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Having produced one of the very first smart doorbells, I’ve always had a huge amount of respect for Ring, but one issue I saw with their products was that they were overly reliant on battery power.
Of course, the brainboxes over at Ring were well aware of this limitation, and so designed and released their own device-specific solar panels, thereby solving the problem in one fell swoop.
Such was the success of their first forays into green energy, the smart gadget stalwarts now have a modest line of solar accessories available, the most recent of which is the Ring Super Solar Panel.
Like you, I wanted to know just how super this solar panel really is, so I got my hands on one and put it through its paces.
I appreciate that you may not have time to take in my full review, so I’m presenting all my findings in this concise pros and cons segment, right off the bat.
- Twice as powerful as its predecessor
- Easy to install
- Great build quality
- Efficient photovoltaic technology
- Will keep most Ring security cam batteries juiced indefinitely
- Only works with one device at a time
- The price-to-power ratio is a little skewed
The Ring Super Solar Panel At A Glance
The Super Solar Panel is an upgraded version of the original panel designed to power either the Ring Spotlight Cam or Ring Stick Up Cam. It’s bigger, more powerful, and built like a tiny tank!
Where Can I Purchase The Ring Super Solar Panel?
Shop Ring Super Solar Panels here.
When it comes to solar panels and photovoltaic technology, the most important factor is the output, or, in other words, how much power the panel can siphon from the sun and insert into your Ring security camera.
Ring’s older solar blueprint, the not-so-super Ring Solar Panel, was only rated for a 2.4-watt output. Now, this wasn’t terrible, especially considering its size, but considering the Ring Spotlight Cam pulls 2.5 watts when on standby, it was, shall we say, a bit… lackluster.
Combine that low output with a bit of dreary weather, and you weren’t pulling in much free energy at all.
The Super Solar Panel, on the other hand, has a max output of 5 watts. Theoretically, this means it should provide continuous power to a Ring security camera throughout the day.
I tested this theory with my Ring Spotlight cam, and sure enough, the battery remained at a steady 100%, even though I had my camera on the most power-hungry settings.
Of course, at night the solar panel stopped working, and the battery reserve dropped by 60% before sunrise, but when I checked the battery immediately after the following sunset, it had jumped from 40 to 65% capacity.
That’s right folks! Not only does the Super Solar Panel stabilize battery reserves, as long as the sun is shining, it actually charges the battery by as much as 25% per day.
Now, as great as this sounds, the math buffs out there will have already noticed an issue — If the battery drops by 60% every night, but the Super Solar Panel only charges it by 25% each day, by the third night, the battery is dead.
However, I found that if you reduce recording intervals to every 8 minutes or so, the Super Solar Panel will get your security camera battery to 100% during the day without breaking a sweat.
Durability And Design
I’m really impressed by the built quality of this diminutive dynamo. The plastic feels incredibly solid, there are no loose connections or rattling sounds, and it doesn't feel at all flimsy.
Measuring 11.75 x 7.75 x 0.5” it’s quite a bit larger than its predecessor, but it’s still very home-friendly, by which I mean it’s not going to stick out like a sore thumb and ruin the aesthetic of your home’s exterior.
It’s advertised as being completely weather-resistant, and according to Ring, can function just fine in temperatures up to 119.3 °F (48.5 °C ) and as low as -4 °F (-20 °C).
To be honest, I haven’t had any particularly extreme weather to test out these claims, but so far it has survived plenty of rainfall without any discernible drop in performance besides the usual impact of cloud cover.
As far as I can tell, the Super Solar Panel is built to last, as all Ring products seem to be, but that’s not to say it’s a perfect product. In my opinion, there are a few minor design limitations to mention.
First, it can only be used with one device at a time. If you have both the Stick Up Cam and Spotlight Cam, or perhaps two of one camera model, you cannot use the Super Solar Panel to power them both simultaneously — there is only one power cable.
Second, it’s not compatible with any of the Ring Video Doorbells. For that, you’d need a separate, doorbell-specific panel, or, alternatively, this slick solar mount.
And finally, there’s very little in the way of theft protection. Sure, the arm mount is screwed securely onto the mounting surface, but the panel itself can slide right out of the mount.
The good news, I suppose, is that any ne'er do wells bold enough to try anything would be caught on camera, which may help you and law enforcement retrieve the stolen panel.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that installing a solar panel would be difficult, but one of my absolute favorite things about the Super Solar Panel is just how easy it is to set up.
You don’t need to have a degree in electrical engineering, you don’t need a bunch of expensive equipment (a power drill will suffice), and you don’t even need to rope in a clearly unwilling friend to help.
The most taxing part of the whole installation process is genuinely just deciding where it should go, although, being that the solar power cable only measures 13 ft, your options aren’t exactly limitless.
Once you’ve picked your spot, using the arm mount as a guide, you mark your drill points, drill them with the included bit, secure the arm to the wall, slide the panel into place, then link the power cable to the camera.
I’ll admit, it can be a little tricky locating the solar input on the Spotlight Cam, as you have to remove the battery pack, slide out the mounting panel, push out a weatherproof plug, then reassemble.
If you’d like a more detailed rundown of the process, check out our Ring Solar Panel Installation Guide.
Much like the Ring Solar Panels of bygone days, the Super Solar Panel arrives with a 1-year limited warranty, which is okay, I guess, but it doesn’t inspire a ton of confidence.
I know I said earlier how well these things are built, which is the truth, but, to me, a 1-year warranty just seems like bare minimum customer care. I’m aware that I’m nitpicking here, but I’d feel much more comfortable as a consumer if it had at least a 2-year warranty, especially as it’s exposed to the elements 24/7.
Value For Money
The Super Solar Panel is roughly twice the price of the original design, which makes sense, as it’s just over twice as powerful and requires more materials to produce, so the price tag seems reasonable on that count.
It’s not until you assess the power of the solar panels you could buy elsewhere for the same price that the Ring rate starts to feel a little bloated — there are solar panels in the same price range that are 20 times more powerful than the Super Solar Panel!
Alas, no other solar panels are built from the ground up to service your Ring smart security cameras, so I’ll admit, comparing them is somewhat redundant, as you have to stay in the Ring ecosystem no matter what.
Plus, it’s not really just the power you’re paying for with the Ring Super Solar Panel, you’re paying for flawless build-quality, brand reputability, efficient photovoltaic technology, and the convenience it brings to your life, things I believe are well worth the premium price!
The Final Verdict
I’m really very happy with my Ring Super Solar Panel, and I absolutely would recommend it. Granted, there are a few intentional design limitations to consider, such as only working with one device at a time, but what’s important is that it does its job exceedingly well.
In fact, it’s such an efficient design that, if you live in a particularly sunny area and don’t get all that much activity in front of your house, it could definitely be considered overkill. In these circumstances, you’d be fine with the more affordable Ring Solar Panel.
However, if - like me - you live in a busier area where bright sun isn’t guaranteed every single day, then you will adore the Ring Super Solar Panel, and you’ll rarely, if ever, need to switch out the battery in your security camera.
I give the Ring Super Solar Panel 4½/5