Nature Power 120 Watt Briefcase Solar Panels Review

With the increasing popularity of solar energy, there will be various options to choose from and expensive prices to pay. Nature Power has decided to enter the competition with their 120-watt portable briefcase solar panel. Before we get to the product, it is important to know who Nature Power is.

Nature Power is a United States brand that makes solar power products. These products include wind charge controllers, power inverters, and solar panels. They aim to provide high quality and reliable power alternatives to the market with competitive prices. Currently, they have offices located in the US, Mainland China, and Hong Kong. Nature Power’s focus is on renewable energy products that are easy to set up for consumers.

The power produced by these panels comes from sunlight exposure. When sunlight meets the panel, electrons of the solar cells are knocked loose. Using these loose electrons, an electrical current is created which then can be stored in batteries for use. It’s important to note here, however, solar panels alone do not store energy.

They produce the energy that will be used by you, the consumer. To store energy, it needs to be paired with an appropriate battery. The types of batteries you can use are 12V, lead-acid, deep cycle, gel-cell, and heavy-duty batteries.

Solar energy offers a clean and sustainable form of power. No hazardous waste is produced, or smelly gasoline is needed. Maintenance is easy, a simple rinse is all that is needed to maintain a panel.

Going back to the product, what exactly makes it stand out from its competitors? It is a monocrystalline solar panel. Monocrystalline is a material with the highest efficiency rating compared to other panels. This means more power production with less space required to produce it. What thisNature Power 120-watt briefcase solar panel features:

  • A pop-out mount (great for an easy setup to maintain an optimal angle for collection)
  • Aluminum frame (makes this panel as sturdy as one can get, it is still advisable to avoid constant hits to it)
  • Built-in diode (preventing discharge is a must for those who enjoying camping)
  • Solar Charge Controller (makes charging batteries simpler and prevents overcharging)

Things to Consider Before Buying Solar Panels

If you have considered using solar, you must read up on all the information to learn what you should look for when purchasing solar panels. You should not dive in headfirst and trust every brand. Going in with a little knowledge can go a long way.

What makes going solar difficult for most, is the varying technologies, quality, and the market. If you had gone in headfirst without any knowledge you might have bought a solar panel system that does not produce enough energy. Or you might have bought a solar panel system that does everything you need but will constantly require repairs and maintenance due to its questionable quality. This can cost you a lot of money in the long run.

To begin our process, you must first know how solar panels work. Using the solar process means relying on the sunlight to hit the solar panel. This separates protons from electrons, and it is then sent to an inverter. The job of the inverter is to convert the DC electricity into AC electricity. Once it is converted, it can power your home. With this in mind, the equipment needed for your solar panel system is photovoltaic solar panels, an inverter, a racking system to mount the panels, and wiring to connect them all.

1. Solar Panel Output

Using your power bill, you can break down the amount of electricity you use on a 24-hour basis. This will help you determine how many watts your solar panel must produce. Solar panels operate efficiently when the sun is highest in the sky.

Weather should also be taken into consideration as those in climates that have the sun covered most of the time will give your panel some difficulty. Cold weather, however, helps solar panels work more efficiently. It allows the panel to produce more voltage which can then be used by you.

In terms of cloudiness, a partly cloudy day can drop electricity production by an estimated 10 to 25%. For days where it is mostly cloudy, solar panels will produce an estimated 10 to 30% of electricity produced on a sunny day. Don’t let this scare you as going solar is still a good investment.

2. Types of Solar Panels

Solar panels can be fit into one of these three types:

1. Polycrystalline & Monocrystalline

These two solar panels are composed of silicon structures. These structures are then arranged into columns and rows to form a rectangular panels. The manufacturers then cover the solar panel with a glass sheet. Lastly, the manufacturer cover the solar panels in a metallic frame. These two products however, differ in terms of performance and what they are built from. The solar cells from monocrystalline panels are a product of single pure silicon crystal. Meanwhile for polycrystalline solar panels, the manufacturer first liquefy the silicon crystals and then use the liquid to make solar cells. Monocrystalline panels appear black because of the way light interacts with silicon. Polycrystalline panels appear blue because of the way light reflects on the crystals.

Monocrystalline panels appear black because of the way light interacts with silicon. Polycrystalline panels appear blue because of the way light reflects on the crystals.

