Flexopower has more than a decade of experience supplying portable solar power solutions to the Overlanding community. Also used by the US armed forces special ops, Flexopower solar panels are engineered to perform in real life off-grid situations, which often include overcast weather, partial shade, and inevitably: wear & tear.
The Baja Portable Solar Panel Kit is great for camping due to the durability of the glass-free construction and the highly portable design that Flexopower has refined over the years. The solar panels can fold in thirds, compacting down to the size of a standard laptop bag. Lightweight and thin- they're easy to stow, even in a fully packed overland rig. Legs to position the panels at an angle to the sun are integrated into the carry bag, along with a pouch to store cables.
What can 200W of Solar Energy Be Used to Power?
This 200W Baja Solar Panel Camping Kit is suitable to power a 12V or lithium battery that carries a load of a 1-2 camping fridges and some LED lights during excursions up to about a week in length. This is only a rough guideline, and the actual performance will vary depending on the configuration of your set up and the solar/weather conditions at your destination. To power more accessories or keep a battery charged on even longer journeys, consider the 300W Baja Portable Solar Panel Camping Kit, with three 100W panels.
If you're unsure of your power needs or need help getting a solar system installed with a dual battery set up, just give us a ring and we'll talk through it with you. The last thing you want to do is drain your ignition battery trying to power your accessories and end up in a pickle far from access to a jump.
What Makes Flexopower Baja Foldable Solar Panels the Best Portable Solar Panels for Overland Adventures?
Flexopower's Baja solar panels are manufactured with efficient mono-crystalline SolarWorld 5 busbar cell technology. Busbars are the connections between the individual cells of the solar panel, and having more of them (5 vs the typical 3) means less resistance to the flow of the current and thus a higher maximum voltage power point for the panel.
Many solar panels are made with efficient photovoltaic technology, but where the Baja really shines is the durability and packability of these panels. The slim, lightweight, easy to carry package is perfect for camping trips. Best of all, Flexopower designed integrated kick-stand style legs into the backing of the solar panels, so you have the option to angle the panels toward the sun when it is low on the horizon. This gives you a boost in solar efficiency without having to tote around a bulky, fragile, rigid solar system with cumbersome tripods.
Baja Portable Solar Panel Camping Kit Components:
Flexopower's Baja Series of Portable Solar Panel Camping Kits (100W, 200W & 300W) all use the same 100W Baja Foldable Solar Panel. This 200W kit simply comes with two of the 100W panels connected in parallel with a Y-cable. In addition to the portable panels, the 200W camping kit also includes a solar regulator (charge controller) and the appropriate number of connector cables and extension cords to hook up the solar panels- all components are pre-wired with Anderson plugs for easy plug and play set up (see Table below for specific components included).
What Charge Controller Option Should I Pair My Solar Panels With?
Charge controllers protect the battery from overcharging in the instance where your battery is already full but the solar panels are still pushing power to it. The charge controller is connected directly to the battery, and then the solar panels connect to the charge controller (rather than directly to the battery).
There are two main factors to consider when deciding what type of solar charge controller/regulator to use: 1) the combined current (Amps) of your solar setup 2) what type of battery/power bank you plan on using. Some people also feel strongly about the algorithm the charge controller uses, to try and perfect the possible efficiency of their system (PWM = pulse width modulation and MPPT is maximum power point tracking). At the end of the day, you really want your solar charge controller to be a good fit for the current from your solar panels, and the type of battery you are asking it to protect.
1. The combined operating current of your system should be below the Amp value stated on the charge controller (14A or 30A)
The 14A PWM charge controller is sufficient for the 200W Baja Solar Panel Camping Kits, as long as you only connect the two included 100W Baja solar panels to your power system. Up to 5.3A of current flows from each 100W Baja panel. So a 14A charge controller is sufficient for up to 2x 100W Baja solar panels (2 x 5.3A = 10.6A and 10.6A < 14A). You are given the option to upgrade to a 30A MPPT charge controller if you intend on adding additional solar panels to your system (beyond what is included in the kit). For example, if you have a solar panel built in to your off road trailer with an operating current of 10A, and you want to add in a 200W Baja Portable Solar Panel Camping Kit; in this case you would want to go with the 30A MPPT charge controller, not the 14A PWM (because 10A + 5.3A+ 5.3A = 20.6A > 14A). Please don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions about solar panel kits!
2. If your solar panels will charge a Lithium Power Bank, get the 30A MPPT charge controller
Importantly, the 14A PWM charge controller is only compatible with 12V, standard lead acid batteries (car batteries). If you would like to charge a lithium battery with your Flexopower Baja Solar Panel Camping Kit, you need to select the 30A MPPT charge controller- even if this is overkill for the operating current of your setup.
Flexopower Baja Foldable Solar Power Camping Kit Components, Power Information and Dimensions
Baja 200W Portable Solar Panel Camping Kit Features
2x 100W Baja Foldable Solar Panel: Powered by SolarWorld mono-crystalline 5 busbar solar cells. Each 100W solar panel folds into thirds and weighs less than 9 lbs. Folded dimensions: (20" x 17." x 1") x 2 Deployed/Unfolded dimensions: (57" x 20" x 0.1") x 2
Integrated legs: allow for up to 45 degree tilt of solar panels for more efficient charging in early morning or late afternoon sun. This is particularly helpful during the winter, early spring and late fall when the earth is tilted away from the sun. When the sun is high overhead or you are packing up, simply collapse the legs to velcro them to the panel backing.
Carry bag: a convenient handle is integrated into design of the Flexopower Baja solar panels, so you can just fold up, velcro shut, and be on your way. A pouch for the cables is also sewn into the panel backing.
1x 14A PWM or 1x 30A MPPT Solar Charge Controller: Choose between a 14A PWM or 30A MPPT regulator to protect your battery. Both options use efficient, modern algorithms to switch off power delivery from the solar panel to the battery when the battery is full to avoid over charging. Please read above for help selecting which Solar Charge Controller to go with.
2x 33ft Extension Cable (10 AWG): Perfect for camping- park in the shade but deploy your panels in the sun. You can easily reposition the panels without needing to move your vehicle.
1x 2-to-1 Y cable: Used to combine the power generated from the two 100W solar panels prior to delivery to your battery or load.
Anderson connector plugs (SB50 gray type): the charge controller (14A or 30A), extension cord, and solar panel of the 200W Camping Kit are all outfitted with Anderson SB50 connector plugs. This makes it a snap to set up your solar panels!
PLEASE NOTE: You need to supply your own battery cable to wire the solar charge controller to your battery. This cable is NOT included in the kit, since the type of battery cable needed will vary depending on your battery, and where you want to mount the charge controller. Generally people leave the charge controller installed once they set up their system for the first time. Reach out if you have questions about what cable you need for your set up, or want to talk dual batteries! We are happy to help!