I’ve been around boats all of my life, and I actually lived on a boat… twice! Those times spent around the water are some of my favorite memories and ones that I know many of you must share because boating continues to be one of the most favored pastimes across the world.
I’ve taken that wealth of knowledge that I’ve gained over the years and attempted to put it all into one comprehensive list of the best marine solar panels with reviews to help you decide which marine solar panels to choose for making your own memories on the water.
To try and keep this list to a reasonable number, I decided not to include most panels under 100 watts, with a couple of exceptions. I also chose to include a couple of folding/briefcase style marine solar panels just for variety and their usefulness on smaller boats, but am primarily focusing on the full-size modules in the 100-200W range that can be permanently mounted on your boat.
Finally, as far as I know this is the only marine solar panel review article that calculates the power to weight ratio for all of the panels. Most reviews do not think to include this information as it’s not really important for a home solar array – but can be critically important for marine purposes to avoid over loading your boat and becoming a capsizing risk.
And with that, let’s jump right into it!
Table of Contents
Best Marine Solar Panel Comparisons
|Solar Panel||Panel Type||Max Power||Pmax Voltage||Pmax Current||Dimensions||Weight||Power:Weight Ratio (Watts/Lb)||Charge Controller Included?||Warranty||Avg Rating||More Details|
|Renogy Flexible Monocrystalline Solar Panel||Flexible Monocrystalline||160W||23V||8.38A||59.2″ x 26.5″ x 0.08″||6.2 lbs||25.81||Y||Available separately||4.5||Learn More|
|Newpowa Polycrystalline Panel 100-Watt||Rigid Polycrystalline||100W||16.77V||6.26A||33.76″ x 26.57″ x 1.18″||15.43lbs||6.48||N||25-year transferable power output warranty||4.7||Learn More|
|Renogy Monocrystalline Flexible Panel 100-Watt||Flexible Monocrystalline||100W||18.9V||5.29A||47.9″ x 21″ x 0.08″||4 lbs||25.00||Y||Available separately||4.6||Learn More|
|WindyNation Monocrystalline Flexible Panel 100-Watt||Flexible Monocrystalline||100W||18.0V||5.6A||43″ x 21.5″ x 1.7″||7.58 lbs||13.19||N||Available separately||3.9||Learn More|
|HQST 100-Watt Polycrystalline Solar Panel||Rigid Polycrystalline||100W||18.0V||5.58A||35.6″ x 25.9″ x 1.2″||14.3 lbs||6.99||N||Available separately||4.6||Learn More|
|RichSolar 100-Watt Polycrystalline Panel||Rigid Polycrystalline||100W||18.5V||5.41A||39.6” x 26.4” x 1.4”||17.5 lbs||5.71||N||25-year limited power output, 5-year material and workmanship||4.8||Learn More|
|Newpowa 30-Watt Monocrystalline panel||Rigid Monocrystalline||30W||17.00V||1.76A||21.50″ x 13.39″ x 1.10″||6.39 lbs||4.69||Y||Available separately||4.7||Learn More|
|Nature Power 120-Watt Portable Monocrystalline Panel||Rigid Monocrystalline||120W||12V||6.67A||67.2″ x 24.8″ x 3″||32 lbs||3.75||Y||1-Year limited warranty included||4.3||Learn More|
|Nature Power 165-Watt Monocrystalline Solar Kit||Rigid Monocrystalline||165W||12V||12A||58″ x 28″ x 1.25″||3.2 lbs||51.56||N||Warranted to retain at least 80% efficiency up to 25 years||4.7||Learn More|
|ACOPOWER 100w Polycrystalline Solar Panel||Rigid Polycrystalline||100W||17.48V||5.72A||35.83″ x 26.57″ x 1.18″||17.6 lbs||5.68||N||Available separately||4.5||Learn More|
|Nature Power 90W Solar Panel||Rigid Monocrystalline||90W||14V||5.14A||34.5″ x 27.25″ x 2.25″||21.1 lbs||4.27||N||25-year power generation warranty that the panel will produce 80 percent of rated power||NR||Learn More|
|Newpowa 180W Solar Panel||Rigid Monocrystalline||180W||16.77V||11.75A||58.35″ x 26.57″ x 1.38″||25.35 lbs||7.10||N||25-year transferable power output warranty||4.5||Learn More|