2. Thin-film

Thin-film solar panels are made from several different materials. Three materials can be made from, copper indium gallium selenide, amorphous silicon, and cadmium telluride. The main material is placed between thin sheets of conductive material which is then covered with a layer of glass for protection. Depending on what material it is composed of, it can look black or blue. These types of panels can be identified by how thin they are compared to monocrystalline and polycrystalline.

3. Maximum Power

When it comes to power, monocrystalline panels have the highest power capacity and efficiencies. It offers an efficiency of 15-20%. Polycrystalline panels offer efficiencies under 15%. Monocrystalline panels come in higher wattage versions with more than 300W in power capacity. On the other hand, some can even exceed 400 watts. Polycrystalline panels offer fewer wattage capabilities ranging from 240 up to over 300 watts.

This leads us to thin-film panels which offer the lowest of the three in terms of capabilities. It needs more space to produce the amount of wattage the other two do. It offers efficiencies in the 10 up to 13 percent range. Lower efficiency means more panels are needed to match the power produced from polycrystalline or monocrystalline panels.

4. Price

Your needs will determine the amount you should consider spending when looking for solar panels. Since monocrystalline panels are the most efficient and expensive type, these should be considered only for those with limited space and who need maximum efficiency.

If you have more space, then your options should come down to polycrystalline and thin-film panels. Polycrystalline panels were produced to make solar panels more affordable, but this gap is slowly closing in.

If a ton of space is available but a lightweight solar panel is not a priority, then consider thin-film solar panels. Since they are the cheapest, lightest, and cover more ground than the other two mentioned.

5. Size and Weight

Sizing and weight are also an important consideration when looking for a solar panel system. Some panels can be too large or too heavy to be supported on a rooftop. Generally, you should consider a roof inspection to help you determine the size and weight your roof can support. Panel weight varies from brand to brand, but in general, it hovers around the 33-50-pound range.

In terms of size, they can reach up to dimensions of 65 inches by 39 inches. Depending on your needs, panels can weigh up to 800 pounds alone. To prevent any accidents or roof collapses, you should find out how many pounds per square foot your roof can handle.

However, if you are looking for solar panels to travel with then the weight and size should be as low as it can get.

6. Warranty

When it comes to purchasing solar panels, the warranty is one of the most important issues that should be in your consideration. Since you can’t guarantee there will be no defects on your panels and you can’t guarantee how fast your panels will degrade, a warranty will cover for these problems provided they fall under manufacturer guarantees.

In general, the solar panel industry gives a 10-year manufacturer warranty and a 25-year performance guarantee. Manufacturer guarantees will protect you against any defects that may occur on a panel. Performance guarantees will protect you from panel degradation if it falls under the manufacturer’s guarantee. This, however, is typically only mentioned if you contact the manufacturer for it.

Some name brands other than Nature Power you should put into your consideration are names like LG, Panasonic, and SunPower. Name brands offer you an advantage since they will most likely have a good amount of reviews as well as offering you a longer warranty. For the brands listed above, they carry a 25-year performance warranty.  A performance warranty guarantees you will not lose more than 10 up to 20 percent of power output capacity within 25 years. If it falls under that, you would get less from its claimed long-term value.

Features & Benefits

1. Mono-Crystalline Silicon

These 120-watt solar panels from Nature Power are monocrystalline silicon. Monocrystalline silicon solar panels are one of the most famous solar panel types in the market. Renewable green energy users love this particular kind of solar panels for many reasons. So what are those reasons that make the Nature Power 120 watt monocrystalline silicon solar panel a great choice?

Well, first and foremost this 120-watt monocrystalline silicon solar panel efficiency rate. The Nature Power 120 watt briefcase solar panel offers one of the highest efficiency rates in the market. With a solar panel efficiency of 15-20%, this product is one of the best in the market. So, why does solar efficiency matter? The solar panel efficiency of 15% means that the Nature Power 120W briefcase solar panel will convert the 15% of sunlight into useable electricity. This number might seem smaller but in comparison with other solar panels on the market, 15% efficiency is impressive.

The second benefit of having a monocrystalline solar panel is that the Nature Power 120 watt panels work amazingly even when the weather is cloudy. A monocrystalline solar panel is the best product to carry with you on those cloudy days when the sun is barely out. It is ideal for cloudy weather. The special silicone construction helps the solar panel to absorb as much sunlight as it can. Hence, you get more electricity even when the sun is not out. This high level of performance under cloudy weather along with the high solar efficiency works together to give a better outcome.

