How Long Do Portable Solar Panels Last?

Portable solar panels are very appealing because they are lightweight, easy to set up, and in theory work very well. The #1 reason people prefer portable solar panels over conventional solar panels is that they don’t have to worry about installing solar panels permanently to a roof, ground mount, or to any other fixture. It is a very daunting task to install solar panels on a house, on an RV, or in an off-grid location.

For this reason, most people prefer to set up solar panels for a solar back-ups power system like a solar generator or power station. But what is the portable solar panel lifespan? Will they be damaged by rain, snow, hail, or hot sunny days? What is the best type of portable solar panel to use? What are the different types of portable solar panels? All of that will be answered here.

Long Lasting Components

solar panel system with monocrystalline solar panels

What makes conventional solar panels so great is that they last for decades while producing more than 80% of their original output. They are great because they use tempered glass which does not scratch or wears down quickly. They have an aluminum frame that doesn’t rust or degrade easily. The solar cells last a long time because they are able to dissipate heat by having air gaps behind the solar panels and have nothing on the back of the solar panel cells that will retain heat.

Portable solar panels generally do not use tempered glass, or aluminum frames, or have nothing on the back of them. Usually, portable solar panels use a special plastic coating, either PET or ETFE, that goes on top of the solar cells. The cells and plastic coating at laid on top of a plastic backing that is heat resistant. Then that will usually be sewn into some form of fabric case where the solar panel can be folded up, or in some cases rolled up for easy transportation.

There are some portable solar panels that are like traditional solar panels with tempered glass, aluminum frames, and no thick backing that would hold excess heat.

The major difference is how long the components last. Tempered glass and aluminum do not break down easily. But the fabric and clear plastic exposed to the sun can break down much faster.

As an example, look at the road and off-road vehicles. Cars use tempered glass for their windshields and side windows. They use them because when in an accident the glass tends to shatter in place and not cut people as much as other glass. The tempered glass is very scratch resistant and doesn’t discolor over time. However, you can see in many off-road vehicles such as side-by-sides and ATVs that use plastic windows, they break after just a couple of years. That or get so easily scratched that they become difficult to see through over time. They tend to discolor and turn yellow after continual exposure to the sun.

The same applies to solar panels. Glass will last much longer than plastic. The fabric that is used to hold lightweight solar panels in place also breaks down usually within 1 year of constant use. It gets extremely faded, and fragile, and is prone to ripping.


solar system with thin film solar panels

If the portable solar panels are not the conventional style with a tempered glass front and aluminum frame, it’s very important to know which type of plastic is covering the cells. PET and ETFE are the most common plastics that cover solar cells on portable solar panels.

PET is a very common clear plastic used for a variety of applications. Including water bottles, food containers, household cleaner bottles, and much more. The plastic has flexibility, is wear-resistant, and is non-toxic. It can be easily molded and used in a variety of ways which is why it is so common. But the items that use PET generally are not designed to be left in the sun for a long time. Otherwise, they begin to turn a yellow color and become brittle over time.

The same applies to portable solar panels that are coated with PET plastic on top of the solar cells. Since solar panels are designed to be used outside in the heat and sun for long periods of time, they break down very fast. Generally, in less than 1 year PET can become completely brittle, discolored, and unusable. The big advantage of using PET on solar panels is that it is extremely affordable. Hence, affordable portable solar panels will oftentimes be covered with PET. They are only designed to be used on an “as needed” basis. Only for a few days at a time when camping, when there’s a power outage, or for charging small batteries. When used for long periods of time, they will become useless after one year.

monocrystalline panels and polycrystalline panels extend solar panel lifespan and energy outputETFE on the other hand has all the same good aspects of PET but it doesn’t break down nearly as fast. ETFE is still very flexible, mouldable, and transparent, but can easily last up to 5 years before seeing any discoloring. Technically it’s able to last about 20 years before major discoloring is visible. It doesn’t break down easily in the sun which is why any portable solar panel that doesn’t have tempered glass, should have ETFE.

There are two major downfalls to ETFE though. When folding on the same spot many times it will eventually begin to separate or delaminate from the solar cells. This is a major problem since the higher-quality portable solar panels will use ETFE. But since they’re portable and usually fold in half or in an accordion style, the ETFE eventually splits away from the cells and can cause a total failure of the solar panel if water gets in the opening.

The second issue is that it doesn’t fold and move easily when it’s cold. The ETFE coating needs to ideally be above 75 degrees Fahrenheit in order to unfold and be used easily. That generally is not a problem if the solar panel is already set out since the sun tends to warm up the solar panels quite a bit. But it is a major problem if it’s used in a cold environment because then the solar panels won’t even stay open by themselves to get warmed up by the sun and become pliable. It will be required to use something to hold the solar panel open until it is warm enough to hold itself in place. This is the biggest problem if someone is by themselves trying to open a large folding solar panel and place a rock or stake in one corner to hold it in place. It’s quite the balancing act.

There are 3 main types of portable solar panels.

solar energy system with solar panel batteries and portable panels

  1. Rigid frame portable solar panels are typically two 50w or 100w solar panels hinged together to make a portable solar panel. It’s just two normal panels put together but is more portable because it’s easier to move two at once since they have a carry handle on them. The upside to using this kind of portable solar panel is that it is long-lasting, very durable against poor weather, components don’t degrade, and tend to be more affordable than lightweight portable solar panels. The downside is that they weigh 4x more than flexible or blanket solar panels and do not stack easily in trunk space.
  2. Flexible solar panels have two different kinds of solar panels within their own category. One is a very flexible solar panel that can be rolled up and unrolled easily. They are designed to be flexible and roll up for easy portability. The other kind is flexible only because they do not have a rigid aluminum frame around them. The plastic backing piece behind the cells gives all of the rigidity to the solar panel and cells. The first type of flexible solar panel will not damage the cells by being handled roughly. The second type of flexible solar panel is very prone to having the solar cells crack. Once a cell is cracked, it is permanently damaged. It will still capture solar power and work but at a diminished rate. Both types of flexible solar panels cost more than rigid frame panels because there is a lot more work that goes into manufacturing them.
  3. Blanket solar panels are the most expensive but by far have the biggest cool factor. They are similar to flexible solar panels in the sense that they can be folded, rolled, and abused without getting damage to the cells. But that also means that they have nothing on the back of them to give them rigidity. The secret to getting the best solar output per cell is to have an evenly flat surface that is 90 degrees from the sun. Since blanket solar panels tend to be very flimsy and foldable, it is hard to get a high watt-per-cell output. But they have the unique ability to sustain great damage and continue to work without any issues. Even to the point of being shot with bullets. These are sometimes used in the military where an enemy may try to destroy power production by shooting their solar panels. With other solar panels, even one bullet going through them would render them useless. But with blanket solar panels they can take dozens of shots and still work well. Blanket solar panels will often times cost 10x as much as a rigid frame panel.

Learn more about flexible vs rigid frame solar panels.

