Use Renogy/Third Party Solar Panels With Goal Zero Yeti

Using Third-Party Solar Panels With a Goal Zero Yeti Power Station

Today I would like to help you connect third-party solar panels/aftermarket/non Goal Zero solar panels, whatever you would like to call it, to a Goal Zero Yeti power station.

There are a lot of great solar panel brands out there, like Renogy, Richsolar, HQST, and Newpowa that make very competitive solar panels you can use with Yeti power stations.

How To Use Third-Party Solar Panels With Goal Zero Yeti

The adapter you need to connect most third-party solar panels to a Yeti power station is either this Anderson adapter or this 8mm adapter. Which one depends on if you want to use the APP or the 8mm input. Some Yetis only have the 8mm input.

Anderson Adapter

INSTABOOST 10AWG Solar Panel Cable Kit Compatible with MC4 Connector and Anderson PowerPole Port Male Famale for RV,Part Solar Generator Portable Powerstation(Male -Negative and Female-Positive)

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Note that you might have to change the orientation of the Anderson connectors to fit the Goal Zero Yeti. It’s very easy to do by sliding the connectors off of each other and turning them. You don’t have to change anything with the 8mm adapter, but if you’re connecting solar panels that output more than 10A you should use the Anderson input.

8mm Adapter

GRAYBULL Solar Panel Kits to 8mm Adapter Cable Compatible with MC4, DC 8mm Converter Connect for Explorer 160 240 500 1000 and GZ Portable Backup Power Station Solar Generator Heavy Duty Wire

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The biggest mistake you can do when connecting third party panels to your Yeti isn’t using the wrong adapter, but connecting a non-compatible panel, which means that it’s a panel rated above 22 VOC. The latest Yeti 1000X, 1500X, 3000X, and 6000X can handle up to 50V though.

This rating can be found on a sticker on the panel itself, but also usually on the specific product page online.

I will talk more about this and what to think about when connecting one or several panels to the Yeti, at the bottom of this post.

All the panels I recommend below are safe to use with the Yeti power stations, as long as you’re not connecting several panels in series, but in parallel.

What Experience Do I Have Connecting Third-Party Solar Panels To A Goal Zero Yeti?

My solar setup consists of a Yeti 1000, and 400 watts of solar. I own two different kinds of solar panels from Renogy. Two Renogy 100 Watt suitcases, and two Renogy 100 Watt solar panels.

The suitcase panels are great because I can move them around as needed during the day, and maximize the solar input both in the morning and in the evening.

My other 200 watt solar panels are mounted to the roof of my travel trailer and are installed with a tilt kit, so I can tilt them to maximize the input during the winter months.

Goal Zero Yeti 1000 Power station with several devices plugged in plus solar panels
I own and use both the APP adapter and the 8mm adapter with my Yeti 1000

How Do I Know Which Adapter To Buy?

Since you need to know which cable is positive and negative before buying the adapter, it can be hard to know which one to choose.

The Renogy 100 Watt solar panels have a positive male connector, and a negative female connector, which makes the Anderson adapter and the 8mm adapter the correct adapters.

The HQST 100WNewpowa 100W, and the Richsolar 100W are made the same way as Renogy panels and are compatible with both the adapters mentioned above.

Note that a foldable solar panel like the Rockpals 100W comes with an MC4 to 8mm adapter included, making it compatible with the Yeti power stations out of the box.

If your panel happens to have a positive female MC4 connector coming out of it (none of the panels above do), you’ll need the JoinWin MC4 to APP connector.

What About The Max 22 Voltage Rating On The Yeti Power Stations?

There is a maximum voltage that the Yeti stations can handle. Goal Zero advertises this not only before you buy the Yeti, but with a sticker on the Yeti itself.

On the latest Yeti 1000X, 1500X, 3000X, and 6000X, this sticker says up to 50V. But the older Yeti lithium models and the smaller Yeti X models can still only accept up to 22V.

Sticker on Goal Zero Yeti power station about the 22 volt max voltage
Warning on the Yeti 1000

What this input warning is about is the Vmp rating on a panel. Panels larger than 100W will sometimes have a higher Vmp rating than 22V, this means that it’s not safe to use with the older Yeti charge controllers.

Sure, it might be fine and work great, until it doesn’t. That’s why I don’t recommend exceeding this rating, to not void warranty, and risking ruining the solar charge controller in the Yeti.

