Renogy 200W Portable Folding Solar Panel review

There’s a ridiculous number of 12V solar blankets on the market today, starting from dirt cheap no brand sellers with panels that barely produce half of what they’re rated to, all the way to some eye wateringly expensive options on the ‘premium’ end of the market.

We’ve had a Kings 200W solar blanket for a while now as a non-critical backup, and whilst it was never that good when we got it, its deteriorated even more over the years. When Renogy offered to send a 200W solar blanket across for us to test, I was very happy to upgrade.

In all honesty, it was almost not worth pulling our old solar blanket out, because it made that little difference in terms of actual generation, but the idea of being able to replace it with the same size and weight unit that actually delivered was very appealing.

The new Renogy 200W solar panel
The new Renogy 200W folding solar panel

We did not pay for this

Yes, this was supplied by Renogy, free of charge, for us to test. I’m not paid to review it, nor obliged to say anything good about it either, and maintain our fierce independence that we’ve always had. If it’s a product that we aren’t happy about, you will know with 100% honesty.

Renogy 200W solar panel
We didn’t pay for the 400W panel on the left, or the 200W panel on the right

Why we got the product, and our use case

So, why another solar blanket, given we also got the Renogy 400W portable solar panel? We’ve got a lot of permanently mounted solar on our Dmax 4WD and Hybrid Camper already, but there are times where having some more would be greatly appreciated, especially with shady camp sites and overcast days.

On a personal level, I was really keen to see what Renogy had done with their blanket options, because there’s a massive gap in Australia for a quality solar blanket at a reasonable price. We’ve looked at other solar blanket in the past, and whilst there’s no doubting that they are a good product, paying $800 + for a 200W solar blanket is a hard pill to swallow, especially when someone can quite literally walk past your camp and take off with it!

Our use case is simple; extra solar when we’re parked in the shade, or when its overcast and we simply cannot put enough charge back into our batteries. I’m relatively opposed to setting blankets up just so you can run an induction cooktop, and don’t go out of my way to do it, but its amazing how often the dry season in Queensland is not warm and sunny, like you’d expect it to be, and you need more power.

After a day or two of overcast weather, it would take a solid day and a half to get our batteries back to full using the permanently mounted options, and I really wanted to reduce that time frame.

Renogy folding solar panel testing
I always preferred fixed solar panels, but portable ones have major benefits

Why would you want one?

Solar blankets are amazing. They’re light, easy to setup, and instant power if you can stick them in the sun. They allow you to park up in permanent shade, and still charge your batteries, which is the best of both worlds.

The number of times we’ve ended up parking in the middle of a hot grassy area so our panels weren’t shaded can no longer be counted on all the digits of my body, and portable panels or solar blankets allow a pretty good solution to this. I won’t bother setting them up if we are only in one spot for a night, but if we are there for 2 or 3 nights, it’s worth the extra time to get them out and put them up.

Renogy 200W folding panel partly folded
The 200W panel folds up really well, and easily

How it performs (ease of use, setup time, features, performance etc)

I was so keen to unbox the Renogy 200W solar blanket, and I was not disappointed when I removed it. You can tell very quickly that its well built, and it folds out, sits well and looks really good.

Setup time is as quick as you’d get for a 200W solar panel, and it packs away nice and easily too. It’s clear in how you unfold and re-fold the unit too with Velcro making it nice and obvious, which is a big improvement on some others that I’ve seen.

This solar blanket is 22V open circuit, meaning most solar controllers will happily work with it, and send power to your batteries.

It weighs 8kg, and comes in at 635 x 536 x 55 mm when packed away.

In terms of performance, we’ve used this fairly extensively in Victoria and NSW, through both our Enerdrive DC2DC and the new Renogy 50A DCDC, and have seen power generation up to 146W, with 135W being very easily achievable.

I suspect in more optimal conditions (with the sun overhead further) you’d see 180W fairly easily, but I was a little surprised that it didn’t generate more power.

200W Renogy portable panel testing
We’ve tested this panel in a variety of different ways

What we love about the product

The handles

Renogy have built solid handles into the entire package, which makes moving the unit around really easy, solid and comfortable, and is a big tick from us.

Handles on the 200W panel
The handles are a fantastic touch

It sets up and packs up easily

You can pull this out, flip it open and plug it in well under a minute. It’s also fairly easy to do.

The legs

Solar blankets that lay on the floor are such a bad idea. Sorry if that offends anyone, but a portable panels purpose is to maximise solar generation, and laying it on the floor does not do this, and it creates other problems.

Putting it on your windscreen is an average idea as it removes the portability out of the equation and putting it on your vehicles paint work is going to cause damage long term.

Blankets on the floor get walked on, leaves land on them and covered in dust, and that’s without considering the huge deterioration in performance. For interest sake, I ran this Renogy panel laying on the floor, and it dropped from 146W to 113W; a 29% drop in performance.

The legs are light, easy to use and prop the panel up towards the sun, and are hugely useful.

Renogy folding solar panel legs
A blanket without legs is hugely disadvantaged

The price

Renogy make really good gear for the price, and this 200W portable solar panel is no difference. They were $299 on special, and now $369.99, which makes it a really good deal for a panel that’s actually good quality. I’d wait until they’re on special though!

What we don’t love about the product

There’s really not much to mention here. I would have liked to see marginally higher output, and generally prefer Anderson plugs over the MC4 connectors that it comes with, but there’s nothing else to mention.

MC4 connections on the Renogy 200W Panel
We prefer Anderson plugs, but you can easily get adapters like we did

How does it compare to alternatives?

There’s a lot of solar blankets on the market, and I’ve heard some pretty average stories across a wide range of manufacturers. I reckon Renogy have done a really good job of this unit, and for the price, its going to be a winner in the Australian market, I’m sure.

I really like the All Spark options, and have done some testing on one before, but they’re hugely expensive, and you’re not really comparing apples for apples.

Where can you get these from?

If you want to add the 200W portable panel to your arsenal, you can purchase it direct with Renogy for $369.99 through our link – 200w folding solar panel. Alternatively, you can use Zero Grid Australia, who are a well known Australian reseller with fantastic customer service.

Would we recommend the product

Yep, absolutely. This is small, easy to use, well built and priced well, and you can’t ask for much more than that. You could get the Renogy 400W solar panel, but that is huge, and much harder to move around (and it requires a solar controller capable of 50V).

I’m really glad to have the Renogy 200W panel as part of our kit, and will keep using it, and update this review if anything changes!

Renogy 200W solar panel against the 400W one
The Renogy 200W and 400W panels side by side

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  1. Hey Mark,

    Yeah, its a decent price! That’s a decent result from your folding panel!

    The heat certainly kills the panels; our roof mounted ones in full sun on a warm day have the shimmer of heat radiating off them

    Take care

  2. That’s certainly a reasonable price for the Renogy. I have an AllPowers 200w folding panel, $332 on an ebay special. With it laying flat on the ground I’ve seen 216w or 15.5A running through a dedicated Victron mppt 20A reg. I took a photo of the App screen I was so impressed. That was at 11.45am in the middle of January in Brisbane at 28C. Admittedly the panel hadn’t heated up and did eventually drop to 12A but still very good. The panel weighs 5.3kgs and folds up to just 535 x 500. The cells are Sunpower and have the little bumps which collect more light apparently, seems to work!

  3. Hey Danny,

    Thanks for that. I must have made a typo.

    Take care

  4. Aaron, I purchased a 200w panel at $299 pre order, I think that is the cheapest I have seen them.