Top 10 RV Solar Panels and The Ultimate Buyer’s Guide
RV camping can be an amazing outdoor experience for every kind of traveler. Solar panels are a great addition to any RV experience because of the numerous benefits they offer. Overall, they make your RV experience much quieter because they take away the need for a noisy generator.
They also are better for the environment and keep pollution to a minimum. Most modern RVs have all the amenities that a regular home has which allows you to travel in luxury. With solar panels, you can keep all the electronics and kitchen appliances powered and much more affordable.
Solar panels are also low maintenance. Most of the solar panel parts are built to last, which means you will not spend time constantly repairing or buying new pieces. The battery life of your RV will also be prolonged with the addition of solar panels. Solar panels require less power and energy which means less work for your battery.
Most solar panels are sold in a kit which may include the panels, a controller, mounting brackets, tray cables, an adaptor, and maybe a few other things. Always make sure to read what comes with your kit and what else you may have to buy.
For a solar panel to work though, you will at least need a charge controller, a solar battery, an inverter, and, of course, solar panels. You will also need proper wires and cables to hook them altogether. Make sure the wires are connected to the battery properly or your panel will not work.
The panels you choose will also power your navigation and communication devices and all your appliances inside the kitchen, so picking one that is durable and of good quality is crucial. Since a GPS is often essential to RV campers, you will want to make sure that your RV always has enough power to keep the GPS working. This is crucial for not getting lost and for staying safe on the road.
Solar panels are most beneficial to RV travelers that park their RV off the grid or travel throughout the year. If you only travel a few times a year or always go to a campground, solar panels may not make the most sense.
Hooking up to a local power system at a campground can be cheaper than a solar panel installation. However, if you are on the go often and like to be away from the crowds, solar panels are a fantastic option.
In this article, we will review the best panels for every budget and size. Check out this guide to determine which solar kit is best for you and your RV.
- Best RV Solar Panels at a Glance
- Best RV Solar Panels Full Reviews
- 1. Renogy 400-Watt 12-Volt Solar Premium Kit – Best Overall RV Solar Panel
- 2. WindyNation 400-Watt Solar Kit – Best Solar Panel for Large RV Roof
- 3. Renogy 100 Watt 12 Volt Flexible Solar Panel and Charge Controller – Best Flexible Solar Panel for RV
- 4. Go Power! 130 Watt Portable Solar Kit – Best Portable Solar Panel for RV Batteries
- 5. ALLPOWERS Solar Panel Bendable 100W – Easiest Solar Panel to Install on RVs
- 6. Newpowa 200W Monocrystalline 12V Solar Panel – Best Inexpensive Solar Panel
- 7. ECO-WORTHY 12V Solar Panel – Best Eco-Friendly Solar Panel
- 8. HQST 4000-Watt 12V Solar Panel Kit – Best Starter Solar Panel
- 9. Renogy 100-Watt 12V Monocrystalline Solar Starter Kit – Solar Panel with the Best Kit
- 10. SunPower 170-Watt Flexible High-Efficiency Solar Panel – Best Energy-Efficient Solar Panel
- Buyer’s Guide
- Top Rated RV Solar Panels
Best RV Solar Panels at a Glance
- Best Overall RV Solar Panel – Renogy 400 Watt 12 Volt Solar Premium Kit
- Best Solar Panels for Large RV Roof – WindyNation 400-Watt Solar Kit
- Best Flexible Solar Panel for RV – Renogy 100 Watt 12 Volt Flexible Solar Panel and Charge Controller
- Best Portable Solar Panels – Go Power! 130 Watt Portable Solar Kit
- Easiest Solar Panel to Install on RV – ALLPOWERS Solar Panel Bendable 100W
- Best Inexpensive Solar Panel – Newpowa 200W Monocrystalline 12V Solar Panel
- Best Eco-Friendly Solar Panel – ECO-WORTHY 12V Solar Panel
- Best Starter Solar Panel – HQST 400 Watt 12V Solar Panel Kit
- Solar Panels with the Best Kit – Renogy 100 Watts 12V Solar Starter Kit
- Best Energy-Efficient Solar Panels – SunPower 170 Watt Flexible High-Efficiency Solar Panel
Best RV Solar Panels Full Reviews
Driving around the country in an RV and camping at a chosen spot never looked so easy with the best choices of solar panels. It allows you to travel with ease and overall comfort as it provides your vehicle with the energy it needs to keep going.
