Best Marine Solar Panels

Are you searching for the best marine solar panels for your boat?

There are numerous benefits to selecting high quality panels, while low level panels can be frustrating in their lack of performance. With this in mind I have reviewed the top models available on today’s market. After reading this article you will know my recommendations.

Check the quick list below for links to customer reviews and prices for my best marine solar panels picks, or read on for the full review:

  1. HQST 100W 12V Monocrystalline Lightweight Marine Solar Panel
  2. Newpowa 100W 12 Volts Polycrystalline Marine Solar Panel
  3. Newpowa 100W 12V Monocrystalline
  4. Renogy 160W 12V Polycrystalline
  5. HQST 100W 12V Polycrystalline
  6. Renogy 100 Watt 12 Volt Extremely Flexible Monocrystalline Marine Solar Panel
  7. Newpowa 30 Watt 12 Volt Poly Marine and Boat Solar Panel
  8. WindyNation 100 Watt 12 Volt Flexible Monocrystalline Marine Solar Panel
  9. Kinverch 100 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Solar Panel for Boat
  10. Now 20 Watt 24 Volt Solar Charging Panel for Trolling Motors

Incorporating a solar panels for your boats batteries is a smart method for keeping your battery’s health sustained and ensuring that it stays topped off when you’re not on board. Solar power is also an environmentally friendly way of saving fuel and is considered as a means of achieving energy independence, let alone sparing you from listening to the noise produced by your generator.

Prices of solar panels have seen a significant drop over the last few years and with the size variations that are available on the market, even smaller boats have a wide selection of solar panels to pick from. With that in mind here is the best marine solar panels buyers guide.

Types of Solar Panels

There are three main types of marine solar panels. The first type is the flexible Amorphous solar panel. This type is named after the depositing silicon that’s used to construct them. They are the most versatile but the least efficient. Also, Amorphous solar panels require rather large surface areas to produce power. They’re usually cheap and are a good choice to be fitted into curved spaces.

The second type is the Monocrystalline panels. This type holds the highest rate of efficiency because of their single high-grade silicon crystal construction. Monocrystalline solar panels tend to have a long life expectancy and they don’t require much space.

The third type is the Polycrystalline panels, this type is made from off cuts and recycled silicon. They’re not as durable as the previous type and are slightly less efficient. Polycrystalline panels usually require more space than their Monocrystalline counterparts.

Required Energy

Before buying a marine solar panel, there’s a lot of thought that you need to go into. The main purpose of a solar panel is to provide you with energy, so it’s only logical did you consider the amount of energy that you require. If you’re in need of a large amount, then a small solar panel it’s probably not the option that you want to go for. Similarly, if you don’t need a whole lot of energy, then there’s no point in buying a massive solar panel.

Power Source

If your vessel is going to rely mainly on solar power, then you’re going to need a solar panel that’s large enough to absorb and convert a sufficient amount of sunlight and then convert it into the energy required to power your vessel. On the other hand, a boat that relies primarily on the engine as its source of power is not going to need that big of a solar panel.

Amperage Draw

Now that you’ve figured out what you intend to use as a power source for your sailboat, it’s time to work out the number of amps that you’ll need on a daily basis. If there’s a lot of electrical devices on board, then you’re going to need a lot of power. It’s quite difficult to estimate exactly how many amps you need for your sailboat. Most manufacturers include the power draw in the specifications section of their products.

Panel Size

Solar panels vary in size, choosing the right size will depend on the size of your sailing boat and the area in which the panel is going to be installed. The general rule of thumb is that the bigger the panel is the more power it can provide. However, you need to be wary of the panel’s efficiency, as you can have the biggest panel and still that lack efficiency. You should keep an eye out for a solar panel that provides the most power at the smallest size possible.

Actual Vs. Maximum Output

The power rating of a solar panel is an indication of how much power is going to be produced in an ideal situation. This means you should expect less power than advertised if you’re not in a place where every day is sunny. For that reason, you should base your purchase on the fact that the actual output that you’ll receive is going to be less than the advertised maximum value.

10 Best Marine Solar Panels

Not really sure where to start? We’ve gone through several hours of research and compiled a list of the top marine solar panels on the market today. Let’s find out what these products have to offer.

HQST 100W 12V Monocrystalline Lightweight Solar Panel

This Monocrystalline Solar Panel from HQST uses highly advanced monocrystalline that are laminated into a relatively thin plastic sheet. The efficiency and durability of this panel exceed that of the traditional aluminum and glass models. Transporting this solar panel is pretty easy at a weight of just 3 pounds. A pair of 10-inch cables with MC4 connectors come with the panel and the junction box is completely sealed and waterproof.

The good thing about this solar panel is that there’s no risk of cracking or shattering whatsoever in the event of it being scrapped or damaged by a sharp object, unlike traditional panels. Be wary that this is a lightweight panel and not a bendable panel. It can be affixed using adhesive, zip ties, or velcro. Holes on this solar panel are pre-drilled to allow for a fast mounting and securing.

