Which Solar Panels Are Compatible With The Jackery Explorer?

Charge Your Jackery Explorer Power Station With Compatible Solar Panels

The Jackery Explorer power station lineup currently consists of the Explorer 160, 240, 500, and 1000.

All of them can be charged in three ways, with the included wall or car charger, and solar panels.

Even though portable power stations like these are often called solar generators, they don’t include solar panels unless you purchase a kit.

Related Product: Power the BougeRV 12 volt portable fridge/freezer using your solar charged Jackery Explorer Power Station

So which solar panels are compatible with the Explorers? In this post, I will guide you through the solar, cable, and adapter jungle and recommend compatible panels.

Jackery sells its own SolarSaga 60 (click to view on Amazon) and SolarSaga 100 (click to view on Amazon) that come with 8mm connectors, directly compatible with every Explorer model.

Let’s start by listing my solar panel recommendations and the limits of the Explorer power stations, then talk about what you need to know and think about, how to combine panels, and what extension cables you can use.

NOTE if you have an Explorer 1500 or 2000: The latest Explorer 1500 and 2000 use proprietary 8mm connectors. You have to use the parallel 8mm adapter included by Jackery to use the adapter below with third party panels. You can also use a third-party adapter made by Solarenz, click here to view it on Amazon

Related Post: How To Connect Third-Party Solar Panels To The Jackery Explorer

Solar Panel Recommendations

Renogy 50 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Solar Panel (Compact Design)
Paxcess Foldable 50W Solar Panel Charger for Suaoki Portable Generator / 8mm Goal Zero Yeti 100/150/400 Power Station/Paxcess Battery Pack/USB Devices, with 3 USB Ports
ROCKPALS SP003 100W Foldable Solar Panel for Solar Generator and USB Devices,Compatible with Jackery/FlashFish/Anker/Goal Zero Power Station, Portable Solar Panel for Outdoor Camping, Travel Trailer
Renogy 12 Volt Solar Panel 100 Watt High-Efficiency Monocrystalline Module PV Charger for RV Battery Boat Caravan and Other Off-Grid Applications, Single, RNG-100D-SS
Renogy Flexible Solar Panel 100 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Semi-Flexible Bendable Mono Off-Grid Charger for Marine RV Cabin Van Car Uneven Surfaces
Renogy 100W 12V Monocrystalline Off Grid Portable Foldable 2pcs 50W Solar Panel Suitcase Built-In Kickstand
Watts
50W
60W
100W
100W
100W
100W
Open Circuit Voltage
20V
16-18V
16-18V
22.3V
22.5V
21.6V
Connectors
MC4
DC, USB
DC, USB
MC4
MC4
MC4
Requires Additional Adapter
Foldable
Built-in Stand
Weight
8.8 lbs
6.3 lbs
5.1 lbs
14.3 lbs
4.2 lbs
12.8 lbs
Size
23.7 x 19.6 x 1.2 in
49.6 x 16 x 0.2 in
20.5 x 14.2 x 2.6 in (folded)
42.4 x 20 x 1.4 in
47.9 x 21 x 0.1 in
69.1 x 6.1 x 50.5 in

Renogy 50 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Solar Panel (Compact Design)
Watts
50W
Open Circuit Voltage
20V
Connectors
MC4
Requires Additional Adapter
Foldable
Built-in Stand
Weight
8.8 lbs
Size
23.7 x 19.6 x 1.2 in
Paxcess Foldable 50W Solar Panel Charger for Suaoki Portable Generator / 8mm Goal Zero Yeti 100/150/400 Power Station/Paxcess Battery Pack/USB Devices, with 3 USB Ports
Watts
60W
Open Circuit Voltage
16-18V
Connectors
DC, USB
Requires Additional Adapter
Foldable
Built-in Stand
Weight
6.3 lbs
Size
49.6 x 16 x 0.2 in
ROCKPALS SP003 100W Foldable Solar Panel for Solar Generator and USB Devices,Compatible with Jackery/FlashFish/Anker/Goal Zero Power Station, Portable Solar Panel for Outdoor Camping, Travel Trailer
Watts
100W
Open Circuit Voltage
16-18V
Connectors
DC, USB
Requires Additional Adapter
Foldable
Built-in Stand
Weight
5.1 lbs
Size
20.5 x 14.2 x 2.6 in (folded)
Renogy 12 Volt Solar Panel 100 Watt High-Efficiency Monocrystalline Module PV Charger for RV Battery Boat Caravan and Other Off-Grid Applications, Single, RNG-100D-SS
Watts
100W
Open Circuit Voltage
22.3V
Connectors
MC4
Requires Additional Adapter
Foldable
Built-in Stand
Weight
14.3 lbs
Size
42.4 x 20 x 1.4 in
Renogy Flexible Solar Panel 100 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Semi-Flexible Bendable Mono Off-Grid Charger for Marine RV Cabin Van Car Uneven Surfaces
Watts
100W
Open Circuit Voltage
22.5V
Connectors
MC4
Requires Additional Adapter
Foldable
Built-in Stand
Weight
4.2 lbs
Size
47.9 x 21 x 0.1 in
Renogy 100W 12V Monocrystalline Off Grid Portable Foldable 2pcs 50W Solar Panel Suitcase Built-In Kickstand
Watts
100W
Open Circuit Voltage
21.6V
Connectors
MC4
Requires Additional Adapter
Foldable
Built-in Stand
Weight
12.8 lbs
Size
69.1 x 6.1 x 50.5 in

There are a lot more solar panels on the market that are compatible, but I can’t fit them all in one table.

Here are more compatible panels, clicking on any link below will take you to the product page on Amazon.com

Solar panels that require the adapter: Renogy 50W / Renogy 100W / HQST 100W / Newpowa 100W / Eco-Worthy 100W

Adapter: MC4 to 8mm with positive female

Solar panels that don’t require the adapter: Aidpek 60W / Jackery SolarSaga 60 / Rockpals 60W / Rockpals 100W / Jackery SolarSaga 100

The Additional Adapter You Need

To connect the solar panels with a checkmark next to “Requires Additional Adapter” to the Jackery power stations, you need to use an adapter like this (click to view on Amazon).

NOTE if you have an Explorer 1500 or 2000: The latest Explorer 1500 and 2000 use proprietary 8mm connectors. You have to use the parallel 8mm adapter included by Jackery to use the adapter below with third party panels. You can also use a third-party adapter made by Solarenz, click here to view it on Amazon

SolarEnz Solar Connector to DC8mm Adapter Cable Perfectly Solar Connector Solar Generator Portable Power Station and Solar Panel 12AWG Heavy Duty Wire

Check Price at Amazon

Note that it has a positive female connector and a negative male connector. This makes it compatible with solar panels from companies like Renogy, HQST, Newpowa, Eco-Worthy, and WindyNation.

If you have the Jackery Explorer 1000 (click to view on Amazon) which has an Anderson Power Pole input next to the 8mm input, you can use an adapter like this (click to view on Amazon).

Unfortunately, the Explorer 1000 only accepts a charge through one port at the time, so you can’t use both the 8mm and the Anderson Power Pole at the same time.

If you have the Explorer 1500 or 2000, both 8mm inputs can be used at the same time, but it doesn’t have an Anderson port so you need the MC4 to 8mm.

Jackery Explorer Power Station Limitations And Max Watt Inputs

Since the specifications of the Explorers differ depending on the model, I set up this table so you can see what your specific power station can handle.

Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 160, 167Wh Lithium Battery Solar Generator (Solar Panel Optional) Backup Power Supply with 110V/100W(Peak 150W) AC Outlet for Outdoors Camping Fishing Emergency
Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 240, 240Wh Backup Lithium Battery, 110V/200W Pure Sine Wave AC Outlet, Solar Generator (Solar Panel Not Included) for Outdoors Camping Travel Hunting Emergency
Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 300, 293Wh Backup Lithium Battery, 110V/300W Pure Sine Wave AC Outlet, Solar Generator (Solar Panel Not Included) for Outdoors Camping Travel Hunting Blackout
Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 500, 518Wh Outdoor Solar Generator Mobile Lithium Battery Pack with 110V/500W AC Outlet (Solar Panel Optional) for Road Trip Camping, Outdoor Adventure
Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 1000, 1002Wh Solar Generator (Solar Panel Optional) with 3x110V/1000W AC Outlets, Solar Mobile Lithium Battery Pack for Outdoor RV/Van Camping, Emergency
Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 1500, 1534Wh Portable Generator with 3x110V/1800W AC Outlets, Solar Mobile Lithium Battery Pack for Outdoor RV/Van Camping, Overlanding
Watt-hours
167Wh
240Wh
293Wh
518Wh
1002Wh
1488Wh
Inverter Rating
100W/150W peak
200W/400W peak
300W/500W peak
500W/1000W peak
1000W/2000W peak
1800W/3600W Surge
Input Port
8mm
8mm
8mm
8mm
8mm, Anderson Power Pole
8mm x2
Max Solar Input
38W
62W
62W
65W
126W
600W
Input Voltage Limits
12V~30V
12V~30V
12V~30V
12V~30V
12V~30V
12-30V (Mixed info on this)
Solar Charge Controller Type
MPPT
MPPT
MPPT
MPPT
MPPT
MPPT
Charging Time At Max Solar Input
4.5 hours
6 hours
5.5 hours
8 hours
8 hours
3
Weight
4 lbs
6.6 lbs
9.6 lbs
13.3 lbs
22 lbs
33.1 lbs
Size
7.4 x 4.6 x 6.7 in
5.2 x 9.1 x 7.7 in
9.1 x 5.2 x 7.8 in
11.8 x 7.6 x 9.2 in
13.1 x 9.2 x 11.1 in
14 x 10.4 x 12.7 in

Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 160, 167Wh Lithium Battery Solar Generator (Solar Panel Optional) Backup Power Supply with 110V/100W(Peak 150W) AC Outlet for Outdoors Camping Fishing Emergency
Watt-hours
167Wh
Inverter Rating
100W/150W peak
Input Port
8mm
Max Solar Input
38W
Input Voltage Limits
12V~30V
Solar Charge Controller Type
MPPT
Charging Time At Max Solar Input
4.5 hours
Weight
4 lbs
Size
7.4 x 4.6 x 6.7 in
Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 240, 240Wh Backup Lithium Battery, 110V/200W Pure Sine Wave AC Outlet, Solar Generator (Solar Panel Not Included) for Outdoors Camping Travel Hunting Emergency
Watt-hours
240Wh
Inverter Rating
200W/400W peak
Input Port
8mm
Max Solar Input
62W
Input Voltage Limits
12V~30V
Solar Charge Controller Type
MPPT
Charging Time At Max Solar Input
6 hours
Weight
6.6 lbs
Size
5.2 x 9.1 x 7.7 in
Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 300, 293Wh Backup Lithium Battery, 110V/300W Pure Sine Wave AC Outlet, Solar Generator (Solar Panel Not Included) for Outdoors Camping Travel Hunting Blackout
Watt-hours
293Wh
Inverter Rating
300W/500W peak
Input Port
8mm
Max Solar Input
62W
Input Voltage Limits
12V~30V
Solar Charge Controller Type
MPPT
Charging Time At Max Solar Input
5.5 hours
Weight
9.6 lbs
Size
9.1 x 5.2 x 7.8 in
Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 500, 518Wh Outdoor Solar Generator Mobile Lithium Battery Pack with 110V/500W AC Outlet (Solar Panel Optional) for Road Trip Camping, Outdoor Adventure
Watt-hours
518Wh
Inverter Rating
500W/1000W peak
Input Port
8mm
Max Solar Input
65W
Input Voltage Limits
12V~30V
Solar Charge Controller Type
MPPT
Charging Time At Max Solar Input
8 hours
Weight
13.3 lbs
Size
11.8 x 7.6 x 9.2 in
Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 1000, 1002Wh Solar Generator (Solar Panel Optional) with 3x110V/1000W AC Outlets, Solar Mobile Lithium Battery Pack for Outdoor RV/Van Camping, Emergency
Watt-hours
1002Wh
Inverter Rating
1000W/2000W peak
Input Port
8mm, Anderson Power Pole
Max Solar Input
126W
Input Voltage Limits
12V~30V
Solar Charge Controller Type
MPPT
Charging Time At Max Solar Input
8 hours
Weight
22 lbs
Size
13.1 x 9.2 x 11.1 in
Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 1500, 1534Wh Portable Generator with 3x110V/1800W AC Outlets, Solar Mobile Lithium Battery Pack for Outdoor RV/Van Camping, Overlanding
Watt-hours
1488Wh
Inverter Rating
1800W/3600W Surge
Input Port
8mm x2
Max Solar Input
600W
Input Voltage Limits
12-30V (Mixed info on this)
Solar Charge Controller Type
MPPT
Charging Time At Max Solar Input
3
Weight
33.1 lbs
Size
14 x 10.4 x 12.7 in
jackery solar saga 100 watt portable solar panel that's compatible with the jackery exploer portable power stations
The Jackery Solar Saga 100 watt portable solar panel is very compatible with Jackery Explorer power stations.

What To Think About When Choosing Third-Party Solar Panels

Solar Charge Controller

The most important thing when choosing a solar panel for your Jackery solar generator is to remember these types of power stations have a built-in solar charge controller, so the panel you connect to it cannot have a solar charge controller.

Wattage

Even though the power station might have a 42W max input, it’s safe to connect a 100W solar panel. What matters the most is the voltage of the panel.

Voltage

A 100W panel outputs about 18V, and have a VOC rating around 22V. This is within the 12V~30V limit of the Explorer power stations.

Every panel I have linked to above is safe to use with every Jackery Explorer on the market right now.

The newer Jackery Explorer 1500 and 2000 have two 8mm inputs, and both can be used at the same time. This means that you can use solar panels to charge the battery while it’s also being charged with the included wall- or car-charger.

How To Connect Two Panels

To connect two panels with MC4 connectors to one input, you need to use an MC4 Y branch (click to view on Amazon). This will wire the panels together in parallel, which will double the amperage but not the volts.

Make sure that the Y branch you choose can handle the total amperage of your panels.

It’s safe to do with Jackery power stations, but you need to make sure that the wiring can handle the amperage as well, depending on how many panels you connect.

BougeRV Solar Connectors Y Branch Parallel Adapter Cable Wire Plug Tool Kit for Solar Panel

Check Price at Amazon

After connecting the solar panels to the MC4 Y branch, you’ll connect the branch to the MC4 to 8mm adapter cable (click to view on Amazon) and plug the adapter into the Explorer.

It’s not safe to connect two panels in series to any of the Explorers (except the first gen 1500 and 2000, not the newer ones) and smaller since that will double the voltage and most likely exceed the 30V maximum. If you connect several panels you also need to make sure that the wire is thick enough to handle the amperage.

For the new Explorer 1500 and 2000, I recommend two 12V 100W panels wired in parallel with the MC4 Y branch linked to above.

If you have four panels, you can do two pairs and use both 8mm inputs. Then you would also need two MC4 to 8mm adapters (click to view on Amazon).

Feel free to leave a comment if you’re still not sure about a specific panel or setup and I’ll do my best to help you.

Jackery Explorer portable power station connected to a solar panel
Extension cables are a great way to charge Jackery Explorer portable power stations with solar panels that are far away.

Extension Cables

You can use either MC4 extension cables or an 8mm. Before buying extension cables, you need to do the math and figure out the total amperage that your panels are going to output and buy a wire that’s thick enough to handle the total amperage.

I recommend using this calculator (click on Solar Cable Gauge Calculator) Renogy has made where you can enter the Vmp and Imp your setup is rated at and how long of a cable you need. Below the calculator, you can also find NEC’s ratings for the maximum current for different wire sizes.

For MC4, I recommend the WindyNation extension cables (click to view on Amazon).

For 8mm, I recommend the iGreely 10ft 8mm extension cable (click to view on Amazon). Don’t use this cable if you have more than a total of 200W of solar panels.

Frequently Asked Questions About Jackery Explorer Compatible Solar Panels

How Long Will It Take To Charge The Battery?

It depends on the battery capacity of the power station and the power output of the solar panel.

A 100W solar panel generates about 60-80W, but power stations have a max input wattage.

Here is how long it takes to charge each Jackery Explorer if you max its input:

(click to view each Jackery Exploer on Amazon)

Explorer 160 – 4 hours

Explorer 240 – 6 hours

Explorer 500 – 8 hours

Explorer 1000 – 6 hours

Explorer 1500 – 3 hours

How Can I Improve The Charging Speed?

The easiest way to increase the charging speed (up to the maximum input) is to tilt the solar panel. Angle it so it faces the sun directly. Unless it’s noon on a summer day, the sun won’t be straight above you.

Tilting the panel to face the sun directly when the sun is low on the horizon, like in the morning and evening, will improve the wattage significantly. It will also help when it’s cloudy.

Please leave a comment down below if you have any questions or corrections.

by Jesse
Jesse has always had an interest in camping, technology, and the outdoors. Who knew that growing up in a small town in Sweden with endless forests and lakes would do that to you?

176 thoughts on “Which Solar Panels Are Compatible With The Jackery Explorer?”

  1. This info is amazing, but I’m new to all this so I still need help. I just ordered Jackery 500 (I want to use it to charge my wheelchair battery) and want to know if the DOKIO 100 Watt 12 Volt Solar Panel with Controller Polycrystalline Module do the job? Do I need the mc4 adapter 8mm?
    I really appreciate your knowledge.
    Thanks

    Reply
  2. Thank you! This is very helpful.

    My question is that can I use two 100 W solar panels to charge one Jackery Explorer 500? How to connect these 2 panels, series or parallel? Which is the best way?

    Thank you again. I just ordered one Jackery Explorer 500.

    Reply
    • Hello Ming,

      You can use two 100W panels, but the Explorer 500 has a max solar input of around 72W, so it would be overkill to use two panels except for on cloudy days when it would be neccessary to reach the max 72W input.