Here’s a list you can work with if you’re ever planning to make a long road trip across the country.
1. Renogy 400-Watt 12-Volt Solar Premium Kit – Best Overall RV Solar Panel
- 【Efficient Performance】The Premium Kit will produce an average of 1.6-2.5kWh of electricity per day (depending on sun availability). By bypassing the shaded cells with poor performance, the bypass...
- 【Solid Quality】Advanced encapsulation material with multi-layered sheet laminations to protect cells from physical damage or distortion, improving cell performance and providing a long service...
- 【Ready to Install】Pre-drilled holes on the back frame allow quick installation. The kit has a complete set of accessories and is equipped with an In-line fuse and ANL fuse components to offer more...
Solar panels for RVs are a great investment. The best overall solar panel for RV use is reviewed below.
Renogy makes some of the best solar panels for RVs. This 400-Watt option has a sleek design and a very durable frame. It is also great for off-grid applications. The panels come with predrilled holes which make mounting and securing much easier than with other kinds of solar panels.
The cell efficiency is regular monocrystalline at 21%. It comes with a Rover charge controller with a peak conversion efficiency of 98% and a high tracking efficiency of 99%. With the four-stage battery charging process, you can ensure that your battery is safe and rapid when recharging.
The IP65 junction box provides complete protection over all particles and water. All the fuses are also completely waterproof and use components to protect the charge controller while charging the battery as well.
One of the reasons this made it into the best overall category for best RV solar panels is the easy use of the Renogy DC Home App. You can use the app to change and monitor the solar panels for the RV wherever you are in the world. The app lets you change the photovoltaic system’s parameters with just a push of a button.
The solar panel kit also comes equipped with everything you need to get the installation process started including four sets of z-brackets, a tray cable, fusing components for the controller and battery, and a full solar adaptor kit.
- Very simple installation; Renogy gives you the fusing technology and the brackets.
- The Renogy Home App allows for remote control, great for when your RV is parked.
- Off-grid travel-ready; lets you live in your RV wherever you want.
- Large size makes it not great for smaller RVs; its size could make it difficult to install for some.
- Does not come with extension cables; if you need extra connectors or cables, you will have to purchase them separately.
2. WindyNation 400-Watt Solar Kit – Best Solar Panel for Large RV Roof
- Please Note: The WindyNation 400W Solar Kit is shipped in one large box. You must completely remove the solar panels from the package to locate the accessories (charge controller, cable, connectors...
- Complete kit includes: (4pcs) 100 Watt Polycrystalline WindyNation Solar Panels, Premium 30-Amp (user adjustable) LCD Display Solar Charge Controller with Battery Temperature Sensor, 40 feet of UL...
- PWM Solar Charge Controller has user adjustable settings! LCD Screen shows system amperage, voltage, amp-hours, temperature and DC load draw. See Image in photo gallery for all LCD Screen readouts.
Mounting solar panels to the RV roof can be easy with the WindyNation panels. Attaching solar panels to the RV roof has never been quicker or more efficient.
Solar panels on RV roofs are a great addition to any camping trip or weekend getaway. This solar energy kit by WindyNation comes with a premium 30-amp LCD solar charge controller with a battery temperature sensor.
It also comes with four 100-Watt polycrystalline solar panels, 40 feet of UL-listed 12-AWG solar cables, and all the needed mounting hardware and connectors.
This power system provides 1600 Watt hours or 135 amp hours of charge per day, depending on sunlight availability. The PWM solar charge controller has user-adjustable settings which make using and installing the solar panels much easier.
The LCD screen can show the voltage, amperage, amp-hours, temperature, and DC load draw. The solar power system also comes with a 5-year solar panel warranty and a 25-year power output warranty. All other components have a 1-year warranty.
The battery is 12 volts which are perfect for optimizing the sunlight’s energy. This kit is great because it includes everything which means no additional purchases are necessary. All the panel mounting brackets and the fastener sets make it especially easy for installing solar panels on the RV roof.
These solar panels for your roof will be easy to control with the included adjustable settings and will save you the hassle of manually disconnecting or changing the energy of the panels.
- Long battery life; never worry about charging the battery constantly.