Lastly, according to green energy professional, monocrystalline silicon solar panels have the longest life among their competitors. The monocrystalline silicon construction gives the Nature Power 120-watt solar panel durability. Some professionals even claim that if handled a monocrystalline solar panel well, it can last up to 25 years.

2. Built-in Diode

One thing that I hate the most is when the solar-powered battery starts discharging the electricity? Well, with Nature Power 120 watt solar panels, you will never face that problem again.

Electric current generally flows from high to low. Due to this phenomenon, when solar panels are in shade they start discharging power. So, how can you get rid of that problem? Well, Nature Power 120 watt briefcase solar panels come with a built-in diode. But what does a diode do?

Diodes prevent current from flowing in two directions. The built-in diode in the Nature Power 120 watt solar panels stop the panels from discharging voltage. Hence, you will be left with maximum power to charge your appliances.

3. Portable Briefcase Design

If you are someone who travels a lot then there is no solar panel better than the Nature Power 120 Watt. As the name suggests, these solar panels are built in a briefcase-style. This unique style of the casing makes it easier for the user to travel with the Nature Power 120 watt solar panels. You can open the briefcase when you want to charge the solar-powered battery and close the briefcase after the charging is done. This briefcase design also makes storing easier and saves panels from damage.

Another great addition to the briefcase design is the ergonomic handles. These handles are made with soft material and they are here to stay. Due to the simple and ergonomic design, the briefcase handles do not put much pressure on the hands. These handles are sturdy enough to handle the weight of the solar panels.

4. Pop-out Solar Panel Mount

Not many solar panel brands offer a stand with the package but Nature Power does. The Nature Panel 120 watt briefcase solar panels come with a pop-out mount. The manufacturer has used high-quality plastic to make this solar panel stand. The high-quality material makes the stand durable.

Well, technically you can lay your solar panels on the ground to capture the light. But this stand comes in handy on many occasions. For example, if you are in an area where you cannot get direct light and the sunlight is coming at an angle. In a situation like this, you can use the stand to put the solar panel at an optimal angle to capture the most sunlight.

5. Charge Controller

Overcharging a battery is always a bad idea, especially if it is a li-ion battery. These batteries, upon overcharging, get overheated. And overcharging a battery often can also decrease the life of the battery. Does this mean you need to observe your solar-powered battery for hours when it is charging? No, with Nature Power 120 watt briefcase solar panels you would not have to do it.

These solar panels come with a charge controller. A charge controller is a device or built-in mechanism that prevents the battery from overcharging. Once your solar-powered battery is at its maximum voltage, the charge controller will stop the current flow. This one small step saves the battery from overcharging and hence prevents any damage.

6. Warranty & Customer Service

If you are new to the whole green energy world and have never bought a solar power product before, then do not worry about wasting money on a bad product. Because if you get the Nature Power 120 watt and it stops working properly you can call the United States-based customer service. Furthermore, Nature Power offers a 2-year limited warranty. So, your money is saved for the next 2 years.

Alternative Solar Panels to Look For

Nature Power 120-watt briefcase solar panels are one of the best products you can get on the market. However, if you cannot find this specific product for some reason, then do not worry. We have picked 3 of the best solar panel alternatives for you.

We have included all of these three products on the list because of their amazing features. Furthermore, these solar panels are also budget-friendly. So, if you are on a tight budget you can find a product that matches your budget

Without any further ado, let’s begin.

1. RENOGY 100 Watt Monocrystalline Solar Panel

The first alternative product on our list is a 100 Watt monocrystalline solar panel from Renogy. In terms of the solar panel type, this product is the most similar to the Nature Power 120 watt briefcase solar panel. Renogy and Nature Power use similar silicon materials to create their products. Since Renogy is also a monocrystalline solar panel, it means it offers the same solar panel efficiency. In simpler words, Renogy solar panels convert about 15 to 20 percent of the sunlight into useable electricity. However, as the wattage of the solar panel is different, its actual output might be different.

Just like Nature Power 120 watt briefcase solar panels, Renogy 100-watt monocrystalline solar panels are also lightweight. The compact design and lack of weight makes the Renogy solar panel a good travel companion. You can take Renogy 100 watt solar panel with you wherever you go. However, it is not foldable like Nature Power 120 watt briefcase solar panel.