      If it’s solar panels with MC4 connectors like the Renogy 100W, you’ll wire them in parallel with an MC4 Y branch, which will then be connected to the MC4 to 8mm adapter and plugged into the Jackery. The Explorer 500 has a 30V input limit, so wiring the two in series is not an option (18*2=36).

      Let me know if you have any questions.

      Jesse

      Reply
      • Jesse,

        Thank you very much! This is very helpful.

        If I use Jackery Explorer 1000, will it be effective? Do you have any suggestion?

        Ming

        Reply
          • The adapter has an Anderson connector on one side and MC4 connectors on the other side. Solar panels like the Renogy 100W has MC4 connectors, or if you have two panels wired in parallel with an MC4 Y Branch the MC4 Y branch has two MC4 connectors that you will connect to the adapter. You don’t need to install any additional MC4 connectors on either side of the connection as long as your panels have MC4 connectors.

            Please let me know if I misunderstood your question.

            Jesse.

      • This is incorrect. There are a few youtube videos showing Jackery explorer 500 getting 97w with two 80w panels running parellel. So potentially at that rate you can charge the Jackery explorer 500 in about half the time you can w with one panel or approximately fully charge it in a little over 5 hours with two 80w solar panels. B

        Reply
  3. Hi Jess,

    Great info on your site!

    I’m looking to use this panel Renogy panel that already has a charge controller with it (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01NADR1CI/ref=ox_sc_act_title_8?smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER&psc=1) and the Jackery Explorer 1000 (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B083KBKJ8Q/ref=ox_sc_act_title_3?smid=AZF6YB7UVA7OU&psc=1).

    The panel is already wired to the charge controller. Is there an easy way to bypass the panel’s charge controller or do I have to unwire and wire to an adaptor to be used with the Jackery?

    Thanks!
    -P

    Reply
  4. Hi Jesse
    Great information, thank you. I have just bought a Jackery 1000 and am wondering about the optimum solar option. Given the 1000 can take 175W, I want to maximise that input and minimise bulk in my camper. Solar panels never seem to reach their maximum power rating, so I was wondering if over-compensating with a compact 200W or 300W folding panel from Dokio is a good option?

    Reply
  5. Jesse,

    Another question. I bought an Explorer 1000. It has an Anderson Power Pole input. Which one is positive (+)? Is the red input the positive (+)? In the Explorer 1000, there is no sign for + and -. Thank you again! Ming

    Reply
  6. Jesse, good morning – such helpful info. Quick question – there are sooo many solar options, I already have a Suaoki Solar Charger Portable Foldable Solar Panel TIR-C Technology for All USB Device (60W) – is this compatible with the Jackery Explorer 240?

    Reply
  7. So if I purchase the Jackery 1000, I can then add a cheaper more durable solar panel liek the Renogy 100W suitcase (without the controller) and attach it with the cable adapter? I’ve been debating buying this vs building my own more powerful unit. Mainly would be use for camping but also live in South Florida so a good set up would be nice for hurricanes. You cant beat the compact size and weight of the jackery it seems though. Do you know if you can replace the battery inside after a couple years?

    Reply
    • Hello Scott,

      Yes, you sure can! That is how I charge my Explorer 500, just make sure the adapter you get has a positive MC4 female connector like this one so it is compatible with the Renogy panel.

      Replacing the battery isn’t something that Jackery supports so I’m gonna have to say no, you can’t replace it, unfortunately.

      Let me know if you have any questions.
      Jesse

      Reply
      • Thanks for the help. I decided I’m going to sacrifice the portability to create my own. I think it will be a good project to learn. About solar power and how to utilize it in future i.e backup battery right now, but once I understand it then maybe I could power a tool shed entirely off solar. Should be a good learning experience

        Reply
        • Awesome! Yeah that’s definitely a fun way to go and a great way to learn. I suggest watching Will Prowse’s videos on YouTube to learn about diy solar power.

          Reply
    • Hello Erik,

      Correct! The Jackery 1000 has a solar charge controller built-in so it’s ready for solar panels. The only thing you might want in-between is an MC4 extension cable so you can put the panel further away since the panel and the adapter cables aren’t very long.

      Jesse

      Reply
  8. Hi Jesse, thanks for this great resource! I’m planning on using my Jackery 500 extensively during cloudy/rainy weather, and am therefore thinking of using a 175w renogy solar panel like the commenter above. Would that be too much for the 500 to handle? I’m not positive what the VOC would be.

    Reply
    • Hello Richard,

      If you’re talking about this Renogy 175W solar panel (I can’t see the comment above from here), then yes it is compatible with the Explorer 500. All you’d need is the MC4 to 8mm adapter.

      The thing is that the Explorer 500 can only handle up to 70W from a solar panel, so a lot of the power the 175W panel is generating will be wasted. It does have some benefits though, like being able to charge relatively fast even when it’s cloudy or when the sun is weaker, but it’s something to be aware of.

      Let me know if you have any questions.
      Jesse

      Reply
      • Yes, that’s the one I’m looking at!

        I’ve been using my explorer 500 for a while already, but with a different solar panel (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B075YRKVMH). I find that it takes about 68 watts at most, but that really suffers if it’s a bit cloudy.

        The reason I was thinking of using the 175w panel is for the faster charging during cloudy weather. Do you think it would make much of a difference in that regard?

        Reply
        • Yeah, it would make a difference, but how much depends on how cloudy it is. If your 100W panel generates 10-20W on a cloudy day, a 175W panel will probably do about 25-30W. If it’s only a bit hazy so your 100W panel generates 40W, then you might see 68W with the 175W panel.

          It will also help in the morning/evening when the sun is weaker, which can be worth it on its own.

          Reply
  9. Thanks, Jesse!
    I was wondering if I can buy the same solar panel to use with the Jackery 500 and a Grey Wolf with a built in Furrion Solar Charge 10A? Thank you so much!!!

    Reply
    • Hello Summer,

      Sure, as long as you pick a panel that has a connector with an 8mm and 2P adapter available. You also need to have a quick-disconnect between the panel and the charge controller, since the Jackery already has a charge controller built-in, but you need one to charge the camper batteries.

      So what you need is a panel like this Acopower 100W which has a charge controller but also a way to bypass it to charge a power station like the Jackery.

      Then you need the Anderson to 2P Furrion adapter which will connect to the Anderson connector coming out of the charge controller, and an MC4 to 8mm adapter which will be connected to the MC4 connectors coming out of the panel and to the Jackery. There are both Anderson and MC4 extension cables available if you want to extend the connection to be able to put the panel further away.

      Let me know if you have any questions.
      Jesse

      Reply
  10. Hi there!
    Getting ready to purchase a couple of Jackery 240 units. Can you let me know why I wouldn’t just choose to use the solar panel they sell? Is it just a cost thing (i.e. I’d be paying a premium for their branding on a standard technology) or are their panels inferior? And just for home backup use (modem, phone charging, etc. when our power goes out), what would you recommend? Thank you!

    Reply
    • Hello Laura,

      They’re not inferior when it comes to generating electricity, but they cost more than some of the alternatives. I want people to be aware that there are more affordable ways to recharge the Jackery batteries with solar, and that there are compatible solid panels that can be installed on vehicles, etc.

      For your needs, the SolarSaga panels will perform great and they’re probably the better option due to their lightweight and foldable design. They won’t stay up in heavy winds, like the Renogy 100W solar panel with kickstand will, but if it’s about to get windy you can just lay the Jackery panels flat on the ground. Also, they’re not waterproof so watch out for rain! Other than that, they’re excellent panels in my eyes.

      Let me know if you have any questions.
      Jesse

      Reply
  11. Hello! Thanks for the super informative piece on solar panels. I’m going to get the Jackery 500, and was looking at solar panels like these 2x100W panels: (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B018BP22LA?pf_rd_r=S12P9AYGEMF2GHN255F1&pf_rd_p=edaba0ee-c2fe-4124-9f5d-b31d6b1bfbee) would the two panels recharging the jackery laid flat on a roof rack be better than a same brand 150W tiltable panel: (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07MZP5W8J?pf_rd_r=S12P9AYGEMF2GHN255F1&pf_rd_p=edaba0ee-c2fe-4124-9f5d-b31d6b1bfbee&th=1) I could probably take off and turn towards the sun? I don’t really know the loss in efficiency and if you did. Thanks! – Colby

    Reply
    • Hello Colby,
      It’s hard to say, but I’d go the way that is going to be the easiest to deal with, which is probably the 200W on the roof. The Explorer 500 can’t use all of the electricity of a single 100W panel though since it limits the input to around 68W, but having two 100W panels would be better than one when it’s cloudy. Now, if you want to charge the battery in the morning and evening and not just between 10am-4pm, a tiltable or a portable panel is going to be the better option. If you need to be able to work all day on a laptop, it’ll take more work to keep the battery charged (tilting/moving panels), so it all depends on your power needs.

      Either way, I recommend getting a monocrystalline panel and not a polycrystalline, like this 100W panel from HQST.

      Let me know if you have any questions.
      Jesse

      Reply
  12. Thank you for a great article! I’m just starting van life, and am thinking about the Jackery 500. It seems to power the basics (laptop, phone, light, possible cooler chest, plus a blender, lol.) What solar panel would be best for those needs that would be a significant price reduction from what Jackery offers? PS. I stay mostly in the northeast, where sun is mild in comparison. Thank you!!