- Charges very quickly; get on the go quicker.
- Easy roof installation with all components included.
- May need to add extra security measures; some of the brackets are on the flimsy side.
- May not stand up to heavy wind; certain wind conditions may damage the panels.
3. Renogy 100 Watt 12 Volt Flexible Solar Panel and Charge Controller – Best Flexible Solar Panel for RV
- [Extremely Flexible] This flexible solar panel is capable of meeting a wide range of applications where standard panels can be inconvenient to mount, such as on the curved roof of an airstream
- [Ultra Lightweigh] Thanks to advanced polymer materials, these flexible solar panels weighs 70% less than conventional solar panels, making transportation and installation a breeze
- [Super Thin Lamination] Hardly noticeable, the Renogy flexible solar panel 100 watt laid flat is only a tenth of an inch tall. Approximately 95% thinner than its rigid counterpart, this panel is ideal...
Flexible RV solar panels are ultralightweight and ultrathin which make them better for uneven surfaces.
These flexible panels by Renogy are ideal for curved roofs or other uneven surfaces that make installing traditional solar panels hard. These panels make installing flexible solar panels on an RV much easier and less time-consuming.
They are made of advanced polymer materials which make them weigh 70% less than conventional solar panels. This makes transporting them much easier.
The lamination is barely noticeable because of its super thin quality. They are about 95% thinner than traditional solar panels. Since they are so thin and lightweight, you may be wondering if they are as durable as traditional counterparts.
The answer is absolutely. All Renogy’s products go through a strict vetting and testing process. They can withstand wind up to 2400 Pa and snow up to 5400 Pa.
The arc can be changed and manipulated up to 248° F which also makes it a great option if you need to install flexible solar panels onto a boat or a roof of a home and not just your RV.
At only 4 lbs, it only weighs a quarter of other solar panels that are also 100 Watts. It is recommended that you mount them with silicone structural adhesive on the back of the panel.
In general, there are only a few cons, and Renogy is a well-known name in the solar panel business. You can take away some of those travel worries with these flexible and lightweight panels.
- Perfect for curved or uneven surfaces; the flexibility lets you put it on any surface.
- Easier to travel with; lightweight and easy to bring with you.
- All features are waterproof; never worry about weather conditions.
- Can be harder to install; the flexibility makes it need screws and adhesive.
- The adhesive must be bought separately; adhesive is needed and not sold with the kit.
4. Go Power! 130 Watt Portable Solar Kit – Best Portable Solar Panel for RV Batteries
- Includes carrying case
- 130 Watts of power 6.9 ampere DC per hour
- Built in 10 ampere solar controller.Rated current:6.7 A.Rated DC voltage:19.7 V
When using portable solar panels, you will need to know how to hook up solar panels to RV batteries. You can connect them directly to each other by connecting the positive end of the wire to the positive battery terminal and the negative wire to the negative battery terminal.
These portable solar panels for charging RV batteries by Go Power! is ideal. It can be a great backup to your conventional panels, and you can use the portable solar panels to charge RV batteries.
These have 130 watts of power and 6.9 amps DC per hour. There is also a built-in 10-amp solar controller. The whole solar panel kit comes with a carrying case and is monocrystalline.
Portable solar panels such as the one by Go Power! are a good choice if you do not want to permanently mount panels onto your roof. They are often easier to use and easier to install than traditional panels, but they may have less power or less battery life.
This solar kit also comes with everything you need such as the GP-PSK-SP connector.
Keep in mind that portable solar panels are better for smaller spaces and for RVs that mostly contain small appliances. Portable solar panels for RV battery charging also offer many benefits for short camping and RV trips.
They are also a better choice if you are just starting out in using solar panels. Consider using a portable solar kit, and see if you like the setup and the way solar panels work. Since they are cheaper, they are less of an investment.
Once you know if you like it or not, you can then go for a full solar panel setup.
- Sturdy and adjustable.
- Great for getting into solar panels.
- Has all necessary components.
- Battery life is less than other panels.
- Hardware has some flimsy brackets.
5. ALLPOWERS Solar Panel Bendable 100W – Easiest Solar Panel to Install on RVs
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Some people avoid installing solar panels on their RV because the instructions to install solar panels on the RV roof are often overly complicated. The good news is that most solar panels can be installed and be ready to use in a simpler way.
