How to Choose the Best Solar Panel Kit

How to Choose the Best Solar Panel Kit

By Renogy UK
Renogy UK
renogys blog Apr 26th 2021

In the United Kingdom, many people have been hearing more about the renewable energy sources that they can utilise at home, including solar power systems. But before you get started on installing a solar panel system from scratch into your home, RV, or tiny house, consider purchasing a solar panel kit.

A solar panel kit is just what it sounds like -- a neat little package that contains everything you need to set up your own solar panel system. However, because there are many different solar kits, it can be challenging to know which one will fit your needs the best.

Let’s break down everything you need to know about solar panel kits to help make your decision easier.

What to Look for in Solar Panel Kits

Home solar panel kits are a great way to gain energy independence, whether your home is part of a grid system or you’re looking for portable solar options for travelling off-grid. You’ll want to check the efficiency rating of any kits you consider to guarantee they will, in fact, save you significantly on energy costs.

The complexity of the solar panel kit that you purchase will also depend on your DIY solar skills. If you know your way around wiring and electrical hook-ups, you can probably opt for a more advanced kit. If all of this is new to you, something that is more plug-and-play will be better.

Components of a Solar Panel Kit

A proper solar panel kit includes mounting hardware, a charge controller, and of course, solar panels. Some solar panel kits will also have a solar battery. Others will require you to purchase a battery bank separately to ensure that you get the best setup for your situation.

Most off-grid solar kits will have everything that you need to get your system up and running. Grid-tied systems almost always require a power inverter to ensure compatibility and to transfer between on-grid and off-grid setups.

Here are more details about each of the components that can come in a solar energy system.

Solar Panels

As we’ve already mentioned, all solar panel kits include solar panels. The number of panels you need and their sizes will vary based on the amount of solar energy you need to run your home, RV, or tiny house. As solar power becomes more popular, the cost of solar panels continues to decrease.

Some solar panel kits come in suitcases to make them more portable and adaptable for travelling, while others are designed to be permanent fixtures on a roof or side of a home. Either way, the panels are durable and likely to last at least 20 years with proper maintenance.

Charge Controllers

A solar panel kit will also have a charge controller. You can think of this device as a regulator that controls the amount of solar energy sent to be stored in the battery so that it doesn’t overcharge. Charge controllers also help to create a smooth, consistent electrical flow between the panels and the appliances that they ultimately power.

Battery Banks

Especially when you’re considering the temperamental weather of the UK, having battery banks to store additional solar power is basically a necessity. If you don’t want a grid-tied solar setup, you must have battery banks.

Battery banks work by setting aside energy for later use, which is measured in watt-hours. So even if you live in Westmorland or Cardiff, where you can go days without any sun, your battery banks will still provide your home with the energy it needs.

Power Inverters

This essential component takes the DC or direct current energy absorbed through the solar panels and converts it into AC or alternate current energy, which most home appliances require to function. If you have no intentions of powering devices that need AC energy, you may not need a power inverter.

How to Choose the Best Solar Panel Kit

The best solar panel kit for you will be the one that fulfils your property’s energy consumption needs, while being easy to install and maintain. That’s why so many people are opting for pre-packaged kits that take them through the process step-by-step.

To determine the best type of solar panel kits for your needs, you can always use the Renogy solar panel calculator to help you know how much energy you’ll want to be able to produce.

Solar Panel Kits for Your Home

Let’s take a moment to do some math. The average UK home uses 3,731-kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year. The average 300-watt solar panel will produce 2.5 kWh/day with a full eight hours of sun. Since we’re in the UK, let’s cut that amount in half and say that a 300-watt panel will produce 1.25 kWh/day or around 455 kWh/year.

So to fully power your home for a year, you would need to divide 3,731 kWh per year by 455 kWh, which equals just over eight 300-watt solar panels. Some solar panel kits designed for traditional homes will come with a set amount of solar panels, but you can always add more if you think you’ll need them.

RV Solar Panel Kits

Of course, producing enough electricity for an RV or tiny home solar kit will be very different. These travelling homes require much less energy, but also have much less space on which to place panels. Thankfully, small solar panel kits are readily available for such needs and are designed with this in mind.

Marine Solar Panel Kits

Another popular type of kit is a marine solar panel kit. These kits usually come with 100-watt solar panels, as water vessels don’t require as much energy because they don’t have large appliances to operate.

100-watt solar panels are smaller and are often portable since most boats don’t have a fixed place for them. While they aren’t as powerful, they can still run laptops, WiFi routers, fans, lights, and mobile chargers (just not all at the same time!).

The Final Recommendations

Purchasing a solar panel kit is a great first step in allowing your property to become energy independent. While your home may not be able to transform overnight, a solar panel kit will give you everything you need to get started with a system that will lower your electric bills and provide you with an alternative energy source if the power goes out.