    Reply
    • Hello CeeGee,

      If you want to mount a panel on top of your van I would go with two Renogy 100W panels wired in parallel. If you want a portable and lightweight one I would go with the foldable Twelseavan 120W panel.

      The charge controller in the Explorer 500 can only use around 65W of the wattage the solar panels generate, so a single 100W panel like the Renogy one would be alright too, but you’re not going to see it generate 65W in the morning/evening. The reason I would go with two instead of a single 100W panel is to increase the input watts when the sun is weaker. It will take around 8 hours of good sunshine to fully recharge the Explorer 500.

      Jesse

      Reply
  13. Hello Jesse,

    Thanks for all the great information. I recently purchased a 100W 12 Volts Solar starter kit from Renogy. I attempted to connect it to the Explorer 500 using the MC4 to 8mm adapter you recommended without using the supplied controller. The Explorer 500 display showed it was charging but the input watts were 0. I moved the panel to a different location and tried unplugging it from the 8mm input. Still no input watts.

    Could there be a firmware issue with my Explorer 500? I would appreciate any guidance you can offer. Thanks.

    Reply
      • The Jackery was fully charged so I let it run down a bit. Same result. It was early morning but I would have expected some sort of reading on the input watts. Do you agree?

        Thanks.

        Ty

        Reply
        • It depends on how early in the morning it was. The PWM charge controller in the Explorer 500 is pretty weak and I usually don’t see any input watts until 9-10 am depending on location and time of the year. I would drain the battery a bit and try again around noon. If you don’t see 50-60W at that point there is definitely something else going on.

          Jesse

          Reply
  14. I’m new at camping I live in Georgia. I just bought a 2006 Honda element. I also bought a 160 jackery. I don’t know the first thing about electric or solar. I want to do something week end camping but concerned about staying warm bought sleeping bags. I have a small electric heater can a use it for a shot time with the jackery 160 it’s a Holmes it don’t say anything about watt on it, it’s about 6″ high. Is there any heater other than gas I can use in my very small honda element. O haven’t used the jackery yet. It’s gotten great reviews can’t wait to us it looking far a solar panel.

    Reply
    • Hey Barbara,

      The problem with a small power station like the Jackery Explorer 160 is that its inverter can only output 100W continuously. Most space heaters, even small ones, use between 500-1500W.

      The only thing I could think of doing if you don’t want to use a small propane heater is to use a 12V heated blanket like this.

      Let me know if you have any questions!

      Jesse

      Reply
  15. Happy Thanksgiving Jesse,

    I have a Jackery 240 and am looking to get a third party solar kit instead of their prettier but pricier one. I thought I was good with a 50 watt HQST for $59 on special but now after reading your site, I feel as if I should go for the 100 watt herd in North Texas.

    Am I on the right track and which panel & connector would you suggest?

    Mark

    Reply
    • Thank you Mark, you too!

      I would definitely go with a 100W panel if you have space for it. It’ll obviously be more cumbersome to deal with than a smaller panel, but in my opinion it’s worth it to be able to charge the battery faster.

      I’d go for a 100W 12V monocrystalline panel, like this one from HQST. Then all you need is the MC4 to 8mm adapter, I like this one specifically because it uses 12 gauge wire.

      Let me know if you have any questions.

      Jesse

      Reply
  16. Hello! I used this page to guide me in my build process but now I am stuck. I have the jackery 1000 and 2 100w renogy panels. I also purchased the 2 mc4 y branches, the windy nation extension cables and the igreely mc4 to Anderson power pole adapter. I already bolted the solar panels to my van roof before trying all the cables together (which I know was probably a bad idea) so now I have the Y branches connected to the solar panels. I tried connecting the extension cables to them and then the adapter to the extension cables and plugged it into my jackery and nothing is happening. It’s sunny out and I’m just so confused. Am I putting the cables together correctly? Please help :’(

    Reply
    • Hey Mckenzie,

      It sounds like you’re doing it all correctly, and it’s exactly the same setup I have connected to my Jackery.

      Is the Jackery already fully charged? If not, I would try to figure out which connection is causing the problem. Could you bring the Jackery up onto the roof of your van and connect the MC4 to Anderson adapter directly to the MC4 branches? Or if you have a multimeter, you can test each wire to make sure it’s working.

      I bet it’s something simple like a faulty MC4 to Anderson adapter, but the only way to find out is to test each connection.

      Let me know if you have any questions.

      Jesse

      Reply
  17. Great info! I have a solar panel that only has usb ports. Is there a way for that to charge a jackery? Is there a usb adapter that would work? Thanks!
    Deb

    Reply
  18. 1) Is the SolarSaga 100 watt solar panel able to be outside in rain and snow, like on a roof of a small shed?
    If not, what are two or three solar panels that are weather worthy?
    Is the HQST 100 watt solar panel weather worthy?
    Is the Dokio 100 watt or 200 watt weather worthy?
    2) Besides the Jackery Explorer Power Station, are there a couple other safe and reliable 250 to 500 power stations that you would recommend?
    3) Do you know if there are any electric fields or chemical reaction surrounding the charging and discharging of a portable power stations up that might be a health concern?

    Reply
    • Hey Allan,

      1. No, I wouldn’t leave the SolarSaga out in either rain or snow.

      You should get a rigid 12V monocrystalline panel, like the HQST 100W. Just make sure the junction box is at least IP65 rated. Any panel with fabric like the SolarSaga or Dokio won’t survive long if it gets wet since they’re not sealed the same way as a rigid panel is.

      2. My favorite alternative right now is the River 600. Fast charging, powerful inverter, WiFi support, fast USB C, includes car charger & MC4 to DC adapter, and has lots of ports. You can add one extra battery to double the capacity, or keep a bunch of batteries charged up and ready to go when needed.

      3. Not that I know of, but I am also not the right person to ask.

      Jesse

      Reply
      • Jesse,
        Thank you so very much for your response — sharing your knowledge on this vital field of solar photovoltaic and Li ion power stations. You’ve given me confidence to proceed!

        Reply
  19. I am hoping to purchase the Jackery Explorer 300 and was wondering if my 195W Eco Worthy solar panel would be safe to use with it. I know it is overkill however it is often cloudy around here and want to make sure I can keep the Explorer charged when I need it. I understand that the voltage of the solar panel needs to fall between 12-30V however I am just worried about the amperage. The specifications of the panel are listed as: Short Circuit Current 9.87A and Working Current 8.89A. Is this safe for use with this power pack or is there a limit to the amount of current it can handle? Sorry if this is a silly question I am a complete beginner.

    Reply
    • Hey Tori,

      I have connected 200W panels to my Explorer 500, which uses the same charge controller, and I haven’t had any issues, but I can’t promise that it won’t cause problems over time. The charge controller should limit the current and charge the batteries safely, but I suggest contacting Jackery to make sure it’s not going to void the warranty.

      Reply
  20. Am i wrong to say people are forgetting a very important issue here?? weather. Most situations on which you buy a power generator for power back up (i know mostly are campers), is either winter storms with serious snow fall, post hurricanes or tornedos or simply rain….well….it turns out jackery solar panels ARE NOT WATERPROOF. That really surprised me as even if you are camping, chances are there will be wet days. So the reason I am here? researching which third party solar panels are waterproof or can be exposed to wet weather and still be able to charge. Am i wrong to bring this up??

    Reply
    • Tbh this is exactly what’s been going through my head! I was gobsmacked to find out that such important panels aren’t waterproof! Can you please recommend some waterproof ones for the Jackery 1000. I’d be so grateful! Also plz advise on if I need one panel or two. Many thanks

      Reply
      • If you want something that you can leave out in the rain, the heavier Renogy 100W with kickstand is the best alternative in my opinion. The panels that use fabric are not going to be able to withstand rain or moisture for very long.

        Whether you need one or more panels depends on what you plan on powering with the Explorer 1000. A 100W panel will generate around 4-600Wh on a sunny day which is 40-60% of the capacity of the Explorer 1000. The “problem” with the Explorer 1000 is that it can only use up to 126W of solar, so while 200W will maximize the charging input you’ll have to ask yourself if it’s worth it to deal with another 100W panel that isn’t going to be fully utilized at all times.

        If you decide to get two they need to be wired in parallel with an MC4 Y branch, then the MC4 to 8mm adapter.

        Reply
  21. Jesse
    Great explanation for a beginners like me. I have a Jackery 240 and a Solar Panel 50W. Since you mention the Max Solar Input Watt is only 42W for Jackery 240, does it make sense to add 1 more 50W Solar Panel to 100W , to charge the Jackery 240? If yes, does it make the charging any faster? Would appreciate your advise. Thank you so much!

    Reply
    • Hey Steven,

      Yes, that would add some more input watts, but it wouldn’t be a lot. I would still add it to be able to charge the Explorer faster.

      Depending on when you bought your Explorer 240, you might have the new model which can handle up to 60-70W, so then I would definitely add a second panel. I’m not sure how you can check which model you have, but if you bought it recently it should be the new model.