|Suaoki Foldable Solar Panel 60W||Rigid Monocrystalline||60W||18.0V||3.4A||11.42″ x 6.3″ x 2.76″||4.29 lbs||13.99||Y||Not available.||4.3||Learn More|
|Eco-Worthy Semi-Flexible 100W Solar Panel||Flexible Monocrystalline||100W||19.2V||5.21A||45.3″ x 21.1″ x 0.15″||3.97 lbs||25.19||N||Available separately||4.3||Learn More|
|BougeRV 180 Watt High Efficiency Solar Panel||Rigid Monocrystalline||180W||18.5V||10A||26.38″ x 58.27″ x .38″||24 lbs||7.50||N||Warranty is available.||4.6||Learn More|
|Newpowa 200W Monocrystalline||Rigid Monocrystalline||200W||17.0V||11.76A||64.57″ x 26.57″ x 1.38″||27.56 lbs||7.26||N||25-year transferable power output warranty||4.7||Learn More|
|Top Solar (TP-Solar) Marine Flexible Solar Panel 100W||Flexible Monocrystalline||100W||22.3V||4.4A||20.47″ x 42.12″ x 0.15″||3.97 lbs||25.19||N||Warranty is available.||4.5||Learn More|
|Texas Solar Polycrystalline 100W Panel||Rigid Polycrystalline||100W||17.7V||5.7A||39.7″ x 26.3″ x 1.4″||19.31 lbs||5.18||N||30 year transferable power output warranty; 5-year material and workmanship warranty||4.7||Learn More|
|BLUETTI SP200 200w Foldable Solar Panel||Rigid Monocrystalline||200W||20V||10A||20.7″ x 20.5″ (folded)||14.3 lbs||13.98||Y||Warranty is available.||4.6||Learn More|
Best Marine Solar Panel Reviews
Renogy Monocrystalline Panel 160-Watt
Weighing in at 6 pounds, this Renogy 160-watt marine solar panel is among the lightest solar panels on our list – as well as boasting one of the highest power to weight ratios of all the marine solar panels that we reviewed.
Designed with off-grid applications in mind, this compact little panel uses special materials to allow it to bend and flex to match the shape of a yacht hull or the curved roof of an airstream. Renogy also provides charging control features and monitoring via a simple Bluetooth module and app for both Apple and Android phones.
The only real downside that we could find was a slight drop in efficiency, from 21% to 18.4%, as compared to Renogy’s rigid solar modules.
Newpowa Monocrystalline Panel 100-Watt
Tested against wind, rain, saltwater, and snow loads, this Newpowa 100-watt panel is among the highest rated best marine solar panels on our list as voted on by owners of the panel. It also comes with an impressive 25-year warranty against any loss in power output over the life of the panel.
A solid all-around panel, the only real drawback that I could find to review was the sheer size and weight of the panel. Measuring in at 15 pounds, the power to weight ratio is a measly 6.4 watts per pound.
For larger boats and yachts this won’t be too big of an issue (especially when weighed against the low maintenance requirements), but for smaller marine uses this solar panel might not be the best choice.
Renogy Monocrystalline Flexible Panel 100-Watt
This Renogy flexible marine solar panel ranks among the best on our list for a hulking power to weight ratio of 25 watts per pound, a strong overall power output, and included charge controller. These panels from Renogy also come in other wattages, but I think that this 100W is just about perfect (Further Reading: What Can a 100 Watt Solar Panel Run?) for the widest range of marine uses and lowest weight added per panel.
If you need a couple of marine solar panels to hit your target power generation, this is a strong contender for the panel that I’d personally choose. Plus, with a 4.6-star Amazon rating, you know that there are lots of other satisfied boaters out there who are happy with their choice.
WindyNation Monocrystalline Flexible Panel 100-Watt
Very similar to the Renogy flexible panel above, this WindyNation marine solar panel has a strong flexing ability (rated at 30 degrees of flex) and was designed to balance weight and power output. Unlike the Renogy, however, the WindyNation solar module only comes in at 13 watts per pound.
