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A 15 Watt Solar Panel: What Can This Small Solar Panel Run. Thunderbolt magnum solar charger

A 15 Watt Solar Panel: What Can This Small Solar Panel Run. Thunderbolt magnum solar charger

    A 15 Watt Solar Panel: What Can This Small Solar Panel Run?

    Can a 15 Watt solar panel actually power anything, or is just a toy that will ultimately let you down? This is the eternal question of a person considering a smaller solar panel.

    Before we pass judgment on whether small solar panels are worthy of our hard earned dollars, let’s consider where the 15 Watt solar module fits in the solar panel size spectrum. Is it really so small after all?

    To figure this out, we need to take a look at some of the solar module sizes that are available.

    15 Watt Panels Vs. Other Solar Panel Sizes

    Coleman offers a 1-watt portable solar panel that is used for maintaining small batteries. A 15 watt panel offers fifteen times more power than one of these maintainer panels. It also offers over seven times the wattage of the 2 watt solar panel offered by Voltaic Systems. With this in mind, we can safely say that a 15 watt panel is far from the smallest solar panel available.

    But what about the big boys? Phono Solar, Canadian Solar, and other companies offer panels at the 450 watt level. This is 30 times the power of a 15 watt panel! Considering this, I think it’s safe to say that a 15 Watt does not belong in the ‘large’ category of solar modules.

    If a 1 or 2 watt panel is extra small and a 450 watt panel is extra large, a medium sized panel would be somewhere in the 85 – 150 watt range. This confirms that a 15 Watt solar panel does indeed belong in the ‘small’ category. Let’s just say it is in the middle section of the small solar panel category.

    Now what kind of power can we expect from this ‘middle of the small category’ kind of solar panel?

    What Will A 15 Watt Solar Panel Run?

    Although you wouldn’t want to attempt to power your entire house with a 15 watt panel, there is a surprising number of things that can be powered, charged, or maintained by a panel of this size. Here are some of the things this panel can do:

    • Charge a Car Battery
    • One of the most common applications for these panels is charging a 12 volt battery. The most common 12 volt batteries are the ones you find in cars and trucks (not Teslas and other electric vehicles, but the old fashioned gas-powered ones). A 15 watt panel is a good size for keeping these batteries topped up if your vehicle will be sitting for a while. Make sure the panel has a built-in charge controller to ensure your battery doesn’t get overcharged.
    • Charge an RV, Motorcycle, Marine, or ATV Battery
    • A 15 watt solar panel can charge and maintain the batteries in a variety of recreational vehicles. To keep your battery healthy, just make sure your panel has a charge controller or that you add one to your setup.
    • Charge Your Gadgets
    • Have you ever wished you could keep your cell phone, tablet, or laptop computer topped up during a camping trip or power outage? A 15 watt panel could be just the thing you need. Some panels have a built-in USB input so you can charge directly and others will require additional hardware.
    • Off-Grid Applications
    • If you need power far away from the grid, a 15 watt panel can be very helpful. These applications include powering up a deer feeder or an electric fence.

    Now you’re probably wondering how quickly a 15 watt panel will charge your batteries and devices. This depends on many factors, including:

    • Sunlight intensity
    • Efficiency of solar panel
    • Battery age and type
    • Charge controller

    To get a rough idea of how long a solar panel will take to charge you batteries and gadgets, we need to do a little math (don’t worry, we’ll keep it simple).

    The first thing we need to figure out is how much electric current the 15 watt panel will produce. To get this number we simply divide the power in watts by the voltage in volts. This tells us that a 15 watt solar panel will provide about 1 amp of current in full sunlight.

    Then we need to determine the number of ‘amp hours’ (Ah) that are in our battery or device. For instance, an iPhone 13 Pro has a battery capacity of about 3 amp hours.

    Now we just divide the amp hours in the battery by the amps our solar panel produces:

    3 amp hours = 3 hours 1 amp

    So, without taking into account all of the factors we mentioned above, it will take about 3 hours to fully charge your iPhone with a 15 watt solar panel. You can use this calculation to get an approximate charging time for other gadgets and power banks.

    If you’re just using your solar panel to maintain your car, motorcycle, or marine battery you won’t need to calculate charging time. Your panel will just be keeping your battery at its optimum state and saving you from the inconvenience of a dead battery. If you’re planning on using your panel for car battery charging you might want to look for one that comes as part of a kit that includes a 12V car adapter, a length of wire, and battery clamps.

    Types of 15 Watt Solar Panels

    Once you’ve confirmed that a 15 watt panel will suit your needs, you have a couple of questions to consider:

    • Amorphous Panel vs Monocrystalline or Polycrystalline Panel
    • Monocrystalline solar panels are considered the ‘top of the line’ option and offer the highest solar panel efficiency available. Polycrystalline solar panels are less efficient but can also be less expensive. Amorphous solar panels are created using a ‘thin-film’ technology that is lightweight and usually less efficient in optimal conditions. In addition to being lightweight, however, amorphous solar technology operates effectively in all daylight conditions (even on cloudy days). This can make it a great option for portable applications.
    • Rigid vs Folding or Roll-Up Solar Panel
    • A rigid solar panel is durable and can be secured to many flat surfaces in a very secure way. Folding solar panels are more lightweight and are much easier to throw in a backpack when you’re on the move. A roll-up solar panel can also be quite convenient to carry and is another lightweight option for portable solar applications.