The bendable panels by ALLPOWERS can be mounted and then screwed and stuck together with adhesive. Mark the locations where you want to lay the panels before sticking them down. You can then run the wires down through the RV to the charge controller. This is usually done through the refrigerator vent or plumbing pipe.
Then, connect to the charge controller. Most people choose to mount their charge controller on the wall of the RV.
The bendable panel can be curved to about 30 degrees. It has 100 Watts and has up to 23.5% efficiency, while most bendable panels only have about 17–19%. The panel is the same size as the traditional size but still has great efficiency.
All the junctions on the panel are sealed and waterproof which makes it more durable than panels that are made from glass or aluminum.
While it can offer 100 Watts of power, it only weighs 4.7 lbs. This makes it lightweight and easier to travel with than other panels. The lightweight features also make it much easier to install. A few simple screws and adhesives will do the trick. The flexibility will also give you some room for error and allow the panel to form to the surface of your roof without requiring more effort from you.
This panel system comes with a 100-Watt panel, an instruction manual for advice on how to install flexible solar panels on an RV group, and an 18-month guarantee and warranty.
- Small size and flexibility.
- Cheaper price.
- 23.5% efficiency.
- Does not come with a charger controller.
- Short longevity.
6. Newpowa 200W Monocrystalline 12V Solar Panel – Best Inexpensive Solar Panel
- 【New Design】Face Lift for 14% reduction in the panel length. Higher cell efficiency by using 9 busbars technology. Compared with 5BB solar panel cells, the 9BB 166mm solar cell has a better and...
- 【Dimension】55.28*27.76*1.38inch. High winds (2400PA) and snow loads (5400PA).
- 【Maximum power】200W, Voltage at Pmax (Vmp):18.6V, Current at Pmax (Imp): 10.76A.
The cost of solar panels for RV does not have to be expensive or outrageous. Many brands offer a full-package solar panel kit that can be perfect for your next RV adventure.
The average cost to add solar panels to an RV depends on what kind you buy and how big your RV is. The cost of putting solar panels on an RV can be free if you want to install them yourself. Some people do decide to have it done professionally though if their panels are big or heavy.
The Newpowa 200W monocrystalline is a great inexpensive option that is great for new solar panel users and experienced solar panel users alike. This panel system is a 200-Watt 12V, perfect for boats and RVs.
The new design has higher cell efficiency and a better light converting rate. It can take a wind load of 2400 Pa and a snow load of 5400 Pa. So, it is durable despite the cheaper price point. All the diodes are preinstalled with a pair of pre-attached 3 ft. MC4 cable.
Since most of the parts are already included, you will not have to spend too much money getting your solar panels installed. This solar panel can be supported by mounting it on a variety of surfaces, even ones that are uneven or angled.
The junction box is waterproof, so common weather conditions will not affect it. The anodized frame has a strong structure that is comparable to much more expensive options. The sheets are laminated with multilayers, which give them maximum longevity.
- Powerful but cheap; get the most bang for your buck.
- Great value for money; lets you install for a low price.
- Easy installation; install in as little as a few minutes.
- Heavy rains may affect it; certain weather conditions will have to be avoided.
- Heavier than other options; weight makes it harder to travel with and install for some.
7. ECO-WORTHY 12V Solar Panel – Best Eco-Friendly Solar Panel
- [ Warranty ] - Daily output 500wh depends on the sunlight availability. 5-year material and workmanship warranty; 25-year transferable power output warranty.
- [ Versatile ] - Basic generator component for 12V/24V battery charging for on-grid, off-grid and hybrid power system for home, garden, RV, Boat and agriculture.
- [ Durable ] - Withstand high wind (2400Pa) and snow loads (5400Pa), the surface is made up of 3.2mm low Iron glass, the monocrystalline modules are framed by 35mm width aluminum alloy, which is 2~5mm...
Even though all solar panels are eco-friendly, some take less power and are more efficient than others. This model by ECO-WORTHY is very efficient and friendly to your pockets as well.
It comes with a basic generator component for 12V/24V battery charging that can be used for on-grid, off-grid, and hybrid power systems.
It can withstand high winds of 2400Pa and snow loads of 5400Pa. The surfaces are made up of 3.2mm low iron glass, and the monocrystalline modules are framed by 35mm aluminum alloy. This is about 2–5 mm wider than other panels.
