Renogy has built some impressive portable solar panels that allow consumers to recharge their devices and their portable USB batteries using the power of the sun. It’s a beautiful combination that had me excited when the company reached out to me about a review of its 5 watt and 10 watt portable solar panels.
They sent the panels over to us to review and we put them through the paces. First, and most obviously, we mounted them to a window with the included suction cups. For those that aren’t familiar, solar panels lose a significant portion of the energy they can generate if they are placed inside windows, so for maximum generation, always place solar panels in direct sunlight.
Renogy’s 5 watt e-flex and 10 watt e-flex panels pull down power from the sunlight and transform it into electricity, which they dispense through their built-in USB ports. This makes it easy for owners to charge up their devices directly from the panels, or more practically, to charge up a USB battery pack. We love to use these panels to charge up our batteries during the day while camping, then use those batteries to charge up our devices when we’re sleeping. It is a great way to use the power of the sun to keep our bare necessities charged up when we’re on the go or completely off of the grid.
Doing so with Renogy’s 5W e-flex panels, we were able to charge up a portable battery with no issues, but for those looking to charge a device directly from the sun, a 10 watt panel is preferred as it can provide a constant 5 watts of power. This is necessary to keep many devices charging constantly, but it is not an issue if you just want to charge up a battery over USB, as many batteries can accept variable rates of power from a source like a USB solar panel.
What’s great about either the Renogy 5 watt e-flex or the 10 watt e-flex is that both have these great little cut outs in the corners that can be used to mount them in a wide variety of applications. In our testing, we used these cutouts to clip them onto a window with the included suction cups, tie them off to a backpack with some paracord, and to use carabiners to clip them onto a variety of surfaces to ensure maximum sunshine.
Renogy’s new e-flex panels are also more durable than traditional solar panels, which makes them great for lugging around in suitcases, backpacks or tucked into the back of a car until they’re needed. We did just this and found that their slim form-factor made them an almost invisible addition to our everyday carry kit until we needed them.