      Reply
  22. I survived Snowmaggedon 2021 in Texas. I ordered a 250 Jackery generator on a budget. Gonna order the 1000 with 2-100w panels. Since they are not waterproof, what would be a compatible waterproof solar panel for the 250 & 1000 generators? Thank you.

    Reply
    • Hi Stephanie, glad to hear that you’re ok!

      The Renogy 100W W/ kickstand are waterproof and if you combine two with an MC4 Y branch, you can then connect them to either of your power stations with an MC4 to 8mm adapter. These do not come with charge controllers, so they’re ready to be connected to the MC4 Y branch right out of the box.

      They also make the Renogy 200W which comes with a solar charge controller that you’ll have to bypass (looks like there is one built-in). Then you could also the charge controller later on to charge regular 12V batteries (cars/RVs).

      If you don’t need a built-in stand, the standard Renogy 100W is also a great option.

      The portable Renogy panels are not as lightweight as the Jackery panels, but panels that can handle water are heavier, unless you’re ok with flexible panels like the HQST 100W. These are much lighter but that means that they might require more attention if it’s windy.

      The Renogy panels that include the stand also come with a carrying case, which is great for when the panels are not being used.

      To summarize, if you buy either of the 100W panels you’re going to need both the MC4 Y branch and the MC4 to 8mm adapter. If you buy the 200W panel you only need the MC4 to 8mm adapter. Plus possibly extension cables depending on how you want to set it all up.

      Let me know if you have any questions.

      Jesse

      Reply
  23. Hey guys,

    I just bought a 1000 jackery and then i bought all this:

    SolarEnz Solar Connector to DC8mm Adapter Cable Perfectly Solar Connector Solar Generator Portable Power Station and Solar Panel 12AWG Heavy Duty Wire
    Renogy 200 Watt 12 Volt Eclipse Monocrystalline Off Grid Portable Foldable Solar Panel Suitcase Built-in Kickstand, black
    BougeRV Solar Connectors Y Branch Parallel Adapter Cable Wire Plug Tool Kit for Solar Panel
    is that good?? anything else i need ?? thanking you in advance
    Anthony

    Reply
    • Hi Anthony,

      I haven’t seen that 200W Eclipse panel before. It looks like Renogy has wired the panels in series, although it’s not very clear. I suggest checking the voltage with a multimeter to be sure it doesn’t exceed 30V. You should also be able to see the voltage (VOC) on a sticker on the back of one of the panels.

      You’re also not going to need the Y branch since the panels are already wired together. Let me know if I can help you further.

      Reply
  24. Jesse,

    This is what i found in the book for the solar panels :

    Technical Specifications
    Solar Panel Parameters
    Description 200 W Parameters
    Maximum Power 200 W
    Open Circuit Voltage (VOC ) 21.2 V
    Short Circuit Current (Isc) 11.72 A
    Maximum Power Voltage (Vmp) 17.7 V
    Maximum Power Current (Imp) 10.35 A
    Cell Type Monocrystalline
    Operating Temperature − 40°F to +185°F
    Folded Size 41.3 X 21.1 X 3.1 in
    Net Weight 33.60 lbs.
    Is this good ??
    Thanks Anthony

    Reply
    • Awesome, looks like it is wired in parallel, so it will work with the Explorer 1000. Just connect the MC4 to 8mm adapter directly to the panel. You might want some MC4 extension cables between the two but you don’t need an MC4 Y branch.

      Reply
  25. Hello,
    I have just received the Jackery 1500, and also own the Jackery 1000. In reference to charging from 3rd party panels, the MC4 to 8mm adapter mentioned in this article will work for the Jackery 1000, but not the 1500. Both charging ports are 8mm, but the charging port for the 1500 requires a larger internal pin as supplied by the various Jackery chargers (AC to DC brick, car adapter, and the solar y-adapter). I attempted to use one input of the solar y-adapter, but the adapter requires both inputs to be powered as noted on the label. I suspect a supplier will create an updated MC4 to 8mm adapter to accommodate the Jackery 1500, thanks!
    Shane

    Reply
  26. Hi Jesse:
    We own a Jackery 240 and just bought the 500. We have a 60 w solar panel. Two questions:

    a) Can one use the Jackery while it is being charged (either ac or solar charged), or does one have to wait until charging is done to use?
    b) How long will it take to charge a Jackery 500 with a Jackery 60W solar charger? Thanks.

    Reply
  27. Very useful information!

    I am looking to replace a Kodiak solar generator with a Jackery Explorer 1000, and would like to use the existing Inergy-supplied 2 x 100W panels and Neutrik solar panel cables.

    Will the Jackery work with this setup, or do I need a different adapter?

    Thanks in advance!

    Reply
    • It depends on which panel you have since not all Inergy panels use the same connectors. If it uses the EC8 connectors it’s going to be tricky since I don’t think you’re going to find an EC8 to 8mm adapter. You would have to find two EC8 to MC4 adapters, then connect them to an MC4 Y Branch, and finally the MC4 to 8mm adapter. The problem is you need to make sure the polarity is correct (positive to positive, negative to negative). I can’t promise that it will work, but technically it should.

      Reply
  28. Hi Jesse,

    I really appreciate your sharing your knowledge!

    I have 2 Explorer 1000 that will get the most use during power outages. I am in the PNW so most outages will come with rain, gray skies. I have 2 of the Saga 100w and they work really well in sunny conditions, I am happy with that set up. I would like to get a set up for the rainy outages and I think I want

    Renogy Solar Panel 2pcs 100 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline, 2-Pack Compact Design. To hook them together for use like I do the Sagas do I need 2 Y Branch Parallel Adapters and 2 SolarEnz Solar Connector to DC8mm Adapter? Do I get 10 or 22 awg extension cables. Also, are there specific models/brands I should get the adapters and extension cables(20ft should be good)?

    Thank you!!

    Reply
    • Hi Jesse,

      Me again! Hey so I re-read through your info, clicked the links and looked at the info there ( and purchased) and I think I’m set. I got 2 of the panels, 2 of the DC8mm Adapter, 1 of the Y Branch and the windy nation extension in the link above. I think that’s going to do it.

      Thanks again for sharing you info!

      Reply
      • Sorry for the late reply!

        Sounds like you figured it out. The MC4 Y branches come in pair so you only need one of them, and you only need one MC4 to 8mm adapter since it connects to the MC4 Y branch. For two panels, I recommend 8 or 10 AWG but it depends on how long of a cable you need. 12 AWG is safe, but the voltage loss will be higher than with a lower gauge wire.

        Let me know if you have any questions when everything arrives!

        Reply
        • No sorry needed! Everybody needs a day off now and then. I did get the 10 AWG. Everything arrives Saturday so now I need to power things off of one so I can test everything when it gets here.

          Thanks again!

          Reply
    • Looks like they’re pretty much identical in terms of weight and size, so I would get the 180W just for the extra 10W.

      Reply
  29. Hi Jesse,

    How would I connect 4 renogy 100w panels to the new Jackery 1500? The new Jackery has 2 inputs and I am confused on how to do this. Thanks so much!

    Reply
    • You could either connect them with an 4-to-1 MC4 Y branch, or two 2-to-1 MC4 Y branches.

      The problem is that Jackery seems to have updated the 8mm ports slightly on the new 1500 and 2000 so the MC4 to 8mm adapters I link to and use don’t work anymore. Therefore I can’t recommend any third-party setups for the Explorer 1500 and 2000 right now. I am hopefully going to get my hands on one of them soon so I can find an adapter that works, but for now I’m not much help.

      Reply
  30. Jesse, thanks so much for all your valuable info – I`m a complete novice regarding solar and you`ve helped a lot!

    I bought the Jackery 1000 in case of power cuts but being in Britain can`t find a dc8/Anderson adaptor. Not impressed with Jackery`s panel prices, far too expensive.

    So have today found a Dokio 100w folding panel (they offer 80-300w) which has the 8mm connection. It`s a start, not too pricey so we`ll see if it`s any good.

    Happy and safe travels to you.

    Reply
  31. Thanks for the up to date information! I recently acquired the 1500. Thanks for the clear and concise information!

    For the Jackery 1500, mine came with two adapters that I believe replaces the need for the MC4-Y-Branch if I’m looking to connect two panels. The adapter name was the “Jackery Solar Power Cable, Parallel Adapter for E1500”.

    Picture of boxes:
    https://electrek.co/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2021/03/Jackery-solar-power-cable-for-1500.jpg?quality=82&strip=all&w=1000

    For each Jackery Parallel Adapter:
    1) There are two females, 8mm inputs
    2) There is one male 8mm output that is “Jackery Style” (the inside core appears a little thicker)

    Do you think this wiring configuration would work?
    1) One 100W Renogy Panel + MC4-to-8mm adapter –> Jackery Parallel Adapter Input 1
    2) One 100W Renogy Panel + MC4-to-8mm adapter –> Jackery Parallel Adapter Input 2
    3) Jackery Parallel Adapter 8mm Output that is “Jackery Style” –> Jackery 1500 8mm female that is “Jackery Style”

    I can also email you a pic to show you what I mean.

