Best 100 Watt Solar Panels (2023)

100 watt solar panel remote charging

The 100 watt solar panel is the go-to size for remote charging. Whether it’s a fold-out set-up or mounted to the roof of your RV, van, or shed, these panels are versatile.

 In this article, we answer the most common questions about 100 watt solar panels and give you are our top three picks for overall best, best foldable, and best flexible 100 watt panels and the situations where you would want to use them.

Spoiler alert… Renogy is our favorite panel provider for 100 watt solar panels. With their easy installation, high efficiencies, and customization, all for a great price… they are hard to compete with.

Our Top 3 List

Best Overall
Renogy - 200 watt solar panel starter kit
Best Foldable Panel
Renogy - 200 watt solar panel starter kit
Best Flexible Panel
Renogy - 200 watt solar panel starter kit

What to Know Before you Buy

Why buy rigid, foldable, or flexible? What's the diff?

Rigid, foldable, or flexible… you might be asking “what’s the difference and why do I care?” Well… it all comes down to where you want your 100 watt solar panels to fit.

Rigid always has the highest efficiency and so will produce the most power. We like rigid best for this reason, but efficiency isn’t always right for everyone. Especially if you don’t want panels bolted to the top of your van/RV, or you want a less permanent look to your project. Rigid is typically for a set it up once and leave it out scenario. See best overall for this situation.

Foldable is for situations where you want something easy to store but versatile in use. They fold down into a neat little briefcase making them easy to carry and easy to store. Additionally, they are easy to reorientate if you are chasing the sun… as in you don’t have to reorientate your van or RV if that’s your intended use.

Flexible is for scenarios where you want something low profile, thin, and capable of fitting a strange surface. Something like the top of a sweet retro VW van! They are typically 1/14th the width of a normal solar panel… but you do lose some efficiency due to the flexibility.

Key considerations

  • Cost – because obviously you likely aren’t looking to blow the bank. The cost typically depends on durability, efficiency, look, panel type, and where they are made.
  • Warranty – the standard for warranty is 25 years. Typically, this warranty is for the percentage of power output at 25 years (e.g., 87% guarantee at 25 years).
  • Size – is important when you are working with a tight space or roof/mounting angles. If you are doing a self-installation, make sure to measure twice and buy once.
  • Efficiency – highly efficient panels offer more energy in a smaller area and may offer you greater economic returns, because you may need to buy less panels to hit your power needs.

We have included these details for each of our favorite panels below.

How much power does a 100 watt solar panel produce?

The amount of power a 100 watt solar panel produces is a bit of a tricky question with no straight answer. Power outputs for solar panels are based on the maximum amount of output at that moment. So a 100 watt solar panel is capable of outputting 100 watts at that moment. 

But! That is under ideal conditions only, and you rarely have perfect conditions. So if you are looking to have power constantly and aren’t connected to the grid, you may wish to look into battery storage. Potential things that may reduce your maximum output include:

  • Shade (e.g. clouds or trees)
  • Orientation (i.e., how directly the sun shines on your panel)
  • Panel age
  • Time of day
  • Temperature

What can a 100 watt solar panel run?

Typically, you are going to either be using 100 watt solar panels to charge something with an inbuilt battery or using them to charge a portable battery bank (boondocking).  So let’s look at how much power you need to run typical items that you might be using in remote situations.

As a general rule; movement (e.g. fans) and light require less electricity, and heat requires more electricity. So if you are looking to heat the space, you still may want to look into a safe fuel source to save on the number of panels you need. Here are some examples of typical items that you may be wishing to run using your solar system:

How big is a 100 watt solar panel?

The typical height of a 100 watt solar panel is between 30 inches and 55 inches.

The typical width of a 100 watt solar panel is between 20 inches and 35 inches.

The typical thickness of a 100 watt solar panel is around 1.4 inches but can get down to as little as 0.1 inches if you are using a flexible panel.

How much does a 100 watt solar panel cost?

Generally, for one 100 watt solar panel, you are looking at spending between $250.00 USD to $400.00 USD. However, if you want the complete included kit with cables, batteries, inverters, controllers, solar panels, connectors, and mounting brackets you could be looking to spend as much as $3,000 USD.

Our hot tips! Rigid panels get you the best bang for buck. Don’t cheap out and buy poor parts because you will have to replace them. Renogy has built-in compatibility on their website, so click around and see what works with what, and… if you are patient Renogy also has monster sales with up to 33% off or buy one get one free.

Our Top 100 watt solar panel options

Best Overall

1. Renogy Rigid

100 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Solar Panel (Compact Design)
Renogy 100 watt solar panel - rigid

Cost: ~$100 to ~$125 | Warranty: 25/10-year | Size: 41.8″ x 20.9″ x 1.38″ | Efficiency: 22%

We have no cons for this 100 watt solar panel. It is easily compatible with the Renogy products, has great efficiency, is a great cost, and is easy to set up… what more could you ask for? An industry-leading warranty maybe and a compact design? Well good news, it has that too!