Conclusion, Portable Solar Panels Have Advantages

Portable solar panels have their place and advantages. But generally, they will break down, cost more, and produce less power per cell than rigid-framed traditional solar panels. It is obviously much easier for someone to get into solar if the solar panels cost less. In this case, paying more for flexible panels doesn’t mean it’s a higher quality or longer lasting. In truth, using flexible portable solar panels will cost more upfront and cost much more in the long run as solar panels need to be replaced over time if they are in constant use.

The best way to use a portable solar panel is only when necessary. Contact Powered Portable Solar today to get started.

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What Factors Should Be Considered Before Purchasing a Portable Solar Panel?

There are many factors that should be considered before purchasing a portable solar panel. Those factors include but are not limited to: what location are the portable solar panels going to be placed? How long of a solar cable is needed? What time of year will the portable solar be used the most? Will it be year-round permanent use? Do they need to be portable or can they be traditional frames? How many portable solar panels are needed? And so on.

Major Factors to Consider

best portable solar panels with jackery solar panel

The most common factor to consider before buying portable solar panels is what is the main goal of the solar panel. Is it to recharge a car battery? To keep an RV battery topped off during the winter? Recharge a backup solar generator system for a house? There are countless reasons to get a portable solar panel.

The reason the overall goal needs to be established first is that it will often answer many of the questions and factors that need to be considered before buying solar panels. For example, if the overall goal is to have a way to recharge a car battery remotely in case the battery dies, then only one 100w or 200w foldable solar panel is necessary to recharge that battery. But if the main goal is to recharge a solar generator that is running 2 fridges, 2 freezers, lights, fans, wifi, TV, chargers, and a CPAP machine, then the solar generator will need 10 or more portable panels.

By answering that it’s easy to know how many are needed, where they will be used, and how often they’ll be used. Either one, or ten, or however many. In the case of linking many together, it is important to find out how many portable solar panels can be connected together directly to each other and how many need to be broken into different groups. This is important because all solar panels have to use a solar charge controller in order to convert the solar power they make from the sun into usable energy for a battery.

If ten solar panels are necessary for a solar generator then likely they will need to be split into two groups of five panels using a 2 to 1 PV (photo-voltaic) connector. This allows the voltage that the solar panels make to stay within a safe range for the solar charge controller.

Minor Factors to Consider

best portable solar panel system with portable power stations for maximum power output

Often times a 200w folding solar panel is a better option than a 100w folding solar panel. And just as likely, a 400w folding solar panel may be a better option than a 200w folding solar panel. But in the end, four 100w foldable solar panels will produce the same amount of portable solar power as a single 400w portable solar panel. It then comes down to personal preference, body strength, and available storage space in the vehicle on which a portable solar panel is chosen.

Many people prefer to have a single 400w portable folding solar panel because they can move 400 watts worth of power at once. Especially if they have to walk 100 feet or any long distance to where the solar panels need to be, they don’t want to take that trip multiple times if they don’t have to. But others, may not physically be able to carry the 40lb 400w folding solar panel 100ft easily and therefore want two 200w portable solar panels. It simply comes down to personal choice.

The only thing to consider when choosing the wattage of the solar panel is how many volts and amps each solar panel produces. Volts x Amps = Watts. Four 100w portable solar panels will make 400w but it may do it by being at 80 volts and 5 amps. Whereas a single 400w solar panel may make 400w of power by using 28 volts and 14.28 amps. The voltage and amperage combinations never end.

The reason this needs to be considered is that all solar charge controllers have a voltage and amperage range that they work in. Many of them will work from 11-150v and up to 15a. But others will only work from 30-90v and 10a. This means if you have one 200w solar panel that only makes 20v, it won’t work with a 30v-90v solar charge controller because it’s not making enough voltage. On the other side, if four 400w portable solar panels are connected together and are making 160v, that will exceed the 150v range of the 11-150v solar charge controller and will either cause it to shut down, or possibly catch on fire. Both are bad, but the fire is much worse.

It’s not that big of a deal which portable solar panel is chosen, it’s just important to be aware of the volts and amps that the solar panels will make and what the voltage and amperage charge parameters are on the solar charge controller.

Is It Necessary?

most portable solar panels with solar chargers and solar panel jackery

Sometimes, it’s simply best to ask “is it necessary?” Does it have to be portable? Could the same task be accomplished by using traditional framed 100w or 200w solar panels? Framed solar panels get a bad reputation for not being portable. But a single 100w solar panel only weighs about 13lbs, is not very large, but is very affordable and easy to stow away. Traditional frame solar panels are designed to last over 20 years of non-stop use in the sun and still be 80% or more usable after 20 years. Portable solar panels are often only intended for up to 5 years of constant use which means they’ll need to be replaced more often.


Portable solar panels from Powered Portable Solar cans serve in many ways. They can fit most of the same needs as traditional frame solar panels but are often easier to move around and set up. They may cost a bit more than framed solar panels but it’s hard to put a price on convenience. If you need portable solar panels that you’ll be moving from location to location then portable solar panels will work better than framed solar panels in many cases.

Continue ReadingWhat Factors Should Be Considered Before Purchasing a Portable Solar Panel?

What Are the Uses & Advantages of Portable Solar Panels?

Portable solar panels serve many uses and there are plenty of advantages to them over traditional solar panels. Whether portable power is needed tailgating, at an off-grid cabin, jump-starting a car, keeping RV batteries topped off, or when there are blackouts at home and need to recharge a solar generator or power station. 

Where & When to Use Portable Solar Panels

renewable energy in most portable solar panels provide portable solar power via monocrystalline panels

Recreation Vehicle

Portable panels can be used nearly anywhere. The #1 most common application for them is with a solar generator or RV. Many times the RV is powered by a portable solar generator or power station and needs to be recharged remotely. Boondocking with RVs has become very popular in the last couple of years and people do not like to pay $30 to $100+ per night to stay at RV parks. 

Most people will opt to stay on BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land where they can stay for free for up to two weeks. Often times campgrounds, national forest land, and even Wal-Marts are also used for boondocking. There is generally no access to fresh water which is the only downside. But that doesn’t mean they can’t go get water at any time from an RV station or gas station that has RV services. 

This can help people save thousands of dollars when traveling with their RV. By having the portable solar panels it gives them the option to place the panels directly out front of their doorstep, or if the RV is parked in the shade due to the heat, they can easily run a solar cable to the portable solar panels farther away. The solar panels can be in the sun even 100ft away and they can be recharging their batteries and know they have all of the power they need. 

As well during the winter when the RV is not being used, people will use a portable solar panel that can connect to their battery to keep it topped off all winter so the battery stays in good condition. This eliminates the issue of the battery draining itself, disinforming the cells inside, and needing to be replaced the next spring.

Solar Generator

monocrystalline solar panels typically provide reliability, portable solar panels unlike monocrystalline solar panels

Portable solar panels are often used with solar generators or power stations. Think of a solar generator like a gas generator in the sense that it provides portable power wherever it’s needed. It can do the same work as a gas generator but without all of the noise, oil changes, fumes, and maintenance. They are not actually “generators” but the term solar generator helps people understand their purpose and use. 

