Renogy Solar Panels Review
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DIY Solar Shack partners with RENOGY, an innovative company that started as a small project by students at Louisiana State University and has since grown into a world-wide respected company.
RENOGY stands for Renovation and Renewable Energy, with a bit of poetic license taken with the ‘ergy’! There’s a new science in town – Renology!
The RENOGY website presents products that are innovative, very high quality and the team takes great pride in providing all you need to build your own DIY solar systems at reasonable prices.
A RENOGY solar system delivers the goods!
Renogy Solar Kits
A solar kit contains all the components needed to generate solar energy.
The kits come packed ready to connect and assemble. The installation process is a piece of cake – you don’t need to wonder how it all fits together.
What does a Renogy solar kit contain?
The huge advantage with a Renogy solar kit is that all the components are compatible and matched to work together.
All solar panel kits include: solar panels (number depending on power rating, solar charge controller, all connecting cables, and hardware to mount it all.
Add some energy storage batteries and you have a complete DIY solar generator kit.
Are Renogy solar kits suitable for off-grid?
Of course – these solar panel kits are perfect for people looking for a reliable energy supply with no grid connection. Solar batteries are an essential form of energy storage separately if you want to go off-grid – call Renogy and they’ll be happy to advise.
How do I know which is the best solar panel kit for me?
Renogy have different styles of solar panel kits depending on your energy needs and depth of knowledge. If you’re a ‘solar newbie ‘or want to add-on to an existing system, starter kits are a great way to increase you knowledge of practical solar power systems.
Other kits are optimized for efficiency and reliability. If you happen to specialize on RV boondocking or spend a lot of time on the road in your camper, Renogy has a range of solar panel kits specifically designed for RV and van use.
They even have Cabin Solar Kits for off-gridders, either at home or in a cabin retreat in the woods.
RENOGY solar inverters
Renogy uses the most advanced technology in the solar industry for theior inverter designs.
These products offer excellent features; power-saving mode, can connect to monitoring devices such as the BT-2, and utlises automatic power transfer.
What do inverters do and do I need one?
Inverters change the straight-line DC output generated by solar panels into the alternating current power (AC), used by all home appliances.
Inverters are an essential connection between the solar PV system and the appliances you want to hook-up to your solar panel installation.
You will normally need an inverter when your solar panel system is rated more than 5 watts.
Difference between Pure Sine Wave Inverters and Modified Sine Wave Inverters:
Pure sine wave inverters can output smooth electricity waveforms just like that supplied by the utility grid. All your appliances and consumer electronic devices will operate without any interference, overheating or stutter.
Pure sine wave inverters output voltage and current in a pure sine wave shape and Renogy sells a range of inverters of varying specifications to suit any need.
Renogy inverters are fully protected against DC input and AC output surges to remove the possibility of damage to solar system elements and the inverter itself.
Modified sine wave inverters don’t have a smooth shape. The sine wave is approximated by using varying sized square-shape pulses.
The voltage changes are more abrupt, rather than smooth like the pure sine wave inverters and can disturb delicate equipment, particularly communications and electronics.
You’ll often hear a buzz with when connecting some devices to a modified sine wave inverter, and some motors may stutter. That said, modified sine wave inverters are OK for general use, such as basic home appliances or camping, for example.
Renogy Battery Inverters
Battery inverters convert the DC power from battery energy storage and chaneg it to the AC power that domestic appliances can use.
Renogy inverters come in various sizes, so can handle small or big loads. Great for RV solar power, trucks, boats, and off-grid cabins that need battery banks for energy storage.
Renogy Inverter Chargers
Imagine and inverter, a battery charger, and an automatic transfer relay in one package – that’s the Renogy all-in-one charger.
Inverter Chargers are very useful devices that convert DC voltage from energy storage batteries into domestic AC voltage, but there’s more. It can also convert AC voltage to DC voltage so deep cycle batteries can be charged.
Renogy inverter chargers have a great feature – an internal transfer mechanism that detects when you’re connected to another power source, such as a shore power outlet or perhaps to a generator. It’s all automatic.
The switch transfers any battery load to the detected AC power supply (outlet or generator) and begins using this new source for battery charging.
Renogy Solar Panels
RENOGY solar panels:
- high monocrystalline solar cell efficiency
- best-in-class materials used in construction
- best-in-industry performance
- highest level weather and waterproof standards
Which solar panel is better monocrystalline or polycrystalline?
Renogy designs and markets both monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels.
Polycrystalline solar cells are light blue and are not as efficient as their monocrystalline cousins. On the upside, they are not as expensive.
Panels made from Monocrystalline solar cells are darker (almost black) and take up less space. Monocrystalline panels are a great option if you need to maximize the power you can get out of a limited mounting space.
How to work out how many solar panels I need?
The two ways to work out your energy needs are as follows:
- For Home/cabin/RV or boat – list the appliances you need to run. Add up their power ratings.
- For a home, simply take last year’s energy usage from your utility bill.
For method 1 include the main appliances such as TV, water pumps, laptop, fans, lighting, microwave, and fridge/freezer.
We recommend using the Renogy solar panel calculator – it’s a great help in sizing solar panel systems.
Do solar panels require maintenance?
Solar panels don’t need much maintenance at all. Washing off the panels twice a year to remove any dirt and debris is mostly all that is needed.
If snow accumulates in winter, you could brush it off, if it’s thick, but it isn’t normally necessary. Solar panels are normally mounted at an angle and tend to generate heat in operation. Snow will just slide off.
Always check any tree growth around the installation to make sure that the solar panel array isn’t getting shading.
