How To Connect Third-Party Solar Panels To Goal Zero Yeti

Charging Goal Zero Power Stations With Third-Party Panels

After purchasing a refurbished Goal Zero Yeti 1000 Lithium, we started looking for solar panels to go with it. Goal Zero makes their own and sells them in briefcase-style products, but we were hoping to find a cheaper option.

Suddenly one evening, a deal showed up and we decided to buy two Renogy Foldable Solar Suitcase Kit 100W. Of course, we could have done a DIY setup for even less but we thought the deal was so great with the included carrying bag and stand that we went for it. We bought one with a solar charge controller, and one without. By bypassing the solar charge controller (click here to read my post about that), we can charge our Yeti 1000 with both suitcases. This way we can also connect both suitcases to directly charge our RV battery.

If you’re thinking about buying solar panels from Renogy, you can use my link to save 10% on your purchase*. Disclaimer: I earn a percentage on the sale, but it doesn’t cost extra for you. (*Excludes GEL/AGM batteries and sale items.)

How To Connect Third-Party Solar Panels To Goal Zero Yeti

Renogy’s panels have a positive male MC4 connector, and a negative female MC4 connector coming from the panel. This means that we need an MC4 to Anderson Power Pole Adapter where the female is positive, and the male is negative. The cable below has exactly that.

INSTABOOST 10AWG MC-4 Solar Panel Cable Kits Compatible with Anderson Power Pole Connector Male Famale for RV,Part Solar Generator Portable Powerstation(Male -Negative and Female-Positive)

INSTABOOST 10AWG MC4 Solar to Anderson Power Pole Adapter

Check Price at Amazon

Similar product also available on Ebay (click here).

As you can see, the female on the cable above is a positive wire (red), and the male is a negative (black), making it a match for my Renogy solar panels.

See Also: Solar Panels Compatible With Goal Zero Yeti

If you have a solar panel where the MC4 positive wire is a female, and the MC4 negative wire is a male, you’re going to need the cable below.

MC4 Solar To Anderson Power Pole Adapter connector Male and Famale solar panel cable connector Kits for PV,Goal Zero Yeti,Suaoki,Renogy Solar Generator Portable Powerstation

MC4 Solar To Anderson Power Pole Adapter

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Note that the positive from your panel should always go into the positive red wire on the adapter, or you have the wrong cable. The red piece of the Anderson Power Pole should then always go into the bottom red part on the Yeti.

Now, if you would rather use the 8mm input, or want to use both with additional panels, we need the same thing but an 8mm on the end instead of the Anderson Power Pole. If your panel has a positive male (red) and a negative female (black), we’ll need the cable below.

Upgraded MC-4 Solar to 8mm Adapter Cable 48' Perfet Working for GZ Products (Male Negative and Female Positive) (Blue)

MC4 Solar to 8mm Adapter Cable

Check Price at Amazon

If your panel has a positive female (red) MC4, and a negative male (black) MC4 wire coming out of it, you’ll need the adapter below.

JoinWin MFG Upgraded MC-4 to 8mm Adapter Perfetly Work with Portable Power Station Generator Explorer 160 240 440 and GZ yeti Products

JoinWin MFG Upgraded MC4 to 8mm

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What Makes A Solar Panel Compatible With Goal Zero Power Stations

Let’s talk about what makes a third-party solar panel compatible with the Goal Zero Yeti Lithium power stations. We’re limited to the solar charge controller that is built into the Yeti which is a PWM charge controller. Goal Zero does sell an MPPT charge controller as well that we’ve purchased. The MPPT solar charge controller is more efficient when charging both through the wall and with solar panels.

One thing that both the PWM and MPPT have in common is the max 22-volt rating on Yeti lithium stations. What this means is that the solar panel we buy can’t be rated at more than 22V Open-Circuit Voltage (Voc). Note that this is the case with Goal Zero’s solar charge controllers on the Yeti Lithium at least, and if you have a different power station with a Max voltage it might be talking about a different rating.