    How Much Does a 15 Watt Solar Panel Cost?

    The good news is that the cost of solar panels has come down dramatically over the last decade. With that being said, there is still quite a range of when you’re doing your solar panel shopping.

    Nevertheless, the following options should give you a good starting point (of course, all of these are subject to change):

    • The SunJack 15 Watt Foldable Solar Panel can currently be found for 59.95. This is a great portable option to keep your gadgets fully charged and it includes USB-A and USB-C connectivity. This option also includes a built-in Smart chip that identifies your device and provides the optimal charging speed. Charging will also automatically restore if shading occurs.
    • The FlexSolar 15 Watt Portable Solar Panel Charger is currently 49.99. This is another great foldable portable option to keep your gadgets charged. This panel also features a USB-A port, a Smart chip, and automatic restart feature.
    • The ACOPOWER 15 Watt Polycrystalline Panel is available for 34.90. This is a rigid panel and isn’t as portable as a foldable solar panel. It could be a great option for a stationary application like charging a security light. This panel does not include a charge controller or battery.
    • The Nature Power 15W Semi Flexible Solar Panel is a more pricey option at 109.76. On the bright side, this panel is very light weight and can mold to a curved surface. It is also made from high efficiency monocrystalline solar cells. Could be a great trickle charger option.

    As you can see there is quite a range of but there are some great deals to be had. Now hopefully you’re ready to start shopping for a 15 watt solar panel of your very own. If you think you might need a larger solar panel, check out the following pages:

    Understanding the 100-watt solar panel kit and its uses

    If you need an easy and affordable way to produce solar energy, the 100-watt solar panel might be exactly what you’re looking for.

    100-watt panels are very versatile thanks to their small size and light weight. You can easily hook one up to your RV or boat, take it camping with you, or install it on an off-grid cabin… the possible uses are endless.

    So, what do you need to know about 100-watt (W) panels before you buy one? And which is the best one to buy in 2023? Read on to find out.

    Note: This is an unbiased review: we have no financial ties with any of the companies mentioned, nor do we earn money from affiliate advertising. The content of this blog is based on research and information available at the time of writing.

    See how much a solar panel system would cost for your home

    Why you can trust SolarReviews:

    SolarReviews is the leading American website for consumer reviews and ratings of residential solar panels and solar panel installation companies. Our industry experts have over two decades of solar experience combined and maintain editorial independence for their reviews. No company can pay to alter the reviews or review scores shown on our site. Learn more about SolarReviews and how we make money.

    100-watt solar panels at a glance:

    • A 100-watt solar panel typically produces between 300 and 600 watt-hours (Wh) of solar energy per day.
    • A 100 W panel provides enough power to run or charge a few small electronic devices, like Wi-Fi routers and cell phone chargers.
    • Expect to pay 100 to 200 for a standalone 100 W panel, and 150 to 300 for a 100 W solar panel kit (without a battery).
    • The best solar 100-watt panels to buy: Eco-Worthy 100 W Complete Off Grid Solar Kit (best for beginners); SunPower E-Flex (best for RVs, boats, etc); Renogy 100 W Foldable Solar Suitcase (best portable); Goal Zero Boulder 100 (most durable).

    About 100 W solar panels and solar kits

    A 100-watt (W) solar panel is a photovoltaic (PV) module that has a power rating, or wattage, of 100 W. This means that the panel can produce 100 W of DC power under ideal conditions.

    In terms of real-world output, you may be able to hit 100 W when it’s very sunny out, but the rest of the time output will likely be lower than that.

    A 100 W solar panel kit comes with all the components you need for a small solar power system. Exact contents can vary from kit to kit, but they typically include a solar panel, charge controller for battery charging, power inverter, wiring, and mounting brackets. Sometimes, compatible 12-volt battery packs are available as an add-on.

    Solar panels come in a range of sizes and weights, but 100-watt panels are generally small and easy to handle. A typical 100 W solar panel, like this model from HQST, measures about 6.5 square feet (ft²) and weighs about 14 pounds.

    If you want something lighter, consider a 100 W flexible solar panel; these only weigh 4 to 5 pounds each.

    How much do 100-watt solar panels cost?

    A standalone 100 W solar panel costs 100 to 200, depending on the brand.

    A basic 100 W solar starter kit usually costs around 150, while a premium kit will have a price tag closer to 300. It’s rare for a battery to be included at this price point.

    For a 100 W solar panel kit with a compatible portable battery, the price range is pretty wide: anywhere from 400 to 1,700.

    Use these costs only as a guide; can vary depending on brand and features.

    Best 100 W solar panels in 2023

    Solar manufacturers have been releasing many new 100 W solar panels in response to rising consumer demand for portable and easy-to-use solar solutions.