So how do you know the Vmp rating of a panel? Well, a solar panel from a serious company has a sticker on the back which will tell you everything you need to know.

Sticker on the back of the Renogy 100 Watt suitcase solar panel
The sticker on the back of my Renogy 100W suitcase

As you can see on the sticker on my Renogy suitcase panel, the Vmp rating is 18V, which makes it safe to use with my Yeti.

How Do I Chain Several Solar Panels Together To A Goal Zero Yeti?

Now, what happens if you want to combine several panels like I am doing? If you connect the panels in parallel, you’re OK.

If you want to wire two panels in series, it’s a little bit more complicated. Since it’s not compatible with most Yeti models, and the newer ones (1000X, 1500X, 3000X, 6000X) that can handle some solar setups in series can only handle up to 50V VMP, so you still need to be aware of the voltages of your panel and stay below the limit. Just because it’s a 12V solar panel doesn’t mean it outputs 12V.

Parallel means combining all the positives, separate from the negative wires. Series means plugging a positive into a negative on the second panel, etc.

Connecting several panels is done with an MC4 Y Branch, and I use the like this one by PowMr.

When you combine several panels, you need to take the wire gauge into consideration to make sure that every connector and wire along the way to the Yeti can handle the higher amperage.

To connect three panels together, you need this adapter.

To connect four panels together, you need this adapter.

So to conclude, to connect the panels in parallel: Take both positives from each panel, and connect it to the MC4 Y Branch adapter with the two female parts. Then take the negative wire from each panel and connect them to the MC4 Y Branch with the two male parts.

Now your panels should be connected to each other, and have a positive and a negative coming from the MC4 Y Branch adapter, now connect them to the INSTABOOST MC4 Adapter or the mc4 to 8mm adapter depending on which input you intend to use.

If your Yeti can handle up to 50V, you could technically connect two panels in series as long as they each have a VMP voltage of 25V or below.

To do a series connection, you take the positive MC4 connector from the first panel and connect it to the negative MC4 connector from the second panel. What you end up with is one wire from each panel. This adds the voltages together but the amperage stays the same.

Extension Cables

For extension cables, I use these 10 Gauge MC4 extension cables (click to view on Amazon).

You should figure out which wire gauge you need before purchasing adapters and cables. I recommend this wire size calculator where you can put in the total amperage of your panels and the distance.

You can also use 8mm extension cables like these by Graybull.

Or Anderson Powerpole extension cables like these by Lion Energy.

Let me know if you have any questions about a specific adapter, solar panel, or anything related to this subject.

17 thoughts on “Use Renogy/Third Party Solar Panels With Goal Zero Yeti”

  1. Thanks very much for your excellent advice and detailed explanation. I have two of the Renogy 100 panels you recommend for my new GZ Yeti 3000. Just now connecting things for the first time. I’d like to leave my Yeti indoors about 20-30 ft from the panels on my driveway. What’s the best way to add an extension cable to this setup, between the panels and the Yeti?Thanks in advance!

    Reply
    • Hello Dave,

      I use Windynation extension cables (click to view on Amazon), they come in different lengths. I have taped the wires together with electric tape every 10 inches or so to make them easier to handle.

      For a “prettier” setup, I would use Anderson Power Pole to Anderson Power Pole extension cables but I haven’t found a long high-quality option that won’t have a 10% voltage drop.

      If you can make 15ft work, Goal Zero sells one with 12 Gauge wire. Don’t use two of these though.

      I recommend using 10 Gauge wire to reduce power loss. If you connect more panels you also need to consider how many amps are going to be sent through the wire, and size accordingly.

      Jesse

      Reply
  2. Great explanation. Thank you so much. I really enjoy my Yeti 1000 and I appreciate being able to combine non Goal Zero products.

    Reply
  3. My RENOGY solar panel suitcase has a charge controller built into it. Do I have to disconnect that charge controller before I go into my yeti 400?

    Reply
  4. Hi, my name is Efren. I noticed that the Rockpals 100w with the Yeti X series. I own the yeti 500x.can you please advise which other foldable solar panel is compatible with my yeti? Thanks for all your help!

    Reply
  5. I’ve seen a couple people having issues with the new Yeti 1500x. Do you think I’ll be ok following your guide and using 3rd party panels?

