While many of the products we review here are readily available to purchase and operate without a license, we always recommend hiring a qualified electrician to install and demonstrate their use.
In some cases, improper use and installation may result in a breach of insurance. Even worse, you could be putting yourself or your family at risk as an incorrectly installed electrical device could start a fire. So, don’t risk it - seek the services of a fully licensed electrician instead.
Solar panels are a great way to harness clean, green energy that benefits both the environment and your purse strings.
Once you have invested in an efficient solar panel, you have access to free, eco-friendly energy wherever you roam.
No matter how far off-grid you venture, as long as there is sun in the sky you can charge all your devices and electrical appliances.
This means no more camping trips without phone battery, laptop access or speakers. You can enjoy the best of the modern world while still feeling steeped in nature!
Solar panels are a great way to harness clean, green energy that benefits both the environment and your purse strings. Once you have invested in an efficient solar panel, you have access to free, eco-friendly energy wherever you roam.
No matter how far off-grid you venture, as long as there is sun in the sky you can charge all your devices and electrical appliances. This means no more camping trips without phone battery, laptop access or speakers.
You can enjoy the best of the modern world while still enjoying nature!
The Bluetti PV120 is an affordable and lightweight solar panel that has been causing a stir in the solar industry.
The Bluetti team have introduced a few crucial tweaks and developments since they brought out their SP solar panel series, and the new PV120 is all the more efficient because of it.
But how efficient is the PV120 exactly? We put this portable panel to the test and examined it for power performance, portability, ease of set up, compatibility, durability and value for money.
Read on to find out whether it could be the answer to all your outdoor, off-grid energy needs.
- Peak Power: 120W
- Vmp: 19.6V
- Imp: 6.1A
- Voc: 24.4V
- Isc: 6.43A
- Operational Temperature: 14 degrees Fahrenheit - 149 degrees Fahrenheit
- Optimal temperature: 77 degrees Fahrenheit
- Cell Lamination: ETFE
- Cell conversion efficiency: 23.4%
- Folding panels: 4
- Unfolded Dimensions: 21 inches x 65 inches
- Folded dimensions: 21 inches x 18.5 inches
- Weight: 12.57 pounds
- Warranty: 24 months
Bluetti PV120 120W Solar Panel Buying Guide
When the Bluetti PV120 first arrived, we were impressed with how securely it was packaged. The shipping process was easy and efficient, which is always important with a delicate delivery.
The cardboard box that it arrived in was sturdy and undamaged. Inside, the PV120 itself was wedged between thick layers of polystyrene in order to prevent it from sliding around and becoming knocked or damaged.
In the package we received the PV120 solar panel in its folded position, as well as the MC4 connector and cables in a neatly packed zipper pouch on the back of the panel. This pouch is unobtrusive and did not in any way make the panel bulky.
In fact, the whole folded unit was very compact and lay flat thanks to the strong side clips on each side. The kickstand legs were attached with Velcro to the panel in order to prevent them flapping around and being pulled loose.
We also received a simple information booklet and manual. Inside the manual was our 2 year warranty card from Bluetti. It is important to hang onto this document for future reference, so be sure to put it somewhere safe.
Overall, our first impressions of the PV120 were good. The panel appeared strong and well constructed, and the fabric on the back of the panel was robust and textured. This fabric was different from that used on the SP series and felt strong and durable.
The handle looked well attached at the top of the panel and the dimensions of the folded piece were small enough not to feel inconvenient. Thumbs up so far!
Ease of Set Up
The Bluetti PV120 was incredibly easy to set up. It was pretty similar to the SP series in terms of the 4 folded panels and the kickstand legs, however, Bluetti has made a few design tweaks to aid the ease of set up which we really liked.
To begin, we unfolded the 4 panels and laid them flat on the ground. When lying flat and facing down the solar panels are completely inactive. From here we adjusted the three kickstands.
These were attached with Velcro to the back of the panels, but the Velcro was convenient and easy to release. Better still, the kickstands on the PV120 have three possible angle settings, whereas the legs on the SP series only had one.
The kickstands are secured by snap closures that can be set at either 40 degrees, 45 degrees or 50 degrees depending on the angle you wish to stand the panel at. Having this adjustability was really handy, especially as so much of the solar panel’s effectiveness depends on how much sunlight it has access to.
The snaps were incredibly simple to pop open and closed, and they held the legs in place perfectly.
The only downside to the new design is that the PV120 panel only has three kickstands, whereas the SP series had 4. This leaves the panel a little more unstable and susceptible to wobbles.
However, the positioning of the three legs is even and balanced, so the panel stood up well when we tested it on flat ground. It is important to set all the adjustable legs at the same angle if you want to get a really sturdy setup for your panel.
Once positioned in an area of open sunlight, we unzipped the cable pouch and ran the 120 inch MC4 cable to the power station cable. The two were easy to connect using the MC4 connector.