    There are lots of great 100 W panels out there, but the ones listed below rise above the crowd thanks to their standout features. So without further ado, here are our picks for the best 100 W solar panels currently available:

    Eco-Worthy 100 W Complete Off-Grid Solar Kit

    Best: 100 W starter kit for beginners

    Price: From 379.00. Buy now on Eco-Worthy

    This kit has all the parts you need to build a fully-functional solar power station. Image source: Eco-Worthy

    This 100 W starter kit from Eco-Worthy is a rare find: it’s affordable and includes a panel, charge controller, power inverter, and even battery storage. This is a great option for a beginner looking to set up a small off-grid system.

    What we like:

    • This is a complete 100 W solar panel kit. You can use it to build a fully-functional off-grid setup without the need for any additional components.
    • There are two battery options: A lightweight lithium battery with 240 watt-hours (Wh) of storage, or a bulkier AGM lead-acid with a 1,200 Wh capacity.
    • Great value for money.

    What we don’t:

    • This isn’t the best-looking equipment aesthetically speaking, but this is a matter of personal preference.

    SunPower E-Flex 100W

    Best: 100 W panel for RVs, boats, and other vehicles

    Price: 152 Buy now on Express Power or eBay

    SunPower’s flexible 100 W solar panel offers excellent performance. Image source: Expert Power

    SunPower’s E-Flex series panels are made with special lightweight solar cells and covered with a thin polymer. They’re a great choice if you want to add some solar capacity to an RV, camper van, or boat.

    What we like:

    • It’s a SunPower panel! Founded in Silicon Valley, solar manufacturer SunPower (now rebranded as Maxeon Solar) is renowned for the exceptional quality, performance, and efficiency of its products.
    • While flexible solar panels generally offer subpar performance, this isn’t the case with the SunPower E-Flex. You’ll see the panels are designed for excellent power output and are equipped to perform well in extreme temperatures.
    • It comes with pre-drilled holes for easy installation.
    watt, solar, panel, this, small

    What we don’t:

    • Flexible solar panels aren’t as durable as the standard glass-covered rigid solar panels you’re used to seeing.
    • The product warranty on the SunPower E-Flex is short – only five years. That said, you can expect it to continue to perform well for many years after its warranty term.
    • It doesn’t come with a solar charge controller or battery bank – you’ll have to buy these separately.

    Renogy 100 Watt Foldable Solar Suitcase

    Best: Portable 100 W panel

    Price: 186.99 Buy now on Renogy

    The Renogy 100W panel is easy to pack and store. Image source: Renogy

    This 100 W Renogy solar panel delivers excellent performance in a highly portable package. Setup is a breeze, and when you’re done using it you can fold it, stick it in its case, and carry it like a briefcase. How cool is that?

    What we like:

    • Renogy is arguably the best-known brand in the portable solar panel segment. It has built a strong reputation for producing high-quality products and providing excellent after-sales service.
    • The protective case allows you to pack and store it without worrying about damage to the solar cells.
    • Adjustable stands allow you to position your panel towards the sun at the optimal angle, boosting your power output.

    What we don’t:

    Goal Zero Boulder 100

    Best: 100 W panel for the rugged outdoors

    Price: 249.95 Buy now on Goal Zero or Amazon

    The rugged Boulder 100 has an attractive all-black appearance. Image source: Goal Zero

    The Boulder 100 is a rigid, 18-22 volt monocrystalline solar panel. It’s designed to be a hardy companion to Goal Zero’s solar generators, which get a lot of love from the outdoorsy crowd because of their reliability and durability.

    What we like:

    • It’s durable. This 100-watt monocrystalline solar panel is protected by a strong aluminum frame and comes with a sturdy kickstand. It looks like it can withstand some pretty rough conditions.
    • Easy to use. Put the Boulder 100 out in the sun and you’ve got a mini power station that can charge your Goal Zero’s Yeti and Sherpa solar generators – no additional setup or equipment required.

    What we don’t:

    • Some users report that power output drops significantly under light Cloud cover.
    • While portable, it’s still a bit cumbersome to move around.
    • The Boulder 100 is more expensive than other rigid panels offering similar output.

    Top brands of 100 W solar panels

    Renogy is the most established brand in the 100 W solar panel segment – you’ll see them mentioned in many ‘best-of’ lists.

    But there are actually many solar manufacturing companies that specialize in small portable solar panels and kits. Here are some other reputable suppliers of 100 W panels worth considering:

    • Coleman
    • Eco-Worthy
    • ExpertPower
    • Goal Zero
    • Grape Solar
    • HQST
    • Newpowa
    • Richsolar
    • WindyNation

    You can expect these brands to provide you with a high-quality solar panel that will function well for many years.

    What can a 100 W kit run?

    A 100 W panel connected to a deep cycle battery is ideal for running small devices like Wi-Fi routers and smartphone chargers.

    Here’s how long you can expect to run different devices with a 100 W solar panel kit.

    Device(s) Typical power usage Run time
    Four smartphone chargers 20 W All day
    Three Wi-Fi routers 18 W All day
    Two LED lights 20 W All day
    Ceiling fan 35 W 14 hours
    Laptop 60 W 8 hours
    watt, solar, panel, this, small

    Assuming 500 watt-hours of usable energy

    A single 100-watt panel will struggle to power larger devices, or many devices running at the same. Your battery will either fail to handle the load or run out of juice very quickly.