Renogy 100 watts solar panel comes with an aluminum metal frame. This frame saves the solar panel from damage. If you accidentally drop the panel, the frame will withstand the shock from fall. As the aluminum frame is lightweight itself, it does not increase the weight of the solar panels. It should also be noted that aluminum is a weather-resistant material. So, if you attach this solar panel to the top of your RV, it will withstand harsh weather.

Several times during rainy weather, water enters the solar panel frame. In situations like this, the water can damage the frame and the solar panel over time. But this is not the case with Renogy 100 watt solar panel. The Renogy solar panel’s frame features holes on every corner. These holes drain the water and keep the frame dry from the inside. This one small detail makes the frame better and long-lasting.

This Renogy solar panel is the best product for outdoor use due to many reasons. The first reason is the weather-resistant aluminum frame. In addition to that, the MCA connector and the Junction box that comes with the Renogy solar panel package are also waterproof.

This solar panel is also suitable for people who have never used a solar panel before. Why? Well, the product comes ready to install. The frame features pre-drilled mounting holes. So, all you have to do is install the solar panel and enjoy the green energy.

Lastly, this product offers a 25-year transferrable power output warranty. And the manufacturer offers a 5-year limited warranty on the material and workmanship.

2. JACKERY Solar Saga 60 Watt Solar Panel

If you a fan of lightweight solar panels then you cannot get any product better than Jackery Solar Saga 60 watt solar panel. Why? Well, this solar panel is the most lightweight solar panel on the list. With a maximum weight as low as 3.3 pounds, Jackery solar saga 60-watt solar panel is the most travel-friendly solar panel. But, the weight or the lack thereof is not the only feature that makes Jackery solar saga 60-watt solar panel a good traveling partner.

Just like Nature Power 120 watt briefcase solar panel, the Jackery solar saga 60-watt solar panel is also foldable. You can fold this solar panel like a file and fit it in a smaller traveling bag. On top of that, the Jackery solar saga solar panels also feature handles. These handles are different than the Nature Power 120 watt briefcase’s handle. But none the less, you can carry Jackery solar panel as a briefcase as well.

One feature that makes Jackery solar saga 60-watt solar panel better than the Nature Power 120 watt solar panel is the solar panel efficiency. As we have mentioned multiple times in this article that Nature Power 120 watt solar panel offers 15-20% solar panel efficiency. So, the plus point with Jackery is that it offers 23% solar panel efficiency. In simple words, Jackery 60 watt solar panel can turn 23% of sunlight into useable electricity. A difference of 7% might not see a lot. But trust us, it can make a big difference when it comes to solar panels.

Another amazing feature of the Jackery solar saga 60-watt solar panel is its life expectancy. Jackery uses ETFE material in the production of the 60-watt solar panel. So, what does the ETFE material do? Well, the first thing it does is that it makes the solar panel durable and long-lasting. Secondly, the ETFE material betters the solar saga 60-watt solar panel’s light transmittance. So, in simpler terms, just like Nature Power’s 120-watt solar panel, Jackery solar saga’s 60-watt solar panels also work great in cloudy weather. This high light transmittance makes Jackery a suitable option for cloudy weather.

Furthermore, a few other features make Jackery a durable product as well. For example, this solar panel features over power protection, surge protection, and short circuit protection. Moreover, Jackery solar saga 60 is safe to use because of the FCC and ROHS certificates.

Unfortunately, this product is not waterproof. So, prevent it from getting wet for better performance.

3. NEWPOWA 100 Watt Polycrystalline Solar Panel

If you are on a tight budget and cannot afford the above-mentioned products then do not worry. Newpowa 100 watts solar panel is something everyone can afford. There is a misconception that cheaper products are not well-made and hence not worth your money. But regardless of the economical price, Newpowa 100 watt solar panel works efficiently. But why is this solar panel cheaper than other solar panels on the list? Because it is not a monocrystalline solar panel as the other products on the list. Newpowa uses polycrystalline silicon to manufacture this 100 watts solar panel. And one of the benefits of polycrystalline solar panels is their affordable price.

However, the lower price is not the only feature that makes Newpowa a suitable solar panel option. For instance, this solar panel comes in an aluminum frame. The aluminum frame is weather resistant and corrosion-proof. On top of that, as aluminum is a lightweight metal, the frame does not make the solar panel heavy. If you consider all of these factors, Newpowa 100 watt solar panel is a great product for outdoor usage. This frame also features pre-drilled holes for easier installation. On top of that, the frame has drainage holes.

