Best Solar Panels For An RV Reviews & Buying Guide – 2021

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If you are an adventure lover, camping must be quite common for you. Now, if you are worried about getting a sufficient amount of energy for the devices in your recreational vehicles, solar panels are here to save you from tension. Sonar panels come with high performance and they generate just enough energy in the most natural without causing any environmental pollution.

If we talk about the overall best solar panels for RV , the Renogy 100 watts solar panel kit is the ideal choice. It’s manufactured by the popular brand Renogy and is best for beginners. Also, it features all the advanced technologies you might expect from a solar panel.

Now, let's take a look at the other best sonar panels for RV you can find.

How We Decided

--We researched every product, we review with our own.

Research

19

Research Sources

Test Hour

13

Research Duration

Expert's Opinion

08

Expert's Opinions

Customer Reviews

131

Customers Reviews

01. Renogy 100 Watts Solar Starter Kit

Salient Feature

  • Max Watt: 100 Watts
  • Dimensions: 47.01 x 1.5 x 20.87 inches
  • Weight: 19.84 pounds
  • Charge Controller: 30Amps

When it comes to Renogy, you can most certainly rely on their high-quality products. With a 100-watt power and 12-volt battery, these panels are the most efficient solar panel kit you might find in the market. The best thing is they come with everything you need to know to get started with these as a beginner.

While most of the solar panel setups can be quite bulky or include heavy-duty equipment with them, this model is very lightweight. With a weight of fewer than 20 pounds, these panels are an ideal choice for your recreational vehicle.

Besides the supplementary charging, this kit involves some of the Renogy’s most advanced technologies including MC4 connectors, a 20-foot adapter kit, controller, and 10AWG tray cables. The company offers you a 25-year warranty with huge confidence in case you wanted replacements or repairments.

These panels are most smartly and finely designed that can hold up against anything including snow, wind, or any kind of harsh weather. Though the panels are made with sturdy and durable materials, the batteries in them might need regular maintenance and change. Not to mention the high transparency and anti-reflective glass the panels are made of.

Pros

  • Power capacity of 100 watt
  • Can be run on different devices at once
  • Comes with additional charging
  • Can hold up against anything including wind and snow
  • 30A PWM negative charge controller
  • Corrosion-resistant aluminum frame

Cons

  • The controller is not up to the mark

02. JackerySolarSaga 100W Portable Solar Panel for Explorer

Salient Feature

  • Max Watt: 100 Watts
  • Dimensions: 22.83 x 19.69 x 2.36 inches
  • Weight: 10.33 pounds
  • Charge Controller: N/A

Since 2012, Jackery has been giving excellent service to the RV owners like us with their innovative and creative outdoor green power solutions. This Solar Saga 100W portable solar Panel is another one of their inventions that’s ought to get your attention.

This model comes with four different watt power stations so that you can easily get the required power for your RV. The best thing about these panels is that they don’t require any kind of installation since they feature temporary legs to stand on.

The explorer solar panels come with all the ports including USB-A, LED indicator, DC ports, and USB-C on the back. These ports include power protection, short circuit protection, and surge protection.

Since they don’t require any installation, you can take these anywhere anytime and still have a power production in your RV. For an easy plugging along with charging functionality, the solar panels come pre-wired with all of your devices.

However, one thing about these panels is that they are not compatible with a car battery which means they won’t provide any kind of support to your RV’s battery. But with a 23% efficiency and the high-powered generator, I think you can easily forget that part.

Pros

  • Soundless and high-quality generator
  • 23% high conversion efficiency
  • The solar charger includes USP outputs
  • You can charge multiple devices at a time
  • Four power stations: 160, 500, 240, 1000

Cons

  • Not suitable for car battery

03. Renogy 400W Monocrystalline Solar RV Kit 

Salient Feature

  • Max Watt: 400Watts
  • Dimensions: 42.2 x 19.6 x 1.37 inches
  • Weight: 88 pounds
  • Charge Controller: 30Amps

The Renogy 400W Monocrystalline Solar RV kit is one of the best solar panels for RV that comes with four different monocrystalline solar panels. Along with a PWM 30A charge controller, these panels are equipped with the Bluetooth Renogy module.