This structure makes it much more durable than other kinds. Each panel also comes with 35-inch cables and is waterproof. The IP-65 also makes it great for low-light environments and is one of the reasons it is extremely eco-friendly.
Even on cloudy days or days where the sun is only out half the time, these panels are still highly efficient.
They are also very easy to install because the holes are already pre-drilled. This makes it super simple to mount and place the brackets in.
The long cables also take away the need to buy extra materials such as longer cables or MC4 connectors. Most reviewers also say that the system charges well and quickly.
- Great for low sunlight; leave your RV in the shade and still have power.
- Durable; the iron and monocrystalline make this able to stand up to all the elements.
- Connectors are already installed; no need to buy any extras.
- Shorter longevity than other options; some buyers complain that the panels do not last as long as other options.
- Cells could crack easy; if not careful, the cells can crack when installing.
8. HQST 4000-Watt 12V Solar Panel Kit – Best Starter Solar Panel
- The kit includes 1 pack 100 Watt 12 Volt Polycrystalline Solar Panel, 10 Amp PWM Solar Charge Controller with LCD Display, 20Ft 12AWG Solar Panel and Controller Connector Cables, 1 Set of Mounting Z...
- Used in various off-grid applications that include water pumping systems, signaling systems and other off-grid applications. Great for off-grid applications, such as RVs, trailers, boats, sheds, and...
- HQST 100W polycrystalline 35.6x25.9x1.2in high module conversion efficiency. Bypass diodes minimize power drop caused by shade and ensure excellent performance in low-light environments. Pre-drilled...
This kit comes with absolutely everything you need, which makes it ideal for new solar panel owners. It will allow them to get everything installed with ease. The kit comes with the charge controller, the connector cables, the mounting brackets, and the Y branch connectors.
It includes 12- and 24-volt arrays, which are great for water pumping and signaling systems. The aluminum frame is corrosion-resistant. The holes on the back are already pre-drilled, making it perfect for anyone who has never installed solar panels before.
The panels use more cells than other monocrystalline panels which gives it a high module conversion efficiency. It also has an IP65-rated junction box that can save your panels from water and wind damage.
The power production is super quiet and allows you to be completely off the grid. Its durability and maximum efficiency make it great for grid independence and getting away from populated parks and campgrounds.
Keep in mind that it does not come with a power inverter or fuses, so these are the only additional items that will need to be bought. This is common for kits as this solar kit already comes with several items that other kits make you buy separately.
- Easy installation; bracket and cables are all there ready to use.
- High-quality panels; the panels are sturdy and will not collapse or bend with wind or rain.
- Durable; owners say these panels have maximum longevity and never need repairs.
- Additional fuses needed; you will need a multi-fuse holder.
- Power inverter needed; you will need to make sure you are getting the right electrical currents.
9. Renogy 100-Watt 12V Monocrystalline Solar Starter Kit – Solar Panel with the Best Kit
- 【Efficient Performance】The Starter Kit will produce an average of 500Wh of electricity per day (Based on 5 hours of direct sunlight condition). The Cell Efficiency can reach 22%. The bypass diodes...
- 【Solid Quality】Advanced encapsulation material with multi-layered sheet laminations protects cells from physical damage and distortion, improving cell performance and providing a long service...
- 【Smart Function】The Wanderer PWM Charge Controller is compatible with four different types of batteries: Sealed, Gel, Flooded, and Lithium batteries. It also features advanced 4-stage charging...
This kit is one of the most all-inclusive ones on the market. It comes with its panels, 30A PWM negative ground charge controllers, solar panel connectors, tray cables, and mounting X brackets.
This kit comes with the new charger controller with 30A PWM called the Renogy Wanderer. This allows you to expand your system to an additional 400W. With the right amount of sunlight, this kit can put out 500Wh per day and can fully charge the 50 Ah battery from 50% in 3 hours.
The controller also has battery-reversed, overloading, short-circuit, and overcharging protection. This makes the system much safer and takes away the need to buy an additional device to protect you from surges.
These panels can last for decades as they are made with aluminum frames and are corrosion-resistant. Having this full kit can extend the life of your trip and make you much more comfortable as you travel.
- All-inclusive; get started with installation as soon as you buy it without needing any extra mounting tools.