Just like Nature Power 120 watt briefcase solar panels, this solar panel also features a pre-installed diode. These pre-installed diodes prevent the battery from discharging and hence saves power. Lastly, Newpowa 100 watt solar panel comes with a 25-year transferrable power output warranty.

One downside of Newpowa is that because of the polycrystalline structure, the solar panel efficiency is lower than its competitors. However, you can easily attach multiple Newpowa solar panels to get better output.

Frequently Asked Questions about Nature Power 120 Watt Briefcase Solar Panels 200

Q1. Can a 100-watt solar panel run a refrigerator?

To give you a direct answer, no. If you want to know why it won’t run a fridge, then we must first find out how much power a fridge would need to function. Generally, fridges consume between 100 to 250 watts. For a full day, a fridge uses around 1 to 2 kilowatt-hours.

On the solar panel side, solar panels’ power production depends on how much sunlight it gets. If you get 5 hours of direct sunlight, your panel would produce 500 watts. This is not enough to keep a fridge running as it needs an initial jolt to start-up and continuous power to keep running.

Q2. What can a 300-watt solar panel power?

As mentioned before, the amount of power produced by a panel depends on its size, how much sunlight it is getting, and the efficiency of the solar cells inside. In perfect conditions, your 300w solar panel would be getting direct sunlight to produce 300 watt-hours. Since we can’t guarantee perfect conditions every time, it is okay to assume it would produce about 85% of what it should. It would be ideal for you to pair a 300-watt panel with a 12V battery to store the energy and use it when needed.

After you charge the battery, you can run appliances such as a game console (150 watt-hours), a TV (150-200 watt-hours), and fans. The more devices you try to run on a single panel, the less run-time you get as appliances have varying ratings of wattage. If you want to get longer usage of the panel, consider powering appliances that have a lower power rating than others.

Q3. How much can you run off a 100-watt solar panel?

With all the previous information in mind, we can use that to determine how much we can run off a single 100-watt panel. Assuming we don’t have optimal conditions, we can estimate our panel will run at 85% of its efficiency. So we can calculate that it will produce 85 watt-hours. Paired with a battery, after a full cycle, we can power a laptop (60 watt-hours), lights or lamps with low power ratings (14 watt-hours), a modem (7 watt-hours), and more. The run-time of these appliances depends on how much power a device requires and how many devices are running off the panel. In our example, running a modem and lights will give you longer lasting run-time as opposed to a laptop and lights.

Q4. What will a 120-watt solar panel run?

A 120-watt solar panel produces 120 watt-hours in optimal conditions. Assuming we don’t have those conditions, it will most likely produce around 102 watt-hours or less depending on where you live. Depending on the number of hours you plan to use a device, a 120-watt solar panel should be able to power a router (6 watt-hours), certain LED bulbs, DVD player, or Blu-ray player (15 watt-hours), and more.

Conclusion

Don’t you hate when you are on a road trip or camping site and your rechargeable appliances are out of battery? Or are you tired of paying expensive electricity bills? Well, the solution to both of your problems is one, solar power energy. Or you can get a portable solar power system and use green energy when traveling. You can get a solar power system and install it in your house.

In addition to that, going solar has clear financial benefits that are significant. Going solar means, you will secure a fixed energy cost. Some solar panel sellers also offer flexible financing which can allow you to fund your solar panel system. There are also tax incentives to this. Buying now means you will get Federal Tax Credit up to 22-26% of the cost. You should take some caution as you need to qualify to receive the tax credit. Generally, there will be no money down and no out-of-pocket expenses when purchasing solar panels.

Understanding how solar panels work, the types of panels offered, and your needs are some of the important issues that should take priority in your decision when purchasing. Some panels offer great efficiency at a higher cost, a middle-ground, and lower costs but less efficiency.

Nature Power 120-watt briefcase solar panel is one of the best products in the market. You can use it in the house as well but it is a more suitable option for travelers. The portable and lightweight body makes it easier to travel with. It also offers a high conversion rate and the product is affordable as well.

So, what are you waiting for? Click here to add Nature Power 120-watt briefcase solar panel to your cart. And start using green energy.