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Review of the BLUETTI PV200 200W Solar Panel
January 25, 2023

Review of the BLUETTI PV200 200W Solar Panel

Reading Time: 5 minutes

I was searching for a solar panel that could quickly charge my portable power station. The BLUETTI PV200, which can be easily folded and transported, appeared to be my best option.

As the production of Green Energy has become increasingly significant, I decided to conduct an experiment determining a solar panel's efficiency during all four seasons.

This article examines how quickly a device can be charged by a solar panel powered by the weak winter sunlight of January. I will repeat this test in the spring, summer, and fall. The information obtained from these experiments should prove helpful for those considering the installation of solar panels to power their homes.

My test equipment consists of the highly regarded BLUETTI PV200 solar panel and a 268Wh portable power station manufactured by the same company.

Physical Description

The BLUETTI PV200 provides backup solar power for camping or during power interruptions. This 200-Watt monocrystalline solar panel boasts up to 23.4 percent conversion efficiency.

It consists of four sections occupying a space 23.2 inches high and 89.2 inches wide. The PV200 can be folded for transportation, reducing the solar panel's dimensions to 23.2 x 24.8 inches. A sturdy handle allows this 16.1-pound device to be easily carried.

The panels are coated with fluorine-based plastic (ETFE) that is durable and scratch-resistant. While this device should not be soaked with water, an IP65 waterproof rating ensures it can be used when camping, fishing, and hiking. The PV200's kickstands allow the positioning of the solar panel at a 45-degree angle.

This device is equipped with a standard MC4 connector and is compatible with many portable power stations.

The accompanying BLUETTI EB3A portable power station boasts a 268Wh capacity and can handle loads of up to 600 watts. Its built-in MPPT controller supports a peak of 200 watts of solar input. This power generator came packed with a charging cable compatible with my solar panel.

Solar Panel Specifications

Manufacturer: BLUETTI

Name: Solar Panel

Model: PV200

Material: Monocrystalline

Peak power: 200 watts

Conversion ratio: Up to 23.4 percent

Physical support: Three integrated kickstands

Folded dimensions: 59 x 63 centimeters (23.2 x 24.8 inches)

Unfolded dimensions: 59 x 227 centimeters (23.2 x 89.2 inches)

Weight: 7.3 kilograms (16.1 pounds)

Connector: MC4

Sunlight Output in the Winter

The axis of the earth's rotation is tilted 23.5 degrees in relation to its orbit around the sun. During winter, the northern hemisphere is slightly skewed away from the sun, positioning it lower in the sky where it provides less direct sunlight. As this light is projected at a low angle, it spreads across a greater area, producing less heat in each specific region.

Conversely, the northern hemisphere is tilted toward the sun during the summer. More direct sunlight is provided because the sun is higher, resulting in a warmer climate.

This effect suggests that solar panels are more effective in the summer. How much? That's what my experiment is designed to determine.

Solar Panels

Solar panels generate power utilizing solar cells that absorb energy from sunlight and, using semiconducting materials, transform it into electrical energy. These cells are small, typically producing one or two watts of power. They are then connected together, forming larger power-generating panels.

Preliminary Setup

While my experiment was important, I also wanted to devise a practical and convenient method of recharging my portable power station during a blackout.

My front porch is covered in windows and is positioned so that it faces the sun as it rises and sets. I'd initially planned to place the solar panel on the porch floor, using its three kickstands to aim it at a 45-degree angle. I felt, perhaps wrongly, that this system would not work effectively within an enclosed space.

Instead, I set the solar panel atop two piano benches and a small table, angling the individual panels so that the device would remain standing. While this method worked, two panels received less direct sunlight than the second pair.

The final step was to connect a portable power station to the solar panel. I chose the EB3A because its display provides information regarding the input in watts, charge rate, and estimated time until the unit is charged.

Test Conditions

Under ideal circumstances, the PV200 solar panel should recharge my portable power station within 2.3 hours.

My test conditions, however, were far from ideal. And as I bundled myself into a parka midway through the experiment and headed out to shovel the driveway, I found myself resenting those that live in sunny Texas. They receive a much greater share of the winter's frugal sunlight.

Aside from the sun's weak output and my slightly misaligned solar panels, I also contended with problems associated with performing this test inside a building.

Three columns separate the large windows of my front porch, and throughout the entire test, one of them consistently blocked sunlight from one of the solar panels. Dirt clinging to the glass and the framing around the individual panes also obstructed sunlight. And unfortunately, the windows themselves have reflective qualities that redirect a portion of the light away.

Heat also proved to be a problem. At one point, the heat accumulating in the gradually warming sunporch, combined with that produced by the charging process, forced my portable power station's fan to turn on. To rectify the situation, I blocked direct sunlight from reaching the power station and opened the porch door.

Test Procedure

After connecting the EB3A portable power station to the solar panel, I routinely monitored the device, checking its input and charging level.

At 9:15 AM, the EB3A was receiving 20 watts of power. As the sun rose, the input power gradually increased to as much as 42 watts.

The sun reached its zenith at 13:15. Then, because the top framing of my windows began to block the sunlight, I repositioned the solar panel onto the floor. By this point, the EB3A had accumulated a 45 percent charge.

As the sun sank and moved westward, I realigned my solar panel. Sadly, the sunlight weakened and became increasingly blocked by the porch's structure. By the time I terminated the test at 14:15, charging levels had dropped to zero, and EB3A's charge level had climbed no higher than 49 percent.

The following day, at 10:30, I leaned my solar panel against the far wall of the porch rather than perching it atop the table and piano benches. Since all four sections could now be pointed directly toward the sun, the input improved significantly, topping out at 73 watts. Unfortunately, cloud cover quickly closed in, forcing me to conclude the experiment.

Overall Impression

The BLUETTI PV200 is a durable and well-designed solar panel. It is relatively compact, considering its 200W peak power capability, and boasts up to 23.4 percent conversion efficiency. This device is compatible with numerous portable power stations.

The poor result of my winter solar charging experiment does not reflect the ability of this device. In fact, despite weak winter sunlight and inadequate placement, the solar panel performed well. I expect significantly better results during my spring test and look forward to discovering how fast it will charge my portable power station under more ideal conditions this summer. The BLUETTI PV200 Solar Panel is recommended.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2023 Walter Shillington


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