I have gone more in-depth about this in my post about solar panels compatible with Yeti stations.

If you have a Yeti non-lithium power station, the max voltage is different and depends on which model you own.

Goal Zero Yeti 150 – Has one 8mm port that supports 14-29V, up to 5A (60W max).

Goal Zero Yeti 400 – Has one 8mm port, supporting 14-29V up to 10A (120W max)

Goal Zero Yeti 1250 – Has one power pole charging port, supporting 16-48V, up to 20A (320W max), and one 8mm, supporting 16-48V, up to 10A (160W max)

To figure out what a panel is rated for, the best way is to visit the manufacturer’s website. Renogy makes the solar panel we bought and the specific model can be found here on their website. If we click on Specifications, it tells us that the Open-Circuit Voltage (Voc) is 21.6V, which is under 22V, making it a compatible panel for our Yeti Lithium. Note that you want a panel without a built-in charge controller though, as the Goal Zero Yeti power stations have them built-in already.

The panel comes with two cables sticking out of it, one MC4 male and one MC4 female. The inputs available on the charge controllers on the Yeti Lithium, however, are 8mm and Anderson Power Pole. So what we need is an adapter to connect to either one of those. I decided to use the Anderson Power Pole input since it can handle more amps than 8mm.

Can You Just Tell Me What Panel Works With What Adapter?

If it’s still confusing, a Renogy solar panel with the correct adapter would be:

Solar PanelRenogy 100 Watts 12 Volts Monocrystalline Solar Panel

AdapterINSTABOOST 10AWG MC4 Solar to Anderson Power Pole Adapter

How To Connect Two Or More Panels?

When connecting more than one panel, we have to be careful with how we wire them. Two panels wired in series will exceed the maximum 22 volts quick, so we must wire the panels in parallel. What wiring in parallel means, is that the positive wires meet each other separate from the negative. This will add the amperage together, but not the volts, as series wiring does. This is done with a connector like this (click here).

Plug each positive wire into the same connector, and then plug the connector into the positive (red) female on the adapter we looked at before.

Then you take both negative wires, plug those into the negative (black) male on the adapter that you’ll plug into the Goal Zero.

If you want to connect three panels, this is the adapter you’ll need.

If you want to connect four panels, this is the adapter you’ll need.

Make sure you don’t exceed the max watts the Goal Zero can handle, see below for those numbers.

How Many Watts Can The Goal Zero Lithium Power Stations Handle?

The built-in PWM charge controller can handle up to 360 watts, and the MPPT can handle up to 325 watts.

The 8mm charging port on both the PWM and MPPT only likes up to 10A (150 watts) which is why I recommend using the Anderson Power Pole instead.

Best Extension Cable Solution For Goal Zero Yeti?

I use MC4 connectors to extend my cables. I made my own but WindyNation sells different lengths with both 10 and 12 gauge cable. 10 gauge is recommended for up to 40A, and 12 gauge for up to 30A. If you find a different cable I recommend buying one that has an obvious red and black wire, so you won’t accidentally connect the wrong one into the Goal Zero.

Let me know if you have any questions by leaving a comment.

35 thoughts on “How To Connect Third-Party Solar Panels To Goal Zero Yeti”

  1. Thanks for this! I currently have a Renogy 160W flexible solar panel connected by MC4 extension cables to a Goal Zero Anderson power pole connector cable entering my MPPT input on my Goal Zero Li 10000 and although I’m showing 20V on multimeter coming out of Anderson pole connector, when I plug into GZ MPPT, the blue light comes on however I am registering NO input? Ditto if I bypass the MPPT and plug directly into the PMW input on the GZ? Powers from AC. Next step is to call GZ but any ideas?

    • Hello Sabrina,

      I assume you’re letting the cable be in for about 10 seconds to register and that the battery isn’t at 100%?

      The only thing I can think of to try would be to reset the screen by holding the units and info buttons for a couple of seconds until you see the screen react.

