Solar Panels 101:

A Beginner’s Guide

Solar panels are often the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about solar. After all, they’re the most visible component and definitely one of the most important.

Solar panels are low-maintenance, long-lasting, reliable, available in different forms, and they help you lower your carbon footprint. Contrary to noisy, dirty gas-powered generators, solar panels are a greener option that also happen to be virtually silent. What is a panel, anyways? A typical panel is made up of many solar cells wired together and covered with a protective layer. The cells work when particles of light collide with the atoms in the cell knocking off electrons and causing an electrical current to flow.

In this guide, we’ll be talking about everything there is to know about solar panels, including how the panels work, the difference between monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels, and choosing the best panels for your system.

What is solar power?

With a wide range of products in the marketplace, there’s never been an easier time to go solar. From portable folding solar panels for an RV to kits created just for an off-grid cabin, there’s probably a product already crafted just for you and your specific needs.

Solar power is a simple three step equation: collection + storage = usage. The more you want to use, the more you must collect and store. There are four essential components which make this process safer and more efficient: solar panels, charge controllers, inverters, and batteries.

In this section, we talk about the basics of how solar installations work, how solar can impact your life, and what to think about when you’re planning and piecing your project together.

Monocrystalline vs. polycrystalline solar panels

There are two main solar panel types: monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels. These two are physically unique, with monocrystalline panels being a dark grey, almost black, whereas polycrystalline panels are a light blue.

But it’s not just an aesthetic difference. The main difference between monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels is that monocrystalline panels are typically more efficient than polycrystalline, but they are also more expensive.

If you’re in the market for portable panels, there are also flexible panels and suitcase-style folding kits. Flexible panels are lightweight and can be hung or attached to a variety of vertical or horizontal surfaces. Folding panels can be set out next to your RV or vehicle on a sunny spot on the ground to easily start collecting energy.

In this section, we explore the main differences between solar panels as well as what to consider when selecting the right panels for you.

Choose the solar panels that work best for your system

Although it may seem intimidating at first, adding solar to your home, boat, van or RV is actually quite easy. The Renogy solar panel kits make it easy to ensure all the components of your system are compatible. Then, once you have it all set up, it’s just a matter of flipping the switch and you’ll be generating power in no time.

Renogy also has a range of kits that are specifically designed for a variety of lifestyles, including off-grid cabins, boats, and vans and RVs. Refer to each of those pages to see if one of those works for you. Check out the blog post in this section to learn about the various best selling solar panels available through Renogy.

Put it all together

Going solar is such an exciting endeavor and we hope you’re having some fun in this process.

You’ll find that Renogy’s solar kits, which bundle some of the components and accessories together for you may be a great solution; but it’s definitely always good to know what all your options are. Hopefully reading all the sections above have equipped you with a basic understanding of the technology, options, and features of solar panels to make shopping a lot easier.