Renogy Solar Charge Controllers
Solar charge controllers regulate incoming solar power to maintain batteries and prevent overcharging.
RENOGY have two styles, the more efficient Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) charger and the cheaper, older standard Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) model.
Is a charge controller necessary?
Most definitely, yes! Charge controllers are a very important component of part of any solar installation.
The only time you don’t really need a solar charge controller is if using a solar panel less than 5 watts.
A solar charge controller connects the solar panels to the battery/batteries, limiting how much charging current flows and how fast your batteries charge. They effectivelt prevent overcharging.
Solar charge controller can prevent batteries discharging too much by disconnecting the system if stored energy goes below 50%. Battery life reduces if regularly discharged more than 50%.
What is better PWM or MPPT?
There are two broad types of solar charge controllers:
- Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) controllers and
- Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) controllers.
PWM controllers have been around for some time and are less expensive. The downside is that they are not as efficient as MPPT charge controllers.
They both do a great job, but sometimes MPPT controllers are very cost effective – talk to a RENOGY technician to find out how.
How do you size a charge controller?
The two things to note are the solar panel’s current and the output voltage.
Let’s say a small solar system voltage is 12V and a current of 17 amps. The solar charge controller would have to cover that, so the industry standard size of 20 amps would fit well.
Normally, you would add another 25% to cover system inefficiencies and environmental factors.
This means that the best charge controller would be 12 volt 30 amp.
Renogy Solar Batteries
Deep cycle batteries are normally used for solar energy storage purposes.
Deep cycle batteries are specifically designed to charge and discharge, or cycle, many times.
Renogy supply Lithium, Gel, and AGM batteries with world-class performance suitable for many applications, such as energy storage for RVs, camper vans, marine situations, and off-grid cabins or homes.
Which types of batteries used in solar power systems?
The recommended batteries for solar are designated ‘deep cycle’.
There are different types of deep cycle batteries, which include the traditional flooded lead acid, sealed lead acid, and LiFeP04 (lithium iron batteries).
Flooded lead acid batteries have been around for a long time and the cheapest. Unfortunately they need considerable maintenance.
Sealed lead acid batteries are a great option because they can store up to 15 percent more power than ordinary lead acid. They can also charge 4 times faster.
Lithium iron phosphate batteries are expensive, but as they last up to four or five times longer than standard lead-acid batteries, it’s cheaper in the long run.
LiFeP04 batteries are also much lighter and are inherently deep cycle.
Can I mix batteries in a battery bank?
You should use the same type and Ah rating for batteries in a solar energy storage installation. Choose one type, such as AGM or Lithium, and make them all the same type and amp-hour rating.
You can connect different batteries but the system won’t be efficient and can cause problems.
How many solar panels does it take to charge a 100Ah battery?
In general, a 100Ah deep-cycle lead-acid battery would require 180 watts of solar panel to fully recharge from 50% Depth of Discharge (DOD) assuming 4.2 peak-sun-hours per day.
Where is Renogy made?
Like most mass-manufactured products, Renogy solar panels are made in China under the strictest quality controls, but shipped to customers from the USA.
Are Renogy batteries good?
Renogy have developed a reputation for top quality batteries with reliability and high-level features such as auto-balancing and smart monitoring.
The deep-cycle range includes GEL, AGM, wet-cell lead acid and lithium iron phosphate (LiFeP04).
Are Renogy solar panels any good?
Renogy solar panels boast some of the highest monocrystalline solar cell efficiency in the industry. the quality of manufacturer is enviable and user satisfaction is high.
Are Renogy inverters any good?
Renogy’s broad range of pure sine wave inverters provide a solution for any solar installation. As with all Renogy products, quality of design and manufacture are top priority. Reliability is built-in.
Are Renogy solar panels waterproof?
All Renogy fixed solar panels, solar panel kits and flexible solar panels are sealed and completely waterproof.
Are Renogy lithium batteries good?
Renogy lithium batteries are made to the same exacting standard as all other products, but are bristling with industry-leading features not found elsewhere for the same price.
LiFeP04 batteries are inherently deep-cycle and last up to 4 times longer than traditional lead-acid. They are also much lighter (up to 3 times lighter).
Do Renogy batteries come charged?
Yes, Renogy battery are delivered fully charged and ready to go!
Where does Renogy ship from?
Renogy has branches in several countries, with warehouse facilities in each. Notably, USA, Canada, UK, and Australia. They also can ship internationally.
How to install Renogy solar panels
A great way to get into solar power is to purchase a Renogy starter solar kit. Complete instructions make it super easy to install the solar panels and associated gear.
How to connect Renogy solar panels?
Renogy solar panels use the industry standard MC4 connectors, which make it impossible to connect the wrong polarities.
All Renogy products come with very good instructions for connecting and setting up solar systems.
How to mount Renogy solar panels?
The standard method of mounting Renogy fixed rigid solar panels is to bolt them to aluminum rails. This ensures array rigidity and spreads the load across roof timbers.
Flexible solar panels can be mounted over irregular surfaces but should also be mounted above any flat surface, such as RV roof. Solar panels get very hot and need circulating air for otpimum operation.
How to install Renogy solar panels on RV?
Fixed and flexible solar panels should never by mounted directly to the surface of an RV roof. Always mount of rails so that there is a gap for air to circulate for heat dissipation.
Is Renogy a Chinese company?
No. Some of the products may be made in China, but the company was born and bred in the USA.
Is Renogy going out of business?
Not at all. Renogy is going from strength to strength and rapidly taking it’s place at the forefront of the solar industry.