This is my hands-on review of the HQST 100 Watt Polycrystalline Solar Panel.
I’ve owned this panel for over a year, and during that time I’ve used it in many of my DIY solar power projects. For this review, I also tested it with a multimeter and compared its power output to four other 100 watt panels.
While this panel works just fine, it placed last in my testing. Its build quality was average and its power output was the worst of all the panels tested.
It is light and compact for a 100 watt polycrystalline panel, though, which might appeal to some. And its price is often quite low on Amazon. If you catch it during a discount, it’s worth considering.
Full review: Best 100 Watt Solar Panels
HQST 100W 12V Polycrystalline Solar Panel
A light and compact poly panel
The HQST panel is surprisingly light and compact for a polycrystalline panel. However, its build quality is average and it placed last in my power output test. I only recommend considering it if you catch it while it’s on sale.
|Solar cell type:||Polycrystalline||Max power (Pmax):||100W|
|Max power voltage (Vmp):||18.2V||Max power current (Imp):||5.5A|
|Open circuit voltage (Voc):||21.4V||Short circuit current (Isc):||5.7A|
|Dimensions:||35.6″ x 25.9″ x 1.18″
(904mm x 657mm x 30mm)
|Weight:||14 lbs (6.4 kg) weighed
14.3 lbs (6.5 kg) listed
HQST Solar Panel Review
I took the HQST Poly outside on a sunny day and placed it in direct sunlight.
I used my multimeter to measure the solar panel’s open circuit voltage (Voc) and short circuit current (Isc) and compare them to the specs listed on the back of the panel.
Related: How to Test Solar Panels
I measured a max Voc of 20.5 volts. The label claims a Voc of 21.4V at STC.
I then measured a max Isc of 5.86A. The label claims an Isc of 5.7A at STC.
These are the weirdest multimeter results I’ve seen. They make me wonder if HQST changed the panel design at some point and forgot to update the label with the latest specs.
My readings were still in the ballpark of the claimed specs, though, so I wasn’t too concerned. They at least told me the panel was in good working order.
Installation & Mounting
Over the years I’ve installed the HQST panel in different solar power projects. I even built a DIY portable solar panel stand into the back of it to mount it at different tilt angles.
The HQST Poly has the standard number of mounting holes — two on either side of the frame with a small hole in the middle for grounding.
The frame is also the standard 30mm thick. It’s fine, but some 100 watt panels are starting to come with 35mm frames.
5mm doesn’t sound like much, but the extra room makes a panel easier to mount.
Power Output Testing
I brought five 100 watt panels outside on a sunny day for a side-by-side power output test. I used a watt meter to measure each panel’s output in watts.
Here are the results:
The HQST Poly placed last with an output of 68.1 watts. The winner was the WindyNation Poly, which output 72.7 watts.
Now, the differences in power output were pretty small. But I wasn’t impressed with the HQST Poly. If you want a solar panel that will output the most power, I wouldn’t recommend this one — I’d instead look at the WindyNation Poly and Renogy Mono.
The HQST panel has held up just fine during the 18 months I’ve owned it. For this review, I also inspected each part of the panel closely looking for signs of wear.
First, I inspected the panel’s cables and connectors. The panel uses 14 gauge (2.5mm2) cables, which didn’t show any wear or tear from plenty of exposure to the elements. I twisted the connectors and found no looseness.
Then I popped open the junction box and looked inside. The waterproofing rubber seal fell out upon removal, which wasn’t a great sign. And the junction box only had one diode.
Lastly I inspected the panel’s glass and frame. I couldn’t find any scratches or dents, despite the minor abuse I’ve put it through since buying it.
Size & Weight
Here’s how the size (length * width) of the HQST 100W panel compares to other 100W panels:
And here’s how its weight compares:
It was the lightest and most compact poly panel I tested. It’s closer in weight and size to the mono panels I tested, which is impressive.
- Solar cell type: Polycrystalline
- Max power (Pmax): 100W
- Max power voltage (Vmp): 18.2V
- Max power current (Imp): 5.5A
- Open circuit voltage (Voc): 21.4V
- Short circuit current (Isc): 5.7A
- Dimensions: 35.6″ x 25.9″ x 1.18″ (904mm x 657mm x 30mm)
- Weight: 14 lbs (6.4 kg) weighed, 14.3 lbs (6.5 kg) listed
What I Like
- It’s light and compact for a polycrystalline panel. It was the lightest and most compact poly panel I tested.
- It’s cheap. It’s one of the cheaper panels I tested. I’ve also often seen it on sale on Amazon.
What I Don’t Like
- It placed last in my power output test. It output a max of 68.1 watts, the worst of all the panels I tested.
Who This Solar Panel Is for
- You want a cheap 100 watt solar panel. According to an Amazon price tracker, it’s on average one of the cheaper 100 watt panels available.
- You have limited mounting space. It’s compact for a poly panel. But remember that mono panels are even more compact, so I’d also consider one of those.
Who This Solar Panel Isn’t for
- You want the most power output. The WindyNation Poly placed first in my power output test.
- You want the best all-around 100 watt solar panel. After testing five panels, the Renogy Mono was my favorite.
- You want the most bang for your buck. I think the Rich Solar Poly is the best 100 watt panel for those on a budget.
- Rich Solar 100W 12V Polycrystalline Solar Panel. The Rich Solar Poly is the best budget 100 watt panel. It’s one of the cheapest 100 watt panels I’ve seen, and its build quality and power output are better than the HQST Poly. Read my full Rich Solar 100 Watt Solar Panel Review.
- Renogy 100W 12V Monocrystalline Solar Panel. This was my favorite all-around 100 watt panel. It’s well-built and placed second in my power output test. It’s also the most compact panel of the five I tested. It does cost a bit more, though. Read my full Renogy 100 Watt Solar Panel Review.
- WindyNation 100W 12V Polycrystalline Solar Panel. This panel placed first in my power output test. If you want the most power output, this is the panel I recommend. It’s the biggest and heaviest I used, though, so it’s not a good option if your mounting space is limited. Read my full WindyNation 100 Watt Solar Panel Review.
The Bottom Line
After testing five solar panels side by side, I think the HQST 100W 12V Polycrystalline Solar Panel is…average.
It placed last in my power output test, and its build quality is standard. Though it is surprisingly light and compact for a poly panel, which I liked.
It’s pretty cheap for a 100 watt panel, so it’s worth considering based on price alone. But if you need something more than just a standard 100 watt panel, look elsewhere.
A small ask: If you found my HQST solar panel review helpful and are planning to buy one, please consider buying through one of my affiliate links below — I’ll get a small commission which will help fund more reviews like this one. Thank you! 🙏