The Zendure 400W solar panel is a portable panel that consists of four foldable sections. It’s light enough to carry, and the four attached kickstands make it easy to set up, even on uneven surfaces. While it’s not completely waterproof, it can withstand light rain. What we love about the panel is that it’s all one piece, meaning you don’t have to fiddle with accessories, except for adapters (not included) to connect it to your power station. However, you can keep additional cables in the attached pouch that also holds the built-in 3ft (1m) MC4 connector.
- 400W rated power
- Monocrystalline silicon cells with 22+% efficiency
- Portable with built-in kickstands
- IP54 rated
- Brand: Zendure
- Type: Foldable and portable
- Power: 400 Watt
- Voltage: 40V
- Size: 39.37 x 88.19 x 0.98in (100 x 224 x 2.5cm)
- Weight: 31lbs (14kg)
- Ingress Protection Rating: IP54
- Price per Watt: ~$1.75 (Kickstarter deal) or ~$3.25 (retail price)
- Maximum Current: 10A
- Connector Type: MC4 (3ft / 1m built-in cable)
- Efficiency: ≥22%
- Solar cells: Monocrystalline
- Size (Folded): 39.37 x 21.54 x 2.24in (100 x 55 x 2.5cm)
- Operating Temperature: 14°F to 149°F (-10°C to 65°C)
- VOC: 49.4V
- Monocrystalline cells
- Compact and lightweight
- Foldable and portable
- Easy to set up
- Not fully waterproof
- Pricey, if not purchased as part of the SuperBase V Kickstarter campaign
With energy prices soaring, it’s good to have alternatives. After all, the sun provides us with 173,000 terawatts of free solar energy every single day of the year. If you’re stuck in an apartment building or want to produce your own electricity during your next outdoor adventure, a portable solar panel could be the answer.
We have reviewed Zendure’s new 400W solar panel to find out whether it’s all that it’s made out to be. Let’s find out whether it’s the right pick for you.
What’s Included and First Impressions
The Zendure 400W solar panel comes all in one piece with no added accessories. You’ll receive a panel consisting of four foldable elements, each featuring an integrated kickstand. A pocket attached to one of the outer elements holds the built-in MC4 connector. Buckles and a handle make the whole unit portable.
The panel makes a great first impression. It’s easy to set up, the kickstands provide good support, and the grommets and stitching along the panel’s edges appear to be of good quality.
The panel quickly picked up dust as we were testing it out, but a quick wipe with a wet cloth made it look like new again. The material that wraps the backside of the solar panel appears to be waterproof, as is the zipper for the pouch that covers the built-in MC4 connector.
While the panel is foldable and portable, it does weigh 29.1lbs (13.2kg), which isn’t light. If you need to haul multiple panels and a power station, bring a helper or a dolly.
How to Set Up and Pack Up the Zendure 400W Solar Panel
Once you’ve carried the panel to a spot where you can fully expose it to direct sunlight, set it on the ground, release the buckles, and unfold it.
- Option 1: Lay it flat on the ground to unfold it. You’ll want the bottom ends of the kickstands facing in the direction of the sun. When you’re done, the solar cells will be facing up.
- Option 2: Unfold it while it’s standing.
Either option works, but I’d recommend the latter if your ground isn’t dry and clean, or if you have a bad back.
As you’re holding or lifting the panel, you can…
- Option 1: Fully unfold it, pull out the two kickstands in the center, then, once the panel has full support in the center, extend the outer kickstands.
- Option 2: Unfold half the panel and lean it on two of its kickstands as you’re unfolding the other half.
When you’re done, the panel should already be facing the sun because turning it around isn’t easily done, unless you have help or want to partially fold it again.
To harvest the sun energy, open the attached pocket, and connect the panel to your power station. Keep in mind that the panel puts out 400W at 40V and 10A, which could fry a smaller battery. You’ll have to supply an adapter to go from MC4 to whatever input port your power station offers, such as Anderson, DC, or XT90.
