The Solar Item: Sunforce 50048 60W Solar Charging Kit
If you’re waiting for the apocalypse and you want to make sure that you have some power for your RV, cabin, home or boat, the Sunforce 50048 60W Solar Charging Kit is what is going to help get you through it. This kit is billed to be able to take a hailstone traveling at 50mph and not skip a beat. (Please note that there is also an 80 Watt version. This review is specifically for the 60 Watt version of the kit.)
I joke about the end of the world, but if you have the Sunforce 50048 60W Solar Charging Kit you’ll be better off than those without it. You won’t be able to go “off the grid” with just one kit, but if you have more than one, you might when you consider that it comes in both 60W and 80W versions. This kit comes fully loaded with everything that you need to charge 12 volt batteries and produce 60 Watts/4 Amps of free, solar energy.
Sunforce claims that the Sunforce 50048 60W Solar Charging Kit is capable of charging in all weather conditions including cloudy days. The solar panels are also weatherproof and are more than capable of handling outdoor use. The 60 Watt version comes with four, 15 Watt solar panels that are set up next to each other. These are big boys that measure in at 54”x12”x42.2” inches per panel. The weights list at 11lbs/panel or 60lbs total.
Let me also say this: There are some very technical aspects of this kit. So much so that people who know what they’re doing have to get help from people who know more about what they’re doing. This isn’t for beginners. You will also need to buy a marine/deep cycle battery to have something to charge.
- Reported weatherproof, durable solar panels can withstand impacts from hailstones travelling 50 miles-per-hour.
- Built-in blocking diode helps protect against battery discharge at night which is a big deal.
- Complete kit includes four(4) 15W amorphous solar panels, a PVC mounting frame, a 7-amp charge controller, 200-watt inverter, and wiring/connection cables.
- 11 pounds/panel
- 60 pounds/total unit
- Rated Power: 60W, 4 amps
Get ready for it because it’s a doozy: The Sunforce 50048 60W Solar Charging Kit lists for $599.99, but it can be found for as low as $269.81 on Amazon.com.
Sunforce 50048 60W Solar Charging Kit Review
I was originally surprised at the reviews for this unit. While at first glance it appears that the Sunforce 50048 60W Solar Charging Kit is a great unit, and it does have many positive reviews, I have begun to think that the bad outweighs the good. But let’s start with the good first.
Most reviewers note that the Sunforce 50048 60W Solar Charging Kit is built very well. It comes with many parts (other than the batteries which you have to buy separately). The panels themselves last a long time, but there are reports that other parts don’t last and well but more on that below.
Others report that the PVC mounting system that comes with the unit is very innovative and makes it very easy to mount the unit. Please note that this unit is meant to be mounted; this isn’t the portable kind of unit. One reviewer even asked about taking these camping, but that’s not what this is for.
You can also add more kits to this to increase your total power, but the real determining factor is the batteries you use. Again, you will need to buy your own batteries. Without them, you have nothing to charge. The unit does come with a variety of inverters and chargers as well, which is nice.
This is the most polarizing kit that I’ve researched so far. People seem to either love this or hate it. Of the people who have had problems with this unit, there seem to be some major problems.
First, it needs to be noted that this is not a very portable unit. It is not made for camping or walking around with. The panels are large and are made to be permanently placed. As such, some people report that the panels have been delivered to them with cracks. This is not good for solar panels.
Of greater concern is that many reviewers say that they don’t produce the reported energy and actually come in lower than the reported 60W/4Amps. Some blame the amorphous silicon that is used to make these panels. Many report that this type of material experiences a 50% decrease in production within one year.
If you don’t hardwire the charge controller, there is the possibility that you can overcharge the batteries and the boards themselves can be susceptible to overheating (which is a major problem with a solar unit).
With the Sunforce 50048 60W Solar Charging Kit either you’ll love it or hate it. At first glance, this seems like the solution to your energy needs, but there is enough out there that makes me suspicious. I think there are better reviewed solutions that will satisfy your energy needs better. Do a little more research.