Bluetti PV120 Solar Panel Review
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Since Bluetti began building power stations in 2019, they have continually improved and expanded their product lines to include the Bluetti PV120 Solar Panel. Now, nearly half a decade later, Bluetti continues to impress thier users by providing compact, durable and powerful products. The Bluetti PV120 Solar Panel is no exception! I recently ordered the PV120 Solar Panel to partner with the Bluetti AC60 Portable Power Station. Bluetti impressed me with the reliable power put out by such a small panel.
I recently began traveling and doing some work online. That meant that while living in a van, I was very limited to a DC powered lifestyle. No coffee makers, microwaves or electric toothbrushes. If my phone was dead, I was at the mercy of the coach battery to have enough power after running the refrigerator and, on cold Colorado nights, the furnace. Bringing on board the Bluetti AC60 Portable Power Station paired with the Bluetti PV120 Solar Panel changed it all!
Let’s Get Familiar with the Bluetti PV120
As I opened the package, I could already feel the quality in the PV120. I had fooled around with some knockoff flexible panels in the past so I was familiar with (and disappointed in) the low quality panels. This made me very excited to explore a quality product like the PV120. Bluetti really paid attention to detail in the design of the solar panel. The PV120 is a 120W, 4 panel portable solar panel. The exterior is made of a durable fabric with a ETFE coating and and IP65 junction box. What this means is that a little rain or splashing won’t hurt it. It is water resistant and designed to protect the delicate electronic components.
Once you unfold the panels, it is perfectly evident that Bluetti paid attention to what the user needs. There are 3 kickstands, each adjustable to 3 heights. So whether you are trying to capture the early morning rays or the high noon sun, you will have exactly the right angle. Built with monocrystalline solar cells, the panels are designed to charge your solar generator even in bad weather. When it is time to put away your panels, they fold up neatly and the cord zips into the back of the outside panel. There are clips on both sides of the folded panel to keep the PV120 neat and tidy while not in use. The folded panel is topped off with an attractive carrying handle and is easy to handle and store at a lightweight 12.75 lbs.
- Power: 120W
- Lamination: ETFE (Ethylene tetrafluoroethylene)
- Cell Type: Monocrystalline Silicon
- Cell Efficiency: Up to 23.4%
- Voltage at Max Power(Vmp): 19.6V
- Current at Max Power(Imp): 6.1A
- Open Circuit Voltage(OCV): 24.4V
- Short Circuit Current(Isc): 6.43A
- Connector: Standard MC4 Connector
- Weight: 12.57lbs (5.7kg)
- Dimensions (Unfolded): 21 × 65in (53.3 × 165.2cm)
- Dimensions (Folded): 21 × 18.5in (53.3 × 47cm)
- Operating Temperature: 14-149℉ (-10-65℃)
- Best Working Temperature: 77℉ (25℃)
- Cable Length: 118in (3m)
- Certifications: FCC, CE, ROHS
- Warranty: 12 Months
Bluetti PV120 Solar Panel: The Performance
Being that the PV120 is the smallest of Bluetti’s Solar Panel line, I was skeptical that I had ordered one large enough for my needs. I was pleasantly surprised at the performance of this small powerhouse panel. Over the course of several weeks, while using the panel daily, I watched closely the input monitor on my Bluetti AC60. Since the AC60 has an internal charge controller, there was no need for additional wires and connectors. In the early morning hours, when the sun is at low angle, I was able to get about 70-80 watts of output from the panels. But when the sun rose a little higher, this panel performed! Throughout most of the day (in full sun) I would gets readings between 110-120 Watts. This is incredible since most panels I have used in the past have not performed up to the manufacturers promised specs.
When the clouds roll in, which isn’t often in Colorado, I was pleased to find that I was still getting 50-90 watts from the panels. This level was very dependent on the thickness and duration of the cloud cover. The unit has an attached, 3 meter cable with detachable connectors about one foot from the panels. The cables are thick and durable and long enough to adjust the panels without losing too much wattage. Being that the PV120 is a 120 watt panel, it took about 4 hours to bring the AC60 to full charge in full sun.
Working on the road with the Bluetti
My van life has really changed since incorporating the Bluetti AC60 and PV120 solar panel into my rig. I work on line and can easily run my Starlink Internet, charge a laptop and keep my phone topped off without depleting my power station. The solar panel keeps the unit topped off while working. Without the PV120, I was required to find a 110 outlet to charge my devices. This was at times impossible and really limited the time I could spend in the backcountry. I am now free to travel far into the mountains and have all the power I need while still getting my work done.
Final Thoughts on the Bluetti PV120 Solar Panel
While there is much talk in the van life and overlanding lifestyle about power stations, one thing that is rarely mentioned is how they will be charged while miles away from the nearest 110v outlet. Sure, a person could use the DC (cigarette lighter) outlet to charge the power station but then you are just taking away power from another source where it is needed. Using the PV120 Solar Panel is not only free energy for charging your power station, it is cleaner, burns no fuel and leaves a much smaller footprint on this thing we call Earth. The PV120 is lightweight and folds up smaller than 20″x20″ for storage.
Using the Bluetti PV120 has brought some of the comforts of home into my van. In addition to the ability to work, I can now have brewed coffee, listen to a game on the radio, inflate my paddle boards and yes, have my electric toothbrush once again. 🙂 It is definitely an essential piece of my van life gear. The Bluetti PV120 Solar Panel normally retails at a reasonable $299. It is currently on sale on the Bluetti website for $279. If you would like more information about the Bluetti PV120 Solar Panel or any of Bluetti’s products please, visit their website at www.bluettipower.com or www.amazon.com.