Moreover, this model includes all the necessary gear that you will need to set up the system and running it properly. For your perfect cabling on the roof setups, the panels come with Renogy Cable entry housing. With their waterproof and UV-resistant features, they are your ideal choice for an adventurous RV experience.

With a sufficient amount of sunlight and a little bit of luck, your sonar panels can generate a power up to 2000Wh per day which is more than enough for the devices in your RV. Furthermore, the bypass diode included in the kit minimizes the power drop in case a shade blocks and optimizes the performance of the panels.

Though the kit is not very cheap like other models, every penny of yours is worth the device. It’s not everyday that you get a corrosion-resistant aluminum-framed panels with the advanced encapsulation material.

Pros

  • 21% monocrystalline solar cell efficiency
  • Enhances the cell performance for a long service life
  • The panels can last almost anything including snow loads and high winds
  • Bypass diode minimizes the power drop
  • It provides negative grounded battery compatibility

Cons

  • Expensive than others

04. Renogy175 Watt 12 Volt Flexible Monocrystalline Solar Panel

Salient Feature

  • Max Watt: 175 Watt
  • Dimensions: 59.2 x 26.45 x 0.08 inches
  • Weight: 6.2 pounds
  • Charge Controller: N/A

Here comes another Renogy in our list which has gained a lot of popularity among the customers with its high-quality performance. These panels feature multi-layered sheet laminations that increase cell performance while ensuring a long service life for them.

With this model, you won’t have to worry about the power drop in case the panels get covered with shade. The bypass diode included in the package minimizes the power drops greatly while ensuring the best performance even in a low-light environment. 

While the TPT back sheets dispel sufficient heat in order to feature a smooth performance, the corrosion-resistant aluminum frame allows you to use it outdoors for many years. With a 3% output tolerance, the panels are capable of withstanding every kind of weather including high winds.

These panels are compatible with both on-grid and off-grid inverters. With being ground mount compatible, these panels can be used for many different options. For a fast mounting, the panes come with pre-drilled holes on the back. Besides the variety of Renogy mounting systems, those pre-drilled holes are perfectly secured.

Pros

  • No hot spot heating
  • Extremely reliable
  • Provides amazing performance even in a low-light environment
  • Strong durable
  • Can be used for many different applications
  • Compatible with both on-grid and off-grid inverters
  • Easy installation

Cons

  • Not suitable for rubber roof

05. Newpowa 200W Monocrystalline 200 Watt 12V Solar Panel 

Salient Feature

  • Max Watt: 200Watts
  • Dimensions: 66.2 x 28.5 x 2.5 inches
  • Weight: 31.7 pounds
  • Charge Controller: N/A

By using high-performance cells for encapsulating in EVA, the Newpowa solar panel is one of the finest models available in the market. These panels come with either 200 or 175 watts power and measurement of 49.95, 64.57, or 58.38 in length.

The package includes a junction box with pre-installed diodes along with the 3 feet of cable. The extreme durability of these panels has gotten a lot of attention, thanks to the heavy-duty anodized aluminum frame it’s made with. With a maximum power of 200 watts and 11.76 amps, these solar panels are capable of handling high winds of 2400 PA as well as snow loads of 5,400 PA.

Exceptional rigidity is like the style of these panels. Their size allows them to handle any kind of heavy applications. Besides these amazing capabilities, these panels don’t come with hardware for the RV roof installation. The brackets included are of the same sizes and it might be troubling to fix them on your RV’s roof.

It will give you an amazing service as long as your RV’s battery is charged properly.

Pros

  • The high-performance cells have a great positive impact on the panel’s performance
  • Heavy-duty and extremely durable
  • Comes with a quick and easy installation
  • Can withstand anything including hail, high wind, and snow load

Cons

  • Junction box not up to the mark

How To Choose The Best RV Solar Panels

If you want to enjoy your ride in your RV properly, you will need to choose the best solar panels for your RV. And to do that, you will need to keep certain things in mind.