Pros

  • Flexible and lightweight construction
  • A highly efficient power conversion
  • No risk of cracking or shattering
  • Easy to install on a lot of mounting systems

Cons

  • Performance isn’t impressive in low-light
  • Not the longest lasting solar panel
  • The mounting structure can be enhanced

Newpowa 100W 12 Volts Polycrystalline Solar Panel

With a sub $100 price, this solar panel has to be the most affordable polycrystalline model that you’ll find on the market today. This panel incorporates cells that are encapsulated in EVA and low iron tempered glass. The frame is of a solid aluminum construction that provides a robust and rigid home for your solar panel to sit inside of. The back sheet is made out of TPT which is known to be very durable.

Although the panel is well built, the junction box isn’t capable of withstanding water damage since it isn’t IP65 rated. For that reason, this might not be the best option if you live in an area where it constantly rains. Nevertheless, it’s still a good budget-friendly starter solar panel that provides an ample amount of power for less than what most solar panels demand in terms of price.

Pros

  • Probably the lowest priced 100W solar panel
  • Rigid anodized aluminum frame
  • Comes with a 25-year output warranty

Cons

  • The junction box is vulnerable to water
  • Reaching the manufacturer is quite hard

Newpowa 100W 12V Monocrystalline Solar Panel

This solar panel is pretty much similar to the model reviewed above but has a monocrystalline structure that grants higher efficiency at a competitive price. Similar to the previous model, this solar panel has four pre-drilled holes that allow for an easy mounting process. Newpowa solar panels can be wired in both series and parallel fashions.

While the panel itself is watertight, the junction box hasn’t been paid enough attention as it’s still pretty vulnerable to water. Unfortunately, and similar to the polycrystalline model, this solar panel doesn’t come with a charger controller. The good thing, however, is that controllers are cheap. Just make sure that you buy one that can handle the total amperage of the panel or panels that you’ll be connecting.

Pros

  • Monocrystalline 100W solar panel at under $100
  • 25-year power output warranty
  • Robust and rigid aluminum frame

Cons

  • The junction box isn’t IP65 rated
  • The manufacturer is quite hard to reach

Renogy 160W 12V Polycrystalline Solar Panel

The Renogy 160W is arguably the ideal solar panel for off-grid applications. The encapsulation material is laminated by a multi-layered sheet that increases the efficiency of the cell and prolongs its service life. The bypass diodes help minimize power drops that are resulted by shade and it helps ensure a reliable performance in low-light. This panel is not only used as a marine solar power, but it can also be utilized for other applications such as water pumping and signaling systems.

This solar panel has a great ability to withstand high-pressure levels that can reach 5400Pa, so you’re not going to find yourself struggling with high winds and snow loads. The aluminum frame is resistant to corrosion and is suitable for extended outdoor use. Also, the low iron tempered glass helps improve the overall stiffness and impact resistance. Finally, the junction box is IP65 rated and ready to tackle all environmental particles and low-pressure water jets.

Pros

  • Ample maximum power output
  • Very well-built structure
  • IP65 rated junction box
  • Can withstand high-pressure levels

Cons

  • A little bit too bulky
  • Not the best packaging

HQST 100W 12V Polycrystalline Solar Panel

The polycrystalline version of the 100W solar panel from HQST also comes with an inbuilt IP65 rated junction box that can withstand low-pressure water exposures and hold its own against environmental particles like wind and snow. The panel comes with a mounting setup that allows you to hook it up onto any mounting system, such as pole mounts, tilt mounts, and Z-bracket mounts.

The real value for money found in this solar panel is its impressive ability to convert sunlight into energy in low-light conditions, which is something that similarly priced panels usually struggle to achieve as efficiently. The bypass diode ensures a reliable performance even under a cloudy sun. Moreover, it helps reduce the power drops that occur in low-light conditions. This is an ideal solar panel for those who live in areas where sunlight is a rare commodity.

Pros

  • Easy to install on various mounting systems
  • Flexible and lightweight design
  • Good performance in low-light conditions
  • 25-year power output warranty

Cons

  • Heavyweight can be a problem
  • Poor packaging

Renogy 100 Watt 12 Volt Extremely Flexible Monocrystalline Marine Solar Panel

Renogy 100 Watt 12 Volt Extremely Flexible Monocrystalline Marine Solar Panel

This ultra lightweight marine solar panel is extremely versatile. It is one of these most flexible boat solar panels available making installation and placement for maximum sun exposure much easier. I placed mine on a curved roof and it worked very well. Not only is it flexible and lightweight, it is very thin as well. At 100w I used two panels which provided all the backup power I needed. Renogy is well respected in the solar panel industry and this model lives up to the reputation. It is made of high quality materials and is built to last. Along with a good price tag, this is an excellent value for adding to your boat’s solar power kit.

