If you’re new to solar power, the many different components and equipment can be intimidating. With a solar panel starter kit, you can take your first steps towards switching to solar energy with confidence.
Solar panel kits can provide many benefits, including lowering your electrical bills and reducing your carbon footprint. They are a quiet means of power production and offer many people the chance to live off-grid. Installing a solar panel kit can give you greater independence to travel or live remotely.
Switching to solar power is easier than you might think, especially with the right equipment. Solar starter kits are created with solar beginners in mind, and each kit comes with the essential components you need to make your first solar solution.
Read on to learn what solar panel kits are and how they can help you start your solar adventure.
What is a solar panel starter kit, and who is it for?
Creating a solar energy solution requires several electrical components, which all need to be compatible with one another to work correctly. A solar panel starter kit is essentially a bundle with the essential features you need to build and run a solar energy system.
If you’re new to solar and don’t have much electrical knowledge, the task of choosing all the right solar components can be overwhelming. That’s where starter kits save the day.
All solar panel starter kits will feature most or all of the industrial-grade solar components you need. These will usually include at least one solar panel, wiring, a solar charge controller which regulates the energy flowing between the solar panel and the battery. The components in a starter kit are guaranteed to be compatible with each other, so there’s no need to worry about choosing the right equipment.
Usually, solar batteries are not included in a starter pack but can be added at an additional cost. It is not required to have a battery in every solar energy setup and only needed if you want or need to store solar power.
A solar panel kit is ideal for anyone new to the eco-friendly solar industry. Switching to solar power is much easier than you might think when using a solar panel kit. If you’re doing a DIY solar panel installation, a solar panel kit is particularly helpful. But even if you don’t like DIY, a kit is handy for a professional solar installer to use as well.
What are the differences between the starter kits?
Renogy solar panel kits are available in different levels ranging from 50W-400W. All of these solar panels starter kits are versatile and easy to use. But what are the differences between them?
One of the most significant differences to consider when choosing a solar panel starter kit is the watts of power the panel can produce. A 50-watt or 100-watt kit is smaller and will produce less energy. These are often used as expansion kits in tandem with a pre-existing solar power setup. A 200 or 400-watt kit can effectively power several off-grid applications, such as RVs, trailers, sheds, boats, and cabins.
Large kits can provide energy for a small household, while smaller kits are ideal for light electronic charging requirements. Depending on your use case and specific purpose, there’s a quality Renogy kit that can comfortably meet your solar energy needs.
Some kits are labeled as expansion kits and are intended to be used as an addition to a pre-existing system. If you’re setting up solar power for the first time, an expansion kit is likely unsuitable for your needs.
All our Renogy solar starter kits are ideal for people who are new to solar. We also have other kits available for more specific use cases if you are more experienced.
What’s included in Renogy’s solar panel starter kit?
All our solar starter kits include Renogy solar panels ranging in size from 50W-400W. The kit will also have a 20ft adapter kit, mounting hardware for each solar panel, compatible PWM/MPPT charge controller, and branch connectors.
Most solar starter kits do not come with batteries, which should be purchased separately. For a 100-watt or 200-watt kit, Renogy recommends a minimum 12-volt 100AH battery. For our 300-watt and 400-watt kits, we recommend a 12-volt 200AH battery.
Each Renogy solar panel in our kits also comes with a 25-year performance warranty and a ten-year materials warranty. You can rest easy knowing your solar panels are designed to last for many years.
What are the best solar panels starter kits for beginners?
The Renogy 400W starter kit is considered one of the best solar starter kits for general use. The 400w starter kit comes with all the necessary tools for a new system. It includes four Renogy 100W 12V Monocrystalline Solar Panels, which have the highest efficiency rating. It also includes one 20ft 10 AWG Solar Adaptor Kit, a 30A PWM Wanderer Li Charge Controller, one 8ft 10 AWG Tray Cable, four sets of Z-brackets, and three pairs of branch connectors.
The 200W starter kit is also highly rated but a lower cost and smaller alternative to the 400. This kit includes two Renogy 100W 12V Mono Solar Panels, one 30A PWM Wanderer Li Charge Controller, an 20ft 10 AWG Solar Adaptor Kit, an 8ft 10 AWG Tray Cable, one pair of branch connectors, as well as two sets of Z-brackets.
If you want to start small with solar power, then our 50W starter kit may be just the right fit. These small solar panel kits are our lowest-cost solar panel kit and a great entry-level buy. It’s ideal for customers who want to get started using solar power. This kit includes one 50W Mono Solar Panel, a Wanderer 10A PWM Charge Controller, one mounting Z-bracket, a Renogy 20ft 12 AWG Solar Adaptor Kit, and a pair of Renogy 8ft 12 AWG Tray Cables.