Dimensions:

Generally, solar panels are placed on the roof of your RV so that they can get sufficient sunlight to work properly. SO, you should know how important it is to get the right dimensions so that they can fit perfectly on your vehicle’s roof. Moreover, if your sonar panels are of the right size, it will be easier for you to install it in the desired place.

To get the correct dimensions, you should first measure the areas and corners of your ride. Then compare the sonar panel options to make a match.

The Inverter:

You need inverters in your RV to convert the current in the batteries from DC current to the AC. In this way, you can run any of your AC devices. Sometimes, you can get an inverter with the solar panel kit.

Inverters are generally measured by their watt outputs. While a 1500-watt inverter can support most of the small devices in your RV, a 3000-watt inverter can support large appliances including air conditioners, fridge, and many more. So, the ratings of the inverter will keep increasing according to the amount of power you need.

Usually, you need to pair an inverter with a perfectly sized battery bank so that the batteries don’t get discharged rapidly. You don’t need to choose an inverter based on the size of your solar panel. Rather search for the one that can handle all the devices in your vehicle.

However, make sure to size the inverter according to the max draw of the batteries at a specific time. That depends highly on the appliances you will be using.

Efficiency:

The efficiency measurement of a solar panel means how much of the sunlight it can convert into practical electricity. This means, with higher efficiency, you will get more energy. While most average panels have an efficiency of 15%, the advanced models can get above a 20% efficiency level. To determine the perfect efficiency for your RV, you need to make an average of all the power your appliances use combinedly.

Wight:

While selecting the perfect solar panel can be a tricky job, taking it up to the roof of your RV to install is another hard work that can be quite troubling if you don’t select the right weight of the device. So, in order to make the process easier, you are recommended to select the most lightweight products possible. Light solar panels will be much easier to move and it can save a lot of time and effort when it comes to the installation process.

So, these are the most important things you need to consider while buying a solar panel for RV. Whichever you buy, remember to always choose the high quality and long-lasting product that will give you a lifelong service.

Types Of Solar Panels & Kits For An RV

If you are trying to find the best product for your RV, you will have to know what kinds of products are available at the market and their differences. Generally, the solar panels for RV come in three different types. I am going to give a brief description of each of them in this article.

Polycrystalline Solar Panels:

Featuring a blueish rectangular look, the polycrystalline solar panels are made with raw silicon and can be found at a rather affordable price. Since their structure is a little less pure than the others, its efficiency is of the average counts.

However, it has been proven in many cases that the polycrystalline solar cells are not at their best when it comes to handling the heat. That means it might stop working if exposed to extreme heat.

But neglecting those facts, these solar panels can be a great choice for you if you are on a very tight budget.

Monocrystalline Solar Panels:

With a wafer-like look, the monocrystalline solar panels are made with a large 100% pure silicon crystal. This one is quite popular among RV users because of the efficiency it offers. These panels have more efficiency than any other type of solar panels since the work is usually divided into four-part of the whole wafers-looking device.

Furthermore, the monocrystalline solar panels do an excellent job even in high temperatures. They can be a lot better than the polycrystalline ones in a lot of ways.

You must have already assumed that with more efficiency, the monocrystalline solar panels can be a little costly for some people.

Amorphous Solar panels:

Also known as thin-film solar panels to some people, the amorphous solar panels are created by spreading silicon on a large surface that reduces the manufacturing cost to a great extent. Since it’s easier to produce, you can find them for a much reasonable price.

Besides the lower price it costs, amorphous solar panels have great adaptability so that it can be used in a variety of settings. Also, they feature a fine number of efficiency but can be defeated easily by the other types of solar panels. But you should know that there are a lot of reasons this solar panel can be the right choice for you.

How Do You Attach Solar Panels To An RV Roof?

