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

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 and SolarSaga 100 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.

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 Battery Pack/USB Devices, with 3 USB Ports
Rockpals SP003 100W Foldable Solar Panel Charger for Suaoki Portable Generator / 8mm Goal Zero Yeti Power Station/Jackery Explorer 240, Webetop Battery Pack/USB Devices, with 3 USB Ports
Renogy 100 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Solar Panel, Compact Design 42.4 X 20.0 X 1.38 in, High Efficiency Module PV Power for Battery Charging Boat, Caravan, RV and Any Other Off Grid Applications
Renogy 100 Watt 12 Volt Extremely Flexible Monocrystalline Solar Panel
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 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 Charger for Suaoki Portable Generator / 8mm Goal Zero Yeti Power Station/Jackery Explorer 240, Webetop Battery Pack/USB Devices, with 3 USB Ports
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 100 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Solar Panel, Compact Design 42.4 X 20.0 X 1.38 in, High Efficiency Module PV Power for Battery Charging Boat, Caravan, RV and Any Other Off Grid Applications
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 100 Watt 12 Volt Extremely Flexible Monocrystalline Solar Panel
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

Note: Scroll left/right on small screens to view all products in the table.

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 / Allpowers 100W Flexible

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).

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 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, 1488Wh Portable Generator with 3x110V/1800W AC Outlets, Solar Mobile Lithium Battery Pack for Outdoor RV/Van Camping, Overlanding, Emergency
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
14-50V
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, 1488Wh Portable Generator with 3x110V/1800W AC Outlets, Solar Mobile Lithium Battery Pack for Outdoor RV/Van Camping, Overlanding, Emergency
Watt-hours
1488Wh
Inverter Rating
1800W/3600W Surge
Input Port
8mm x2
Max Solar Input
600W
Input Voltage Limits
14-50V
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

Note: Scroll left/right on small screens to view all products in the table.

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.

Another great thing with the 1500 and 2000 is that it supports voltages between 14-50V, so you can connect panels in either parallel or series. When connecting panels in series, you need to make sure that the total VOC is going to stay below 50V, since the Jackery won’t allow a higher voltage.

How To Connect Two Panels

To connect two panels with MC4 connectors to one input, you need to use an MC4 Y branch. 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 and plug the adapter into the Explorer.

It’s not safe to connect two panels in series to the Explorer 1000 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 series. You don’t need an MC4 Y branch to wire two panels in series. Simply take the positive MC4 male connector from the first panel and connect it to the negative MC4 female connector on the second panel.

Then all you need to do is connect the two remaining MC4 connectors (one from each panel) to the MC4 to 8mm adapter.

So how do we know whether it’s safe to wire a specific panel in series or not? Well, if we take a look at the specifications of the Renogy 100W solar panel, the Open-Circuit Voltage (Voc) is 22.3V.

Since wiring two of them together doubles the voltage, we’ll do the math and 22.3*2=44.6V.

44.6V is less than 50V, so it’s safe to connect to the Explorer 1500 and 2000.

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.

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.

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

Frequently Asked Questions

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:

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?

71 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
  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

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