What other types of solar panel kits are there?
In addition to our range of beginners starter kits, several other pre-bundled kits are available for specific use cases.
A life of adventure on the road is alluring but requires an off-grid energy source. Solar panels are ideal for RVs and van conversions because they can be easily mounted to the roof of your vehicle and charge even while you’re driving. They’re also quiet and cheap to run, unlike a gas-powered generator.
Our RV solar panel kits are designed specifically for motorhome RVs, van conversions, SUVs, and other mobile applications. These kits range from 100W-800W and come with a flush mount controller, longer cabling, and cable entry housing for RV roofs. An RV kit is perfect for any vehicle that is used.
Our premium solar kits are high efficiency, safe, and reliable. Our premium solar panel kits also feature the top-of-the-line 100W Eclipse Solar Panel. This product is one of the best solar panels on the market. It’s sleek in size and weight and uses the highest efficiency solar cells that Renogy offers.
The premium kit also includes a Rover MPPT charge controller that features maximum power point tracking technology and multi-phase synchronous rectification. These features increase the setup’s charging efficiency and performance. Fusing components are also included in the premium kit to help protect your charge controller and battery.
Renogy’s home and cabin kits are specifically designed for customers who want to power their homes with solar. Our off-grid kits are suitable for anyone who wants to live autonomously away from the grid.
Our off-grid solar panel kits come with everything you need to power up your cabin or tiny home, including solar panels, charge controller, battery Inverter, and wiring. They make a great addition to sheds, garages, tiny houses, or other large-scale remote systems. Home kits come in large sizes ranging from 1200 to 4800 watts, so they have a higher energy output.
On-grid, kits are also available for homes that are still grid-tied. These systems are integrated with an electricity provider and connected to the power grid. They are usually bigger than off-grid kits due to more considerable demands. On-grid solar panel kits include solar panels, wiring, micro-inverters, combiner boxes, and certified railing systems.
Marine solar kits allow you to spend more time at sea. Renogy offers several marine solar panel kits which can be used on marine vehicles such as speedboats, motorboats, houseboats, or pontoons. These marine solar kits range from 100W to 350W and are simple to use and are easy to install. These kits take into account marine spatial requirements, which are often limited, and can serve as an eco-friendly and space-efficient battery maintaining solution.
Can you install a solar panel kit yourself?
Many beginners will wonder whether they need to hire a professional to install a solar panels kit. All of the Renogy starter kits can be installed independently. They are easy to use and don’t require special tools so that customers can assemble them by themselves - after thoroughly reading the instruction manual, of course!
However, not everyone is DIY solar inclined, so consider your capabilities before messing around with the kit’s wiring and electrical components. If you have little to no experience with electrical engineering or electrical components, it may be best to consult a professional. Installing a solar panel correctly ensures it will operate efficiently and save you a lot of money long term. So, sometimes it’s best to spend a bit of money upfront with a professional installation.
If you want to have a grid-tied solar power system, you may need permits for your installation. One of the biggest benefits of using a professional installer is that they will handle permitting for you and will be well-versed in your city’s local rules and regulations. If you want to be connected to the grid, most utility providers will also require your solar panel system to be installed by a certified professional.
How to choose the right solar panel kit
Before shopping for a solar starter kit, you should estimate your energy needs based on your specific use case. You’ll need to work out the total watts your electronics and appliances will consume. You will also need to consider how long you plan on running those devices, determine your charge controller efficiency, and consider the average sun hours per day.
If you’re on the road and sun hours will vary, then it’s highly recommended to add a battery to your kit. To figure this all out, you can use our solar panel calculator. The calculator helps you work out how much energy you need to choose a kit with the correct watts. Our calculator will tell you both the minimum and recommended kit size, as well as the recommended battery output.
Adding a battery
Our starter kits do not come with a solar battery, but many customers will find a battery necessary to meet their energy requirements if you’re going to be living or traveling off-grid, it's a good idea to store extra energy in a battery as a backup. Then, if you have poor weather, you won’t need to worry about missing a day of sunlight. The amount of battery storage you will need will be based on your energy usage.
You can use the Renogy solar panel calculator to determine whether you will need extra storage. Be aware that you will also need a solar inverter when using a battery. An inverter will convert the DC energy produced by the solar panels to AC energy, which most household appliances and electronics use.
Make the switch
A solar starter kit is ideal for newbies who want to make the switch to renewable energy. Using a starter kit makes the experience so much easier and allows you to do a DIY solar installation.