So you’ve decided to buy the best RV solar panel for your vehicle, but don’t know where to start? Then you’ll find this post very useful.
I’ll tell you exactly what you need to know about buying RV solar panels for cheap, how do they work, what are the best Solar RV Panel brands to buy from and how to make a smart purchase.
So get comfy in your seat, this post is quite lengthy but I promise it’s gonna be worthwhile. By the end of the post, you’ll have gained more knowledge about portable solar panels for RV and you’ll be ready to make a choice.
Without many words here are the:
Best RV Solar Panel Kits
Let’s take a look at the best portable RV solar panels reviews on the market right now.
HQST 100 Watt 12 Volt RV Polycrystalline Solar Panel
Looking for a portable RV but also rigid solar panel but don’t want to spend lots of money? Then the HQST RV 100 Watt solar panel is the right choice for you. This super durable will resist any environment, be it snow, wind, and impact. It is also rated IP65, meaning it is protected from low-pressure water jets from any direction and limited ingress protection.
It also manages to have a pretty good conversion efficiency rating despite being an RV polycrystalline solar panel. That’s because it’s multi-sheet laminated which improve both lifetime and cell output. This RV solar System comes with a whopping 25 years power output warranty.
The 12 Volt RV Polycrystalline Panel comes with pre-drilled holes allowing you a fast and easy mount. It’s also compatible with a lot of mounting systems, which is pretty handy in my opinion.
So you might think a polycrystalline RV 100w solar panel will not work properly in bad weather condition. But that’s where you’re wrong. This model comes with bypass diodes which lower the power drops caused by shadows, and it will assure excellent performance in low light environments.
So if you’re on a budget and looking for the best built RV solar system with great performance output then look no further, this is one of the best choices on the market.
Renogy 400 Watts 12 Volts Monocrystalline Solar RV Kit Off-Grid Kit
The Renogy 400 watts solar RV panel kit is a great choice if you want high output power. You’ll find inside the package four 100W monocrystalline solar panels. It also comes with a charge controller for your RV, mounting brackets, mc4 connectors, RV solar cables, and cable entry houses.
This Monocrystalline Solar RV panel has a high solar cell efficiency of 18.4 %, and you can expect to output 1,600 Watt-hours or 80 Amperes hours per day. This may vary on the weather. Due to its bypass diodes, it performs very well in low light environments and reduces the power drop caused by shades.
It is built with a corrosion-resistant aluminum frame designed for prolonged outdoor use, which allows the solar system to last for decades on your RV. Also, this solar panel performance will last through the time thanks to the TPT back sheet.
It can charge effectively every type of Portable RV battery due to its smart charging algorithms. And it happens pretty fast too, it’s programmed with a 4-stage battery charging process. You can sleep well at night in your RV as this solar panel comes with electronic protections which prevent against overload, overcharging, short-circuit and reverse polarity.
This RV panel Kit is great if you already have a battery or want to buy one separately, it will provide enough energy for a vast majority of appliances.
ALLPOWERS Solar 100W 18V 12V Flexible RV Panel
If you need an RV flexible solar panel for your RV roof then ALLPOWERS has got you. This product has some amazing features like it’s 23.5% efficiency compared to other RV monocrystalline systems products which have 17% to 19%. As the title suggest this solar panel is flexible it can be curved to a maximum 30-degree arc on your Recreational Vehicle.
Despite being able to curve, it’s also very durable, far more than the usual aluminum and glass RV models. And because the junction box is sealed it is waterproof too. But it’s recommended to handle with care, and to avoid overbending or bump, or else you might damage the solar panel.
So this solar panel it’s not only very powerful for an RV Kit, it features 100W, it’s very lightweight as well which makes it convenient to transport, hang and remove. And what I find very useful is that it has a unique frameless design and four metal reinforced mounting holes allowing you to mount it ease. It can be attached to an RV, boat, cabin, trucks, trailer, car, yachts, tents and many other.
