Renogy 400W portable solar panel review

There’s a lot of different portable solar panels and blankets on the market today, but very few above 300W, and I was always keen to get a decent quality, larger option to replace our 200W Kings blanket, that was average in performance when we got it brand new, and has only deteriorated since.

When Renogy suggested they could send their new 400W portable solar panel out for testing, and another 200W Renogy solar blanket, I was absolutely stoked at the idea, and jumped on board. They also sent out the new Renogy 50A DCDC, which we’ve reviewed too.

Renogy 400W portable solar panel
A massive 400W portable solar panel by Renogy

We did not pay for this

If you’ve been following us for a while, you’ll know we very strongly believe in being completely honest with our audience. This solar panel was sent to us by Renogy for free, and we did not pay for it. We’re not obliged to say anything good about it, but I was quietly confident that would never be an issue anyway.

I can say that with relative confidence, because nearly 2 years ago I purchased about $4000 worth of Renogy gear that we’ve been using full time on our Big Lap of Australia, and its performed exceptionally well (except for a 2000W inverter that was replaced under warranty after it stopped working).

400W Renogy Solar Panel
This was supplied free of charge

Why we got the product, and our use case

I briefly mentioned above that we were considering buying a different portable solar panel for either our Hybrid Camper, or our Isuzu Dmax lithium batteries. Together, we’re running about 570Ah of lithium, and it runs our fridge, freezer, lights, water pump, camera gear, laptops and the most power hungry thing of all, our induction cooktop.

If its good weather, and we can park in the sun, we have no power issues with our existing 600W of Renogy solar panels, and an original 120W solar panel on the roof of the camper, but throw in a bit of shade or some overcast days and by the end of day two, we’re starting to get low on battery power.

With one fairly average 200W solar blanket that is pushing to put out more than 80W, it was rare to get this out because the reward was not worth the effort. However, with a larger portable solar panel that did a lot more generation I thought we’d be able to park in the shade more and run leads out, as well as really pump the power in when needed.

We’re on a Lap of Australia, and whilst I don’t necessarily believe in getting portable panels out just so you can run an induction cooktop, there have been times where I wished we had just that little bit more solar for peace of mind, or the ability to camp in the shade and continue using the induction cooktop. We can swap over to gas for cooking, but its woeful in performance and always frustrating to use.

Now, in total, we’re carrying just over 1.5kW of solar panels (920W is permanently mounted), and we should have zero issues with replenishing the batteries quickly.

Camping at Behrs Flats
No matter how hard you try, you will end up camping in shady areas, and that means no solar for your fixed panels

Why would you want a Renogy 400W Solar panel?

Bigger is always better, right? Well, not always, but in some cases this is very true. If you’re going to go to the effort to set up three small solar blankets, along with all the cables and everything else, why not just set up one decent panel, that does everything you need?

Obviously, with the larger output comes a larger footprint, and we’ll go into that below, but if you want one decent quality portable panel and have space to store it, it’s a no brainer.

The 400W panel specifications

So, onto the nitty gritty. This portable solar panel is a fold out portable option, in 4 pieces. It folds up into a box shape (with handles that stick out) at 708 x 855 x 80mm. It is rated at 400W, but has an open circuit voltage of 48V, which means you need a suitable solar controller to feed the power back to your batteries.

The actual panels are not glass, and have a surprising amount of flexibility to them, which explains why its only 13.7kg in weight, and not much heavier, like 4 x 100W glass solar panels would be, or two x 200W glass panels (at 12kg each).

Renogy solar panel
The 400W panel next to the Renogy 200W, and then the Kings 200W Blanket

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

I love getting new gear. Who doesn’t? We’ve had a number of different solar panels and blankets over the years, and when I pulled this out of the box, I was looking for issues or anything that was obviously going to be a problem right from the get go.

It’s well packaged when you receive it, and clearly not as fragile as glass solar panels. It comes in a decent bag which seems reasonable quality compared to some I’ve had in the past, and its easy to move around with a big, solid handle.

It folds out into 4 pieces, with the individual panels opening from the centre, and then the outer panels folding the other way. When its open, you’re left with a massive solar panel that needs a decent amount of room to sit.

These are big units when folded out
They’re a big unit when fully set up

I love the fact that the corners of each panel stop the actual panels rubbing against each other when you fold it up, as this is a recipe for disaster when you are off road.

