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> Learning Center > RV Solar Panels: Small, Portable Solar Panels are Perfect for Your RV

RV Solar Panels

Small, Portable Solar Panels are Perfect for Your RV

Solar panels can be used to power appliances and charge the battery of recreational vehicles (RVs). Panels are typically mounted to the roof of the vehicle and can generate valuable power on-the-go or while parked. Some RV owners have experimented with photovoltaic trackers that are designed to track the sun across the sky as it moves throughout the day. This video shows an example of an RV-mounted solar tracker.

RV solar panels on the roof of an RV

RV-mounted solar panels will require an AC/DC inverter, a charge controller, the appropriate connectors, cables and batteries for energy storage. Some RV roofs can support panels as large as 200 watts but RV owners tend to work with smaller panels between 40 and 80 watts to ensure they are light, portable and easy to mount. Most small panels also come with brackets that allow them to be easily fastened to the roof.

In some RVs, solar panels can be directly connected to large appliances like a refrigerator or fan. If those appliances use DC electricity, an inverter isn't needed and the panels can be plugged directly into a support battery to ensure consistent power, day and night.

Kits are available to help make installing an RV solar energy system as easy as possible. The kits are typically 80 watts and allow for an additional 80 watt panel to be added to the system for a total of 160 watts.

Here are two recommended kits that make it easy to put solar power on your RV:

    1. SunWize 115 Watt Solar RV Kit - SunWize is one of the biggest players in solar and their RV kits are great for getting started. To expand the power output of the kit, use the SunWize 115 Watt Expansion Module. With the expansion kit, you can expand your system to a total of 230 Watts of DC power.
    Note: These kits also come in 55 Watt and 80 Watt versions if you're looking for something smaller and more portable. Each of these sizes also offers an expansion kit [55w and 80w].

    Price Range: $800 - $2,500
    Power Range: 55 Watts - 230 Watts
    Flexible, Reliable & Easy to Buy and Install

    2. 50 Watt Solar RV Kit - This basic system provides a great starting point for a newbie solar enthusiast. It's low cost, easy-to-install and basic.

    Price: $449
    Power Output: 50 Watts
    Basic, Easy & Inexpensive

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