Bluetti’s Portable And Foldable 200W Solar Panel
A couple of weeks ago, I reviewed the Bluetti EB3A power station. Today I am going to look at yet another Bluetti product: the popular PV200, a portable solar panel.
This is a panel I have seen both out in the wild and on YouTube, and I am excited to have the chance to review it.
As full-time travelers, we are always searching for the most powerful products that can still be considered portable. After testing the PV200 for a couple of weeks, we believe that this is one of those products that we will bring along on our journey.
Let’s get right into the specifications of the panel before I share my test results and thoughts.
Bluetti PV200 – Specifications
The 200W panel is made up out of four 50W panels that reveal themselves when unfolded.
Bluetti uses thin monocrystalline panels with a cell efficiency rate of up to 23.4%.
The panels have an ETFE coating, which is a lightweight, heat-resistant film that increases the overall durability.
Here are the power ratings:
- Power: 200W
- Voltage at Max Power (Vmp): 20.5V
- Current at Max Power (Imp): 9.7A
- Open Circuit Voltage (Voc): 26.1V
- Short Circuit Current (Isc): 10.3A
The PV200 uses MC4 connectors, which make it compatible with a lot of different applications.
It’s a 10 feet (3 m) MC4 cable that stows away in the zipper pocket on the back of the panel.
There are no other connectors included. Connecting the panel to a 12V battery or portable power station is going to require extra adapters and cables.
Bluetti power stations include MC4 to DC adapters, so you don’t need to buy anything extra if you have one of those.
You also need a solar charge controller if you’re connecting it directly to a 12V battery.
The panel is built like a lot of similar panels, but it has a couple of features that make it better than most.
One of those is the built-in handle, which is a thick and solid plastic handle. It’s not a silly strap that gets in the way of the panel when unfolded, and it makes it easy to carry the panel.
There are two buckles on the front to keep it all together when folded. The MC4 cable goes in a relatively large zipper pocket on the back.
The built-in stand is three adjustable legs. They’re adjustable in the sense that you can adjust the angle the stand should sit at, which is essential to improve the charging efficiency during the day.
There are three different angles you can set it to, from 40 to 50 degrees. It’s set with a snap/stud button. When folded together, the legs are snapped to the bottom button.
A minor detail that I view as a plus is the fact that there is not a lot of velcro, there is just a bit behind every leg.
So many of my panels use velcro in several places, and they pick up a lot of unnecessary dirt. Like I said, a minor detail.
Size And Weight
The panel weighs 16.1 lbs (7.3 kg).
When folded, it measures 23.2 by 24.8 inches (59 x 60 cm).
When unfolded, it measures 23.2 by 89.2 inches (59 x 226.5 cm).
In The Box
The only things included except for the panel is a user manual and the usual warranty/QC papers.
What I Like
The monocrystalline panels performed very well in my tests.
When connected to one of my power stations with an MC4 to Anderson adapter, it produced 175W. If it was a 100W panel, that would be almost 88 watts, which is a high number for a portable panel like this.
Connected to the Bluetti EB3A power station (you can find my review of it here), it produced 172W. It’s amazing that even the smaller power stations can charge that quick now.
While I see it as a downside that Bluetti does not include DC adapters, I have to say it is great when a panel uses MC4 connectors.
It’s the most popular solar panel connector for a reason, and there are a lot of different cables and adapters available on the market that use MC4 connectors.
Since a majority of the new power stations released today include a solar adapter (MC4 to 8mm/Anderson/5.5mm, etc), it’s the way to go.
Another thing I like, related to this, is the zipper pocket that holds the cable. It’s a large pocket, and I didn’t have a problem fitting an MC4 to Anderson adapter in together with the MC4 cables.
The adjustable legs/stand
To get the most out of your solar panel, you need to make sure it’s always tilted towards the sun. That’s necessary during both the cold and warm seasons, but especially in the winter when the sun is low on the horizon.
Bluetti has made it easy to adjust the angles of the PV200, and I quickly found the most efficient angle.
In my tests, the difference between the best and the worst angle was almost 20 watts. Over a full day, the watts add up.
The handle on the PV200 might be the most sturdy handle I have seen on a portable panel. Is it bigger than it needs to be? Maybe, but it sure is nice to pack around a panel with a big handle you don’t have to worry about breaking.
I’m not saying you should be reckless with it, but we have been putting it to the test over the past few weeks and it still looks like new.
One of the biggest competitor to the Bluetti PV200 in my eyes is the Jackery 200W panel. The Bluetti panel weighs over three pounds less, which is almost 19% more.
It’s a very portable panel that is easy to pack around.
What I Dislike
No DC adapters included
I understand the thinking behind this, but it would’ve been so easy to include an MC4 to 5.5×2.5mm adapter and the 10 most common DC connectors.
Then it would’ve been compatible with a majority of the power stations on the market, even the ones that don’t include a solar cable.
Another thing I would’ve liked to see is a small junction box with USB A and C ports.
I am nitpicking, and it is both a plus and a minus. Because by not having open ports, the panel is more dust- and water-resistant.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it compatible with my portable power station/solar generator?
If your power station has a charge controller that can handle a working voltage of 20.5, then yes, it is.
Now you just need to find out which adapter you need to connect it. If the power station did not come with a solar adapter, you’re going to need an MC4 to whatever the input is.
Sometimes the input type is listed in the product manual, but if you can’t find it anywhere, you can leave a comment down below and I will help you. Just let me know the specific model you have.
How do I charge a regular 12V battery with this?
To charge an RV house battery or something like a car battery with this, you’re going to need a solar charge controller.
A solar charge controller regulates the voltage and amperage to charge a lead-acid or lithium battery safely. Not all charge controllers support lithium.
Here is a 20A solar charge controller by Acopower (click to view on Amazon) with MC4 connectors on one end and alligator clamps on the other.
Connect the clamps to your 12V battery. Red to positive, black to negative. Then connect the solar panel to the MC4 connectors, starting with the positive.
Make sure the positive (red) wire from the charge controller lines up with the positive MC4 male connector on the panel.
Can I plug this into the Solar-Ready port on my RV?
The solar-ready ports I know of have a maximum amperage rating of 10A, so I would not try to connect this panel to one of those. It might work, but it might blow a fuse eventually.
Please leave a comment down below if you have questions.