This means that it is a fair bit heavier than the Renogy while not adding any significant amount of power output. It also doesn’t come with a charge controller, so this cost should be figured into any array planning that you might be doing.
HQST 150-Watt Polycrystalline Solar Panel
The second polycrystalline panel to feature (Not sure the difference between monocrystalline and polycrystalline? Check out our Solar Glossary to learn more about them), this panel is a decent contender.
If you’ve decided that polycrystalline is the way to go, then the price for this HQST panel is hard to beat. Compared to the Renogy panel, the HQST is a relative bargain with a slightly better power to weight ratio.
RichSolar 100-Watt Polycrystalline Panel
The RichSolar is another strong polycrystalline contender, one that is particularly noted for being a favorite among members of the US Navy for its reliability! The junction box on this panel is IP rated 65 and 67 for its junction box and MC4 connectors, respectively.
What does that mean in normal person terms? It means that saltwater can do its worst and this panel will keep on ticking. A power to weight ratio of 5.7 puts it at the lower end of pack, but a 25 year power output warranty and a 5 year workmanship warranty more than make up for it in my mind.
This RichSolar panel is also the highest rated panel of the entire cohort as of publishing!
Newpowa 30-Watt Polycrystalline panel
This little Newpowa panel might seem like it is out of place among the larger panels on this list, but I decided to include it because we’re specifically talking about the best marine solar panels. That means that sometimes the best panel isn’t the largest or the highest output, sometimes it’s the most space efficient or easiest to use.
For smaller boats or casual day sailors, this might just be the perfect setup. The Newpowa’s small size means that it’s perfect for attaching to a stern rail and trickle charge your main battery, and the fact that it comes with a charge controller and simple clamp-style connectors means that you can keep this panel stowed away when not in use and have it deployed in just a few minutes of setup.
It is rather heavy for a small panel, but we’ll forgive its weight in light of the ease of use.
Nature Power 120-Watt Portable Monocrystalline Panel
The Nature Power 120-watt portable solar panel is the second portable solar panel to feature on our review list. Ranking fairly poorly for its power to weight ratio, the compact suitcase-style design makes up for the heavier weight by being able to fold in half for more convenient storage.
This panel would be far and away best for smaller boats and weekend excursions (as long as you have the deck space) where you only need to keep a small battery or a few mobile devices charged up. The higher 120-wattage means that the Nature Power can generate enough power to keep all your family’s devices running all weekend long, but might not be enough for more power-intensive boats or yachts.
Finally, a built-in charge controller is very handy and means that everything you need to use this marine solar panel comes in one handy package – unlike many of the other panels that require separate purchases to actually use.
Nature Power 165-Watt Monocrystalline Solar Kit
The Nature Power 165-watt kit is hard to find at a reasonable price, but when you can find one at a price that you like – snap that bad boy up. These solar panels are best for just about every boating application that you can think of. With a power to weight ratio that eclipses every other panel on our list and a 25-year warranty, the Nature Power 165-watt panels are hard to beat.
My only complaint, if I really had to look for one, is in the actual size of the panel. While not the largest on our list, it does come in among the top panels for size. Overall, this is one of my highest recommendations on the list of best marine solar panels.
ACOPOWER 100w Polycrystalline Solar Panel
The Acopower 100-watt solar panel is one of the best on this list for larger sailboat trickle-charging. Coming in at 6.9 pounds, it’s definitely one of the smaller panels to make the list. But what it lacks in size, it makes up for in ease of use. Pre-drilled frame holes and quick connectors on the leads mean that this panel can be installed and ready to go in just a few minutes.
The downside that I noticed in doing my research was that the prefab aluminum frame corners can sometimes have sharp edges that are abrasive to sailcloth and stray lines. So make sure that this one is mounted outboard or on a stern rail to help mitigate the potential for damaged sails.
Nature Power 90W Solar Panel
The Nature Power 90 watt panel usually has some pretty good reviews when you look elsewhere online, but honestly it’s got to be the lowest rated on this list. The power to weight ratio is very low, meaning that it’s pretty darn heavy for the 90 watts that it can produce.
