I have two questions-- first, will this transformer work to power four panels? and second, is there a better way to do this (the transformer is really bulky and isn't quite what I'd want to run the circuit on-- it seems like there's got to be a more realistic and "permanent" way to power these). Thanks!
When you want to power multiple things you generally put those things in parallel.If you put them in series there will be voltage drop in each element .This will result in some things are completely on , some are semi-on and some are completely off.
In your case you connect the phase in one end , the neutral in the other end and in between you put those things you want to power in parallel.