    If you need more power, consider expanding your system’s capacity with additional 100 W panels, or upgrading to something more powerful like a solar generator.

    What is the energy output of a 100 W panel?

    In terms of instantaneous output, a 100 W panel may be able to hit its maximum power output of 100 Watts of DC power when it’s very sunny out, but the rest of the time output will likely be lower than that.

    It’s more useful to measure solar panel output over time using watt-hours (Wh). Over a day, a 100 W panel typically generates between 300 Wh and 600 Wh.

    Location and weather determine output

    The average output of a 100-watt solar panel differs from place to place due to varying latitude and climate conditions.

    Panels are able to generate the most energy in locations that receive lots of sunlight. In Arizona, for instance, you’ll consistently see excellent power output – an average of 750 Wh per day.

    At the other end of the spectrum, there’s Alaska. There, the long months of winter darkness mean average output drops to just 280 Wh a day.

    As you’d expect, the average output you’ll see in all other states will fall somewhere between these two extremes. Here’s a map that indicates the average daily power output of a 100 W solar panel in each state.

    Wh = Watt-hours. This map is an approximation of the energy output from a 100 W solar panel; there are variations by region within states.

    You’ll also want to account for the impact of weather.

    A 100-watt panel can potentially generate 800 Wh or more on long sunny days with cool temperatures. But, production could drop as low as 50 to 100 Wh on very cloudy days.

    Do I need a battery with my 100 W panel?

    Pairing your 100 W solar panel with a battery is generally a good idea. Although it will add to your costs, a battery will help you make full use of your solar panel’s potential.

    Here’s why. Solar panels tend to produce the bulk of their power around midday, and you might not be able to use all that power right then. Unlike a home solar panel system, a 100 W panel can’t export to the grid, which means unused power will simply go to waste. The solution is to add a battery pack that can store excess power, making it available for you to use later when you need it.

    watt, solar, panel, this, small

    Lead-acid battery

    Although bulky, lead-acid batteries are an affordable way to add storage to a 100 W panel. You should pair a single 100 W panel with a 12-volt lead-acid battery with a capacity of around 1,200 Wh. Make sure to factor in depth of discharge – you shouldn’t use more than 50% of the energy stored within most lead-acid batteries.

    Lithium batteries

    Lithium batteries are lighter and more efficient than their lead-acid cousins. Another point of difference is that they can be discharged almost completely. Aim for storage that is able to hold slightly more than your solar panel’s typical daily output. An example of an appropriate lithium-ion battery is the Goal Zero Yeti 4; it has 396 watt-hours of storage capacity, so you should be able to fully charge it over a reasonably sunny day.

    watt, solar, panel, this, small

    Can you power a home with 100 W solar panels?

    You could if you wanted to, but it wouldn’t make financial sense.

    Homes use a lot of energy, and they generally require a solar system sized between 5 kilowatts (kW) and 10 kW (that’s 5,000 to 10,000 W). You would need between 50 and 100 100-watt solar panels to make a solar system that size. It’s far more efficient and cost-effective to build a home solar panel system with residential solar panels that are 350 to 400 W each.

    Calculate how many solar panels you need to power your specific home

    Can you connect multiple 100 W panels together?

    Yes, you have the option of ‘chaining’ solar panels together to increase the total output.

    For instance, connecting two 100 W panels together in series or parallel will give you up to 200 W of usable power.

    It’s extremely common for solar panels to be connected. Many RVs have three or four 100 W panels connected together in their setups. Home solar panel systems use the same method to connect 10 to 20 residential panels together.

    However, before adding additional panels to your setup you’ll first want to make sure that your inverter and battery (if you’re using one) can handle the extra power input.

    Our verdict on 100 W solar panels

    If you haven’t used renewable energy, a 100 Watt (W) solar panel is a great way to dip your toes in the proverbial water.

    While they come in many shapes and sizes, every 100 W panel will provide you with small but useful amounts of solar power. They’re most effective when paired with a battery, as this lets you store energy for later use. They’re a great way to charge up phones and tablets when you’re away from a power outlet, like during a camping trip.

    Just remember that a 100 W solar panel is only meant to power two or three small devices; it’s not the right choice if you’re looking to power your entire home. For that, you’ll need a system that has at least 5,000 W (5 kW) of capacity that is built with residential panels that are 350 W to 400 W each. Such a system can offset up to 100% of your electric usage while also charging up a solar battery like the Tesla Powerwall.

    To find out the exact system size that’s right for your home, use our calculator below.

    Getting a Bead on Setting Up a Simple Solar Panel Kit

    When it comes to understanding electricity, my mind tends to blank out when it gets to the point where I have to determine volts, amps, amp-hours, voltage under load and other terms that are second nature to the electricity savvy. Let me make it clear that this is not a girl thing or a guy thing. It is simply that some of us are better at understanding how power and electricity works than others.