    Reply
    • Technically it should work, but I am not 100% sure which MC4 to 8mm adapter works with the 8mm ports on the latest Explorer 1500 and 2000.

      Also, apparently the Explorer 1500 prefers a high voltage rather than high amperage, so I would connect those two panels in series instead, then into one MC4 to 8mm adapter. When connecting in series, you take the positive MC4 male connector from the first panel and connect it to the negative MC4 female connector on the second panel. You’ll end up with one wire left from each panel, which is what you connect to the MC4 to 8mm adapter.

      Due to the high voltage with a series connection, I wouldn’t use the Jackery parallel adapter (based on the specs you posted).

      To summarize, you can use your configuration if you can find a compatible MC4 to 8mm adapter but the charging input will be lower than if you wire the panels in series.

      Reply
  32. Forgot to post the specs for the Jackery Parallel Adapter:

    Product Name: Solar Panel Parallel Adapter (Cable)
    Input Voltage PV1: 18.5V
    Input Current PV1: 5A

    Input Voltage PV2: 18.5V
    Input Current PV2: 5A

    Output Voltage: 37V
    Output Current: 5A
    Output Current: 185W

    Reply
  33. Howdy,

    Thanks for this great article. I’m looking for a small folding panel that would survive being packed in my car. The Jackery Saga 60 is just too darn big. Also, my math indicates that I’d be using about 5-7Ah a day and I should be able to replace that with something in the 30W ballpark. I’ve had a heck of a time finding a small durable panel in that type of capacity that outputs directly to the MPPT charge controller in the Explorer240. I’d love to see someone make a flexible ETFE folding kit that could fit in a laptop bag.

    Have you seen anything like this?

    Thanks,

    Alan

    Reply
    • All I know is that not all MC4 to 8mm adapters work with the 1500. Unfortunately, I don’t know exactly which one is compatible and not.

      Reply
  34. Hi
    Completely new to this and looking at getting the following UK model Jackery 1000 for my van which looks to have Anderson inputs

    https://amzn.to/3qeR9MB

    I’m looking at getting two of the reunify 100w flexible panels to fix to the van roof

    https://amzn.to/3gGKuaY

    Just wondering what adapter I will need (preferably available on Amazon uk store).

    Cheers
    Emily

    Reply
    • Hi Emily,

      First, you’re going to have to connect the two panels in parallel with an MC4 Y Branch (click to view on Amazon UK). They’re sold in pairs, so you only need to buy one. Take the positive MC4 male connector from each panel and connect them to one of the branches, then do the same with the negative MC4 connectors to the second branch.

      Then you’re going to connect the Mc4 Y branches to the MC4 to Anderson adapter.

      You might have to rearrange the connectors on the adapter for it to fit the Explorer 1000 but it might already be in the correct position. Just make sure you don’t pull the connectors by the wire if you do have to change it.

      If you’d like to extend the wiring between the branches and the adapter, I recommend Renogy 10 AWG Mc4 extension cables.

      Let me know if you have any questions.

      Reply
      • Hi Jesse.
        I’ve been looking at panels and instead of 2 x renogy 100 flexible panels, I’m thinking of just getting the one Victron 175w panel which I’ll attach to the cross bars of my roof rack. Can you confirm that this panel should work ok with the Jackery 1000! And I’m assuming with just the one panel I’d just nee the MC4 to Anderson Adapter?

        This is the panel I’m looking at https://www.batterymegastore.co.uk/product/victron-energy-solar-panel-175w-12v-mono-1485x668x30mm-series-4a/

        Cheers
        Emily

        Reply
        • Also following this closely and curious what you have to say Jesse! I am with Emily – I’d rather just have 1 panel instead of dealing with 2, connectors, etc.

          I’d like to be able to move it around for this summer but then eventually mount it to the top of my camper!

          Thanks,
          Zack

          Reply
          • Yes, it’s definitely easier to deal with just one panel. It’s slightly more efficient since less connections equal less voltage loss.

            The only downside is if the one panel stops working you’re out of luck but with two panels you’ll have one that still works. I haven’t had any issues with any of my solar panels though so that would be extremely unlucky.

            Since you’re planning on mounting it later on, I suggest getting a rigid or a flexible panel. The rigid panels last longer, but the flexible panels are much lighter.

        • Yes, it’s compatible since it has a VOC rating of 23.7V. And yes, all you’re going to need is the MC4 to Anderson adapter.

          What I can’t tell about that panel specifically is whether the MC4 male connector is the positive wire or not. Most companies wire their panels that way, but not all. I would give the store a call and ask, but there should also be a sticker on each wire telling you what’s what so you’ll know which MC4 to Anderson adapter to order.

          Reply
  35. Hi there,

    I have a jackery 300, and I am looking for a solar panel to charge while we are camping.

    It looks like the 200w jackery solar panel does not work on Jackery Explorer 300. If I get the 100W, does the Jackery 300 get charged thru solar panel and also charge a portable fridge?

    How long does a jackery 300 last on charging an ICECO GO20?

    Reply
    • Yes, you can use a solar panel to charge the Explorer 300 while also powering a fridge via the 12V DC port.

      If it’s this Iceco fridge (click to view on Amazon), it uses about 50W so the worst case scenario would be 5-6 hours. But a fridge only uses a lot of power when the compressor is on, so if you keep the fridge in a shaded area and it’s not too hot outside it should easily last a day or two unless you’re powering a bunch of other devices that drain the battery as well.

      The SolarSaga 100 should recharge the 300 in 4-5 hours, which means that as long as it’s sunny it will be able to regenerate the electricity used by the fridge and most likely even bring the Jackery to 100%.

      On cloudy days you can limit your power usage and/or turn on the ECO mode on the fridge.

      Reply
  36. Jesse, great write up and lots of good information!

    I can confirm that the Explorer 1500 does indeed use a different 8mm plug. ( probably to support higher wattages on those 8mm barrel plugs. The power adapter charges at 300watts)

    I just received two Solarsaga 100 panels to pair with it and indeed you have to use their “parallel adapter” which actually puts them in series to be able to plug into the e1500. This means you can’t use just one Solarsaga 100 to charge the unit as it won’t plug in! I had seen an adapter on some review units on YouTube, but mine didn’t come with one nor did it say it should have come with one.

    I can provide you some photos and more detailed information if you’d like Jesse via email.

    Reply
    • Hi Ryan,

      Thanks a lot for commenting and sharing your findings! But you did get the two parallel adapters with the purchase of the Explorer 1500?

      Hmm, I wonder if it’s possible to use an MC4 to 8mm adapter with a parallel adapter.

      Yes, if you wouldn’t mind I’d love that. I’d like to see some closeups of the new 8mm connectors on the Jackery. You can mail me at thecampingnerd at gmail.com.

      Reply
  37. Jesse, so glad I ran across this site! I just purchased a Jackery 500 to use camping to supplement a travel trailer I use boondocking. Now I am looking for a solar panel , probably 100W, that will connect to the Furrion port outside on the trailer, as well as the Furrion port. I like the Rockpals flexible as it seems interesting to use either standing up or hanging from the trailer, but I don’t know how well they will hold up. The Jackery panels are not an option due to probability of them getting wet. The Renogy 100W suitcase seems to be a good deal, however I don’t know if it would be better to get without the controller and purchase a 3rd party one that would be easy to disconnect for the Jackery and add back for the Furrion, or is it a simple process to bypass the Renogy controller. I just wish the Renogy were lighter weight. Any suggestions are appreciated.

    Reply
    • Hi,
      The easiest thing to do would be to get an Acopower 100W kit (click to view on Amazon), and their Furrion adapter. That’s all you would need to connect a panel to the Furrion Port. The panel has a built-in bypass, so you can connect the MC4 connectors straight from the panel to the MC4 to 8mm adapter.

      But the Acopower panel isn’t lightweight, just like the rigid Renogy panels. It would be more water resistant than a portable/foldable panel. I’ve left mine out in rain- and snowstorms and they still work great.

      It’s not very hard to bypass the charge controller on a Renogy panel as long as you’ve got the right tools, but it’s a little risky since you’ll void the warranty when you start cutting wires. I’ve written a post about doing that here.

      I’ve been told that the new Renogy suitcase models come with a bypass already, but I don’t know which exact one since mine didn’t (purchased 2018). Might be worth contacting Renogy to figure out which model has it.

      You could also do what you said, get a Renogy panel, a charge controller, the MC4 to 8mm adapter and connect/disconnect as needed. It might become a chore if you need to swap cables everyday, so whether that would be worth it or not depends on how much you boondock.

      The most lightweight way to go would be a flexible panel, and they can withstand rain but not a lot of wind.

      Sorry if I wasn’t much help, let me know if you have any questions and I’ll be happy to help you further.

      Reply
  38. Jesse, I am in the process of getting my pickup ready for camping this Fall for bird hunting/fishing ect. I am thinking the Jackery 500 would be a good choice for a solar generator. I need a solid weather protect panel that I attach to the canopy roof or hang over the windshield etc. Could you help me with which panel would be best suited for this project?

