BougeRV 180W 12V Mono Solar Panel: Review & Testing

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With so many rigid solar panels available on the market today, the ideal one for you may be hard to find. After testing the BougeRV 180W solar panelOpens in a new tab. myself, I found that it has several qualities that make it a competitor in the industry.

The BougeRV 180W solar panel has high output capabilities. It’s heavy but made with high-quality materials. Its long warranty period also allows for a cushion of security – especially in rampant weather. I can easily see myself using this panel on my roof year-round.

High-quality materials (aluminum frame, high efficiency, etc.)Materials used make it a heavy product (24 pounds)
High power output after testing in summer sunlightLong (58 inches); might be hard to mount
Relatively inexpensive for the value it offersAmp rating too high for some portable power stations
Pros and cons of the rigid BougeRV 180W solar panelOpens in a new tab..

Now you have some insights into this panel’s capabilities, but what purposes is this panel best for?

With mounting and draining holes, the BougeRV rigid solar panel is specifically meant for mounting on rooftops: homes, RVs, sheds, etc. It’s inexpensive for its power output and quality, so creating an array with multiple panels may be a valuable option.

This panel is the “5BB” version, which is cheaper than the similar “9BB” option. You can also add my BougeRV code best12 for 14% off your orderOpens in a new tab..

BougeRV 180W 12V Solar Panel front and back

BougeRV 180W 12V Monocrystalline Solar Panel (5BB)

Enter best12 coupon code at checkout for a 14% discount (code valid until 12/31/22).

However, if you’re like me, you want all of the details before considering this option. Below are my results. After that, I’ll discuss the specifics of my testing.

My results

BougeRV 180W solar panel on an angle
This is the BougeRV 180W solar panel on an angle in my backyard. I used it mainly with my EcoFlow River Max power station because its input could handle the panel’s output.
  • Maximum power output recorded: 128-133W (using my EcoFlow River Max power station)
  • Time of day max output was recorded: 9 AM
  • Weather: Humid and clear skies in the middle of summer
  • Location: Midwest United States
  • Note: The 133W was achieved after pouring water on the panel. The max output without adding water was 128-129W.

The output of this panel is excellent considering the conditions I tested it in. The air was dense and humid, which usually has a negative effect on the solar panel’s performance.

In addition, I ended my testing a bit too early at 9 AM, and didn’t experience peak sunlight while using the panel.

I’ll get into peak sunlight later and give you an estimate of its full potential if I tested it later in the day.

But first, I’ll give you the specifications.

Specs – BougeRV 180W panel (5BB version)

Peak power Pm (W)180±5%
Open circuit voltage Voc (V)21.6±5%
Max power voltage Vmp (V)18±5%
Max power current Imp (A)10±5%
Short circuit current Isc (A)11±5%
Solar cell efficiency21%±0.5%
Max system voltage (V)1000V DC
Cell typeMonocrystalline
Dimensions26.38 x 58.27 x 0.38 in
Weight24 lbs
Warranty25-year transferable power output warranty
5-year material and workmanship warranty
SourceUser manualOpens in a new tab.
This table shows the specifications of the BougeRV 180W 12V Mono Solar Panel (5BB version).

I’d like to mention that solar panel voltage increases when it’s colder outside. The “max power voltage (Vmp)” and “max power current (Imp)” are rated at 77°F (25°C).

These are standard testing conditions, but colder conditions actually cause the panel to increase its voltage, therefore increasing its overall output.

By using an MPPT charge controller with your solar generator system (as opposed to a PWM), you can capture this excess voltage to pump out a higher wattage to your batteries and charge them faster.

In order to show that these specifications are legitimate, I’m going to show you how I performed my tests with this panel.

My testing equipment used

Charging EcoFlow River Max with Elecaenta panels
Here I’m charging my EcoFlow River Max with two of my Elecaenta solar panels. Both of these panels total 240W of peak power, so I performed this test on the EcoFlow power station to see how it handled a higher wattage compared to the 180W of peak power from the BougeRV solar panel.

I used the following additional equipment in my testing:

The purpose of using two solar generators was to see if one of them inputted more power than the other in the same conditions.

I used the two Elecaenta 120W panels to see if they could outperform the BougeRV panel or give me other insights on how the power stations interacted with the panels.

The Jackery Explorer 1000 has a 163W maximum solar input. For beginners in solar, volts x amps = watts. This is important because the max amps the Jackery 1000 can handle is 7.5A (source: manualOpens in a new tab.).

This 7.5A cannot receive the full output from the BougeRV panel in ideal conditions because the panel outputs around 10A in good sunlight.

However, by using my EcoFlow River Max, I could harness the full output of this panel because the solar generator is capable of a 200W max solar input with a 12A Max.

You’ll see how this computes into wattage performance later on. Before that, however, I want to show you my testing conditions.

I know this can seem quite tedious, but there are several variables that affect the capabilities of a solar panel.

Variables in my testing

BougeRV 180W solar panel charging EcoFlow River on my porch
BougeRV 180W solar panel charging EcoFlow River on my porch

The following are the variables that I worked with:

1. Humidity fluctuationOpens in a new tab. in my morning testing (6:45-9:00 on 7/12/22)

  • About 3°F increase (6:45 vs 9:00)
  • About 10.5% decrease in humidity (6:45 vs 9:00)
  • 64.5% (6:45 AM) vs 53.6% (9 AM)
  • Humidity can cause decreased solar panel performanceOpens in a new tab. (10-20%)

2. Change in the angle of sunlight & peak sun power

According to several google results, the best time of day for direct solar charging is from 10 AM to 2 PM. This is because the rays are more direct and void of any obstructions.

My last test was at 9 AM, which may have had a significant impact on the performance of the panel compared to the 6:45 test.