    In all fairness, in my boating days I was quite familiar with the operation of our house batteries and the inverter. Using this set-up, I had fresh coffee in the morning and power for my laptop. Life was sweet. Although that was almost ten years ago, the lessons learned were simple: don’t discharge the batteries more than 60% and don’t mess with a working electrical system unless you know what you are doing.

    Given my own thick head when in comes to all things electrical, I have always considered the prospect of installing a small solar system in my home a bit daunting. I should not have worried.


    A few months ago I was contacted by Harbor Freight and asked if I would like to try out one of their Magnum Thunderbolt Solar Kits. This was not the time to be bashful so of course I said yes, as long as they understood there would be little or no sun in the Washington State for a month or two. Having set the stage, I was sent the following items for testing:

    So how did it go? The first thing I did was recruit the Survival Husband to do the heavy lifting. Then, together, we decided that we would install the solar kit on the roof of our garage which was angled just right and facing the south. During the summer months, we should get six to seven hour of sun a day in this location.

    We also agreed that climbing the roof was a task for someone younger – a lot younger – so until my brother and my electronics wizard nephew come to visit, we set things up on our upper patio and to heck with the patio furniture.


    The Thunderbolt solar kit comes complete with three 15 watt solar panels for a total of 45 watts. It also includes all of the parts you will need: a mounting frame, solar charge controller box, cables, battery terminal clamps and even a couple of 12 volt lights that plug directly into the controller box. Everything is included for a ground level installation. On the other hand, a roof top installation will require some brackets – something we have not purchased yet.

    The installation was simple. We just followed the instructions in the manual and things worked. Okay, truth be told, Shelly (the Survival Husband) does not always read manuals thoroughly so he put the frame together goofy and had to start over. And then he could not find the power switch on the inverter and thought it was defective. I found it, turned it on and had immediate power.

    He did offer up some tips:

    When assembling the frame, make sure the top bar marked front actually faces front. Otherwise you cannot install the legs.

    There are two sizes of screws with wing nuts. The bag with eight screws are shorter and are the screws to be used when assembling the frame.

    When attaching the three panels to the frame, it is easier to attach the middle panel first. Other than that, just follow the instructions.

    After completing the frame and panel setup, follow the directions by attaching the 3 leads from the panel to the splitter cable. Add the extension cable and plug into the charge controller. Next attach the battery terminals (on the battery) to the charge controller to confirm that you are receiving voltage from the solar panels. There is a large LED display on the front of the charge controller indicating the voltage so that you will know right away if everything is working okay.

    You need to use an inverter to convert the power to AC. In that case, you need to attach the included cables from the inverter to your battery terminals.

    The solar charge regulator box itself, without an inverter, has a 12V cigarette lighter socket, 5V USB, 3-6-9V DC outlets and two 12V sockets for the included light kit. Note that the USB port is only 5 volts, okay for cell phones, Kindles and tablets such as an iPad but not for devices or electronics that require higher voltage.

    The 12V battery is not waterproof so you will need to keep it covered and protected from the elements.

    The Quick Start guide is well laid out and intuitive with accurate, easy to understand diagrams. Plus, all of the manuals are available online so that they will always be handy, even if you lose the originals.


    The first thing I tested was my crock pot. If the grid was down and I wanted to eat but I did not want to build a fire, a working crockpot would be a godsend. It uses just a modest amount of steady power and can be used for soups, stews and even for baking quick breads. I ran the crockpot for quite some time with no problems.

    My next test was more challenging – a hair straightening iron. If my hair iron worked, then I not only would look good, but I would be able to re-seal the Mylar bags I opened to get to my stored food items. Again, no problem. From there I moved to lighting and to my alkaline battery charger. Again, everything worked perfectly and I was pleased.

    Using the Harbor Freight solar system was almost to easy – definitely a set it and forget it operation although the directions indicate you should not leave a charging battery unattended.

    I am not done testing yet. The way these things work is that more batteries equals more amp hours equals more current. Or, in plain English, more battery juice means you can run more stuff for a longer period of time. We plan to add some marine deep cycle batteries and a large watt inverter to the basic set up so we can run more stuff. But for the basics and for now, this system works just fine.


    This Thunderbolt Solar Kit from Harbor Freight is inexpensive if not downright cheap. But do not let the price dissuade you. For lighting, small appliances and laptops, this system works great. It would be even better with a larger battery. You do not need to be an electronics genius to set it up but if you need help, you can find it online, especially at the New World Solar/DIY Solar Energy Forum.

    It is my understanding that folks have tied two or three of these systems together for even more power. As good as that sounds, it is beyond our technical capability at this moment but we are learning and just might get to that point.

    Our goal for now is the get the complete system installed on the roof and to add some additional batteries, probably the marine deep-cycle type. We will then use the solar to kit to power all of our outdoor security lighting as well as our power tools and and everything else that we have running off of our garage and outdoor receptacles.

    This does not apply to us, but I think this would be an ideal backup power source for a well. The price is right and it is oh so easy to install and use which makes it a great starter kit for those wanting to try out solar and see if it is for them.

    Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation! Gaye

    If you have not done so already, please be sure to like which is updated every time there is an awesome new article, news byte, or link to a free survival, prepping or homesteading book on Amazon. You can also follow Backdoor Survival on and Google and purchase my book, The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage from Amazon.

    Bargain Bin: Here are some useful items to have on hand when the power is out.

    Ambient Weather Emergency Solar Hand Crank Radio: This is becoming a popular choice with Backdoor Survival readers. This unit is a Digital AM/FM NOAA Weather Alert Radio and a powerful 3 LED flashlight, with Smart charger, all in one portable package.

    AA and AAA Solar Battery Charger: Another popular item. This unit will charge up to 2 pairs of AA or 1 pair of AAA batteries via USB or solar power.

    Chemical Lighting aka Light Sticks: These are inexpensive, portable and easy to use. These come in a number of colors so take your pick.

    EcoZoom Versa Rocket Stove: Burning twigs and pinecones, this stove will cook a big pot of rice in under 20 minutes. The stove is solidly built and will burn charcoal as well. There is also a version that only burns biomass for slightly less money.

    Coleman Rugged Battery Powered Lantern: This sturdy Coleman has a runtime of up to 28 hours on the low setting and 18 hours on the high setting but does require D cell batteries. Personally, I have both a battery operated and propane lantern. Of course by now you know that I like redundancy with my preps.

    Dorcy LED Wireless Motion Sensor Flood Lite: Don’t let the price lead you to think this wireless flood light is wimpy. I have two of these (so far) and feel that these lights are worth double the price.

    Bicycle Canasta Games Playing Cards: Heck, you need something to keep yourself entertained!

    100 Hour Plus Emergency Candle Clear Mist: My number one choice for emergency candles. This liquid paraffin candle will burn for over 100 hours. t is also odorless and smokeless, making it a great emergency light source that can be extinguished and re-lit as often as needed. Very safe to use.

    Coleman Candle Lantern: When the lights go out, there is nothing like a Coleman. They last forever because spare parts are always available. A candle lantern will not give out the bright light of say, a propane or kerosene lantern. On the other hand, candles are likely to be available when other fuels are not.

    Although I have plenty of flashlights and batteries (you might even say I have a flashlight fetish) I also stay stocked up with a dozen of these Clear Mist 100 Hour Plus Emergency Candles as well. For the best deal, purchase a dozen at a time to get a discounted price. Be sure to also check out the Clear Globe attachment.

    I earn a small commission from purchases made when you begin your Amazon shopping experience here.

    Help support Backdoor Survival. Purchases earn a small commission and for that I thank you!

    Thunderbolt Magnum Solar

    Do you have an energy shortage issue at your place or are you tensed with high electricity bills? Most of these issues are solved using alternative energy sources like generators. But there are a lot of problems with it. Your comfortable and clean environment is ruined with the use of generators.

    That’s why most people have started to shift to Solar Panel kits like the tremendous Thunderbolt Magnum Solar of 100 Watt kit by Harbor Freight.

    Generators are expensive and use fuel or gas to power which burns and produces energy, emitting a lot of harmful gaseous compounds in the environment.

    Jackery 240 Review – Portable power station

    These harmful substances are highly dangerous to breathe in and cause serious health damage mainly respiratory issues or even cancer. They not only destroy your body but also impose excessive damage to your surrounding environment.


    Another concerning issue with these generators is that they produce loud sounds which often causes restlessness, and it becomes hard to FOCUS on your work. To save you from this destructive machine we have come up with the solution of using solar panels.

    Solar panels not only reduce your electricity bills but are also eco-friendly. Buying a solar panel kit is like having a lifetime investment.

    You buy it once, and then you’ll get free electricity for your entire lifetime. You won’t have to worry about your electric bills anymore. They impose no damage to you or your surroundings, neither do they produce any loud sound to distract you.

    Solar panels use light energy from the sun and convert it into electricity. If you want a clean and reliable energy source than Thunderbolt Magnum Solar of 100 Watt kit is the best option for you.

    Let’s go ahead and discuss this Thunderbolt Magnum solar panel kit in detail so you would know why exactly one should buy it? And how much energy it can provide you.

    Thunderbolt Magnum Solar Specifications

    The Thunderbolt Magnum Solar Kit consists of 4 separate solar panels. Each cell of the panel is made up of amorphous silicon encased in a metal or glass frame which can work in both bright and cloudy weather.

    Each of these panels can produce a maximum of 25 watts of energy every hour, all day long. Each of the panels can be used individually, or you can choose how many of them you want to operate at a time.

    When combined with the panels, all 4 panels produce a combined total of 100 watts of energy per hour. Thunderbolt Magnum Solar Kit produces about 12 volts of energy per hour. The efficiency of each solar panel decreases by 0.8 each year.

    Now, this is not the best and highest-producing solar panel kit out there, but it is quite efficient nonetheless. One must admit that it is impressive that such a small solar panel kit can produce this much clean energy, to begin with.

    This panel kit includes voltage regulator, mounting hardware and primary connections required to start generating energy. Another noteworthy attribute of this panel is its easy assembly, all necessary accessories are included for its installation. It is equipped with a charge controller that protects the battery from overcharge and discharge. This kit weighs 40 pounds and needs some energy to carry.

    over, it has a compact design which means it takes a little space. This solar kit is a valuable source of pollution-free and clean energy as they only depend upon sunlight, there’s no need for any fuel.

