We needed a way to charge all of our gear and we ordered the Goal Zero Sherpa 100 Solar Kit. There is overwhelmingly large selection of systems on the market and it was confusing to me, being a first time user/buyer. I found everything from a direct order from China to various other systems offered by suppliers. Finally, I stumbled upon the company Goal Zero and looked on the website for more information. I couldn’t be happier with this charging system, but I thought that it would be a different feeling once I received it.
It has a list price of $600 directly from Goal Zero and they are not listed on Amazon. I searched EBay and found several units that were almost list price in new condition. Luckily, I found a guy selling a new in the box unit for $480, shipping included. It was a steal and I felt confident in the EBay guarantee so I bought it.
It arrived new in the box as described and it was smaller than I thought. I opened it up and I didn’t need to consult a manual to hook it up. So simple! Plug the solar panel into the inverter, place in the sun. It is just as easy to charge devices. Plug them in and that’s it. The Sherpa 100 has a separate plug adapter that allows for 110 plugs. I chose this model because I need to charge a Macbook Pro. Apparently, the Macbook Air could charge off of the smaller Sherpa 50 but the Pro needed a little more juice.
The size of the inverter is so small and I could easily throw it in my camera bag to take on a trip. The same thing goes with the solar panel. It has 3 panels that fold up. The last panel has a magnet on it that seals it together. The back of the panel protector has a zipper pouch to store all of the cords and adapters. Perfectly compact and transportable. It will be perfect for our boat and it will save me lots of hours on my generator, since our 110 system is idle until we hook up to shore power or run the generator.
The charging ability of the Sherpa 100 is huge. It will charge my lap top twice, tablet 4 times, camera 10 times, smart phone 14 times. It only takes the Sherpa 100 10 hours of charging time when my solar panel (Nomad 20) is connected to it. We will be cruising in the tropics and there will be a lot of full sun days ahead. The solar panels capture power from the sun even on cloudy days, just not as much. I can charge the inverter from the wall in 3 hours or a car battery in 4. It makes sense for me to keep a charge on it from our shore power as we set off and charge it from the sun while we are out.
I feel like I am coming out of the non-technical dark ages with a great product that will be useful to our family. I feel confident buying a product that is made in the USA and this thing has won all sorts of awards for tech gear and innovation.