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DIY Solar For Beginners: Small Solar Panels  

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With the application of solar panels becoming more and more widespread, as a starter have you ever thought of DIY a solar system yourself?

The small solar panels that will be introduced in this article may be your best choice. In this beginner’s guide, we will introduce small solar panels from the following aspects:

  • Types of Small Solar Panels
  • Advantages & Disadvantages
  • Application Scenarios
small solar panels for different application
Different types of small solar panels 

Types of Small Solar Panels

Apart from solar farms, large-scale photovoltaic projects, and commercial solar panels, the most popular solar product on the market is the small solar panel. Usually, they are smaller in size and lighter in weight. While small solar panels can also be categorized according to their appearance and power:

Solar Panel Charger

For portability reasons solar chargers are usually tiny in wattage, weigh less than 1kg, and have Type C charging ports so that they can be hung on a backpack while hiking or laid on the ground while camping, and use solar energy to charge cell phones and other small IT devices directly.

Low Power Solar Panel

Low power solar panels range from 50w to 200w and weigh between 1kg and 3.5kg, they are the first choice for DIY solar and can be used to power a variety of small-scale power generation projects, but they do require some of the basic components of a system to be built for you to be able to obtain and store power before charging your appliances or apps.

Solar Tools

Small solar panels are used directly as the electronic components of some solar tools, which are integrated with the product to provide power to the device itself, such as solar fans, solar refrigerators, solar water pumps, etc. These devices are trendy in off-grid environments and can be used for various small power projects. These devices are very popular among solar users in off-grid environments because there is no need for additional wiring or connections.

small solar panel kits
small solar panel kits

Advantages and Disadvantages of Small Solar Panels

Before you make up your mind to buy small solar panel kits, I think you should know the pros and cons of solar panel small, we have compiled many solar enthusiasts’ experiences and summarized the mini solar panels:

Advantages   Advantages:

  • Small size and lightweight: cheaper shipping costs, lower overall cost by power, more economical for individuals or small-scale projects with limited budgets.
  • Portable and flexible: no frame to fix, easier to install, deploy, and dismantle, can be adjusted according to the angle of the sun and application scenarios.
  • Space-saving: small solar panels are ideal for applications where available space is limited. They can be integrated into small structures or equipment where larger panels cannot fit.
  • Suitable for a wide range of applications: small solar panels are versatile and can be used for various applications, including charging small electronic devices, powering LED lights, and running small solar tools in rural gardens.
  • Easier to expand the system: if more power is needed, it can be easily expanded by connecting multiple small solar panels in parallel or in series to meet higher energy demands.

 Disadvantages       Disadvantages:

  • Low power and low output: Small solar panels have limited power generate less electricity, and can only meet the electrical load of small devices or installations
  • More susceptible to weather: Because of their limited exposure to light, cloudy days or reduced sunlight can severely affect their performance and lead to poor usage
  • Difficult to maintain and prone to wear and tear: Although overall maintenance costs are lower, they may be more susceptible to damage or wear and tear due to their smaller size.
  • Short lifespan: Smaller solar panels have shorter replacement cycles, affecting their long-term cost-effectiveness
small solar panel
small solar panel

Application Scenarios


When camping many people use small portable solar panels, solar blankets solar refrigerators solar fans, and other small solar panels, because they are lightweight portable, and easy to install, hanging mounted on the tent can also play a role in insulation, and will not cause a burden but also to enjoy the quiet and clean solar energy.


RV manufacturers and RV owners favor small solar panel kits because of the limited and irregular RV roof space, and the poor load-bearing capacity of RV roofs. Installing flexible solar for RVs and small solar panels can satisfy the basic electricity needs of RVs, and can be supplemented by small portable solar panels.


Small solar panels for home have a wide range of applications and many uses.

Installing balcony solar panels is much lighter and for apartment renters, they can be removed at any time and also do not require roof space.

Small solar panels can be installed on solar pergola, mobile home, outdoor solar-powered Christmas decorations, garden irrigation equipment, and pool filtration units, all of which can be powered by electricity generated by small solar panels.

In the summer, many apartment and loft dwellers, who can’t afford the high cost of electricity, use solar-powered fans or direct solar fans for ventilation and convection.

small solar panels for outdoor christmas decoration


Off-grid applications for solar panels can include agriculture, fisheries, animal husbandry, and remote areas, solar powered greenhouses prefer small solar panels for solar energy.

Many fisheries use solar-powered pumps to oxygenate their ponds and enhance water circulation. Of course, many anglers also use mini solar panels to charge their electronic devices.

Solar electronic fence is through the low power solar panels to generate electricity and continue to provide electricity for the electronic fence system at night or on cloudy days, etc., to play a role in security. In addition to this, small solar panels can POWER agricultural irrigation systems in off-grid areas.

Remote areas generally use off-grid solar systems with smaller power needs, small solar panels for sheds are more popular because of the affordable price.

small solar panels for shed
small solar panels for shed

DIY Considerations

  1. Solar panels cannot be converted into usable electricity on their own, and you should have some additional mounting components in addition to a plug-and-play solar system or tool to ensure electricity safety.
  2. Small solar panel for camping needs to be used with deep cycle batteries.
  3. Use a solar charge controller to realize full power off and prevent leakage.
  4. Pay attention to electrical safety; do not install in an electrically sensitive environment.

FAQ About Small Solar Panels

Are smaller or bigger solar panels better?
Small solar panels are usually not suitable for large-scale home solar systems but for other purposes such as charging small devices, powering outdoor lights, or providing backup power. They are more affordable, portable, and easy to install than larger panels, but they also have lower efficiency, output, and durability.
What can a small solar panel power?
A small solar panel can power various low-power devices, such as phones, tablets, laptops, cameras, radios, speakers, fans, lights, etc. The exact amount of power that a small solar panel can provide depends on its wattage, voltage, current, and the amount of sunlight it receives.
What is the smallest most efficient solar panel?
It’s Sungold BXF 21w small solar panel, folding size only 292*195*3mm, with an efficiency of 20.80%.
How long do small solar panels last?
Small portable solar panels have a lifespan of 2~5 years, and small rigid solar panels can last up to 10~25 years.



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