It does take a bit of practice to set this up because of its sheer size, but after a few goes I got it nailed fairly easily. You can either lay the panels down on the floor, or they’ve got stands on each panel to prop them up and angle them towards the sun better.

I’m going to say its not as quick as a traditional blanket to set up, but its sturdier, and does a fantastic job once set up.

The general panel construction appears to be excellent, with decent hinges rivetted on, cables that are well protected and run on the hinges and it comes with MC4 connectors, and no solar controller.

Renogy 400W portable panel
These are well put together, and light for what they are
400W Renogy portable panels from behind
Looking at the panels from behind


In the end, one of the only things you’re going to care about is how it actually performs. Any reputable solar panel seller will ensure its product meets their advertising, so does this big unit actually deliver 400W, or is it like so many you buy online that are lucky to do 50% of what they’re advertised (yes, I know you know!).

The first time I used this panel, I got a maximum of 289W, but it was 3PM, and slightly overcast, so I was fairly impressed. I’ve used it a significant number of times since, and seen performance up to a whopping maximum of 546W. It regularly puts out 330W in clear conditions, and we had 285W coming in at 6PM in NSW, which I was quietly impressed with.

This time of year is not perfect conditions for maximum solar, and I’m pretty confident that later on in the year you’d see 400W fairly easily on a regular basis. For reference, our 600W of Renogy fixed solar panels were only doing about 400W at the same time, and they are easily capable of 600W in optimal conditions, as I’ve proved a number of times.

400W solar panel testing
We’ve tested these in a variety of conditions, and 330W is pretty normal
Output on our DC Home app for the 400W panel
The Renogy 400W folding solar panel in the DC Home app

What we love about the product

These 400W solar panels are well built, they generate the power that they are supposed to, and they’re easier than using multiple solar blankets. I like the fact that its fairly light, and despite its physical size, its actually easy enough to move around due to the semi flexible panels.

The fact that they are 48V means your cable size doesn’t have to be quite as large, and interestingly, these 400W panels have a smaller cable diameter than the 200W alternative from Renogy, which is a much lower open circuit voltage.

Renogy 400W panel specifications
The specifications on the back of the folding Renogy 400W panel

What we don’t love about the product

There’s nothing I specifically don’t like about this product. I will mention that its physical size is a bit of an issue for our particular storage arrangements, and I was unable to find a suitable place to keep it in our Hybrid Camper, which I really wanted to do.

Being 48V open circuit voltage is a limitation on what controllers you can use. Our Enerdrive DC2DC is only good for 45V, and that’s one of the higher options out there. If you want to run this, you’ll need one of the Renogy DCDC’s that can do 50V, their Rover MPPT controller, a Victron unit or something else that can do the 48V.

I’ll also mention that Anderson plugs are far more common in Australia than MC4’s for running these sort of panels, and the Renogy panels come with MC4 connectors. You could cut them off, which is OK but will probably void your warranty, or you’ll have to get an MC4 to Anderson adaptor made up, like we did for $45 at a local auto electrician.

You can get these online, but make sure that the cable size is adequate (400W is a fair bit of power) and that you get the right MC4 orientation, which proved to be a very interesting topic on its own.

MC4 to anderson adapter
We purchased a couple of MC4 to Anderson Adapters, as the solar panels are MC4 output

How does it compare to alternatives?

Up until very recently, there was only one other brand making a 400W portable panel, and another brand has come out with an alternative. I can’t speak for their quality, but they’re both quite a bit more expensive.

Where can you buy the 400W portable panel?

These can be purchased directly from the website for $799.99, using our link – 400w portable solar panels. This gives us a small commission, and helps to support the blog.

Alternatively, you can buy them from Zero Grid Australia, who are an authorised Renogy reseller with really good service.

Would we recommend the product

If you have a solar controller that will work with 48V, the space to store this panel securely when travelling and want a good value, quality portable panel that is going to put a heap of charge back into your batteries, its pretty hard to go past this. Renogy products in general are decent quality, at an exceptional price, and I’d quite happily recommend this unit (and no, I’m not just saying that because we didn’t pay for it!).

I really like it, and have used it a lot more than I thought, with the aim of finding camp sites that are a bit cooler and shadier as needed. We’ll continue to put it out when our batteries are running low!

We’ll also update this review if anything changes long term, but I suspect we’ll have a good run out of this panel, like almost all of our other Renogy gear.

Renogy 400W portable folding panel packed up
Even folded up they’re not a small unit!

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