Renogy vs. HQST vs. Eco-Worthy vs. Windynation – so many options when comparing solar panels! With the growth of solar energy, the number of solar panel manufacturers is growing.
Right now, six significant players sell reasonably priced solar panels primarily online. These manufacturers make similar panels, and preferences often depend on several factors.
- Dimensions and Weight
- Warranty, Guarantees, Return Policies
This article reviews each brand’s pros and cons and then provides highlights for each panel. I’ve compared the 200W solar panels, so comparisons are equivalent.
Table of Contents
Factors When Choosing a Solar Panel
As mentioned, there a several factors to consider when choosing a solar panel. Of course, this is not every factor, but some of the main ones to consider.
Check the specifications. Volts and Amps are essential, and I constantly review the Vmp, Imp, VOC, and Isc.
If provided, also check the panel’s efficiency or tolerance. An example is Renogy. Theirs is plus or minus 3%, but not all manufacturers offer this, so ask.
Finally, read any reviews you can find, and ask for the opinions of others in the DIY solar and RV forums. Honest use feedback is great to have.
Dimensions and Weight
Much depends on where you want to put your solar panels.
- How much room do you have on the roof?
- How much do the panels weigh?
- Will they be in the sun or shade?
If you purchase on Amazon, check the manufacturer’s website for all specifications. Unfortunately, Amazon is often wrong.
Price is always important, and many manufacturers have aggressive website sales. Renogy and Eco-Worthy are two good examples.
Always check Amazon, too, because once you add in coupons, shipping, etc., the manufacturers may not be less expensive, and Amazon’s return policy is often better.
Service is often a toss-up with some of these manufacturers. If you want to get an idea of the type of service you will get, then look at the answers to the questions on the Amazon page.
Some of the answers are bad, and not surprisingly, those are the same manufacturers with negative feedback.
Warranty, Guarantee, Return Policy
This is where they can all get a little tricky. There could be any number of reasons they void their warranties, so read the tiny print closely.
Make sure you register the panels and keep your receipts/invoices.
Check the Guarantee and Return Policy. Some only give you a few days to register before these expire.
Some manufacturers make you pay for return shipping, which may make it cost-prohibitive to return.
Renogy Solar Panels
Renogy is a popular panel and a favorite among the boating and RV crowd. This well-made, compact solar panel fits well in smaller spaces.
- Price fluctuates somewhat
- Efficient and performs as stated
- Quality build
- Shipping quality is not always good
- No mounting hardware is a common complaint
- Customer Service feedback is questionable
HQST Solar Panels
HQST has a reputation for producing a low-cost panel that performs. It is one of the few panels with little to no negative service feedback. Recently, the newer panels have been made smaller and not communicated in the specifications, so you may want to check their website or confirm via phone.
- One of the best-priced panels
- Output is as stated
- No negative service reviews are good in this industry
- More recent panels are smaller than what is listed
- Several complaints about components like cables being left out
Windy Nation Solar Panels
WindyNation makes polycrystalline panels that get excellent reviews, but there is not as much feedback on the monocrystalline panels. The few that are available are positive. Monocrystalline panels are less expensive and slightly smaller than polycrystalline ones.
- Excellent reviews
- Performance/Efficiency as stated
- Shipping and delivery sometimes result in damage
- Monocrystalline panels are expensive
NewPowa Solar Panels
Newpowa receives good reviews on its panel performance, and they are one of the lowest-priced panels in this group. Feedback on their responsiveness and service is among the highest across forums and reviews.
These are larger than some competitors’ panels, so check the specifications before purchasing.
- One of the lowest-priced solar panels in this group
- Excellent customer service
- Consistent efficiency ratings
- Heaviest of all the panels in this group
- Packaging can be poor
- No mounting hardware
Rich Solar Panels
Rich Solar is often mentioned by purchasers of Renogy panels. It is a similar panel at a better price. This tall, narrow, heavier panel is becoming a favorite among RVs and campers. The only consistent negative theme is around quality control – panels sometimes differ from listed specifications, and mounting holes on the back of the panels may vary.
- It is a good quality alternative to Renogy at a better price
- Good technical service
- Sturdy, durable frame and panel overall
- The inconsistent – panel received differed from the listed, and the mounting holes were also other.
- Durability – there are a few complaints about MC4 connector quality
- Shipping damages on occasion
Eco-Worthy Solar Panels
Like Renogy, Eco-Worthy is very popular among mobile users – RVs, Boats, Trucks, Campers, etc. This is a smaller panel in this list and is also lightweight. The panel is of good quality; these were the least expensive panels at the time of this review. There have been some complaints about size consistency, but if you order directly from Eco-Worthy, this appears not to be an issue.
- Currently, the lowest price on this list
- Best value – quality vs. price
- Consistently performs as rated
- No mounting holes on the sides of the bracket
- Panel size sometimes varies unless purchased from Eco-Worthy directly
- Shipping damages on occasion
All of these panels are similar. They seem to struggle with the same issues, and each brand has its fans and haters. The best quality goes to Renogy, but not customer service. For service, you need to consider Newpowa or Rich.
Check out the answers to questions on Amazon. This gives you a good idea of who invests in service and who does not.
Mounting hardware is an issue across every manufacturer, which surprises me since NONE of these panels state they come with hardware. So, if you’re wondering – don’t expect mounting hardware with most of these solar panels.
Shipping breakage is also an issue across the board, so check your panels as soon as you get them, call the manufacturer with any problems, or try to return them if you ordered them through Amazon.