Pros

  • Very flexible
  • Ultra thin and lightweight
  • Easy to install even on uneven surfaces
  • Good performance
  • Excellent value

Cons

  • May need multiple panels depending on power needs

Newpowa 30 Watt 12 Volt Poly Marine and Boat Solar Panel

Newpowa 30w Watts 12v marine and boat Poly Solar Panel

This is a great marine solar panel for those looking for a smaller setup. The solar cells performed very well in addition to being of quality construction. These panels have a heavy duty aluminum frame that are well suited for placement on flat surfaces. If you have a flat roof, that would be an excellent placement location. I did find that due to the smaller size, these panels performance dipped when in the shade. Not a deal breaker but consider this when calculating your charging needs. If you need more than 30w these panels can be used in multiples as well.

Pros

  • Quality construction
  • Durable
  • Excellent value

Cons

  • Must be mounted to a flat surface
  • Performance dips in the shade

WindyNation 100 Watt 12 Volt Flexible Monocrystalline Marine Solar Panel

WindyNation 100W 100 Watt 12V Bendable Flexible Thin Lightweight Monocrystalline Solar Panel

Another great option if you need to mount your solar panels to a curved surface of your boat. This solar panel can flex up to 30 degrees. This panel is waterproof and easy to install making it a great choice for all weather conditions. It weighs just 4 pounds making it easy to transport and change installation location. The six mounting holes are evenly spaced allowing bolt on installation but I opted to use an adhesive. It came with 36 inches of 12 AWG solar cable and MC4 connectors. Performance was rock solid on the sunny day of testing and the construction was solid and durable. This is an excellent choice for those in need of mounting their panels on an uneven surface.

Pros

  • 30 degrees of flexibility
  • Easy installation on your boat
  • Good performance
  • Durable
  • Good vallue

Cons

  • May need multiple solar panels depending on power needs

Kinverch 100 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Solar Panel for Boat

kinverch 100 Watts 12 Volts Monocrystalline Solar Panel for boats

The high efficiency output of this solar panel is great for all types of boats. With optimum sun this solar panel can produce up to 500 watts per day. This is a very good performing marine solar panel even in low sun conditions. The manufacturer states it is designed to handle snow and high winds, but I was unable to test this as the day was a low wind summer day. It is constructed well and should withstand extended use. Installation was easy and is compatible with rail mounting systems and Z bracket mounting systems. With it’s solid performance and a 6 year warranty this is an excellent value marine solar panel.

Pros

  • High performance marine solar panel even in low light conditions
  • Durable design capable of handling high winds and snow
  • Easy to install, both rail mounting and Z bracket mounting systems
  • Manufacturer warranty
  • Excellent value

Cons

  • Not for curved surfaces

Now 20 Watt 24 Volt Solar Charging Panel for Trolling Motors

NOW 20 Watts solar panel trolling motor charger

If you are looking for a simple and effective solar charger for your boat’s trolling motor this is an excellent model. The 20 watt solar panel performed very well and kept my trolling motor battery fully charged. Installation was straight forward and easy and the small footprint was perfect for my small boat. The panel is slightly flexible allowing for installation on uneven surfaces and this model does not require a voltage regulator. The panel has a low profile and is lightweight, measuring 14.1″ x 15.7″ x 1/4″. This is one of the best solar panels for your boat’s trolling motor battery.

Pros

  • Lightweight and slim
  • Excellent performance
  • Semi flexible
  • Durable
  • Great value

Cons

  • Only intended to charge your boat trolling motor

For more guides and tips read these articles:


If all you look for in a rigid marine solar panel is a decent power output and lightweight construction, your best bet is the HQST 100W 12V Monocrystalline Lightweight Solar Panel because it provides an excellent bang for the buck at a relatively lightweight. However, if you live in an area that isn’t very well known for its sunlight and you seek a larger power output, Renogy 160W 12V Polycrystalline Solar Panel is the product you need. Which marine solar panel do you think is the best?

Here is the quick list for my picks for the best marine solar panels one more time. You can click the links to check for prices and customer reviews.

  1. HQST 100W 12V Monocrystalline Lightweight Marine Solar Panel
  2. Newpowa 100W 12 Volts Polycrystalline Marine Solar Panel
  3. Newpowa 100W 12V Monocrystalline
  4. Renogy 160W 12V Polycrystalline
  5. HQST 100W 12V Polycrystalline
  6. Renogy 100 Watt 12 Volt Extremely Flexible Monocrystalline Marine Solar Panel
  7. Newpowa 30 Watt 12 Volt Poly Marine and Boat Solar Panel
  8. WindyNation 100 Watt 12 Volt Flexible Monocrystalline Marine Solar Panel
  9. Kinverch 100 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Solar Panel for Boat
  10. Now 20 Watt 24 Volt Solar Charging Panel for Trolling Motors
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