    Reply
    • Using third-party panels won’t void your warranty unless you do something wrong, so as long as you stay within the safe limits of what the charge controller can handle you’ll be ok.

      You might still have issues with the Yeti 1500X, but not because you connect third-party panels.

      Jesse

      Reply
  6. I’m looking to purchase two 175 watt Renogy solar panels and connect them directly to a GZ Yeti 1500x. I’m a bit confused as to what adapter or other things I would need to make this connection properly. Do you have time to tell me what I will need?

    Thank you.

    Jon

    Reply
    • Hi Jon,

      I see that there are two types of 175W panels made by Renogy. These rigid ones, and these flexible ones.

      The VMP rating of the rigid kind is 17.95V, and the flexible kind is 20.3V. So both types can be connected to the Yeti 1500X in either a parallel (up to 5 panels) or a series connection (up to 2 panels). Parallel adds the amps together while keeping the voltage the same. Series adds the voltage together while keeping the amps the same. The charge controllers in the new Yeti 1500X can handle up to 50V.

      To do a parallel connection, you need the MC4 Y branches. Take the positive MC4 male connectors from both panels and plug them into the red MC4 Y branch. Then take the negatives and plug them into the black one.

      Then you just need to plug the MC4 Y branch into the MC4 to Anderson adapter. You’ll have to turn the Anderson connectors on this adapter so they line up with the input on your Yeti, but it’s easy to do. Just slide the red Anderson connector off of the black one, turn it, then slide it back on.

      Since the Yeti 1500X can handle up to 50V, you could skip the MC4 Y branch and connect the panels in series by connecting the positive MC4 connector from the first panel to the negative MC4 connector on the second panel. Then you’d end up with a positive from one panel and a negative from another, and that’s what you would plug into the MC4 to Anderson adapter. Doing this will increase the voltage but stay below the 50V limit as long as you only connect two of those 175W panels.

      Series requires fewer wires, but if one panel isn’t performing great or has issues, the whole circuit will do worse. It’s up to you which way you want to go, but the Yeti 1500X can handle both.

      If you’d like some extension cables, I would go with an 8 gauge wire with that much solar.

      So to sum it up, if I were you, I would get the MC4 Y branch, the MC4 to Anderson adapter, and the 8 AWG Windynation Extension cables which come in different lengths. Try to keep the distance as short as possible to limit power loss.

      Hope I didn’t make it confusing, trying to help you out as much as possible. Let me know if you have any questions.

      Jesse

      Reply
  7. Excellent information and appreciate your time. I just bought the Yeti 3000x and boulder 200 briefcase solar panels. I already have 2x 100watt Renology solar panels on our trailer. Is it possible to connect the boulder 200 panels and the Renology panels to the Yeti 3000x at the same time so I can utilize all solar panels (400w) to charge the Yeti? I was thinking I could use the Anderson connection from the boulder panels and use the 8mm connection from the Renology panels. Thanks in advance!

    Reply
    • The problem with the new Yeti X models is that you can only use one input at a time. One way to fix that is to buy the MPPT charge controller expansion module (click to view on Amazon).

      Then you would be able to plug the Boulder panels into the HPP port on the left with the HPP Combiner adapter, and the Renogy panels to the MPPT module.

      The panels on your camper would have to be connected in parallel with an MC4 Y branch, and connected to the Yeti with an MC4 To Anderson adapter. The 8mm ports can only use 10A, so I would stick to the Anderson input when connecting more than 150W.

      You could possibly skip the MPPT module and connect the parallel pair to the HPP Combiner as well since it can handle the amperage but I’m not sure the Instaboost MC4 to Anderson adapter will fit (even after changing the orientation of the connectors). But it could be worth testing before spending the money on the MPPT module.

      Hope that wasn’t too confusing, let me know if you have any questions.

      Reply
      • Greatly appreciate your reply. What do you think about the following option? Easier? I already have a PWM charge controller in the trailer so do you think it would be possible to run a connection from the PWM controller to the Yeti in addition to having the boulder panels attached simultaneously? I’m assuming I could splice on the right adapter (8mm or Anderson) from the wire leads from the controller to connect to the Yeti?

        Reply
        • The Yeti won’t accept a charge via an external charge controller since it already has one. You could install MC4 Y branches between the solar panels and the charge controller, and run the panels directly to the Yeti, but then the electricity generated with your Renogy panels would be split.

          Reply

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