The ALL POWERS flexible solar panel for your RV use is a powerful choice for those looking to buy something lightweight and easy to mount.
ACOPOWER 100W Foldable Solar Panel Kit
If you don’t want to spend time mounting your 100 watts solar panel for RV roof, then this model comes already assembled and ready to use. People who are camping a lot will love this solar panel. But it can be used on RV’s too.
It is very easy to set up and transport, you can carry it everywhere you like in the included protective suitcase and mount on your RV roof it in less than one minute. It comes with preinstalled stands so you won’t need separate mounting bracketing.
This high-efficiency grade A RV monocrystalline solar panel has 2 pieces each can output 50W. It also has an included charge controller for safe and efficient battery charging. And if you want to hook more solar panels on your RV it comes with charge generators with MC4 connectors.
It’s pretty versatile too, it can charge the 12V car or marine batteries, sealed, gel and flooded with the alligator clips, or even both at the same time. Pretty impressive, isn’t it?
This standalone solar panel is ideal for camping lover, RVs enthusiasts, yachts, or whenever you may see it suited. The idea is that it’s worth your while and it shouldn’t be passed by without considering it. It is a great portable RV solar panel.
WindyNation 400 Watt Solar Panel Kit for RV
As the title suggest this, here we reviewed a complete solar system kit for RV, it comes with everything you need to efficiently generate power from the sun. The kit includes four RV polycrystalline 100W solar panels, which will produce around 1600 wattage hours or 135 amp hours per day, depending on the wheater conditions.
But besides solar panels, there are many more handy things which you’ll receive for your RV, which I’ll describe below.
A 30-amp P30L RV solar charge controller, this makes sure your batteries receives a constant flow of energy so they will be charged safe and won’t receive permanent damage. It has a useful LCD display which allows you to control it and monitor the solar charge controller settings.
A 1500 Watt RV Solar power inverter, the solar power that gets stored in batteries is usually in the form of DC power and can be used only by devices that have a cigarette lighter style plug. If you want to use a standard plug in your RV, you’ll need to convert the power to AC, and that where the solar power inverter comes into play. The included power inverter has a 3000 Watt surge.
Four pics of 100aH deep cycle batteries with 2/0 AWG interconnect battery cable. They are maintenance free. If you fully charge all those batteries, your RV will enough backup power for when the weather is not so sunny.
It is also included 40 feet of solar cables and all the required solar RV roof mounting hardware.
This is recommended for people who want to start using solar power, it includes everything you need for a potent solar power system. It is surely one of the best RV solar panel kits on the market.
What’s a Solar Panel Kit for RV?
A Portable RV solar panel kit is a device that you place on top of your recreational vehicle roof in order to create electricity using solar energy. Superior cells in your RV Panel mean more efficiency thus you’ll have more power output for your RV portable batteries, even when it’s not sunny outside. They usually operate at around 15% efficiency rating but more advanced models can go beyond 20%.
Every RV owner should consider buying one of the best solar panel portable kits because it provides you with electricity whenever you travel. Also, it makes your time easier during trips, you won’t have to worry about a generator, which is quite noisy, you can rely 100% on your Portable RV batteries powered by the Solar generator KIT.
Sure, it may be a bit hard to install the portable panel on your RV and time wasting, especially if you choose a Do-It-Yourself Solar Kit. But its surely worth your while, think of it, free energy and power everywhere. Who doesn’t like that?
You may think that it’s kind of costly to install at first, but in time you’ll realize that it’s more cost efficient than filling a tank every time. All you need to make sure is to be in an open area where the sunlight can reach your 100-watt solar panel kit for your RV vehicle. Basically, it just reduces your energy consumption without much effort on your part, all you need to do is relax and enjoy your the mesmerizing view.
Fun fact: Solar panels also help keep spacecraft powered.
How does the solar battery charger for Rv work?
You may wonder what’s the magic behind the best panel? How do the RV solar panels on the market really work?