A solar generator can also be called a power station. Either way, they are effectively a combination of a battery, solar charger, and an inverter. This allows photons/light from the sun to be converted to battery power, then the battery power can be converted to run outlets to run appliances and devices. Solar generators are commonly used with RVs but also for emergency backup power for houses. 

Off-grid cabins use solar generators and even Vanlife vehicles use them for easy power. The main advantage of a solar generator is all of the wiring, programming, and installation is done. People don’t have to earn a DIY electrical degree to put it together and then wonder if it’s going to catch on fire because they didn’t understand how to put it together properly.

But since they do not use gasoline, they need solar panels to recharge the battery in order to continue running their appliances. Portable solar panels are the easiest option because they do not need to be professionally installed on the roof of a house, RV, or ground mounted by a solar team. Portable solar panels typically fold open, use a kick-stand leg to sit upright facing the sun, and then connect directly to the solar generator. Then as soon as the power outage, camping trip, or off-grid job is done, it can all be packed up easily and put away until it’s needed next.

Jump Starting Cars

Besides being able to keep RV batteries topped off and recharge solar generators, many portable solar panels are capable of jump-starting cars. Or at least recharging the car battery to the point it can start again.

It is not too uncommon for portable solar panels to have a solar charge controller built onto the back of them. A solar charge controller simply is a tiny computer that converts solar energy to usable energy. Most commonly they are used to recharge batteries. That includes car batteries. 

A portable solar panel with a jump start connector is a huge benefit to have when over-landing, off-grid, or camping remotely. For example, if you go on a 3-day camping trip but accidentally left the dome light on in your car, or the headlights on, the battery will be dead by the time you get back. If no one is around and there is no place to jump the car then the solar panel can recharge the battery to starting power level in just a couple of hours. It may not be an instant jump-start option, but it is an emergency backup option that is simple and easy. 

By laying the solar panel on the hood or roof of the vehicle, and connecting the alligator clamp cables to the battery, the sunlight will hit the solar panel and transfer solar power into the battery and help it start again. 

Portable Solar Panel Advantages

The number one advantage of a portable solar panel over a traditional frame solar panel is obviously the option of mobility. It can be easily stored, opened, and used nearly anywhere. As long as it’s in the sunlight, it’s going to produce energy. 

Portable solar panels are the most common compact, light enough to move by hand, and even come with a plethora of connector types to connect to various appliances, chargers, and devices. With some portable solar panels, it’s possible to recharge cell phones diremonocrystalline solar panels providing portable solar panel powerctly from them. Or many will come with alligator clips for charging batteries directly. And many of them can be connected together to make a large solar array for maximum power for solar generators and off-grid sites.

They come at a bit of a higher price than normal solar panels, but the price is often worth it. The ability to pack it into a car, RV, or truck space easily is a major option. The biggest bonus is that they typically have a leg or stand built into them so they can be propped up and aimed at the sun to produce more energy. It is not uncommon to get 50% more power production out of a solar panel that is properly propped up towards the sun, versus a solar panel laying flat on the ground. The more perpendicular the solar panel is to the sun, the better it will perform.

Another major benefit is that the solar panels stand on portable solar panels will keep your grass from dying. When portable solar panels are in the sun, they get very warm. Oftentimes, hot. If they are laying flat on the grass, then the grass will get burned and die. It can take months before new grass comes in or new grass seeds may have to be planted. 

Conclusion – Portable Solar Panels for Efficient, Renewable Solar Energy

For versatility, portable solar panels can be used in many ways. Powered Portable Solar tests solar panels regularly to find the highest quality and most powerful solar panels so everyone else doesn’t have to spend thousands of dollars finding out on their own. 

If you need to run an RV, power a backup solar generator, recharge batteries off-grid, or simply need portable power, then portable solar panels may be one of the best options.

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What Are Portable Solar Panels & How Do They Work?

One of the most common questions people ask when they start looking into solar is; what are solar panels, and how do they work? Solar panels seem like a magical sheet of dark-colored material that transforms light into energy. In reality, that’s not far from the truth.

In short, portable solar panels work by absorbing photons from the sun’s light, which displace electrons in the cells, and those electrons run along thin metal lines that go to a device called a solar charge controller which converts those electrons into storable energy in a battery. 

What Are Portable Solar Panels?

portable solar systems provide renewable energy

Portable panels are most often used with solar generators or power stations. They are not designed to be used for 20+ years constantly and are mounted on rooftops or ground mounts similar to what most people see with houses that have solar installed. They often have a protective case, stand legs on the back, and usually don’t have the ability to connect a lot of them together for maximum power. They are meant to give a bit of power in remote sites where grid power is not available. 

Portable solar panels come in varying wattages and sizes. They can vary quite a bit from the materials used, all the way to the wattage they produce. For example, there are portable solar panels that have hinges and handles built onto them but are essentially two small aluminum-framed typical solar panels. Two 100w solar panels that would normally be mounted on the roof of an RV or Van for solar power are hinged together. This makes a briefcase-style configuration that allows two solar panels to be combined together for easy portability. 

Another form of portable solar panel is essentially a solar panel without an aluminum frame and tempered glass front. The cells adhere to a special backing material that is usually a high-grade, rigid, UV-protected plastic of one sort or another. The polycrystalline or monocrystalline cells are permanently mounted to the plastic backing. Then a special ETFE plastic coating that is 100% transparent goes on top of the cells to protect them from water and damage. Then the entire solar panel will often have a padded carry case with a handle on it which makes it easy to move around and take places. 

Both types of these portable solar panels can be found at Powered Portable Solar. If you need help finding out which solar panel will work best for your situation you can always reach out to Powered Portable Solar’s contact page and get those questions answered. 

Portable solar panels are not always necessarily the best option for portable power. They may be more convenient because they are often times smaller than traditional framed solar panels, but they may not weigh less. For example, a 200w Briefcase solar panel on average weighs 35 lbs, but the typical Rigid 200 solar panel only weighs 24lbs. 11 lbs makes a big difference when you have to move five to ten of them for a camping trip. The only major advantage the portable solar panel would give in this case is that it has built-in legs to stand the solar panels up so they get better power production from the sun.

Another thing to consider is the price. Portable solar panels cost much more than framed solar panels simply due to the manufacturing process. There are a lot more processes that have to happen in order to make a portable solar panel. The plastic backing production, lamination with cells, lamination of the ETFE layer for protection, sewing or attaching the protective case, installing the stand system, and so on. 

With a traditional frame solar panel, a similar but thinner plastic backing is glued to the back of the cells, a sheet of tempered glass is laid over the cells, then an aluminum frame is formed around the glass and cells, and it’s done. It’s common to see portable solar panels cost around twice as much as a traditional frame. 

So the real question is, why do you need a portable solar panel system? Is it to save on weight? Is it to have a smaller size? Is it to have a stand built into it? As far as all of those questions go, portable solar panels usually weigh about the same or more. They can be more compact especially if they are folding, blanket, or briefcase style. And they usually have a stand built into them so they’re easy to set up. 