With the sun moving in the sky throughout the day, the angle of the solar panel needed to be adjusted to be perpendicular to the sun. This allows the panel to capture the most sunlight possible.

3. Variation in battery charge status

This can affect the allowable input from the solar generator’s MPPT charge controller. In short, charge controllers read the battery and charge it at different power levels depending on its battery charge status.

For example, a battery charged to 80% capacity or higher may cause the charge controller to decrease the power coming from the panel. This is to safely charge the battery and protect its longevity.

  • I reduced the EcoFlow River Max from 71-75% capacity to 59% between 7:30-8:30 AM.
    • At my 6:45 AM test, the EcoFlow River’s battery was at 71% capacity and was pulling in 92W.
    • At my 9 AM test, my River battery was at 64% battery capacity and was pulling in 128W (w/o me adding water to the panel).
    • Based on this data, I’m not entirely sure if my solar generator’s battery capacity affected the maximum allowable power from the solar panel.

4. Additional factors

These are some other small changes that I made to try and get the most out of the solar panel:

  • Raised the panel about one inch
    • I used two tree branches to hold the panel up. The panel was laying in tall grass which was possibly blocking some sunlight from reaching the panel.
  • Different cables & adapters
    • Cable length and the use of adapters can affect the incoming power from the solar panel.
    • I was using two different cables to connect the panel to my portable power station:
      • MC4 to XT60 (about 3ft long)
      • MC4-to-Anderson w/ Anderson to XT60 adapter (about 1ft long)
      • ^The smaller cable seemed to improve the efficiency by 1-2 watts
  • Cleaning the solar panel
    • I did this once or twice throughout my test using just water and a small towel.
  • Pouring water on the solar panel at 9 AM
    • At 9 AM, I poured water on the panel using a gardening bucket. This increased the panel’s output by 4-5W and helped me achieve a 133W maximum output from the panel.

Overall, testing the BougeRV panel with the EcoFlow River Max resulted in about a 28% improvement in solar panel wattage (9 AM test versus 6:45 AM test).

Taking into account these steady increases in power, I created a table below displaying the actual wattage (from my testing) and the potential output wattage (if I stayed out longer).

Actual + estimated output

Assuming that peak sunlight is at 12 PM, I’ve included my actual output results from 6:45-9:00 AM and then incorporated the estimated wattages from 9:30 AM-12 PM into my analysis.

I factored the following into my estimations:

  • Peak sunlight: Where the sun is highest in the sky and emits the highest amount of harnessable power (around 12 PM).
  • Decrease in humidity: Less humidity equals better solar panel performance. The humidity decreased by over 20% from 6:45 AM to 12 PM.
  • Temperature: Temperatures above standard testing conditions (25ºC)Opens in a new tab. can decrease overall solar performance.
TimeTemp. (ºF)Humidity (%)Solar Panel Wattage
6:45 AM71.664.5492W (actual)
7:05 AM
(switched location for better angle)
71.664.54104W (actual)
7:15 AM73.456.95109W (actual)
7:35 AM73.456.95114W (actual)
8:35 AM
(battery discharged to 59%)
75.257.2123W (actual)
9:00 AM75.253.62128W (actual)
9:30 AM7750.52133W (Estimated)
10 AM78.847.61138W (Estimated)
10:30 AM80.644.89143W (Estimated)
11 AM80.642.06148W (Estimated)
11:30 AM80.644.89153W (Estimated)
12 PM82.442.34158W (Estimated)
This table shows the output performance of the BougeRV 180W solar panel. My actual testing results are shown from 6:45-9 AM. My estimated results are shown from 9:30 AM to 12 PM. The temperature and humidity readings came from LocalConditions.comOpens in a new tab. (date of readings: 7/12/22).

Taking the highest wattage into account, we can calculate its efficiency: 158/180= 87.7% output efficiency. This is a high output efficiency – typically, an 80% efficiency rating is considered good in ideal sunlight (this is not the same rating as solar panel cell efficiencyOpens in a new tab.).

My take on the BougeRV 180W solar panel

Charging Cutting Edge Power power station with BougeRV panel
Here I used the BougeRV solar panel to charge the battery in my Cutting Edge Power solar generatorOpens in a new tab. (link to my YouTube review).

Overall, this solar panel was a success from my tests and estimations. The biggest factors affecting its performance were:

  1. The time of day
  2. Humidity

After gathering some data to estimate its full potential, the BougeRV panel has a high output threshold and can be an effective off-grid tool year-round.

Its $200 price tag is competitive in the industry, especially when considering its performance and quality.

Lastly, here are the highlighted features of this panel:

  • Mounting holes for rooftop installation on a home, shed, RV, etc.
  • Draining holes
  • Warranty:
    • 25-year transferable power output warranty
    • 5-year material and workmanship warranty
  • IP65-rated junction box (high water resistance)
  • 3 ft 13 AWG cables w/ MC4 connectors
  • Corrosion-resistant aluminum frame

If you intend to get a heavy-duty mountable solar panel, I recommend the BougeRV 180W panel. After factoring in its performance, materials, warranty, and price, I consider it an excellent value.

BougeRV 180W 12V Solar Panel front and back

BougeRV 180W 12V Monocrystalline Solar Panel (5BB)

Enter best12 coupon code at checkout for a 14% discount (code valid until 12/31/22).

*This is an affiliate link, where I make a small commission on every sale (at no additional cost to you).

You can also watch my performance tests done on this panel via my YouTube video below.

My YouTube review of the BougeRV solar panel.

Max Peters

Hi! I'm Max and I am passionate about off-grid solar technology and adventure! I'm using my knowledge of solar generators, solar panels, and everything in between to provide you with the best tools to keep you powered while off the grid. Read more about me here: About Max Peters."

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