There is nothing like cruising the open road in your RV, carefree without a worry in the world. You have everything you need and you’re set to go anywhere you please. The only thing holding you back is your need for a power outlet to charge everything up.
At A Glance: Our Top 3 RV Solar Panels
Having to think about where your next drip AC outlet will be to charge your batteries up is annoying in itself, let alone the limitations it creates. It stops you from getting off the beaten track and into places that are deep in the wilderness.
With the best RV solar panels, all these worries and limitations go away. You can install them on your RV roof and have free power that constantly drips charges your batteries. Gone will be the days of thinking about where your next charge is coming from, or having to schlep an RV generator and extra gas around with you.
Now, you truly will be able to go anywhere for as long as you like. And, you are using renewable energy too!
Not all RV solar panels are the same, and to find the right ones, you’ll have to do some research, but in this case, we have done it for you. Below, you’ll find detailed reviews about some of the best RV solar panels around, so you can find the best one for you with ease.
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Best On A Budget
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best portable solar panels for rv
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Best 300W Solar Panel Kit For RV
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Best Flexible Panel
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The WindyNation Solar Panel Off-Grid RV Kit is all you need to start your mini RV solar farm. It comes with a full kit that’s easy to install and you can add more solar panels as you go.
The panel included in the kit is a polycrystalline solar panel that’s highly efficient at converting the sun into electricity just for you. It gives a maximum output of 100 watts which is more than enough to keep everything charged in your RV.
It’s quite a light RV solar panel kit overall, weighing just 17 lbs, making it easier to install, and the dimensions aren’t too large either.
The solar panel has tempered glass on the surface for durability. It’ll handle heavy snowfall and heavy winds with ease. The outer rim of the solar panel is made from aluminum which is long-lasting and very corrosion resistant too.
The kit comes with a charge controller that will let you know amperage, load draw, voltage, amp-hours, and temperature when charging. You’ll always know what’s going on and how much power you’re getting, which helps balance your energy needs. You can also adjust the settings to fine-tune the system for more efficiency.
The only downside to this RV solar panel kit is that it’s not as efficient as more expensive options, but it is a lot more affordable which is a plus.
This HQST Double Polycrystalline Solar Panel kit comes with two 100 watt solar panels giving you an awesome 200 watt supply for a great price. The only downside is that it doesn’t come as a kit, and you’ll have to buy the cables and control box separately.
The RV solar panels are polycrystalline and feature a high-density of solar cells for extra efficiency. The cells are protected by tempered glass to ensure they’re safe in heavy snowfall and high winds. The edges are also made from aluminum to ensure longevity.
The solar panels have smaller dimensions than your normal solar panels for easy installation and they are lighter too, weighing just 15lbs. For the price, these panels are an exceptional deal considering their durability and efficiency.
This solar panel kit come with pre-drilled holes for easy installation and work with multiple different mounts. On the rear of the panel, you’ll find a waterproof junction box that is rated to IP65. It’s is 100% protected against environmental particles and low-pressure water jets.
The only downside to this RV solar panel kit is that they come without a full installation kit, as I mentioned earlier.
The Renogy Solar RV Starter Kit comes with everything you need to install your solar panels on your RV as soon as it arrives. That’s right I said panel – s. You get two solar panels in this kit to give you 200 watts of solar power that’ll help with your RV energy needs.
This solar starter kit comes with monocrystalline solar panels that are a little more efficient than polycrystalline versions, as they are cut from one source of silicone instead of multiple ones. These RV solar panels are highly efficient and will do a lot better in clouds than a polycrystalline panel.
The glass on the RV solar panels is highly durable and can handle heavy snowfall and high winds. And the aluminum frame ensures they will last for years. The glass is also anti-reflective to ensure maximum efficiency.
The RV solar panel kit can be wired in series and you can add more of them to create your own little solar RV farm if you want to. The kit includes a Wander Control box, a 30Amp PMW Charge Controller which allows system expansion up to 400W / 12volts and 800W / 24volts.
The solar panel kit comes with great installation instructions and is easy to install, but the solar panels are a little heavier than others at 18 lbs apiece.
https://shareasale.com/r.cfm?b=1529919&u=766951&m=96785&urllink=www%2Erenogy%2Ecom%2F200%2Dwatt%2D12%2Dvolt%2Dmonocrystalline%2Dfoldable%2Dsolar%2Dsuitcase%2F&afftrack=The Renogy Foldable Solar Panel Suitcase comes with no need for installation. It features two RV solar panels that fold up into a briefcase. To use them, all you have to do is stand them in the sun and connect the outlet to whatever batteries you want to charge.