They cost twice as much and weigh more generally. So if those two reasons offset the other reasons then they’re a good investment. If there’s a way to have an affordable and easy-to-use stand for the traditional frame solar panel such as the Rigid 200 solar panel from Powered Portable Solar, then that is usually the best option. Because then you can get twice as much solar power for the same price, you can use a stand to put the solar panels upright, and as long as you have the space for the solar panel since it doesn’t fold down, then it’s a great option.

The answer to the question are portable solar panels worth investing in depends on the situation the solar panels need to be used in. 

How Do Solar Panels Work?

most portable solar panels worth

There are two types of solar cells. The first type is polycrystalline which is an older style, blue in color, and is most often used in houses where there is lots of space. The second type is monocrystalline which is usually dark blue or black in color, and is often used on houses as well but portable solar panels are almost always this type. Monocrystalline cells can produce much more energy per square inch than polycrystalline which is why they’re ideal for portable solar panels. 

Silicon, which is what sand is largely made of, is the main element used in making solar cells. It is basically melted and purified where it becomes a blue brittle flaky substance. Very similarly to how OSB sheets of plywood are formed, the silicon flakes are pressed and melted together to make the solar cell. They get the name polycrystalline because “poly” means many, and crystalline, meaning crystals, comes together to mean “many crystals.” That is why when you look at a polycrystalline cell you can see very different flakes together that are not uniform. 

Monocrystalline solar cells are quite different. The silicon is heated and melted into a tight cylinder shape and extruded out of the press. Then, like cutting slices of bread, slices of the cell are cut off of the cylinder which gives a solar cell. Square shapes fit better together than circle shapes so the circled cell is then typically cut to make a square shape. Monocrystalline cells come from a single piece which is why they are called monocrystalline. “Mono” means once, and “crystalline,” meaning crystals, means it’s one crystal. 

Other elements are used in the manufacturing process. These different layers of elements have essentially what looks like a cellular structure of a chain link fence. At every junction, there is either a spot filled with a molecule or an open space. As photons from the sun hit the different layers of the cells, they will hit electrons that are at the junctions and cause them to jump to an open spot. There are thin metal lines that cover solar panels every few millimeters. As the photons push the electrons around, the electrons eventually hit one of the thin metal lines which then directs them to go to the wire on the back of the solar panel. This is constantly happening at the speed of light. 

By cables connected to the back of the solar panel that goes to a solar charge controller, the electrons will enter the charge controller and be converted from whatever voltage the solar panel is giving off and change to whatever voltage the battery uses. That is how the battery gets refilled full of usable electrons. Then an inverter is connected to the battery which converts battery voltage to wall outlet voltage so you can run a fridge, drill, lights, fans, or whatever needs to be run. Portable solar panels by themselves are not the full equation of getting power from the sun. That energy has to be captured by the sun, converted to battery power, then the battery power is converted to usable outlet power. Similar to filtering water from a river, the water has to go through a process to be safe to drink. In the same way, the electricity from the sun has to be adapted to be safe to use to run appliances. 

portable solar panel systems use portable solar panels for solar phone charges


Portable solar panels are a great option, but they come at a cost. As long as you’re aware of it upfront then you can make an informed decision on what you’d like to do for your scenario or situation. Be sure to reach out to Powered Portable Solar staff because there are many new innovations that can make life much easier and more affordable when doing these projects.

Solar panels use photons to charge electrons which are converted to usable, portable solar power. Simple, right? Probably not, but hopefully you have a better understanding of the process and how it all works.

Continue ReadingWhat Are Portable Solar Panels & How Do They Work?

Top 3 Reasons to Buy Portable Solar Panels and Why They’re Worth Investing In

There are many reasons why someone would want to buy portable solar panels. There are also some reasons why someone may not want to get a portable solar system.

portable solar panel kits, camper solar panels

The Top 3 Reasons To Buy Portable Solar Panels Are:

  1. One, they are easy to set up.
  2. Two, they pair very well with portable solar generators.
  3. Three, they are versatile.

The Top 3 Reasons Why Not To Buy Portable Solar Panels Are:

  1. One, they cost more than non-portable solar panels.
  2. Two, they have a shorter lifespan when compared to traditional solar panels.
  3. Three, they sometimes don’t work well in hot or cold climates.

Reasons To Get Portable Solar Panels

Portable solar panels come in varying sizes. Anywhere from 50w up to 400w with everything in between. The Powered Portable Solar website offers multiple options, such as a 200w folding briefcase portable solar panel, a 220w foldable solar pane, and a 400w heavy-duty folding solar panel.

foldable solar panel battery pack

The main advantage of the 200w folding briefcase panels is that they are essentially two Rigid 100w solar panels put together but include legs, a carry handle, and clasps to hold them together in one piece. Weighing around 35 lbs, it’s still reasonably easy to move around, sets up quickly, and works the same as having two high-quality Rigid 100w solar panels.

The 220w and 400w portable folding solar panels are also great options but are more like flexible solar panels than the rigid frame. These two solar panels do not have the classic aluminum frame and tempered glass front. Instead, they have a special ETFE coating on the solar panel cells to ensure they are not damaged and will last a long time. And there are no legs built into the frame of the folding solar panels because there is no frame. Instead, it utilizes its protective carrying case and carabiners to hold the solar panels upright at an angle to produce the most energy possible.

Because they fold up on themselves, have built-in stands, and are a manageable weight to move around, many people prefer them to traditional solar panels. This makes them very easy to set up and take down whenever necessary.

Since solar panels are very portable, they work very well with portable solar generators and power stations. For example, the Delta Pro solar generator is a heavy-duty solar generator with a built-in telescoping handle and roller wheels so it can be taken places. Many people use their RV, off-grid cabins, camping, or to back up their household essentials for blackouts.

People often do not want to have their solar panels outside because they do not need the extra energy all of the time. That is why portable solar panels are very handy with portable solar generators because they can be used when needed. If you’re out RVing and you have a solar generator to power everything, once you get to the destination, you can easily set up the RV solar panels in a few minutes and recharge the solar panel system daily via a solar charge controller. (Learn more about how much solar power is needed for an AV and what you can expect from portable solar panel kids.)

Because they are portable, they allow you to use them in many different situations. This means that your cost of getting them serves multiple purposes. Most people who buy solar put solar panels on their roofs and never get to use that power in any other way other than reducing their monthly electricity bill. Even with household solar panels installed, when the grid power goes out, those people still don’t have any power either because those solar panels only provide the ability to reduce their power bill and do nothing for them when the grid is down.

Having the best portable solar panels paired with a portable solar generator means that no matter where you need extra power, you can have it there.

Reasons To Avoid Portable Solar Panels

rooftop solar panels are efficient solar panels

Portable solar panels are not necessarily the absolute best choice, though. There are some drawbacks. The main one is that they can cost up to twice as much as a traditional solar panel.

For example, the Rigid 200 solar panel from Powered Portable Solar typically costs around $310 each. To have two of them for 400w of power is $620. The EcoFlow 400w folding solar panels are generally $1,199. Essentially, it’s twice the price, all for the convenience of being foldable and having a case that can be turned into a stand. The real question is, for $600 could you make or find a stand that works for the Rigid 200w solar panels to get the same outcome? The answer is yes. Most people lean their solar panels against their house, fence, or outdoor table or even get specific stands that are affordable and easy to use. Portable solar panels conveniently come at a high price.