    Reply
  39. It seems so simple and yet I have a renogy 100 watt panel and a jackery 240 and I have tried 2 different brands of adapter and the jackery and the renogy don’t seem to know that they are connected to each other. Jackery told me to buy their solar panel instead but that is not going to happen. Any idea what could be the problem?

    Reply
    • Have you made sure that the adapter has a positive MC4 female connector and a negative MC4 male connector? There are lots of adapters on the market, and half of them are not wired correctly for a Renogy panel. Do you have a multimeter so you can check the polarity, since the Renogy panel could be the problem too.

      Reply
  40. Hi, So im confused on what i need for the Jackery 1,000 and the Renogy 100 watt 12v solar panel? And which extension do i need as well so the generator makes it in my house. This is all new to me so i just want to make sure im getting the right wires. Thank you.

    Reply
  41. Hi there,
    Thanks, that’s very good information!
    However better safe than sorry so I would like to ask your advice. I have a jackery 500 and bought 2 Renogy 100w panels as one wasn’t enough throughout the day here in Scotland. This means I will run 40-60w most of the time (having them in parallel with MC4 Y then Converter to 8mm). However there might be peak throughout the day where it go over 100/150w… My understanding is since the Voc in parallel remains at 22 and the 12 amp is within acceptable range, can the jackery 500 handle the watt surplus? For how long?
    Thanks a lot!

    Reply
    • Well, Jackery recommends sticking to 100W, but I have been using 200W for months without any issues. So while I can’t promise it won’t cause any issues, it should be fine as long as the charge controller works.

      Reply
  42. I want to buy the Jackery solar 1000 but read the panels it comes with are not water proof. The the aletrnative solar panels listed here water proofs?

    Reply
    • A lot of the rigid panels are relatively waterproof (IP65 junction box), but the more portable foldable panels are not since they’re made with cloth and open ports just like the Jackery panels. I have used rigid Renogy panels for years in both rain- and snowstorms and they still work great.

      Reply
  43. Hello. Thanks for a great article

    I am thinking of pairing a Jackery Explorer 240 with a third party 100 w panel as I have seen you recommend a lot of times already in the comments. My question is: What happens if the panel produces more than the 65W the Jackery is able to handle? If for example the panel produces 100 w (i know it won’t exactly) will that damage the Jackery or is the MPPT able to handle the excess?

    Kind regards

    Reply
    • Hi,
      The charge controller will regulate the amperage and prevent any damage. I still try to stay below 150% of what a charge controller can handle though.

      A 100W panel with the Explorer 240 should not be a problem at all, as long as the voltage (VOC) is within the 12-30V range.

      Reply
  44. Jesse, I am so glad I found this site! I am wanting to purchase a Jackery Explorer 1500, and mount (4) 100W 12v Renogy Monocrystalline panels to the roof of my Suburban.

    1. Is this overkill?

    2. Is this possible?

    I would think this would be OK as Jackery tries hard to sell 4 of their 100w panels with it, but I’m just starting this project and want to make sure before spending the money. Thanks in advance!

    Reply
  45. Thanks for all the work you did on this article! I know this has been answered but I am new to this and a little paranoid! Just ordered the Jackery 500 and I am looking at this panel to go with it. I understand that all I need is the adapter plug, correct? Is this unit a good fit for the Jackery 500?

    https://amzn.to/3BjrIxb

    Thanks!

    Reply
  46. I just noticed that the adapter is $60.00 ( I am in Canada where everything is more expensive!) That brings it within $60.00 of the Jackery panel with current discounts. This one is $280.00 with current discounts, would it be plug and play compatible with the Jackery Explorer 500?

    https://amzn.to/3pCjMFp

    Reply
    • Hi,

      Looks like one of the included connectors is an 8mm connector, so it should work with the Explorer 500 without any issues. I have used many similar panels with mine and haven’t had any problems.

      I also found this mc4 to 8mm on the Canadian Amazon store, looks like there are a couple of different sellers that make the same adapter.

      I’d go with the Renogy if you plan on leaving the panel out overnight or need it to be reliable even on windy days. The Golabs will be the more portable panel, but will fall over easily if the wind kicks up. There are pros and cons to both.

      Reply
  47. Hi Jess
    My question is all about awg cables sizes.
    Could you please advise me on the AWG number ( 10 or 12?) for my 10 ft extension cable.
    Which do I buy?
    The extension cable will be connecting 1 solar panel, the Renogy 100 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Solar Panel, which is 12 awg to the SolarEnz MC4 to 8mm Adapter Cable, also 12 awg.
    Which in turn plugs into my Jackery 1000.
    thank you so much
    Liz

    Reply
      • Hi Jesse
        thank you for all the support advice you give.
        It’s so valuable in the sea of technology we are trying to navigate.
        I have one more question regarding cables, could you please answer?
        I bought the 10ft 12 AWG extension cable as you recommended for my Renology 100w solar panel and SolarEnz MC4 adapter 8mm adapter cable.
        If eventually I need a longer cable such as 15ft or 20ft, would both those longer size cables require a 10 AWG thickness ?
        thanks for confirming
        Liz

        Reply
        • Hi,

          Another 20ft 12 AWG extension cable would be alright and the voltage loss shouldn’t be worse than 3%. A 10 AWG extension cable would be slightly better but it’s not necessary with one panel, so it’s up to you whether it’s worth it or not.

          If you would add another panel you definitely want to get 8 or 10 AWG though.

          Reply
  48. Fantastic information. Thank you for sharing your knowledge. Any thoughts about compatible wind turbines for the Jackery 1000?

    Reply
    • Hi Adam,
      Unfortunately, I don’t know much about wind turbines. That might be something I start experimenting with later this year though!

      Reply
  49. Hey Jesse. Amazing info. Just wanna make sure I understand correctly, and purchase the correct stuff.

    I have a Jackery 1000, interested in picking up (2) of the Renogy 100 watt suitcases you have listed above. Is that overkill to charge the 1000, or is one good enough? Any idea how long (2) of them would take to charge the 1000 compared to one? Do you think having two panels is worth the trouble/overkill?

    Cables:
    – if two panels used, which cable to connect them together to use safely on the 1000
    – which cable to run from panel or panels to 1000
    – and what single 15-20ft extension cable would you recommend?

    Thanks so much, new to all this!

    Reply
    • Hi Randy,
      If you plan on using the Jackery every day, or even every week, I would go with two panels. Even though it only adds about 40-50W to reach the max 126W, your panels are not always going to get perfect sunshine and being able to generate twice as much power on a cloudy day is awesome.

      With one panel it would take around 12-13 hours, and around 7-8 with two.

      You’ll connect them in parallel with an Mc4 Y branch (click to view on Amazon).

      Then connect the MC4 y branch (or the MC4 extension cable depending on if you go for the MC4 or 8mm cable below) cables to this MC4 to 8mm adapter.

      When it comes to 8mm extension cables, I haven’t found a single cable that fits as snug as I’d like, but I haven’t tested them all. Here is the type of extension cable you’re looking for though. I recommend these 10 gauge MC4 extension cables by Windynation, and you can tape them together with electrical tape.

      Reply
      • Hey Jesse, thanks so much for the info and reply, really appreciate the help.

        Since I have Jackery 1000, it also has the anderson connector for input. Would you go with the 8mm option you mention above over the anderson connector cable option? Does one work better than the other, or does it not matter? I know you mentioned you cant use both at the same time.

        Thanks

        Reply
  50. Hey Jesse! This is an amazing article! However I might be over my head here. I have no clue what I’m doing. I’m looking to get by better half a killer gift, when we go boondocking. We don’t do to much on the power end but adding a power cooler might be nice one day, so I was thinking of the jackery 300. And getting a more affordable panel. Which brought me here! But through the comments I didn’t see anyone asking for recommendations on a 300. So maybe I chose wrong.. and I see you said the jackery panels are not waterproof, yikes. I’d like it to fold, lay flat, have a stand and be lighter in weight. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    Reply
    • Hi Gina,
      Sorry about the late reply, I had missed your comment.

      The Explorer 300 isn’t bad, but with only 293Wh it won’t run a 12V fridge for more than a couple of hours. It’s still a great gift though.

      Yeah, it’s hard to find foldable and lightweight panels that are waterproof. The Topsolar 60W (click to view on Amazon) checks a lot of your boxes, but it shouldn’t be left out in the rain.

      I think you should consider the Ecoflow River though. It has almost the same battery capacity, but also neat things like WiFi, 3 AC outlets, 4 USB with one 100W USB C, and fast charging. If you’d like to later on, you can also add an extra River battery to double the storage.

      Paired with the Topsolar 120W (or one of the smaller ones) you’d have a great setup for boondocking.

      Let me know if you have any questions

      Reply
  51. I have a DOKIO 220w 18v Folding panel.
    I am purchasing a Renology 100w 12v Mono panel.
    although the voltages are different, could I use the “Y” cable that came with the Jackery Explorer 1000 and input both to charge the Solar Generator? or will the voltage difference cause a problem?

    Reply
    • You could, but your Jackery 1000 will still max out at 126W input.