    The Thunderbolt Magnum Solar Kit can generate enough energy to power or charge the battery for your motor home. It can also be used to run various appliances like electric irons, smaller stoves and ovens, televisions, computers, refrigerators, freezers, and other things like these.

    You might encounter some problems using multiple appliances at once, especially large appliances, but the fact remains the same, which is that for such a small and portable solar panel kit, the amount of energy it produces is stunning.


    Thunderbolt magnum solar kit has three LED indicators.

    Three connections for solar panels, battery and 12V output.

    It contains USB ports for charging smartphones, laptops, tablets, etc.

    This solar kit can withstand drastic weather conditions because it is wind and water-resistant.

    A blocking diode is present to protect battery discharging at night.

    Battery terminals, 12 Volt light systems and DC power adapter also come with it.

    A solar inverter is attached which converts DC power into AC power.

    Thunderbolt magnum solar is an eco-friendly product that provides clean and quiet energy from sunlight with greater efficiency. This 100W solar kit contains mounting hardware, voltage regulator and basic connections. It is very easy to install. Thunderbolt is ideal for small cabins, boats and also for RV’s. It can run on 12 Volts.

    It is made up of amorphous silicon solar cells that give maximum output even in harsh conditions. Thunder’s design makes it weather-resistant. It also has a charge controller that guards your device against discharge or overcharge. Also has a universal DC power adapter to charge your phones and tablets.

    Thunderbolt magnum 100 watt solar panel weighs about 40 pounds which means it is slightly heavier than other panels. It is portable but you need muscles to carry them.

    This solar kit is weatherproof, but its blocking diode is not waterproof, so it must be placed in a dry place. Thunderbolt magnum also requires ventilation to make sure that it remains cool while working. This solar kit does not include a battery, you have to buy it separately.


    If you are hunting for a good solar kit for camping, fishing, small cabins, RV’s and other things, then Thunderbolt magnum 100 watt solar panel is an ideal choice for you.

    It is the best option for you if you are planning to use sunlight as a primary source of energy for your house. But it works at its optimum only in bright sunlight. It can also work in dim lights, but not at its best.

    One of the bad things about this package is that it does not include an actual storage battery, you need to buy it separately. If you want to purchase a solar kit at a cheaper price with high-quality performance, then Thunderbolt magnum solar kit is worthy to buy.

    What Size Inverter Do I Need for a 100 Watt Solar Panel

    Before implementing your 100 watt solar panel in your off-grid property, you need the right equipment and setup.

    We are here to tell you all about inverters, and what capacity inverter would work for a 100-watt solar panel. You will also find a quick and easy guide for calculating what size inverter you need, and different types of inverters.

    You will also find out which batteries and solar charge controllers you will need, and exactly which AC appliances can be powered with a 100-watt solar panel.

    Finding the Right Inverter for a 100 Watt Solar Panel

    Inverters are devices that allow your AC (alternating current) home devices to be powered by solar panels.

    What Capacity Inverter Should You Get?

    To figure out what capacity inverter you will need for your solar setup, you will need to calculate your power needs. Calculate the watts and amps that you want to run.

    You need an inverter with a capacity that is around 20% higher than your largest power output. Your 100 watt solar panel specifications and calculations are important.

    Generally, a 12v DC to 220v AC, 200-watt inverter would be able to run your AC-powered appliances with a 100-watt solar panel.

    Your 200-watt inverter can run a continuous supply of power to AC electricals like printers, coffee makers, lights, laptops, game units, blenders, and small TV sets, with a 100-watt solar panel.

    Calculate Power Output of Solar Panel in Watts

    To calculate what capacity inverter you need on your own, you would need to know how many watts per day are produced by your solar panel.

    A 100 watt solar panel that receives 6 hours of sunlight will produce 100 x 6 = 600 watts per day.

    Calculate Capacity of Battery

    The next step is to calculate the size of the battery you will need because that is where solar power goes. Your inverter draws power from your battery to run AC appliances.

    When a solar panel charges a battery, around 15% of the energy may be lost. Thus, if the solar panel is 85% efficient the battery will receive 600 x 0.85 = 510 watts.

    Let us suppose you have a 12V battery and it is 50% charged. To fully charge the battery you need 510 x 2 = 1020 watts.

    Now you need to convert 1020 watts into amp hours. The calculation would be W / V = A.

    This means that an 85Ah battery will do the job with a 100 watt solar panel and 12V battery.

    But, 100Ah batteries are more common and would also be the most suitable option.

    Calculate Size of Inverter

    You now know the size of your battery. Now you can figure out which inverter to get.

    Inverters should have a capacity that is at least 25% to 50% greater than the total wattage required.

    The maximum power output of your solar panel is 100 watts per hour. This means that the inverter needs to be 25% to 50% bigger. This amounts to an inverter with a capacity between 125 and 150 watts.

    Doubling the wattage is also a safe bet. A 200-watt inverter would also work perfectly, and they are more common on the market.