  • Performance warranty: 5 year (95%) | 10 year (90%) | 25 year (80%)
  • 5-year material warranty
  • Operating temperature: -40F to 175F / -40C to 80C
  • Max System Voltage: 600V DC
  • Optimum Operating Voltage: 20.4V
  • Optimum Operating Current: 4.91A
  • Includes output cables and connectors
  • Compact
Final Verdict

We have nothing negative to say surrounding this product. Given the warranty, the efficiency, the ease of set-up, and the integration with other Renogy kits… it’s hard to realistically ask for more at this cost.

Best Foldable

2. Renogy Foldable

100 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Foldable Solar Suitcase with Voyager

Cost: ~$200 to $360 | Warranty: 25/5-year | Size: 24.8″ x 20.0″ x 2.8″ | Efficiency: 22%

Looking for something easy to store that is capable of propping up when you reach camp. This is the panel for you.

Despite it’s foldability, this panel manages to maintain 22% efficiency. With an included controller, wiring, and a great warranty for a great price… you can’t go wrong with this setup.

  • Performance warranty: 5 year (95%) | 10 year (90%) | 25 year (80%)
  • 5-year material warranty
  • Operating temperature: -40F to 185F / -40C to 82C
  • Max system voltage: 600V DC
  • Optimum Operating Voltage: 20.3V
  • Optimum Operating Current: 2 x 2.47A
  • Built-in prop stand
  • Includes suitcase, controller, and alligator clips
Final Verdict

With equal warranty, efficiency, and all the included parts, you might be asking why this wasn’t our “Best Overall”. It purely comes down to cost. However, if you aren’t looking for something permanent, then this is definitely the option for you.

Best Flexible

3. Renogy Flexible

100 Watt 12 Volt Flexible Monocrystalline Solar Panel
Renogy flexible 100 watt sola panel

Cost: ~$140 to $210 | Warranty: 5-year | Size: 48.0″ x 21.6″ x 0.08″ | Efficiency: 14.9%

Looking for a panel that fits the top of your curved VW camper van, or a panel that is low profile for stealth camping in urban centers? This might be the option you are looking for! This panel fits most surfaces at less than 0.1 inches of thickness and 248 degrees of curve. 

Its 14.9% efficiency might look poor, but that’s only compared to a rigid panel. Flexible panels naturally lose efficiency because of orientation to the sun.

  • 5-year material warranty
  • Operating temperature: -40F to 185F / -40C to 82C
  • Max system voltage: 600V DC
  • Optimum Operating Voltage: 18.9V
  • Optimum Operating Current: 5.29A
  • 248 degree curve
HiKu dual cell Perc CS3n400
Final Verdict

This is our favorite option for folks looking to fit a panel on a curved surface or for folks looking for a thin low-profile option. Our only cons for this panel are purely in comparison to rigid panels.

Additional Resources

Frequently asked questions on solar panels

Amps are not directly connected to watts alone. They are also dependent on volts. So answers may vary for the panel you pick. 

Here’s how to calculate amps:

Watts (Power) / Volts (Voltage) = Amps (Current)

Generally, the answer is yes. You should clean your panels to ensure you are getting the most out of them.

Frequency of cleaning is dependent on climate. If there is excessive dust, dirt, smog, or leaves in your area then you may have to clean your panels more often. However, if you are in an area with hard seasonal rains then you may not have to do it often because the rain will do it for you.

The amount of power a 100 watt solar panel produces is a bit of a tricky question with no straight answer. Power outputs for solar panels are based on the maximum amount of output at that moment. So a 100 watt solar panel is capable of outputting 100 watts at that moment.

However, this output is negatively impacted by shade, time of day, direct angle to sun, age of the panel, dirt, and temperature.

Tricky question. Our recommendation is to email your panel supplier or electrician (make sure they are experienced with solar). If you end up going with our favorite 100 watt panel supplier (Renogy), then you can check their FAQs or get in touch with one of their solar specialists (another reason we love them). 

But, maybe that’s not the answer you are looking for. So let’s run you through the details.

There are different types of inverters (string inverters, microinverters, and power optimizers with central inverters). All of these have compatibility requirements and different specifications, so may not be compatible with your chosen 100 watt solar panel.

The inverter you need also depends on what you plan on doing with the solar panel. There are two types of current; Alternating Current (AC) and Direct Current (DC). Some electricity grids or objects in your house use DC and some use AC. The current type of your appliances and grid may change what inverter you need.

The size of inverter is important because large ones are more costly and inverters that are too small for your load may be damaged if you exceed their maximum power output. So knowing what you plan on running with the panel is important to picking the right inverter as well.

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