      Hope it’ll work out.

  2. Hello! Would really appreciate your post on “bypassing the solar charge controller” to use the Renogy suitcase panels with the Goal Zero…

  3. Thank YOU for posting this!!!

    I’ve been looking at the Renogy 160W flexible panel to replace the boulder suitcase (or in addition to it) for my GZ yeti 1250.

  4. This is great! I’m looking at purchasing the GZ Lithium 1000W for our van, and wanted a little more affordable panels than the GZ ones! I don’t understand how the Renogy v GZ panels have such a significant price difference… (here in Canada, at leas…)
    Question, do you have affiliate links on your site? I will use them if so, if not I’ll shop around a bit more.

    • Nice! Yeah, the price difference is huge here in the states as well… Glad I can help people connect cheaper (but great) panels.

      Yes, all our links to Amazon are affiliate links.

      Thank you Nick, safe travels!

  5. I’ve seen multiple people hooking up panels with a VOC in the 22.6 to 22.8 range to Yeti’s and they don’t seem to have any issues even though the VOC max is supposedly 22.0.

    Do you think that extra .6-.8 VOC really matters?

    • Hello Kevin, great question!

      Before I bought my 100W panels I was wondering about this as well since I was seeing the same thing you’re seeing, people using panels rated slightly above 22 VOC without breaking their Yeti or charge controllers.

      After reading forums online and talking to Goal Zero about it, I decided that it wasn’t worth the risk to buy a panel rated above 22 VOC.

      The extra .6 or .8 matter and can destroy your charge controller. It might not happen today, tomorrow, or in a week, but when it happens, you will be left with a broken charge controller. The chance of this happening is even higher when it’s cold outside, as VOC increases at cold temperatures.

      This is why I don’t do it or recommend anyone else doing it. It’s just not worth the risk.

  6. I’m new to all this but I’m getting it figured out. Extremely helpful article! On the last paragraph “Best Extension Cable Solution For Goal Zero Yeti?” can you clarify that one MC4 extension cord will do the trick or do I need to order two – one for positive one for negative?


    • Hello Kurt,

      You’ll need two, one for positive and one for negative. The specific one I linked to is sold in pair, so you get a black and a red cable.

      Thanks for your comment

      • I had missed that detail originally. Thanks for all the info. Cables and adapters arrived and work perfectly. The system is purring along nicely – with a huge assist from you. Thanks Again! Excellent how-to.

  7. I had the same problem Sabrina mentioned a couple of posts above. I wonder what she found out? I have the Renogy 160watt flexible panel and the GZ Yeti. Using the Anderson pole and cables recommended, I get “0”input. Is there a way to check at each junction with a voltage gage to locate the problem? I bought everything brand new. I remember reading somewhere that even with the colored wires matching you could have reversed polarity.

  8. Hi,

    s it worth it to get a great price (say $150) on a 340 watt 51 VOC solar panel and then send it through a charge controller to my Yeti lithium 1000? Is it risky? How is it done?

    • Do you mean adding an additional solar charge controller? Since the Goal Zero can’t handle more than 22 VOC I wouldn’t recommend it. A lot of power would be wasted if you went through two charge controllers as well.

  9. Can I simultaneously charge my Goal Zero Yeti 1000 with a GZ boulder 100W BC connected in the 8mm input and a 260W (under 22V) third party solar panel connected in the Anderson Power Pole?

  10. I am planning on hooking up a Renogy 100w monocrystalline panel solar starter kit to a GZ Lithium 400, would you recommend bypassing the built in GZ controller and using the one from Renogy? I am only using one panel and the primary use for the solar/battery setup would be to power an ARB 37qt fridge as well as charging camera batteries and a laptop.


    • Hello Kent, sorry for the late answer.

      I would get an adapter (mc4 to 8mm) and plug the panel straight into the Yeti. I don’t think you can bypass the charge controller on the Yeti 400 lithium without opening the box up which might void the warranty.