A 25-year power generation warranty that the panel will produce 80 percent of rated power helps to ease the pain, as does it’s small size which makes it great for mounting in all those nooks and crannies around your boat. But for me, it’s just not worth it unless you have a larger power boat.
Newpowa 180W Solar Panel
Among the heavier marine solar modules on this list, the Newpowa 180-watt panel makes up for it with a solid power output that gives it a respectable 7.1 watts per pound of power to weight.
Translated for the normal folk among us? This panel is probably best suited for medium to large boats and yachts. A few of these panels in a larger array should be able to power most onboard appliances, but it comes at the cost of being heavier than some of the alternatives.
A 25-year transferable power output warranty from the manufacturer helps ease that pain, though, as you’ll know that they are going to be reliable and last you much longer than you’ll likely own your boat.
Suaoki Foldable Solar Panel 60W
Boasting a 13.9 on the power to weight ratio scale, this little folding solar panel is a strong contender for the smaller boat solar panel champion. Weighing a meager 4.8 pounds and folding up to the size of a small suitcase, this little guy would make for an excellent addition to any small or medium sized boat.
While you aren’t going to likely be trying to run anything big off the Suaoki, this powerful little package would be perfect for keeping your hand held devices juiced up for a long weekend off the grid or a day on the water.
The cable connections being on top of the panel mean that they are more susceptible to corrosion, but the price is right to make it a solid addition to your long weekend must-haves list.
Eco-Worthy Semi-Flexible 100W Solar Panel
Can I just talk about how cool this marine solar panel is for a minute? You’re still reading this, so I’m going to assume so. This slight little panel weighs in at just 3.97 pounds but throws off 100 watts of power. That is a 25.19 power to weight ratio, making it one of the most powerful solar modules on this list.
And what’s more, it’s semi-flexible which means that you can contour the Eco-Worthy to cabin roofs and decks where other solar panels wouldn’t dream of being mounted.
In fact, the only drawback that I could find was that the connectors are mounted on the top of the panel (which makes sense so that they can be flush-mounted) and can potentially encourage corrosion if not maintained regularly.
BougeRV 180 Watt High Efficiency Solar Panel
With a name like BougeRV (said: bougie RV), you’d have to expect a high-output panel that is easy to connect and can run all of your glamping accessories. And, well… You wouldn’t be let down.
The BougeRV 180 watt high efficiency solar panel pretty much lives up to its name. Boasting 180 watts of power, this powerhouse of a solar module is definitely ahead of many other panels in its same class. A 7.5 power to weight ratio isn’t the most stand-out on this list, but neither is it in the back of the pack. Pre-installed diodes and pre-attached MC4 cables mean that it is just about ready to go out of the box.
While doing my research on this panel, I noticed that many of BougieRV’s customers note how high of performance they got right out of the box as compared to similar solar panels for boats that are on the market.
Newpowa 200W Monocrystalline
Newpowa solar modules made this list of best marine solar panels with reviews several times, and it’s not for nothing. They make some of the best marine solar panels that are on the market today. This is one of the larger panels they make, and one of the highest producing panels that we included on the list.
Weighing 27.56 pounds per panel, all that power definitely comes at a cost. But the overall power to weight ratio is still a respectable 7.26. Newpowa also kindly pre-installs both diodes and cables to make installation easier.
This particular model is noted for its ability to withstand severe weather conditions dues to a high performance ethylene-vinyl-acetate (or EVA) coating that they use which purportedly provides an extraordinary rigidity while keeping the weight down. And in the strange event that severe weather does get to the panels, Newpowa includes a 25-year output warranty.
Top Solar (TP-Solar) Marine Flexible Solar Panel 100W
TP-Solar makes some great solar panels for boats and this module is no exception. Very similar to the Renogy flexible panel we covered earlier in this list, this panel boasts a solid 30-degrees of bend and weighs in at just 3.97 pounds (making the power:weight a surprising 25.19!).