Each foldable solar panel is monocrystalline for awesome efficiency and they each push out 100 watts to give you 200 watts of solar power.
This portable solar panel comes with a 20A built-in 4-stage Solar charge controller with overcharge protection. It also has an easy to adjust stand, and quality panels that will last a long time. They also come in a protective carry case to ensure they survive a life on the road.
On the back of the portable panels are alligator connectors so all you have to do is connect it to a battery and get charging. You can also opt for the version without the controller if you already have one.
There are some downsides to this foldable solar panel though. You might not have much installation work to do, but you are going to have to set it up every time you want to use it while inbuilt solar panels will constantly charge without any effort after the initial installation.
The RV solar panel solar kit is also quite heavy to carry around at 33lbs and it’s quite large to find a place to store in your RV. It’s the best portable solar panel kit if you want one you can take anywhere: on your RV, camping, and on a boat. Just don’t carry it far.
The Renogy Solar RV Kit is a high-end set of RV solar panels and while it’s more expensive than others, it’s simple, highly efficient, and comes with everything you need.
These solar panel kits have monocrystalline panels for extra efficiency and together will give you an awesome 300 watts of solar power. They’re highly durable too with tempered glass and an aluminum frame that can handle any conditions the open road might throw at them.
With the RV solar panel kit, you get a 30A PWM Flush Mount Charge Controller that can be tuned to change things as quickly as possible. It also has a digital screen so you can play with the setting with ease.
There’s also a 40ft MC4 Adaptor Kit that has been upgraded to a 10AWG cable to make it safer and easier to expand your setup with minimal voltage drop.
The entire solar panel kit is simple to set up and has great installation instructions to make it even easier. You’ll have them on top of your RV charging up your gear in no time.
The only downside, as I mentioned before, is the high price of the 300 W solar panel kit for RVs. It is worth the investment though, as you’ll have a kit for life that is more efficient than most.
Note: If you need even more power, Renogy also has a 400W solar panel kit for RVs too.
The ALLPOWERS Flexible RV Solar Panel is the first flexible panel in the review. The benefit of a flexible panel is that it can be installed on uneven surfaces, so if your RV has a curved roof, this kind of panel will suit you.
The panel can bend up to 30 degrees for installation, and being flexible also makes it more durable as it can flex around in the wind or on bumpy roads without being damaged.
These Sunpower cell solar panels are meant to be up to 23.5 % efficiency while your normal panels usually work at around 18%. You’ll be able to get 100 watt with less sunlight with these solar panel kits.
Another great advantage of these flexible solar panels for RVs is that they are 70% lighter than a normal solar panel. This RV solar kit weighs just 4.7lbs, and others are usually around 17-18lbs.
Installing these RV solar panels is simple and easy but the wires are a bit difficult to route. On the back of the solar panel, you’ll find a waterproof sealed junction box but there is no installation kit included, so you’ll have to buy them separately.
These solar panel kits come with an 18-month guarantee, which is handy because some of them wear out after 6 months to a year.
The Renogy Extremely Flexible Monocrystalline Solar Panel takes flexibility to another level. These RV solar panel kits can bend to up to a 248-degree arc and are super thin. They are not only perfect for an RV’s curved roof, but also for boats, other roofs, and more.
The Renogy Flexible solar panel is monocrystalline for extra efficiency. They are a 100 watt solar panel which is more than enough for most RV energy needs. You can also add more solar panels as required for some extra power as long as you get the right installation kit.
These solar panel kits are extremely thin and light, which makes installation easy as pie. Unfortunately, the full installation kit is not included and you’ll have to buy one separately.
You might think that being so thin would affect the durability of the solar panel but this is not the case. These RV solar panels can handle winds up to to 2400 Pa and snow loads of up to 5400 Pa. So you can be confident taking these into any weather conditions.
The only downsides to these RV solar panel kits are the lack of an installation kit as I mentioned before, and the fact that being so thin, they are quite sharp, so be careful when handling them.