- Easy to install; the manual is thorough, and buyers say the installation barely took any time.
- Comes with the new controller; this controller is unlike any competitors’ controllers.
- Not lightweight; makes it slightly harder to travel with.
- Wires may be hard to attach; some buyers say the wires are hard to attach to the controller.
10. SunPower 170-Watt Flexible High-Efficiency Solar Panel – Best Energy-Efficient Solar Panel
This particular panel is top-rated for maximum efficiency. It is also flexible which makes it ideal for uneven or small surfaces. It is durable and lightweight. Likewise, it is weather-resistant, although not completely waterproof. You may want to keep this in mind if you often travel through high wind or high rain.
Its portability makes it easy to install, so it could be good for beginners. Like many flexible options, it is more expensive. However, the high efficiency will save you money in the long run.
It is made from ETFE laminate which naturally comes with creases and scratches. Although no one will be staring directly at your panels, this does bother some buyers because they say the panels never look fully new. Keep in mind the cosmetic imperfections do not affect the way the panels work at all.
The open-circuit voltage is 35 volts, and the working voltage is set at around 30 volts. It is best for large grid systems. The 30-volt DC can deliver a high amount of power and charging capacity. The controller is MPPT.
All SunPower’s products go through rigorous testing, so you can be sure that your panel will be ready to do its job and fully power your RV camper.
- High efficiency; it means you won’t have to charge as often.
- Easy to install; perfect for beginners.
- Lightweight; makes it easy to travel and ride with.
- Imperfections; even though this does not affect the quality, it can bother some people.
- Not waterproof; not ideal for people who live in certain climates.
Check out our buyer’s guide to see exactly how to install panels and how much they may cost you. We will also go over all the questions you may have about power consumption. This is also helpful if you need a professional to get started.
How to Install Solar Panels on an RV
The process to install RV solar panels can be easy with the right kit and the right tools. Each panel is made slightly different and may require a different setup or charging system. Polycrystalline and monocrystalline panels usually charge the fastest.
Use solar wiring to connect your power system. Your kit should come with special instructions to install the solar panels on your RV roof. While there is no special wire for a solar system, most experts recommend an 8 gauge – 10 gauge is even easier to install, but a 6 gauge can be pretty hard.
A solar kit will also need a battery to connect the panels. Some kits come with this as well as the controller for it. A solar power inverter is also needed. This will convert the 12-volt DC power into a 120-volt AC power. This is needed to make sure your appliances do not short and continue to run the same.
Mounting hardware should be used especially when learning how to install flexible solar panels on the RV roof. High-quality mounting hardware will ensure that your panels do not snap or collapse. You may need to purchase different brackets than the ones that come with the solar kit.
Consider buying flat or tilt brackets as well.
Cost of Solar Panels for RV
Solar panels for your RV camper can come at a wide range of costs. It will depend on the size of your RV and what kind of panel you buy. Some buyers decide to buy a cheaper brand or portable kind at the beginning to see how it works and if they will save money. Then, they may upgrade to a better quality. However, some buyers decide to jump all in.
The cost to set up solar panels for an RV is usually somewhere between $3,500 and $4,500. However, the average cost for RV solar panels can vary greatly. The smaller budget will allow you to get solar panels that operate some things in your RV like the TV, the oven, and other small items.
If your RV needs an air conditioner, you are looking at spending more money.
A system around $4,100–5,700 may give you a solar system of around 800 watts. This will allow you to use the microwave and fridge, but it will use up the power quickly.
If you want to run everything but the air conditioner, you are looking to spend around $4,700–5,700 for 1200 watts, so it is only slightly more than the 800-watt option. Some people still get a generator for this level just in case.
For an all-inclusive installation for every device including the air conditioner, you will need a 21500-watt system. This is usually sometimes impossible to get onto the roof, so solar panels may not be ideal for someone that needs to run their air conditioner all the time. It will cost you around $9,500–10,500.
RV Solar Panel Power Consumption
To know for sure which system you need and how much money you will spend, figure out how much power consumption you will use. Most RV campers use about 20 kWh a day. This will be more if you use the AC, cook often, or use several appliances at one time.
RV campers usually only need about two to three solar panels to run their homes, which is very cost-effective. Keep in mind that solar panel installation will save you money in the long run.