      Since you wouldn’t need the Renogy charge controller, you can just purchase a single panel without the kit and if needed buy a mounting kit for it.

      Thank you for your comment, let me know if you have any more questions or if I didn’t understand your question correctly.

  11. Might be a dumb question, the GZ Lithium 400 says its compatible with the Boulder 200 portable panels. The panel specs state it outputs “Anderson Powerpole 14-22V, up to 14A (200W max)”

    This contradicts the 10A maximum Ive seen stated for the GZ Lithium 400.

    Any idea which it is?

    Im currently looking at a 200W panel setup that will output around 11A max.

    • Hello Trevor,

      You’re right; it’s confusing. The Yeti 400 Lithium maxes out at 120 watts input. You can connect the Boulder 200 to the Yeti, but you won’t see an input higher than 120 watts on the Yeti. Note that you will need an Anderson power pole to 8mm adapter if you plan on using the Boulder 200 with the Yeti 400.

      You’re right about the maximum amperage on the Yeti 400, and in the end, it’s not recommended to exceed either the voltage or the amps of the solar charge controller. I’m not sure why Goal Zero advertises it as being a safe option.

      On the other hand, 200 watts of solar panels into a PWM charge controller might not ever exceed 10 amps, and maybe that’s why Goal Zero is okay with recommending the Boulder 200. I would be careful, though, especially if you plan on using third party panels, as Goal Zero will not help you in case you burn the charge controller with panels that they don’t sell.

      Hope I didn’t make it more confusing, let me know if you have any other questions.

  12. Hey – appreciate the tips. If I want to hook up LED lighting with dimmer switches using a Renogy + GoalZero 1400 setup, what additional components would I need if any?

    • Hello Nick,

      I would need some more details to help you more. Are you talking about hardwiring lights or using a light strip? If hardwiring 12V lights, it will be a bit trickier. If you don’t want to get a separate 12V battery, a fusebox and wire your lights that way, you could do what this guy did:

      If it’s a light strip with an AC plug, it will plug right in. You’d have to turn on the inverter to run them.

  13. Looking at purchasing 3 Renogy 100W panels. Anyone see any reason not to cut off the Renogy MC4 connectors, tie them parallel into a single Anderson Power Pole Connector pigtail and plug into the a Yeti1250? Otherwise I’d have to buy a 3-1 MC4 splitter then attach an MC4-Anderson adapter.

    Basically, spend $50 on adapters for plug and play, or $10 for a pigtail and 5 minutes of wire work.

    • Hello Mike,

      True, I guess you could do that, but you might need an additional wire between your panels and the Anderson Power Pole connector since it wouldn’t fit three wires.

  14. Hi,

    Can i chain Rockpals Foldable 100W solar panel with Goal Zero Boulder 50W solar panels in parallel to achieve an equivalent of 150W output (similar to 3 x Boulder 50W panels)?

    My solar generator is Goal Zero 400 Lithium using 8mm input connector.

    • Hello Razman,
      Yes, you can, but there might be some loss if the panels don’t have the same Vmp rating. So it would most likely not be as efficient as 3 x Boulder 50W panels.

  15. So if I want to connect two Renogy 160 Watt 12 Volt to a Goal Zero Yeti 1400 I need to connect both positive male mc4’s to the negative female y adapter, both female mc4’s to the positive male y adapter. Then connect the negative female part of the y adapter to the negative male of the instaboost cable and the positive male part of the y adapter to the positve female of the instaboost cable. And then plug the anderson part of the instaboost cable into the MPPT solar charge controller, which will then power the yeti 1400 under 22v? Hopefully that wasn’t too confusing, did i do this right?

    • Hello Sebastian,

      You’re correct about the connection you would make.

      The problem with the Renogy 160W panel is that its VOC rating is 22.9, which is above 22. If you asked Goal Zero if you could use these panels they would tell you no, and it might even void the warranty.

      I would recommend 3x100W panels over 2x160W panels, just to be safe.


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