
• Cost. Zamp Solar panels are much more expensive compared to other solar panel brands on the market. This can make them less accessible to those on a tight budget.
• No retail. It’s hard to get Zamp Solar panels without buying their kits with accessories that you don’t necessarily need.
• Limited availability. Zamp Solar products may not be available in all areas, particularly outside of the United States. This can make it difficult for international customers to access their products.
Zamp Solar panels overview: Solar on the go
Time to take a look at a few solar panels and kits that Zamp Solar offers. All of them are designed to be taken on a trip and paired with a boat or an RV.
Obsidian Series 100 W Solar Panel Kit — The basics
A 100 W solar panel from Obsidian Series comes with a set of four mounting feet for a curved roof, 10 inch ATP to ATP Wiring Extension and an ATP to Zamp Solar SAE Adaptor. The panel works with any type of 12-Volt battery. It is 0.67 in thin and 30% lighter than a standard rigid panel — only 10 lbs. An aluminum frame ensures better protection from elements and mechanical pressure.
Obsidian series 45 W PT20 Portable Kit — Whenever you need it
A portable 45 W solar panel comes in a protective case. The kit includes a charge controller, cables, adaptors, alligator clamps and a battery temperature sensor. The system is easy to set up and you can pack and unpack it whenever and wherever you need. The panel and controller are compatible with AGM, gel, wet, and lithium batteries.
Legacy Black 190 W kit — Tried and tested
Zamp Solar describes Legacy solar panels as “our tried and true, longest running product line”. The kit includes a 190 W solar panel, mounting solution and wiring. Legacy Black panel reaches 19% efficiency. It comes with a 5-year product warranty and a 25-year warranty for output.
A1SolarStore verdict: Light on a trip, heavy on a wallet
We’ve talked about the specifications of Zamp Solar panels, evaluated the benefits and disadvantages of the company's product and even looked at some of the panels that it offers. Let’s end our Zamp Solar panels review by listing everything together:
• Zamp Solar is an American company headquartered in Bend, Oregon. All of their products are American-made.
• The company makes solar equipment for mobile and small off-grid systems, such as RV, boat PV installations and small camper setups.
• Solar panels from Zamp Solar are in between typical rigid and flexible panels: they are much lighter than rigid modules but have an aluminum frame and don’t bend.
• The panels are no more than 230 W in power output. Their efficiency varies from 16% to 19%.
• The company prefers selling kits instead of panels in retail. PV modules typically come with mounting, wiring extensions, adapters and sometimes a charge controller.
• Zamp Solar PV modules are more expensive than what their competitors offer. The prices start from $300 for a 45 W kit and a 1 kW kit comes at $3,400, as of spring 2023.
• The panels get good reviews and customers highlight their quality. All of the PV modules are made in the US.
• PV modules get a 5-year product warranty and a 25-year product warranty. They shouldn’t drop below 90% of their power
Overall, we can see that Zamp Solar puts out quality products on the market. However, their cost can make it hard to justify choosing them. With that, we end our Zamp Solar review 2023 but we’ll keep an eye on how the American brand does in the future.
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