Big changes are coming to our lives this year. We are preparing to start some new projects that will involve spending more time in remote mountainous areas, while still being able to use electronics and be responsive to our other online commitments.
When getting together our gear, we have acquired a new portable solar panel that will complement our outdoor setup. It is a 200W monocrystalline solar panel from the brand Rophie, and from our first impressions of testing it in our local woods, we are convinced that this solar panel will come handy in new situations when working from the Carpathian mountains this summer.
So, what do we think about the Rophie solar panel so far? Here are our personal experiences with the product as well as some technical specifications you need to know to be able to tell whether this solar panel would serve your purpose.
Rophie PV200 solar panel technical specifications
|Peak Power (PM)
|Solar Cell Lamination
|ETFE (Ethylene tetrafluoroethylene)
|Up to 23%
|Open Circuit Voltage
|Short Circuit Current
|Standard Operating Voltage
|Standard Operating Current
|Best Working Temperature
|+25°C or 77℉
|60 x 223.5 cm (23.6 × 88 in)
|60 x 61 cm (23.6 × 24 in)
|5.85kg / 12.85lbs
Design and build quality
The design and build quality of the Rophie 200W solar panel left us pleasantly impressed. This foldable panel is thoughtfully crafted with outdoor enthusiasts in mind. The best describing word that comes to mind would be: practical, perhaps also very camper-friendly. Why?
The first surprise when taking the panel out of the box was how light and easy to handle it is by being flexible to a higher level than some other brands of the same power rated portable solar panels.
The Rophie panel is lightweight with friendly dimensions that allow you to carry it and place it exactly where you need without any extra balancing effort. It weighs just 12.85 pounds or around 5.8 kilograms. This weight compared to size really surprises you when you pick it up, expecting it would be heavier.
What is cool is the panel’s clever folding design – it has got four folding sections. When unfolded, the solar panel is over 2 meters long (88 inches). But here is the magic: when you are done, it folds down to a size of just over half a meter (24 inches). Easy to stash, easy to take with you on your outdoor adventures. This is a great plus when you already have to carry and unpack multiple other items and gadgets from your car.
The Rophie solar panel is easy to transport and set up in various outdoor environments and still offers durability. Despite being light and flexible, the material feels good quality and able to withstand pressure. Yet, its compact design, which is even thin enough for transport (about 2 inches thick, approx. 5 cm), allows also for convenient storage. Perfect to fit into your car or RV.
In terms of physical design, Rophie has taken a novel approach with a folding mechanism held together by magnets. This innovation enhances ease of use and eliminates the hassle of dealing with zippers or plastic clips. You may think that the magnets may not be strong enough to hold all four panels together, but they work really well. So far no problems, only real appreciation of this design since we got to use it in winter and didn’t even have to remove gloves to set the panel up.
Another practical feature is the inclusion of adjustable kickstands. These allow for fine-tuning the solar panel’s angle to maximize sun exposure. The kickstands can be securely snapped to the panel during transport. Additionally, grommets surrounding the frame provide options for attaching the panel to your RV or a patio for the unobstructed location, and wind cannot knock it down.
One of its truly standout features is the universal solar charging cable array, featuring MC4 connectors on the solar panel end and an array of connectors, including XT60, Anderson, DC7909, DC5521, DC6530, and DC35135 on the solar generator end. This unique cable design enables compatibility with a wide range of branded solar generators, making the solar panel incredibly versatile and adaptable.
Furthermore, the panel’s IP67 waterproof rating and EFTE coating makes it suitable for outdoor use in various conditions, even exposed to occasional splash or dirt without sustaining immediate damage.
Solar panel’s exceptional efficiency
The Rophie solar panel boasts an impressive power output of 200W, which provides ample electricity generation from sunlight. The manufacturer promises solar cell efficiency reaching up to 23%.
This is definitely on the highest end of the efficiency range in monocrystalline silicon cells, and indeed, we found it to be efficient in harnessing solar energy, even in less ideal conditions, since we had a chance to use the panel so far only in Central European winter conditions.
On a sunny winter day with temperatures close to freezing, a 200W Rophie solar panel could generate between 110 watts to 160 watts of power per hour in the period around noon until 2 pm when the sun dropped too low. This power range accounts for the various factors affecting solar panel efficiency during winter, assuming ideal panel orientation and clear skies.
We were lucky that we got a couple days with the clear skies and perfect unobstructed sunshine. After playing a bit with the angle and location near our rv parking area, we managed to observe consistent power input to our power station within this range. This charging performance is definitely satisfactory.
The level of efficiency this portable panel has is particularly useful for charging a wide range of portable power stations – which is a topic we would like to cover in the next section.
Rophie solar panel’s compatibility with power stations
For those who own a portable power station like we do, the compatibility of the Rophie 200W solar panel is a significant advantage. It comes with the necessary connectors and adapters to easily connect to various power stations on the market.
As mentioned even in the design section of this review, the panel is equipped with a universal solar charging cable, featuring a pair of MC4 connectors on the panel end. This is complemented by a diverse array of connectors for the solar generator end, including XT60, Anderson, DC7909, DC5521, DC6530, and DC35135. This array ensures compatibility with a wide range of solar generators from various brands, making the Rophie panel notably adaptable.
One really cool thing about this solar panel is that it comes with special connectors called Anderson and XT60. These are not usual connectors that just differ in size; they are different in shape and how they are built. This makes the panel way more flexible and easy to use compared to other solar panels with just the standard connectors.
With these unique connectors, the panel can hook up to a bunch of different power stations without any hassle. It makes everything simpler and more user-friendly, so you don’t have to be a tech expert to be able to connect your solar panel to a power station.
However, before doing so, you still need to make sure that the power station can handle and is compatible with the panel’s voltage level. If the power station is designed for a lower voltage than 24.48V, connecting the Rophie PV200 could damage it.
Exceeding the voltage capacity of your power station can lead to overheating, malfunction, or permanent damage to its internal components. So, it is crucial to verify this value before connecting any solar panel in.
Drawbacks as with every product, differ on your personal expectations and uses. From our side, we had an idea what to expect from a portable solar panel of this rating, so we wouldn’t say there are any major disappointments for us. Quite on the contrary, the Rophie panel came with some pleasant surprises (as mentioned previously).
However, when generally speaking, some of the things worth mentioning and realizing about this product are:
- Higher open circuit voltage (VOC): The VOC of 24.48V means it requires compatible power stations or batteries. If your device is not compatible with this higher voltage, you won’t be able to use it. It does not come with any power storage option like a battery on its own.
- Size and weight: Despite being foldable, the panel may be bulkier and heavier compared to less powerful panels. This can be a concern if you are looking for something extremely lightweight and portable for hiking.
- Complexity for beginners: The array of connectors and higher voltage might be overwhelming if you are not familiar with connecting solar panels. But even this problem depends on how much you are willing to learn. You can find all the information on the internet or in user manuals of the panel itself or your power station.
Rophie: powerfully portable, remarkably adaptable
Whether you are a camper, RV traveler, or simply someone who values innovative and renewable energy for off-grid use, this solar panel could be a worthy investment. The panel will do its job when having the right conditions for photovoltaic solar cells to perform, and it will do it at the expected capacity for a solar panel of this size.
Its quality is good, portability also ticks the box and the manufacturer even considered convenience of adaptability to numerous power stations on the market. This solar panel simply is what it promises in a practical package.