Since this panel is only IP54 rated, you can’t let it sit in heavy rain. While it’s able to withstand water sprays from all directions, it does permit limited dust and water ingress. If you need something that’s weatherproof, look for an IP65+ rated product.
When it’s time to pack the panel up, you can conveniently refer to its back, in case you forgot how it was folded originally. Basically, fold it in half, then fold it in half again, and let the buckles meet at the top.
How to Wire Solar Panels in Series or in Parallel
If you have more than one Zendure 400W solar panel, you can wire it in series or in parallel. Wiring panels in series adds up their total voltage output, while maintaining the maximum current. Wiring them in parallel keeps the voltage the same, but increases the current.
The Zendure 400W solar panel’s manual provides wiring schemes for wiring in series (left) and a combination of wiring in series and in parallel (right).
To wire panels in series, connect the + terminal of one panel’s MC4 connector with the – terminal of the neighboring panel’s MC4 connector. Plug the remaining terminals (one + and one -) at the start and end of the series into the adapter that connects the series of panels to your power station. If your power station doesn’t feature a built-in MPPT charge controller, wire one in to increase the efficiency of your setup. If you’ll be using the Zendure 400W solar panel with Zendure’s SuperBase V, you can wire up to seven panels in series without exceeding the maximum voltage input.
To wire panels in parallel, create one chain with all the positive terminals and a second with all the negative terminals. This method lets the panels operate independently of each other, making it ideal for when you can’t guarantee full sun exposure for all panels. Wiring in parallel is also an alternative if you need to use a PWM instead of an MPPT charge controller.
Should You Buy the Zendure 400W Solar Panel?
Right now, you can only acquire the Zendure 400W solar panel in a bundle with the Zendure SuperBase V home energy storage system (review to follow) in Zendure’s Kickstarter campaign. If you do back the Kickstarter, however, bundling it with the solar panel does make sense. At the Super Early Bird pricing, adding the 400W panel costs you $699, which brings the cost of the panel to $1.75 per Watt, which is more affordable than the EcoFlow 400W solar panel (approx. $3.43 per Watt).
This panel is great for when you have space, so probably not be the best solution for your balcony. In fact, we had trouble testing it on our front porch due to its size. Besides, it’s not entirely weatherproof, hence, not suitable for a permanent outdoors installation.
For ease of setup and stability, we much preferred the Zendure 400W solar panel’s kickstands over the EcoFlow’s solution, where the carrying case doubles as the kickstand. On the downside, the Zendure’s kickstands didn’t offer much room for adjustment, limiting how far we could tilt it to the back.
While we don’t mind the lack of a carrying bag, the panel is only IP54 rated, meaning you should be ready to pack up quickly when the weather turns sour. On the upside, however, the solar cells themselves are IP65 rated and the zipper of the pocket securing the MC4 connector features a waterproof design, meaning the panel should be reasonably safe once packed up.
Zendure’s SuperBase V Kickstarter campaign, during which you can bundle their 400W solar panel at a massive 46% discount, runs until November 11. After that, the panel will eventually be available from Zendure directly, and you can expect to pay $1,299 at that point.
Q: Can you chain multiple Zendure 400W solar panels?
Yes. If you’d like to hook the Zendure 400W solar panels up to Zendure’s SuperBase V power station, which takes up to 3,000W of solar input, you can chain up to seven panels and plug them into the power station’s XT90 port.
Q: Can you permanently mount the Zendure 400W solar panel outdoors?
No. The Zendure 400W solar panel has an IP54 rating, meaning it can withstand light rain, but it’s not waterproof. Hence, you can’t permanently mount it to your roof, RV, van, or anywhere else outdoors where it’s exposed to the elements. The panel is foldable and portable, so you can easily set it up for temporary outdoor use.
Q: Are the Zendure 400W solar panel’s cells wired in series or parallel?
The Zendure 400W solar panel actually consists of four 100W elements. The cells in each element are wired in series. The four elements are connected to each other in parallel.
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