      Also, I don’t remember the gauge of the Y adapter and I don’t have my Explorer 1000 anymore. I’d like to make sure it can handle the total amperage.

      I would only connect the two if it’s cloudy or so early/late that you’re not getting close to 126W with your 220W panel.

      Reply
      • I really want to thank you for your thoughtful and quick reply.
        Another site said you should never mix different voltage panels together with a Y cable. But they never explained why. Then, even another site said that voltage doesn’t matter, only current does.
        I was concerned that some panels say 12v and some say 18v when in reality the voltage seems to be an afterthought. I never get anywhere near the max output where I live.
        Thank you again!
        If I burn out my Jackery, I will not blame you. But I promise to update you if it happens 🙂

        Reply
        • Interesting, I have been told that it’s OK to mix in either parallel or series as long as the Y adapter can handle the voltage and amperage. The only reason not to is that it usually reduces the output.

          Yeah, they’re called 12V panels because they’re usually used with 12V systems. But a 100W 12V panel outputs around 18V.

          Hehe yes, please do! Hope it’ll all work for you.

          Reply
  52. hi Jesse, question. I have a Jackery 1000 and wondering if it would be possible to connect four 100w solar panels (https://ca.renogy.com/100-watt-12-volt-monocrystalline-solar-panel-black-frame/)
    in parallel
    voc is 24.3V. so I should be ok there.
    I know its over kill, but I live in newfoundland Canada and we do not get much sun. Mostly cloudy days, but I do not want to damage anything.
    also I have about a 40 foot run. would 10awg or 8awg be required? I’m thinking 10 would be fine.
    thanks.

    Reply
    • Hi,
      I just realized I need to update this post.

      I can’t recommend doing it because I don’t know what damage it could cause over time. I think you would also have to add additional fuses and make two pairs of parallel, since the Maximum Series Fuse Rating of that panel is 15A. I’m not 100% sure how that rating works though.

      For 40ft, I’d definitely get 8 AWG, or even 6 AWG to reduce voltage loss, even if you only get two panels.

      Reply
  53. Hi Jesse,

    First of all thank you for your post and involvement in this thread. The fact that you take the time to reply to everybody is brilliant and I think you are doing the wider community a great service and you deserve praise for it. I have just purchased the Jackery 500 in light of the recent issues that have beleaguered our world. I own some off brand (a Chinese brand) A grade cells, premium monocrystalline panels. I have close to 0 knowledge of solar panels or electrical installations so I am wondering whether it would be safe to recharge the battery using that panel and how would I go about doing that. I am in the UK and bought both the Jackery and the solar panel from UK vendors, adapted for UK standards.

    Reply
    • Hi Andrei,
      Thanks for the kind words, I appreciate it.

      That’s a nice panel, unfortunately it’s a 24V panel so your Jackery power station won’t accept it due to the high 40.1 open circuit voltage (VOC). The Explorer 500 can handle panels that output 12-30V.

      I’ve heard of buck converters which are supposed to be able to bring the voltage down, but I don’t have enough experience with those to be of any help.

      You can either get a portable foldable panel like this one by Elecaenta (click to view on Amazon UK), which will plug right into the Explorer 500 with the included 8mm adapter.

      Or you can get a rigid 100W 12V panel like this one by Renogy, which would plug into the Jackery with the help of an adapter like this. According to the seller, it works with Jackery Explorers.

      The 120W panel will charge the Explorer faster than the 100W panel, but it’s not a panel you should leave out in the rain. The rigid 100W panel is more water-resistant and can be left out in the rain. Even though it won’t generate many watts, it can be enough to keep your small devices charged if the power is out and it’s going to rain for a week.

      On the other hand, the Elecaenta panel has USB A and C ports so you can plug your devices right into it.

      If you find a different panel, make sure it has a VOC rating within the 12-30V range. And if you find a different MC4 to 8mm adapter, make sure it has a positive MC4 female connector since that’s how most panels are wired.

      Let me know if you have any questions.

      Reply
  54. Sorry not being able to sift through all 162 responses, can you tell me which alternate solar panels are weather safe since the Jackery panels are not waterproof?
    Thank you for your web posts!

    Reply
    • Hi David,
      When it comes to portable panels, something like the BigBlue 100W (click to view on Amazon) is at least IP65 water-resistant. So while it shouldn’t be left out in a rainstorm, it can handle some water. It includes an 8mm connector, so it should plug directly into your Jackery power station unless you have an Explorer 1500 or 2000, then you’ll need this 8mm adapter. There are some other similar panels on the market with a IP65 rating.

      The EcoFlow panels are rated IP67, and on Amazon they show a picture of it in water, so these would probably be the best when it comes to lightweight and portable options.

      For rainstorms, I have used the rigid Renogy 100W w/ built-in kickstand and haven’t had any issues. For installations on top of campers, the standard Renogy 100W is hard to beat.

      Reply
  55. Hi Jesse,

    I note you only recommend 100w panels. What is the reason I couldn’t use the Renogy 200w instead of the 100w with the explorer 1500 since it’s really just two 100w panels side by side?

    Reply
    • I went ahead and purchased two 100w rigid panels and will wait to hear back from you about the 200w. Scrolling through I did see one answer where you said you’d been using the 200w without any issues… is this still the case? I was looking at the suitcase without a controller. I ordered the cables also that you keep going back to. If I end up with the 200w also (making it 400w total) does it have the same cable requirements? What about if I want to connect one of the 100w panels to my dometic plb40? Thanks so much!

      Reply
    • You can definitely use a 200W panel with the Explorer 1500, as long as its VOC rating is within the 12-30V range. The latest Renogy 200W suitcase is compatible with all Jackery power stations, since it’s easy to bypass the solar charge controller.

      Just to make sure you got the right products, did you get an MC4 Y branch to connect the two 100W panels together, one MC4 to 8mm adapter, and the SolarEnz 8mm adapter (unless you want to use the one included by Jackery)?

      If you get the 200W panel, you’ll need one of each adapter above except the Y branch.

      To connect a panel (or two wired in parallel with the Y branch) to the Dometic power station, you need an adapter like this (click to view on Amazon).

      Reply
      • Great! Suitcase ordered. I have two of all cables above except the adapter, I’ll order those now. From everything I’ve read, none of the cables are really long enough for permanent installs, (roof mount of the two 100w) so I’ll likely need to order extension wiring. All the parts and pieces should be here by Sunday so I’ll have a better idea then. Thanks so much for your post and replies! It’s all starting to make sense now but it’s still a lot of information and numbers to sift, so your help and knowledge are very appreciated 🙂

        Reply
        • So I finally got a full sun “warm” (51°F) day to test the panels. Hooking straight up to the multimeter these are the readings I get after they’ve been in the sun for 20 min:
          200w suitcase: 136w, 15v, 8.76a.
          100w rigid: 79.1w, 18.3v, 4.38a.
          Both rigid panels are reading close to the same. I know temperature etc will make a difference, but I’m curious how this sounds to you. The readings renogy gave me were much higher, though I’m assuming that is ideal conditions (which I’m not 100% what those are exactly)
          I’m in Cleveland, Ohio, it’s 51°, full noon sun and I’ve positioned them as directly into the sun as possible, adjusting as it moves. Thoughts? Suggestions? We are headed to the southwest on our road trip so hoping that makes some difference. The suitcase reading seems really low to me even at a 20% loss.

          Reply
          • The voltage seems a bit low on the 200W suitcase, it should be around 18-22V. I wonder if a cell has died, can you see any damage on the panel if you look closely?

  56. A bit off the usual track. I have a Jackery Exp!orer 550. I have a small camper van with 12v house battery. The Dometic refrigerator drains that battery in a few hours. I’d like to hook up the Jackery to supplement the house battery. I saw a kit that essentially acts as a jumper cable to connect the unit easily through the terminals. A friend suggested using a connector through the cigar lighter port. Thoughts?

    Reply
  57. Hi, I am just a “little late” in coming to this discussion. I recently purchased a Jackery Explorer 1500 and two 100 watt Jackery Saga solar panels. I am planning on purchasing another solar panel or two as I can input up to 400 watts. The Solar Saga panels are expensive. I am wondering if the 200 Watt Massimo Foldable Solar Panels sold at Costco would work with my Jackery Explorer 1500. I realize there may be quality differences between the two brands of solar panels. The Massimo comes with a variety of adapters. If those adapters do not work I see where I can buy on Amazon that will most likely fit.
    Thank-you for your assistance. I am not very technical and somewhat new to solar panel camping. I have always had a gas generator.

    Reply
  58. Jesse,
    Like Mark above I’m a bit late joining the conversation. I have a Zamp 230 Watt ‘suitcase’ panels. Will these be suitable for the Jackery 1500?

    Reply
    • Hi,
      While the panels themselves are compatible, the problem is that you need to bypass the charge controller before connecting it to the Jackery. Unless you can easily disconnect the wires between the solar panel and the charge controller and install MC4 connectors, you are going to have to cut the wire first. This will void the warranty, but it’s not very hard to do as long as you have an MC4 wiring kit (click to view on Amazon).

      Reply

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