Portable solar panels oftentimes have a shorter lifespan as well. In particular, the ones that do not have the aluminum frame and tempered glass front do not last as long. The ETFE coating on them is designed to last in direct sunlight for about 20 years, which is excellent. But it’s not meant to fold and unfold all of the time without cracking, peeling, or bubbling.

Because ETFE is a special UV-protected plastic, it works well staying in the sun. But it’s not meant to be moved over and over again, and it will eventually begin to de-laminate from the surface of the solar cells. This can lead to water intrusion onto the cells, dirt getting inside, causing less solar output, and it shouldn’t happen at the price tag it has.

The material the cells are placed on also does not perform well unless it’s very warm. If it’s cold, the plastic will be rigid and unyielding. That makes it impossible to open the solar panel to make power, defeating the whole purpose. Whereas the traditional rigid frame solar panels like the Rigid 200 perform at their best because it has no moving parts to wear out.

Suppose it’s a very hot summer day when using the folding solar panels. In that case, the plastic backing may be too warm and not support the solar cells, which will cause the different faces of the portable solar panel to be at different angles to the sun. This causes significant inefficiencies because for the solar panel cells to make the most power, they must all work together facing the same way the sun.

With the prices of portable solar panels being very high per watt, the material breaking down reasonably quickly, and the materials not working correctly in different climates, it may not be the best idea to go with portable solar panels.

Final Thoughts

Portable solar systems serve a purpose and do well in the right conditions. If you need 4,000w of portable solar power to back up all of the devices and appliances in your house, then setting up 20 foldable solar panels may be difficult. Sometimes, it’s much more accessible not to have folding solar panels and lean rigid frame solar panels against a wall or fence or even put them in the driveway where trv solar kits jackery solar panel, installing solar panelshey can get total sun exposure.

If you’re looking at getting portable panels for their ability to stand upright on their own, but would prefer to save 50% of the cost by getting traditional framed solar panels, then you’re in luck. At Powered Portable Solar, we are constantly working on innovating the newest technology and helping people with equipment that is high quality and fulfills its purpose.

If it’s not released already, we will soon have our unique portable stand system that will work with any solar panel. This means you can afford a rigid frame solar panel that lasts 10x longer than most portable solar panels and is easy to set up. And the best part is the unique stand system costs less per panel than making your DIY solar panel stand.

If you have more questions about the stand, portable solar panels, traditional solar panels, or solar generators/portable power stations, please get in touch with Powered Portable Solar. You’ll find all the help you need and significant savings.

Continue ReadingTop 3 Reasons to Buy Portable Solar Panels and Why They’re Worth Investing In

Flexible VS Rigid Solar Panels – Which One is Best?

Have you been wondering as you purchase your solar equipment for your solar generator whether you want to go with flexible or straight rigid solar panels? It is a tough choice if you don’t know the pros and cons. So what is the difference between flexible vs. rigid solar panels? There are quite a few. 

One big thing that remains the same between them is how much power they get and at what rate. They both have 9 bus bars across and the same amount of grid squares, so they are virtually the same in this realm, but let’s take a closer look at their other features. 

Also, if you want to take a look at my video on the subject, watch that below! 

Rigid 100 Solar Panel


Some people wonder if the rigid 100 solar panels are more or less durable than the flexible ones. Do the flexible solar panels bend easily and not break? Does the glass on the rigid panels crack easily?

Well, in my video above, I actually answer this question. The rigid frame solar panels can take my weight, while the flexible solar panels will crack easily under my weight unless it is on a completely flat surface. So if I were putting the rigid frame panels on the roof of an RV then it would be better than the Flexx 100 because they are more durable.  

Even moving them around, the rigid panels are less likely to break than flexible ones because the frame provides the stabilization that the rigid panels need. The flexible panels, on the other hand, can be damaged easily unless you grab it in the perfect spot and move it carefully. 

When I converted my 27 Travel Trailer RV to have solar panels, a couple of the Rigid 100 solar panels actually fell off the roof before I secured them down. They fell straight down to the ground after hitting a tree branch and they didn’t even crack! They still work perfectly.


The Rigid 100 panels, of course, weigh a bit more than the flexible ones at 16 pounds. You can get about two of them in one carrying case, which puts the whole thing a tad above 30 pounds. This is still definitely portable. You can easily carry 30 pounds, especially in the carry case, but you will have to take more tripsCarry Handle than you would with the flexible panels, which makes it a bit more of a pain to set up when you’re out in the woods camping. 

Easy To Handle

The rigid frame solar panels may not be the lightest option available, but what they lack in weightlessness they make up for in how easy they are to tote around by hand because of the frame. While the flexible panels can flop around, making it easy to break some of the cells, the glass rigid panels will stay firmly in place and it is difficult to harm the cells. 

These rigid panels even have a makeshift handle in the frame. 

Wind resistant

If you live in an area that has a lot of wind, or even an average amount of wind, then the Rigid 100 solar panels will be much easier to work with than the flexible ones. The rigid panels are much more durable when it comes to resisting wind and won’t blow over easily because they are much heavier. 


The rigid frame solar panels are what I recommend to most people for more frequent use because they are much more durable. They have an extremely strong tempered glass front and are generally more difficult to damage through everyday use. Because of this, they have a lifespan of about 25 years or more. That is truly impressive when compared to the lifespan of most flexible panels that have a lifespan of about 3 to 5 years of constant use. 

Flexible 100 Solar Panel


One thing that people really love about the Flexx 100 solar panels is that they are very lightweight. You can get about five of them in a carry case, which takes you to 25 pounds. This is less than carrying two of the rigid solar panels

These make the flexible solar panels the perfect option to take with you on trips or anywhere on the go. If you aren’t staying there permanently, these are perfect to take along with you. A lot of panels can fit in the trunk of basically any car along with a solar generator

Difficult to Handle

Even though the flexible panels are very lightweight, they are more difficult to handle than the rigid frame solar panels. If you allow them to bend or hold them directly on top of a cell, you could damage some of the cells on the panel. They are fragile, and for this reason, I almost always carry them in the carry case because it will hold them securely and distribute the pressure of me holding them evenly across the surface. 

Need A Stand

All solar panels develop micro-cracks over time. The rigid panels develop them a bit slower, which is why I mentioned that their optimal life is about 25 years. After that, they will still work, but they will have a reduced output because of the cracks. 

Flexible panels are great because they are portable, but they shouldn’t be allowed to be flexible when they are in use. It is important to make a stand for them so that they are elevated off the ground and held firmly in place. Otherwise, even strong gusts of wind can damage them by creating microcracks. 

ETFE Finish

If you have researched a bit about solar panels, you may know about the Ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) finish. What this actually is, is a fluorine-based plastic. It is specially made to be durable and to be able to withstand high-temperature changes, which makes it perfect for a coating on solar panels. 