Well, I’ll answer all your question down below, I’ll try to make as simple to understand as possible, so nobody will get confused on how the Best Solar RV battery Chargers work.
First things first, you need to mount the solar panels on top of your RV roof. Your solar panel kit needs to face the sun on your RV in order to produce electricity. Investing in a few solar panels on your RV is a good idea since you’ll need more than one in order to run effectively all your installed devices.
The number of solar panels will depend on how many appliances, gadgets and other electronics your RV is using. Try to estimate how much power do you need, then buy the best amount to suit your RV Solar Power needs.
Besides buying cheap portable RV solar panels, an excellent idea would be to get a Solar Controller too. You’ll want one because it controls the flow of power and prevents your RV Solar batteries from overcharging. Which you don’t want to happen, it is quite bad for RV batteries life.
After your RV batteries start charging you might not be able yet to use them, because most of them store 12 volt DC power. This type of power can be used on devices with battery-charing style plugs if you want to use a household plug you need to get an RV solar power Inverter. Which basically convert 12-volt power to 110 volts.
After converting the Solar RV generated electricity through an inverter you can redirect it to a breaker-box and then to your outlets. And now you can use the standard 2 or 3 plugs.
Best solar panels for RV Benefits
I have owned RV solar power generating systems for quite some time now and I would like to share some benefits of using them with you too. It is only fair to share it with the world.
So here are some benefits of using RV Roof-mounted Solar panels:
Very safe and reliable
Most of the times Solar Panels for Recreational Vehicles run at very low amps, to be exact 30 amps and at 12 volts. Meaning that there’s a lower chance of encountering electrical accidents, like fires or getting electrocuted. And if you install the right wire size and fuses to your solar panels chances for something bad to happen, are getting even lower, to none.
Consistent electric power
Wherever you’ll travel, RV panels for solar power will ensure that you have a constant amount of power available, as long as they face the sun. No matter how far you wonder. It is also a good source of backup power in case of emergencies. So set your worries aside.
Yeah, you do have to pay for the initial RV Panel setup on the Vehicle’s Roof, but let’s be honest it is FREE power directly from the sun. Do I need to give you a better argument? It will pay for every penny that you have spent in the long term.
Eco-friendly, clean and quiet.
If you give 2 cents about the planet (if not, you should), then you’ll love the fact that RV dedicated solar panels are very good for the environment. They do not burn fuel, therefore are not emitting any waste or smells. Also, they don’t emit any annoying noise, like other types of power sources. (Cough, generators.)
Require little to no maintenance.
A quite advantageous feature of buying RV power kits and solar panels is that they do not have moving parts. They work “as is” meaning that you won’t have to do anything to them in order to work properly. At least if they come from an RV panel manufacturer which cares about the quality you’ll be assured that you won’t have any trouble maintaining them.
Certain factor like vibrations, expansions, and contraction caused by temperature changes might cause the mounting hardware to loosen on the RV’s Roof. So assure often that mounts and fasteners are tight.
They come with no filter which needs to be replaced from time to time. If you want your RV system for solar power to work at it’s best, all you need o do is clean them often with a non-abrasive cleaner.
Solar panels and Kits for RV use can last for decades, and let’s imagine you will want to produce more power because you added more devices to your RV. No worries, you can do it pretty easily without replacing the whole system.
Extends your batteries life
RV Solar panels will charge your batteries nice and slow, now you might think that it’s not very convenient. Probably because we’re in 2018 and fast chargers exist. But that’s not true, it is the contrary they extend your battery life from somewhere to 50-70% percent. Meaning that you won’t have to replace the batteries, which are quite expensive, for the next six, eight and even ten years. Most batteries last two or three years.
They let you experience freedom and electrical dependency
You’ll be wandering free through the stunning natural places, while your RV solar panels will charge your batteries. Which also makes it great for people who love camping.
