Part of the problem with solar power generation is that more wattage means more space. The math for figuring it out is fairly simple, but it all boils down to doubling the size in order to double the output. This results in some solar panels that often lose their portability. The Renogy 100 Watt Foldable Solar Suitcase solves part of that problem by utilizing a folding mechanism and a soft, fabric case that allows for very easy and relatively hassle-free transportation.
This 12 Volt Monocrystalline Solar kit from Renogy includes a number of useful features, making it a go-to device for those seeking larger amounts of off-the-grid power. The key feature of this portable solar panel its ease of use. Many solar panel systems of comparative size may fold, but they do not include many of the same folding capabilities as the Renogy 100 Watt device.
The device comes with two joined solar panels, each 13.5 inches wide, 20 inches from top to bottom, and a relatively thin 3 inches. When folded out, the panels reach 27 inches wide from side to side. To set it up, each panel includes an adjustable leg or stand. These legs also fold out, and can be locked into place with an adjustable nut at the center of the leg. The legs are made with corrosion resistant aluminum, making these solar panels a wise choice for those keeping them outdoors for extended amounts of time.
Folded between the panels, users will find all of the features that make these solar panels highly useful while on the road. This includes a multi-functional 10A LCD display charge controller attached to the back the panels, alligator clips, a 10 foot tray cable and Anderson connectors.
The Viewstar LCD display charge controller sits snugly in Velcro housing until it’s needed. It can be pulled out to rest at a straight angle for easy viewing and operation. Users will find all the requisite functions in this charge controller, but should note that the device is built to handle a max of 12.6 volts. The device can also be set for different battery types, allowing it to adjust the way in which is provides power to the battery to prevent overloads and fires. It can be set for gel, flood or seal type batteries, all of which charge fairly fast and with very little power loss.
- User Guide/Manual: RNG-F-2X50D (PDF)
- Limited Warranty: 5 Years for panel, 1 Year for other components
What’s Not Included?
The Renogy 100 Watt Foldable Solar Suitcase is not a solar panel for most people. It has a distinct disadvantage of requiring a relatively high learning curve for the uninitiated. Because it is putting out a lot of power, it is designed specifically to charge much larger batteries, and can be a bit dangerous for those who do not know what they are doing around a large amount of amps. While the low voltage is designed to help avoid electric shocks, it is very important to read the manual on this device before trying to set it up. Unlike some smaller solar panels, devices cannot be charged directly from the panels out of the box. It can be set up that way, but requires a bit of technical skill and know how in order to alter the device to make it work in this manner.
Likewise, this device does not come with any battery packs included. While the cost of the solar panels themselves is not overly expensive, buyers will have to seek out and purchase a battery suited for this type of device. Because this solar panel setup uses alligator clips and Anderson connectors, the type of battery users should look into are more commonly associated with motor vehicles. It is designed for high capacity 12V batteries that require alligator clips. As such, this solar panel is perfect for those trying to charge much larger devices while on the road, and is built for more heavy-duty outdoor camping or fishing adventures. It is not the type of solar panel one will take on a hiking or biking trip.
Renogy 100 Watt Foldable Solar Suitcase: Conclusion
The hallmark of the Renogy 100 Watt Foldable Solar Suitcase is its portability and durability. Renogy puts enough faith in their device to offer a 25-year warranty at no extra cost, giving users a nice blanket of trust over the product. Designed specifically for more significant outdoor activities, this solar panel combines a fair amount of power with an impressive amount of portability.