Another thing that it does on the Flexx 100 panels is it is manufactured in such a way that it has a texture of tiny bumps on the solar panel. The purpose of this is to act as a kind of magnifying glass, so you actually get more energy from the sun per cell than you normally would if it were just a flat surface. 

This is a really neat feature that is in the Flexx 100, but not the rigid frame solar panels. The rigid frame has a glass coating, which provides an even more durable surface. But the ETFE finish is definitely the way to go if you are getting a flexible panel

ETFE plastic is meant to last 20+ years and does not break down quickly like PET.


Other flexible solar panels have a Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) material that is laminated onto the surface of the panel. This is the same plastic that is used in water bottles. It is durable, but not nearly as durable as the ETFE. The PET plastic has a lifespan of about 3 years and ETFE has about a 20-year lifespan. 

It can get confusing wondering why flexible panels will only last a few years if they have an ETFE finish. When I talk about lifespan, I am talking about the panel making at least 80% of its original power when new. Since solar panel cells break down over time they will only last so long. Because flexible panels tend to bend and move in the wind, they break down faster than a straight rigid framed solar panel.


When you talk about price, these two panels cost roughly the same. However, you will of course get more bang from your buck if you buy the Rigid 100 panels since they will last for much longer. If you are buying panels for regular everyday use, then you will definitely want to buy the rigid frame solar panels to ensure a longer lifespan. 


If you are wondering which solar panels are best for you, it is pretty clear to see that the rigid frame solar panels are the ones that last the longest and are the most durable. They might even just be the easiest for everyday use. They are much less finicky than the flexible solar panels. However, if you are looking for a more lightweight, portable option, then you might be more interested in flexible solar panels. 

Continue ReadingFlexible VS Rigid Solar Panels – Which One is Best?

The Best Portable Flexible Solar Panel Carrying Case

Deluxe Solar Panel Carry Case

With so many solar generators on the market right now, and some very good ones finally coming out like the Titan, it can be difficult to move everything around and keep things straight. This is why is spent months searching for, buying, testing and using different solar panel carry bags and cases. I needed something that would fit my panels, break down when not in use, was not over the top expensive and would last a very long time. I also wanted to keep my panels clean, protected and out of harm’s way.

Standard Solar Panel Carry case

There are three main solutions I have found work very well for solar panel carry bags. The first is the Standard Solar Panel Carry Case. It works very well and is made of felt. The felt keeps water out very well when it’s raining since it’s naturally water repellant. It also does a great job of keeping the dust off of the panels. I store my panels in mygarage where I often do woodworking projects and everything seems to get caked in sawdust. Having the panels in the standard carry bag keeps them very clean.

It also does a good job of keeping them well padded and protected. The biggest downside of the standard carry bag is it does not have a shoulder strap. When I go camping with my family, we sometimes have to walk quite a long distance in order to reach the campsite. This can get a little tiring since I generally keep 5 or 6 panels in each case and each panel weighs 4lbs. I generally carry 20 to 24lbs in panels in each case which is easy over a short distance but over long distances can be tiring.

The second drawback is that it uses Velcro to close the top. I don’t find this too difficult to use and it’s nice when I have different amounts of panels in the case that it conforms to whatever thickness I need. It would be nicer to have a zipper though.

One big benefit to it is that it extends up to 59 inches in length which means it works for both 42-inch and 48-inch flexible solar panels. It will easily carry up to 35lbs without any worries of it breaking or ripping.

Deluxe Solar Panel Carry Case

The Deluxe carry bag is my absolute favorite of the three options. This is the one I use the most and recommend to everyone. It measures 42 inches long by 32 inches wide by 4 inches gusset (thick when full). Since the flexible solar panels, I use are 42 inches long they fit perfectly snug inside of it. 48-inch-long deluxe carry cases can also be obtained by asking about them here.

The biggest thing I love about the deluxe panel carry bag is that it is extremely easy to use and carry. At first, I didn’t understand why there was 32 inches wide when the average flexible solar panel is only 22 to 24 inches wide. But then I went to put my solar panels in it and realized that it’s much easier to slide the panels in when they can rest on a lip of the bag and then slide in.Flap on Deluxe Case

The handle on the case is oversized so that it can be used to carry the panels by hand or over the shoulder. I always use it as a shoulder strap unless I’m just moving them a very short distance. The straps are extra wide because they are 2 inches wide which makes them very comfortable on the shoulder. Even when carrying up to 10 solar panels for a total of about 40lbs. I don’t notice any pain in my shoulder from the straps. They do not dig in at all.

The Deluxe Case also has a handle in the middle of the case on the outside. When the case is slung over my shoulder the extra handle is exactly at my hand level. This allows me to grab the handle and get extra support to alleviate weight off my shoulder if necessary. It also makes it easier to put onto a table. Generally, at a campsite, there are tables where we put all of our stuff before getting set up. Or even at home when the power is out, and I need to set the panels out I often set out a table to work on so I’m not in the dirt or snow.

Placing Solar Panel Bag on Table

When the side handle is pulled up the entire case will lay flat. This makes it very easy to walk up to a table, pull the handle up, and set the entire case down safely without worry of damaging the panels inside. Normally I would’ve had to live the entire case higher up, so the bottom edge gets on the table and then set it down and lay it flat. With the Deluxe Case, it’s easier.

To make sure that my panels are 100% protected I take the extra plastic foam that comes with the panels and I put at least two sheets inside the carry bag. This makes it even more protective because I add more padding to the whole bag. I put a large flat piece of foam that comes with the solar panel on one side of the panels in the case and another foam pad on the other side, so the panels are encased in foam, so they are more protected.

I sometimes will put a layer of foam in between the panels too but the foam is actually thicker than the panels, so each piece of foam essentially takes up about one pane’s worth of space. That can make it hard to fit up to 10 panels in there even though it’s possible.

The Deluxe Carry Bag also has a very nice zipper on it which rarely ever gets snagged. The only time I have it snag is when I a pulling on the zipper at a weird angle or the flaps are lined up together. I’ve never had any fabric get stuck in the zipper like what sometimes happens on jackets.

It is made of a tight weave Dacron fabric that has a waterproof coating put on it. This is 100% waterproof unless you’re really trying to get water in it. The only places I have seen water really come in is through the zipper and that was only during torture testing. I have never seen water get inside in normal rainy conditions.

Compact Size of Solar Panel Carry Bag

It folds down to be extremely compact so when I am not using the case it doesn’t take up any space in my camper, tent, truck, cabin, house or whatever. It folds down to about the size of a 1” binder.

The Deluxe Carry Case is absolutely the best way to go when it comes to carrying lots of flexible solar panels. It keeps them well protected, it’s very portable, and the bag compacts down very small.

Ultimate Solar Panel Carry Case

There is another solar panel carry case that I have used and like a lot, but it is not designed for solar panels. It is the 50-inch LCD TV Gator Case. This thing is a beast when it comes to protecting solar panels. It is designed for carrying LCD and LED TVs to events like Expos and Shows.