The Newpowa Solar Panel Module comes in a smaller dimension with higher-efficiency cells than most other panels out there. Plus they come with a 25-year transferable power output warranty, so if they ever start slowing down, you can send them in to be fixed or upgraded.
The solar panels are polycrystalline making them more affordable but a little less efficient than monocrystalline. This is made up for with the high-efficiency cells though. The panels are durable and can handle a snow load of up to 5400Pa and winds to 2400 Pa.
You get two solar panels with this RV solar kit that’ll give you a total power of 200 watts which is more than enough to keep your RV charged. There are also predrilled holes in the back for easy mounting and junction box is included.
These monocrystalline solar panel kits are a quick and easy installation, although no kit is not included for the job. So, you’ll have to buy one separately.
Not all solar panels for RVs are as efficient as others, and the more efficient the panel, the more solar power that’ll be converted from sunlight for your RV. Naturally, we’d all like the most efficient RV solar panels around, but they are quite expensive.
Monocrystalline solar panels are more efficient than polycrystalline panels. This is because the silicone used in monocrystalline panels is from one cut of silicone rather than multiple cuts like polycrystalline panels.
A monocrystalline solar panel has an efficiency of around 18% or more and polycrystalline solar panels run at about 16%. You might think the difference is negligible but it’ll have an impact on a cloudy day.
Every solar panel has a maximum amount of power it can produce, and all of the panels in the review have either a 50 or 100 Watt solar panel power output. 100 watts of solar power is more than enough to trickle charge your RV, but doubling up and having a few solar panels that pump out 200 watts is never a bad idea, especially if you are traveling in cloudy areas a lot of the time.
If you are planning on running an air conditioner, then you will want multiple panels. You need to do the specific power consumption calculations for the air conditioner you buy, but it is going to be a lot.
There are quite a few packs in the review that come with two panels to give you 200 watts and I’d highly recommend them.
Also keep in mind the amount of power that you will be using at one time, and how frequently you will be able to charge your batteries. And, on top of that, whether you will be drawing just 12V, or using an inverter as well.
This will all help you to calculate how many solar panels you need in total for your energy needs.
If you’re new to solar panels, it’s probably best to buy a RV solar kit that comes with all the installation components you need to rig up the system. It can be a little confusing otherwise as you’ll have to figure out what the right cables are, the junction box, and how to set it up in series or parallel, etc.
You’ll find a mix of both RV solar panels with and without kits in the review, so you’re covered no matter which option you choose is best for you. Even a portable solar panel, in some cases!
The final thing to think about is durability and this comes down to three parts. The glass on top of the panel should be tempered so that it can handle bumps in the road, heavy winds, and snowfall without breaking. The next thing is the rails, most of which are made from aluminum to ensure zero corrosion and longevity, so you’ll be covered there regardless.
The most important thing regarding durability is how long the solar panel continues to give you a solid charge. Poor quality solar panels can wear out after a year or so, whereas good ones will work for 10 years or more.
The best RV solar panels are the Renogy Solar RV Kit. These are the most high-end and efficient solar panels in the review and come with everything you need to install them on delivery. With this kit, you get 200 watts of power from 2 super durable panels plus all the components are high-end too, ensuring you get maximum charging efficiency for your RV at all times.
If your RV has a curved roof, you’re going to need a flexible solar panel, and the best one is the Renogy Extremely Flexible Monocrystalline Solar Panel. These monocrystalline panels are light, efficient, and can bend up to 248 degrees so you can mount it anywhere you need to. It’s also incredibly durable and can handle anything the weather throws at it, from high winds to heavy snow, it’s got you covered.
The best RV solar panels on a budget are the HQST Double Polycrystalline Solar Panels. They are highly efficient, super durable, and incredibly affordable, and you get two panels that will push out 200 watts at full capacity. You can add solar panels as you need to but you’ll have to buy an installation kit separately.
The best size solar panel kit for an RV will range from 100-400 Watts depending on how much power you will use on-board. You will have to do a calculation of your needs to be sure you get the right size.
It is better to wire RV solar panels in parallel instead of series so that shade or malfunction in one panel will not affect the whole system. Paralell wiring ensures that each panel can act independently in the system.
A 100 watt solar panel system will only be enough for very low consumption such as powering electronics and lights. If you use higher power items like a fridge, oven, and air-conditioning, you will definitely need a significantly larger system.