    Types of Inverters

    Inverters produce different types of wave outputs. The three most common types of inverters are pure sine wave, modified sine wave, and square wave.

    Modified Sine Wave Inverters

    This is an older and less expensive type of inverter. These inverters work well with most equipment. But, they may cause problems with some delicate electronics.

    The power or efficiency of some equipment may be reduced by a modified sine wave inverter, or equipment may run hotter than usual.

    You may experience problems with fluorescent lights, digital clocks, fridge motor pumps, fans, speed drills, light dimmers, and bread makers.

    Pure Sine Wave Inverters

    Pure sine wave inverters are a better investment than modified sine wave inverters since they are more versatile.

    Most of the equipment and electronics on the market are designed for pure sine wave inverters, and your electronics will work according to their specifications.

    Appliances like microwave ovens and motors will only reach their full power output with these inverters. LED televisions, battery chargers, fluorescent lights, and laptops will run smoothly with these inverters.

    Square Wave Inverters

    Very few square wave inverters are seen on the market today.

    Square wave inverters can run simple appliances like universal motors, but not much else.

    Why Do You Need an Inverter?

    Inverters convert the DC (direct current) flowing from your battery into AC so that you can power AC home appliances with your off-grid solar setup.

    The power that runs through the main power grid to supply homes with electricity flows in AC. Home appliances use AC to run.

    On the other hand, the batteries connected to your solar setup flows in DC. Therefore, inverters have to convert DC to AC in order to power your home appliances with solar power.

    Other Equipment Needed to Run Your Solar Setup

    You would need to know what gauge wire for 100 watt solar panels is suitable for your set-up, and find compatible equipment.


    Batteries are essential for your solar setup because they store excess electricity to use when needed.

    Without batteries, your inverter would not have any use. Inverters convert DC power flowing from batteries into usable AC power.

    Why do you need batteries?

    Batteries do not let excess electricity go to waste. Off-grid solar setups do not have access to the main power grid where you can import and export electricity to suit your power needs.

    That is why your off-grid system needs batteries to store the electricity you did not use. This way, you will not be left without power during the night or on cloudy and overcast days.

    What Capacity Batteries Do You Need?

    The bigger the capacity of your battery, the more electricity you can store. Your battery should have the capacity to store at least twice the daily power output of your solar panel.

    With many options on the market you may wonder: How many batteries do I need for a 100 watt solar panel ? What capacity battery do I need?

    With a 100 watt solar panel, you could use one 85Ah 12V battery.

    But your best option would be to use one 100Ah 12V battery.

    If you want to make your battery last long you should avoid letting the battery reach 50% discharge.

    Solar charge controller

    Solar charge controllers regulate the power flow and voltage in your solar installation, including the flow of current between batteries and solar panels. They are vital to your solar setup.

    Solar charge controllers manage current, run electrical loads, and charge batteries. They protect your solar installation against shorting, overcharging, and damage.

    They cannot be left out. You would need an inverter and a solar charge controller to run an off-grid set-up that works with DC current flowing from batteries.

    Why do you need an inverter and charge controller? Keep in mind that your battery provides the power that your charge controller regulates in the first place. Without an inverter converting the DC power from the battery into usable AC power, your charge controller would not work.

    What Size Solar Charge Controller Do You Need?

    If you are looking to complete your solar installation, you may be wondering: What size charge controller do I need for a 100W solar panel?

    A safe option for a 100W solar panel with a 12V battery bank would be to get a 10 amp charge controller.

    Power Output of a 100 Watt Solar Panel


    The power output of a solar panel depends on the amount of sunlight, the angle of the solar installation, and heat build-up.

    You should preferably find out how to install a 100-watt solar panel set-up so that it gets as much sunlight as possible.

    If your 100 watt solar panel receives 4 – 6 hours of peak sunlight per day, it can produce around 400 – 600 watt-hours over 24 hours.

    During the winter and on cloudy days your 100 watt solar panel may produce around 80 – 100 watt-hours over 24 hours.

    If you want to increase the output of your system you will need to know how to connect 2 100 watt solar panels or more.


    A 100 watt solar panel will be able to produce 5 or 6 amps per peak sunlight hour. A rule of thumb is that a 100 watt solar panel can produce 30 amp-hours per day.

    Under perfect conditions, a 100 watt solar panel will produce 5.5 – 6 amps per hour of sunlight. This is called the “maximum current rating.”

    In reality, your solar panel would produce 50 – 100% of the power of the maximum current rating.

    Did you find our blog helpful? Then consider checking:

    • Solar Panels: Everything You Need To Know
    • Top 4 Portable Solar Panels
    • 300 Watt Solar Panels
    • 500 Watt Solar Panel System
    • DIY Solar Panel System Installation Guide
    • 1000 Watt Solar Panel Systems
    • What Equipment You Need for a Complete Solar Panel System?
    • 60-Cell vs 72-Cell Solar Panels
    • How Long Do Solar Panels Last?
    • Top 4 Grid-Tie Inverters Definitive Buyer’s Guide
    • Solar Power Inverters: Do I Need One?

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