The color coding of the wires was very helpful, and it was especially easy because we were using the Bluetti EB150 power station which has matching solar charging cables that are specifically designed to connect to the PV120.
As soon as the cables were connected, we switched the power station on and saw that the PV120 was working. It was that simple!
The PV120 has a peak power of 120 watts, which is enough to charge the Bluetti EB150 power station from 0-80% in 5-6 hours. Although not as powerful as the PV200, the PV120 is more lightweight and slightly smaller in size which has portability benefits over the more powerful model.
120W of energy is sufficient to charge power banks effectively yet slowly, so is a good option for those who value convenience and compact design over fast charging abilities.
Of course, the PV120’s 120W power rating is based on its performance in ideal conditions. The developers tested the solar panel in a laboratory where they could simulate pure, uninterrupted sunlight and ambient temperatures.
The real life power provided by the PV120 depends very much on the conditions that you are using it in. This is one of the main downsides to using any solar panel. Unlike electricity, the sun is not a constant entity and if it decides to dip behind a cloud or not appear for a few hours then the efficiency of your solar panel will be directly impacted.
We tested the PV120 in mild conditions, on a sunny day with intermittent clouds and an ambient temperature of 65 degrees Fahrenheit. This is below the panel’s preferred working temperature of 77 degrees Fahrenheit, but way above its minimum working temperature of 14 degrees Fahrenheit.
The PV120 provided our Bluetti EB150 with around 80W of power under these conditions. The fact that it only provided approximately 66% of the maximum power made sense considering the quality of sunlight and weather conditions we were working with.
To maximize the efficiency of the PV120 you should ensure that the panel is facing into direct sunlight and should alter its position throughout the day as the sun moves in the sky.
The real innovation of the PV120 is that this solar panel is wired in parallel as opposed to being wired in series. This means that each folding panel operates independently from the rest and the efficiency and productivity of the whole panel is not impaired when one panel falls into shadow.
With the SP series of solar panels, the overall productivity of the panel dropped to 10% when two of the panels were in shadow. However, we tested the PV120 in the same situation and found that the panel produced 50% of what it had been supplying when all four panels were exposed to sunlight.
This is a huge improvement and means that you do not need to be as vigilant and concerned with monitoring your solar panel throughout the day. The consequences of shadow falling on panels is far more proportionate and less impactful.
The PV120 is compatible with most solar generators available on the market. It is not designed to charge your electrical devices directly, and will damage them if you attempt to wire them up. It is important that solar energy is run through a converter such as a power bank or generator first.
Many people do not realize this and feel disappointed by the panel’s compatibility, but if you understand these limitations before purchasing then it is a small price to pay for free, green energy.
The PV120 is perfect for charging other Bluetti devices such as the EB150, AC200, the EB240, the EP500, the AC50S and the AC200MAX. However, it also works really well with generators by NEWPOW, FlashFish, Suaoki and Rockpals. It needs an adapter in order to be used with generators by Paxcess, Goal Zero, Baldr and Jackery.
The solar cells in the PV120 are monocrystalline silicon and have a 95% transparency, making them more effective in low light than other denser cells out there. The ETFE material that the panels are made from is highly robust and durable and it is even coated in water resistant treatment so it has a IP65 waterproofing standard.
This is really useful because it means you do not need to worry that the panel will be ruined by the slightest drop of rain, however it does not mean that the PV120 is suitable to be left out in the rain.
The solar panel is splash proof but not fully waterproof, and as a result it is best to keep it dry whenever possible. Snowy conditions are also not good for the PV120 as the snowflakes wet and damage the cells after extended exposure.
Overall however, the PV120 solar panel is incredibly well constructed and the top quality materials mean that it is resilient and long lasting.
One of the main selling points of the PV120 is its lightweight and compact design. The folded panels are only a few inches smaller in dimension than the more powerful PV200 panel, however they are 4 lbs lighter which makes a huge difference when carrying them over extended distances.
This solar panel is suitable for transporting single handedly without excessively tiring your arms. Of course, 12 lbs is a little too heavy to carry over long distances, and we don’t recommend trying to take this panel hiking, however it is easy to lift, carry and set up in any camp site, beach resort, fishing spot or sunny vacation.
The carry handle is thick and sturdy and did not feel like it would easily come loose when we tested it. It was comfortable to grip and made lifting and carrying the PV120 easy and convenient.
The strong side clips held the panels in place very firmly when we tested them and assisted with the ease of portability. This solar panel is definitely a great option for those who value convenience and portability over power and speed of charging.
Bluetti’s PV120 120W solar panel is an excellent lightweight and portable choice for those who love being outdoors but also love their electronics and modern conveniences.
This solar panel is less powerful than the PV200 but is also more affordable and if you are not a seeker of fast speed charging then the PV120 is a laid back and hassle free option that won’t break the bank. Campers and nature lovers will love it for its eco-friendly efficiency and ease of set up. We love it!