Gator Case for Carrying Solar Panels

I really like it because it has 2 inches of thick foam padding all the way around it so it’s nearly impossible to damage the solar panels inside. There is so much padding that they could literally fall out of the bed of a truck and essentially no damage would come to the panels. But it comes at a price.

Even though it’s extremely nice it is a bit pricey. Generally, around $200. The sad part is that there is a case that is meant for 40 to 45-inch TVs but it doesn’t work with 42” solar panels. The reason is that solar panels are measured along the length of the panel and Inside of 50 Inch Gator Case with Solar PanelTVs are measured along the diagonal length between corners. That means a 45-inch LED TV is actually only about 40 inches long. Since the solar panels are 42 inches long it just barely does not fit. The smaller Gator Case is normally about $70 more affordable which would’ve been a pretty good price around $130 for protecting panels that cost nearly $1,000 but the 50-inch Gator Case is normally about $200.

$200 is a pretty steep price to pay when the Deluxe Solar Panel Carry Bag is about half of that. Since the foam that ships with the solar panels is slipped into the Deluxe Case, I feel it is well protected and that the Gator Case is overprotected and not worth that much of a price for my solar panels.

The second drawback is that it doesn’t break down. When the case is not in use it still takes up the same amount of space as if the panels were in it. This makes it harder to store. But if there’s a need for tons of extra padding then it’s a great option.

The Best Way to Go

The Deluxe Panel Carry Bag is my favorite option because it has everything I need for carrying my panels as well as protecting them from damage, dust, and water. I think it’s one of the best investments to have after getting a solar generator and panels. It’s not fun at all to have just spent anywhere from $500 to $2,000 in solar panels and then have them get damaged. To me, I look at the Deluxe Carry Case as an investment in my investment. It keeps my panels working well so I can get more energy output from them.

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Continue ReadingThe Best Portable Flexible Solar Panel Carrying Case

Adjustable Portable DIY Solar Panel Stand

DIY Portable Solar Panel Stand Mount Very Affordable Thumbnail

A portable solar panel stand is one of the most beneficial upgrades anyone can do to a portable solar system. Having used many solar generators, I have had to charge them with solar panels many times. Putting solar panels directly onto the ground works pretty okay during the summer but during the fall, winter and spring a solar panel stand makes a huge difference in power production.

The first time I ever built a solar panel stand it was extremely complicated. That’s why I never published anything about it because it could not be easily replicated. I wanted something that was lightweight, very compactable and could take with me anywhere. I think permanent installations are just fine for solar panels but with a solar generator, a portable solar panel mount is really helpful.

Solar is a large investment, there’s no way around that, it isn’t cheap. A solar panel stand frame is the cheapest and easiest way to get more power from the panels. I am also not huge on having a permanent installation of panels for a solar generator because in the event of a natural disaster I could lose my entire investment. For example, the wildfires in California burned countless homes and many of those homes had solar on them. Same in southeast Texas and along the entire Gulf Coast, horrific hurricanes have caused billions of dollars of damage to solar equipment from hail, debris, wind and water.

Having a system that can be taken with me is important in the event that I need to take my things and evacuate to a safer location. I’d hate to invest thousands of dollars into a system and then have it destroyed when I could’ve easily packed it into my car and taken it with me. There’s no guarantee in the event of a natural disaster that there will be power wherever I am heading to evacuate.

This is why I set out to find the most affordable solar panel stand that was completely adjustable for different times of the year. This DIY project took a long time to figure all the parts out exactly but now I have an amazing portable solar panel stand setup that I can take with me anywhere and greatly improved my power production from my solar panels.

Complete DIY Solar Panel Stand Kit:

1 Set Panel Stand Legs Option 1
1 Set Panel Stand Legs Option 2
4 Pieces of Panel Stand Crossbeams (Usually cheaper at Home Depot or Lowes)
2 Packs of Star Knobs 1/4″-20 w/bolt 10pk
1 Box Flange Nuts 1/4″-20 50pk
1 Set Red Tent Stakes 8pk
1 Bag Bungee Ball 4inch 25pk


Solar Panel Stand Legs

The solar panel stand legs are the most crucial part of the whole support mount. At first, I tried making my own stand legs but found that it cost me more than just getting a good quality set online.

Eco Worthy Solar Panel StandThe solar panel stand legs are very simple and consist of two 41” long aluminum slotted angle pieces, one 21” aluminum angle brace, and a few star knobs, bolts and flange nuts.

Putting these pieces together is surprisingly confusing even though there are only three main pieces to the whole rack. The first thing to do is take the two 41” pieces and put them together so that one is sitting in the angle groove of the other. Be sure that the elongated holes are matching so that the two pieces are lined up exactly the same. With one in each hand pull them apart so that they are not touching each other. Take the slotted angle piece in the left hand and rotate 180 degrees. Now place the two pieces back together side by side. The last hole closest to you on each piece now has a star knob put through it and a flange nut put on the star knob bolt threads.

The second part is easier than the first. Take the 21” frame strut, and using a star knob and flange nut, bolt it in the middle of the 41” piece that will be the bottom. Then take the other 41” piece, lift it up so it’s at about a 45-degree angle, and then bolt the other end of the 21” mount strut to it using a star knob and flange nut. And just like that it is all set up.Solar Panel Stand Strut

The same process is repeated for the second leg that comes in the set. These two solar panel stand legs will make the outside legs of the entire frame so that it easily stands up and holds up to about 100lbs.

When breaking down the legs I simply unbolt the star knob that’s on the 45-degree 41” frame piece. I then lay everything flat so that it’s easier to store. I then take the start knob I removed to break it down and simply bolt it anywhere there’s an open spot on the whole frame so that it doesn’t get lost and I have it on the leg for the next time I set it up.

Solar Rack Crossbeams

There are a few different ways to set up the crossbeams. The first thing to consider is how wide does the whole stand need to be? I generally use 100-watt solar panels with my solar generators and each solar panel generally about 22 inches wide. I normally have about 500 watts in solar panels setup on my stand which means I have 5 panels total. With each panel at 22 inches wide that means the total minimum width my solar panel rack needs to be is 110 inches (9ft 2in) in width.

Slotted Angle Crossbeam

The easiest way for me to accomplish this is to get two 5ft slotted angle iron pieces. Those two pieces will be bolted together for the top crossbeam and then a second set of slotted angle iron pieces will be put together to make the bottom crossbeam. A third set of 5ft slotted angle iron pieces can be used to make a center crossbeam which is recommended on windy days to help hold the panels in place.

I find it easy to use star knobs and flange nuts to put the crossbeams together but some people may not like this because the center solar panel will have to bend around or go over the bolts from the star knobs or the star knob heads. I haven’t found this to be an issue but if it is a concern then a flush rounded bolt head should be used. The flange nuts I use are ¼” 20 TPI (threads per inch) and fit with the star knobs I like to use. Getting carriage bolts (round head) that are ¼-20 TPI will be a good fit. Also using two 6ft pieces instead of 5ft pieces makes it easy to not have the middle panel bend over the star knobs.