RV Solar Panels – Buying Guide
Up there we have listed the 5 best RV solar panels you can buy, but how do you know which one is suited for you? Each of them has benefits and you need to find the one which fulfills all your needs.
So how do you chose the best solar panel?
Simple, I’ll tell you below everything you need to know in order to make the best choice.
First of all, you should estimate how much power your RV is going to use, try to count your appliances and read their labels, it should tell how much power they use. And based on that use physics and math to make an estimate.
To have a better idea, a TV which uses 6.0 DC amps will consume around 12 aH in 2 hours.
A laptop that uses 4.8 DC amps will drain around 28.8Ah in 6 hours. Keep in mind that this is only one example, and the power drain may vary on the laptop hardware.
I won’t go in much more details you can do it on your own, but the idea is to not deplete your battery more than 60% or it will cause damage.
Your total battery size should be way bigger than the total amount of power your appliances take. Example if all your RV appliances consume 100aH per day and you have a 300 aH battery. It would be wise to have solar panels that can output 100Ah per day or more. So as long as there’s sunlight you’ll be able to recharge what you use.
Performance and build quality
Another important factor is to buy RV solar panels which are efficient and are built from durable materials which will resist anything the weather has to throw at them.
Also, you need to make sure it will be good in low lights environments, basically you have to think of any negative outcome that you may encounter. Or else you’ll be caught with your pants down 🙂
If you have the cash to spend more it will be a wise decision to purchase RV solar panels made out of photovoltaic cells (monocrystalline and polycrystalline), since they are more efficient than the thin film ones. It is better to invest in higher efficiency solar panels than to just buy cheaper ones.
Size of your RV Kit for solar energy
Depending on your type of RV you need to see how much can you place on it. You wouldn’t want to buy solar panels that you can’t use right? So take out your measure tape and see the size needed and compare it with the size of the solar panels you will buy.
Also don’t worry too much about how much they weight, RV’s are usually built to withstand a lot.
How easy are solar panels to mount on RV’s roof
I think nobody wants to spend hours mounting solar panels, so save yourself some time and buy the ones which come with pre-drilled holes for easy installation. I’ve mentioned above RV solar panels which are easy to install, you won’t go wrong with any of those.
RV Panels Warranty
Solar panels can be quite expensive, it’s pretty important to check how much warranty you get. You never know if you get a faulty product and after some time it might not work as promised. Some RV solar panel comes with even 10 – 20 years of warranty.
As of other components like the inverter and solar charge controller, they have a very good warranty too, between 10 and 15 years.
Know your travel location
If you plan to travel and use solar panels to generate power for your RV, it is essential to know how the weather conditions will be. You don’t want to get a solar panel which won’t work properly in your desired locations. So buy accordingly to the weather condition, if you live in sunny places this won’t be a problem, but I can’t say the same for season changing weather places.
Best RV Solar Panel Brands
Buying from a good provider is really important otherwise you’ll not get a very good deal. The following brands mention below are known for making high-quality solar panels:
Renology: The biggest manufacturer of this list. This company makes solar panels for a wide range of applications including some excellent ones for RV’s.
Windynation: A provider for the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) community and mostly work on solar and small wind generators.
Allpowers: A “new” player to the solar panel game, founded in 2008, they are a professional producer, who make high conversion efficiency solar cells and portable solar chargers.
HQST: Known for their mastery in off-grid solar panel solutions, and cheap products for the DIY enthusiasts.
Review Conclusion on the TOP RV Solar Panels
You should have enough information provided here in order to make a smart decision in terms of buying RV solar panels. We have covered five great products for different needs, all of them are known for being high quality and very efficient in terms of power output.
Now everyone needs are different and you might not find here the RV solar panel you were looking for. No big deal then, if you’ve read thoroughly the post you’ll have a good idea what’s the right choice.
I hope you’ve learned something new today and improved your knowledge. And if you decided to buy one, then you made a great choice not only for yourself but for the planet as well. This should make you feel like a better person.