When you are choosing a solar panel for your RV, there are a few things you need to consider. The Solar panels size and power, your roof’s measurement, etc. Once you have got all the equipment with you, make sure to go through the user manual and take the safety measures at first.

Now, attaching the solar panel to an RV roof is a step-by-step process and there are four steps in total. So, let’s get started!

Step 1: Mount the panels

In order to install a solar kit on your roof, you will have to mount the panels first. The step can vary based on the types of the panel you are using. While you can affix the rigid panels on the roof with screws, flexible panels need to be mounted adhesively. In this case, the membrane material of your roof will decide the kind of adhesive.

Now, lay your panels on your roof just the way you want and ensure if everything seems fine. Then mark the panel positions properly. After you have planned everything, bolt the panel on your roof and connect the hardware with the kit into the solar panel frame.

While doing that, make sure to avoid the places that might cast a shadow over your panels. After that, secure the panels to the roof properly.

Step 2: Run the wirings

The best thing to do is running the power cable from the panels to the charge controller into your RV. You can ways a few common ways to run your wirings:

  • You can use the refrigerator vent for your work
  • In case your fridge’s vent can’t be reached, you can run your wire through the plumbing pipe. Use sealant around the holes after you are done.
  • If none of these works, you can always make a new hole wherever you want. However, it’s better to choose a place near the interior wall or a cabinet so that you can keep the wires inside. Don’t forget to use sealant on the entry port!

Step 3: Link the Charge Controller

TO do that, try to select a mounting position near the batteries as that will minify the loss in the line. After you have mounted the charge controller to the wall, make the connections with the wires used in step 2.

Make sure to read the instructions carefully so that you don’t make any mistakes with the wiring process. After you are done, test the wire polarity with a multimeter and use tape or maker to mar each of the wires properly. When you are connecting the solar panels and batteries, make sure to use the manufacturer's recommendation.

Step 4: Install the Inverter

You will need an inverter that will convert your panel’s DC current to the AC if you are using AC devices like laptops, microwave, etc. An inverter needs to be installed in a place that’s near the batteries and free of corrosive battery gases, heat, or anything damaging. The instructions manual will help you with that.

How Many Watts Do I Need For My RV?

You can calculate the required power for your RV with the boondock and without the AC generator. Also, the amount highly depends on the power of your batteries.

Generally, a 100-watt powered solar panel can produce almost 6 amps per peak sun hour which means you can get a 30 amp-hours power from it on a daily basis. Now, depending on energy consumption, you will have to determine the sonar panel power.

A battery with a 200 amp-hours of power needs a sonar panel with a 150 amp-hours of energy to support. Now, you will have to divide the time length spent by the batteries to get the time of your boondock.

So, if you divide the 150 amp hours by 3, the result will be 50 amp-hours which means the energy your devices consumes daily. Generally, two 100 watts powered sonar panels can give full power support to your vehicle.

RV Solar Kit References

Amp Hours Needed (Per Day)

Solar Kit Rec. (DC)

12V Batteries

3.42 aH

10W Eco Kit

1

10.14 aH

30W Solar Flex Kit

1

26.42 aH

80W Portable Solar Kit

2

32.57 aH.

100W Retreat Kit

2

40.14 aH

120W Portable Solar Kit

2

67.42 aH

200W Solar Flex Kit

4

158.85 aH

680W Solar All-Electric Kit

4-6

Amp-Hours Needed (Per Week)

Solar System Rec. (DC + AC)

12V Batteries

159 aH

742W Solar Extreme System

4-6

53 aH

170W Weekender System

2

106 aH

340W Solar Elite System

4

Benefits Of Solar Panels & Kits For RV

If you are a fun-loving person and like to go to camping quite often, installing a solar panel on your RV might be the wisest decision you make. Here are some reasons why you should choose a solar panel and what benefits you will get:

Increasing battery life:

One of the most amazing benefits of the solar panels is that they save your RV’s batteries from too much work and makes the charge slow and steady. In this way, it increases the lifespan of your batteries better than you might have expected.