Center Crossbeam

To assemble the crossbeams, I place two of them on the ground with the ends touching each other. I then take one and overlap the other by about 6 inches for the 5ft pieces and 18 inches for the 6ft pieces. I then use two star knobs on each end of the overlapped section and bolt the two slotted angle pieces together. This makes one long 9ft 6in section.

Assembling Crossbeams

The crossbeams are the second thing I put together after putting the solar panel stand legs together. Once the crossbeams are assembled together, I then use the star knobs and bolt the bottom beam onto the legs first. Then I do the top crossbeam and bolt it to the top of the solar panel stand legs using the star knobs. With that the solar panel stand is basically done. If it’s windy I will often add a third crossbeam in the middle just to make the stand stronger and give the solar panels more support.

For the top crossbeam I have the slotted angle set so that it has a flat face pointing out with the 90-degree point going towards the back. For the top crossbeam I do the opposite where the 90-degree point is sticking out towards the front. This allows me to have a small shelf for the bottom of the solar panels to rest on. Then regardless of the height of the panel it can sit on a flat face of metal which makes it easier to attach.

Top and Bottom Crossbeam


Mounting Solar Panels to the Rack

For mounting the solar panels to the entire support rack, I like to use more star knobs and flange nuts. They are easy to put on, they secure the panels very well, and I know they won’t fail with extended use outdoors. I have also used round top bolts with a washer, crush washer and nut. I have also used, even on windy days, 4” ball bungees. The ball bungees hook on very fast and are surprisingly sturdy but are only UV resistant not UV proof so they will eventually fail. Also, because they are fabric and elastic the weather will eventually cause them to fail.Mounting Solar Panels to Stand

Most often I use star knobs to secure the top of the solar panel to the rack, then if it’s windy I’ll use the ball bungees to secure the bottom of the panel. If it’s very windy I will add the third crossbeam to the entire stand and then use the center grommets on the solar panels along with the ball bungees to help the panels not flap around.


This DIY solar panel stand is very lightweight. It weighs right about 15lbs without the solar panels attached. The flexible solar panels I use weigh 4lbs each. The panels and the mounting rack together weigh a total of 35lbs which is easily picked up and moved around wherever I need it.

The weight varies a little bit because it’s also very easy to use 6ft crossbeam pieces rather than 5ft pieces. This makes it better to have more of an overlap in the middle of the crossbeam so that it’s stronger. Also using 3ft or 4ft pieces and piecing them together into a crossbeam works very well and makes it easier to store when completely broken down. It just means those smaller lengths will overlap each other and will need 2 star knobs per overlap.

Portable Solar Panel Stand

Generally, at night or on very stormy days I will bring the solar panel stand back into my garage where it is safe. To do this all I have to do is disconnect my cables from the solar panels that go to my solar generator. Then I pick up the entire solar panel stand from the back in the middle and carry it into my garage.

Lifting the entire frame will not work with rigid solar panels on it. The 100-watt rigid panels generally weigh between 16 and 20 pounds each. With five solar panels on the stand that would mean that the solar panels would weigh 80lbs on the low end. Then adding the 15lbs for the solar panel stand it weighs a total of 95 pounds. There’s no way the average Joe will be able to easily pick that up and carry it around. Because it is nearly 10ft wide and almost 4ft tall it is very awkward to carry when there’s that much weight on it.

This is why I prefer the flexible solar panel so much to the rigid panels. The flexible solar panels will make as much power as the rigid panels but weigh much less. The

reason some people do not like the flexible solar panels is that they do not last as long as the rigid panels. That is the case if the flexible solar panels have a PET finish on them. PET is a plastic coating much like what disposable water bottles are made of. The thing to do is get flexible solar panels that have an ETFE finish which is guaranteed to last for 20+ years.

PET Solar Panel Fading
PET Solar Panel Fading


The second thing to keep in mind with the flexible solar panels is that if they are mishandled the cells in them will likely begin to crack. If the cells crack, then they become less efficient. If the panel becomes less efficient it will make less power. This is actually one of the big reasons why I love having a solar panel stand. Since I am keeping the solar panels on a stand, they are not at risk of being stepped on. Often times people will put the solar panels on the ground which is a much higher risk of getting them damaged.

The entire solar panel stand frame easily breaks down to be very portable as well when not in use. If 5ft or 6ft crossbeam pieces are too long, it’s also very easy to get 3ft or 4ft pieces and simply combine more of them together to get the needed width for the solar panels.


This DIY portable solar panel stand is 100% adjustable from 90-degrees to 5-degrees of angle. During the summer the sun is much higher in the sky than it is during the winter. During the summer solar panels can often lay flat on the ground and make about 90% of the power that they would make if they were up on the rack. But during the winter because the sun is so much lower in the sky, laying the solar panels on the ground will often only make about 50% as much power as when they are on the mounting rack.Adjustable solar panel stand

The solar panel stand legs have holes spaced out about every 2.5 inches so that the angle of the stand can easily be adjusted. This is another reason why I like to use the star knobs. They make it very easy to make small changes like this to the whole stand.

Total Cost

The pricing on the pieces vary on Amazon. The solar panel stand legs that I use normally can be purchased for about $50 per set of legs. But there are other solar panel stand legs (option 2 on the list provided above) that are about $100, and the only difference is that they’re a little bit wider.

The crossbeams vary the most in price on Amazon. When possible, it’s best to find the crossbeam sections at Home Depot or Lowes. My issue is that when I bought my first 4 pieces of crossbeam there were only 4 at the store. Then over the weeks as I checked back, they had either not been restocked or people kept buying them before I got back to the store. One option is to order them off of or and pick them up at the store to ensure they are in stock just for you.

The star knobs, flange nuts, tent stakes, and ball bungees were all more affordable on Amazon than anywhere else which is why I recommend getting them from there.

On average each solar panel stand setup costs about $150 each. What most people don’t understand is each set of solar panels stand legs are designed to be used with one panel only. So, if I used one solar panel stand leg set for each panel that would cost about $250 for 5 solar panels or as much as $500 if the cheaper stand legs were out of stock or not available and had to get the thicker ones. And that doesn’t include getting the extra star knobs, flange nuts or anything to mount the panels to each set of stand legs. That means this DIY portable solar panel stand mount is anywhere from 50% to 75% more affordable than putting a set of legs on each panel. It’s also much cheaper than building one from angled aluminum pieces which is what I originally did and it is very costly and complicated.

5 Star Rating



In my opinion, there is nothing more beneficial to making more power from my solar panels than using this solar panel stand kit for the price. The entire mounting system costs about the same as buying another 100-watt solar panel but during the winter the solar stand helps make twice as much power. That means I’d have to buy 5 more panels to use during the winter to equate to how much power is increased by the solar stand. It’s much more affordable to have the stand.

Because of how portable and adjustable the mounting frame is I am able to take it anywhere with me with ease and use it regardless of the time of the year. Also, because it’s off the ground I won’t kill any grass under my solar panels since hot solar panels will kill the grass under them when laying on the ground.

It’s invaluable to my setup. It truly makes everything worth it since the whole point of having solar is to make as much power as possible with free energy from the sun.

Continue ReadingAdjustable Portable DIY Solar Panel Stand