They claim that they also get up to 50% conversion efficiency, although I wouldn’t make any purchase decisions on that until I see it in the wild. Most solar panels on the market aim for around 20% efficiency, so any claims of better than 20% are likely marketing-speak.
That said, this is still a very good marine solar panel. One of the noted selling points is the purported high efficiency in lower light conditions. If that claim holds true, then this panel would jump to the top of my list for best marine solar panels.
Texas Solar Polycrystalline 100W Panel
They say you don’t mess with Texas, and in this case it’s hard to argue otherwise. Texas Solar backs up their workmanship with a five-year warranty and they guarantee the power output for an industry-leading 30 years! I don’t know of any other panel manufacturers that will put a 30 year warranty on their products.
While this 100 watt panel isn’t the highest performing, or the lightest (weighing in at 19.31 lbs), it is a solid workhorse of a module. Texas Solar designed their panel to have a waterproof junction box, enhanced stiffness, and a special anti-reflective coating – making this panel a great choice if you want panels that will just keep on ticking, long after their competitors have needed to be replaced.
BLUETTI SP200 200w Foldable Solar Panel
And finally, the Bluetti 200 watt foldable solar panel. This little guy really packs some juice under the hood, so to speak. At only 14.3 pounds, the power to weight ratio clocks in at 13.98. While the other foldable solar panels in this list were all classified as best for day sailors or short off the grid trips, the Bluetti is actually a useful set up for any size of small or medium boat and yacht.
The whole package folds up to about the size of a camp chair, making it easy to stow when not in use. While the 200 watts of power output mean that the array can handle most personal electronics with ease.
They also claim a 23% conversion efficiency, which sounds a little on the high end to me, but is close enough that I’ll go with it. This is a really solid little option for a marine solar panel and one that I definitely recommend for anyone looking to stay charged up while on the water.
So now you know Solar Smarts’ list of the best marine solar panels with reviews – but how do they apply to you? And while things like power to weight ratio was an important factor in ranking the solar panels in my list, maybe other factors are more important to you.
So there are a few questions and considerations that you should have when you are thinking about adding solar panels to your boat or yacht.
First, ask yourself:
What are your power needs?
Are you a full time liveaboard or a casual weekend boater? Do you need to power the refrigerator or an air conditioning at all times, or maybe you just need it for a few hours. Onboard electronics can really add up, between the GPS, radar, lighting, sound system, and any other creature comforts that you may decide you want to power.
Nearly all of the marine solar panels that we included on our list of best marine solar panels with reviews were a minimum of 100 watts, and most liveaboard boats will install two or three panels at a time, giving them a maximum of 300 watts.
That’s more than enough power to run a fridge, onboard equipment and laptops while in the middle of the ocean, but not enough to throw a party and run all your electronics all night while also blasting Jimmy Buffet for the whole marina to hear.
Will you need to install a larger battery bank?
Generating electricity means nothing if you can’t store it somewhere. Believe it or not, the sun doesn’t shine at night! So you need to capture all that great solar energy all day long and then stick it somewhere for later use when the sun goes down.
This might mean that you will need to upgrade your battery bank to handle all the load that you’re planning for.
Here is a handy marine appliance usage comparison table to help you plan for what you might need:
|Appliance||Power consumption||Power use for 8 hours|
|Mini fridge||100W per hour||800W|
|Lightbulb||60W per hour||480W|
|Fan||90W per hour||720W|
|Total watts used:||2,000W|
If you had three 100W solar panels, they would generate 2,800W over the typical 8 hour day that you will have to generate power. That energy would be more than enough to keep the above appliances running for one day.
What’s the difference between marine solar panels and residential solar panels?
Technically, a photovoltaic panel is a photovoltaic panel. There is really very little in the way the panels operate that is different from one another. Technically, you could use just about any off-grid system for a boat. But the real difference comes in with the connections and mounts.
All that water and salt aren’t great for metals with electricity running through them… as you might imagine. So marine solar panels are specially designed to be able to handle more extreme weather conditions and the corrosiveness of the salt.
In addition to that, many marine solar panels are designed to be more flexible so that they can contour to the curves of a boat hull or deck, while most residential systems are designed to be fairly rigid.