Offers electrical Power:

Solar panels make sure that you have a regular supply of the electrical power no matter wherever you are. Besides giving you a backup power, it also allows you to explore the amazing views of a new location.

Electrical Independence:

If you manage to get a system with the required parts and features, a Solar panel can provide you with electrical independence. This allows you to park your vehicle anywhere without worrying about the shore power. Also, you won’t’ need to have a generator.

Soundless and clean:

Another benefit of the solar panels is that unlike most other machines, they are pretty clean and operate soundlessly. It makes it easier for you to use and manage it properly. Since these panels don’t need to consume fuel nor they emit any kind of waste, you can be quite assured of their cleanliness.

Moreover, solar panels don’t have moving parts like a motor that might cause them to make a mechanical noise. Hence, you won’t have to deal with any kind of irritating noise with these. Also, you won’t have to go through any trouble for installing them since they just need to be placed under the sun.

Low maintenance:

As I said earlier, solar panels don’t need any fuel or they don’t with any moving parts that might cause them to tire out soon. You literally have to do nothing for these things’ maintenance. Just remember to clean the panels’ surfaces every once in a while.

Cost-Effective:

The sonar panels will only take out money from you during the initial setup. But in a few days, you will realize eventually how the free power has been worth every of your penny. Also, the solar panels can give you perfect service for almost 20 years. Imagine the amount of energy you will be getting without spending anything after it.

Reliability and Safety:

Most RVs generally run at a power lower than 30 amps and at precisely 12 volts. This can cause electrical fires or your devices can get electrocuted very easily. This is where you need a solar panel with the right fuses as well as wire sizes that will keep your appliances reliable and safe.

Encourages Freedom:

Solar panels allow you to take a free and adventurous journey to the outdoors without you worrying about the electric settings in your vehicle. You can enjoy the most out of the natural environments knowing solar panels are always active to keep you and the electronics as safe as possible. Now, you can get a real taste of what freedom looks like!

Fewer Emissions:

If you are one of the environmentalists, you are going to love the fact that solar panels are a completely environment-friendly setting. These panels have very strict emission guidelines to keep the environment safe from pollution. Moreover, unlike a generator, solar panels never emit the toxic carbon monoxide.

Also, solar panels don’t need any fuel to work. They work with sufficient sunlight and generates energy in a natural way. So, you can be assured that you are not causing anything harmful to the environment.

Managing sonar panels are very easy. You just have to take good care of them and they will shower you with lifetime service.

Conclusion

In this modern era of science, the solar panel has been a revolutionary achievement. Using solar panels for generating electricity has become a new trend which has made our lives easier than ever.

Just like other aspects of our lives, sonar panels can be quite impressive when it comes to generating energy for our RVs. So, We have listed the best solar panels for RV to help make your adventures more fun.

FAQ's

  • How many solar panels do I need to run an RV?

Ans: That actually depends on the type of solar panel you are using. Generally, a 100-watt solar panel can produce a power of 30 amps a day. Now, you need to calculate the amount required for your RV and then decide how many solar panels you might need.

  • What is the best solar panel for an RV?

Ans: The models we mentioned above are all one of a kind and the best solar panels you can use for your RV. However, if you ask about the overall best, I would say the Renogy solar panels are the ones you are looking for.

  • Can you run an RV air conditioner with solar power?

Ans: Well, it’s possible for you to run an air conditioner with solar power. However, you will need a bigger solar panel capable of generating enough power along with an upgrade of the electrical system.

  • Can an inverter run an RV air conditioner?

Ans: Running an air conditioner requires a lot of energy from your RV. You would need a 7000-watt power inverter along with a 1500 watts of the solar panel supporting three 100 AH batteries to run two 15000 BTU powered air conditioner.

  • How many amps does an RV air conditioner use?

Ans: It depends on some factors. Here is a small chart you can take help from:

Device

Amperage

RV Air Conditioner (Start-up)

16-18 Amps

Window Air Conditioner

5-10 Amps

RV Air Conditioner (Running)

13-16 Amps

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