Hitting the road during summer can be a real treat. Piling into the car for many families is a summer tradition, and this tradition becomes much more fun and exciting if you’re piling into an RV.
RVs provide a home away from home. You can sleep, cook, and even shower in a single-wheeled unit, whether it’s towed behind a truck or independent, as a motor home would be. One of the best ways to help power your RV and keep you independent is using solar panels to help provide your RV with electricity.
Solar panels are a great option for off-road adventures and motor home road trips. They’re relatively easy to set up and use, don’t rely on the power grid, and can be enjoyed even if you’re miles from the nearest city. Take them with you on your next trip across the country, and find that you can power up devices, cook, and stay illuminated longer.
The best RV solar panels are going to be easy to set up and easy to use. They’ll sit atop your RV, and connect to the internal wiring of your RV, thus allowing you to use natural solar energy to power up many of the things in your motor home that uses electricity, such as televisions and reading lamps. You won’t be able to run entirely on solar energy and will still need gasoline to power many of your electric components. Still, solar panels can help offset some of those power costs.
Let’s look at some of the best RV solar panels and what they offer.
Renogy Monocrystalline Premium Solar Panel Kit
The Renogy comes with an array of items and is everything you’ll need in one bundle. At about 1,600 dollars, it’s an all-in-one package to help you equip your RV with an economical and well-made solution to power supplementation.
The Renogy can put out an average of 1.6-2.5 kilowatts of energy per day, enough to offset the power used by small appliances and lights. The 4 100-watt solar panels are designed to fit snugly on your RV’s roof, catching the maximum amount of sunlight and making the most efficient use of space.
This kit's junction box and solar panel connectors are sturdy, well-made, and built to resist water damage due to weather, power washers, or dust. Setting up this unit is relatively straightforward, and pre-drilled holes in the back frame simplify installation.
A Rover lithium 40 amp charge controller helps monitor power flow and safeguard against electrical issues. An ANL fuse and fuse cable are also included. The energy generated will flow into batteries supplied by the buyer. Instructions are included, but some working knowledge of electricity and power units would be helpful for the consumer setting up this kit.
You’ll also get a free 12,000 mah charging bank with this set and a 5-year warranty on the solar panels. Overall, this is a well-built and valuable kit that can be used with most RV models.
Renogy 2 x 550-watt Monocrystalline Solar Panel
Another best-selling item with even more power output is the Renogy 2x 550-watt unit. At $3,000, these well-made and high-quality solar panels are a durable and robust addition to your RV. The Renogy 2x 550 Watt panels can provide anywhere from 2,200 to 2,750-watt hours of power per day, depending on conditions.
The aluminum frame is meant to resist corrosion and weather damage and is ideal for your RV's roof. Designed especially with these campers in mind, this unit will help maximize space on your RV roof while maximizing available power. Included junction boxes and connectors are also designed to be water-resistant and safer.
With fewer panels to set up, your installation process will be more straightforward. These solar panels are of the same intensity and build often used by commercial buildings, residential homes, and solar farms. So you’re getting the most power available as an RV owner on your roof.
Simply connect a battery to the electrical components of these panels to help offset power use, and keep more appliances running. The entire list of items you’ll need for this setup includes solar panels (described here), a solar charge controller, inverter(s), at least one battery to store the power, a mounting and racking system, wiring cables, and fuses.
Heliatos RV Water Heater Kit
And now for something a little different. This much smaller unit is meant to power your RV’s water heater. You have no idea how excellent and necessary how water is until you don’t have it. Nothing will get you out of the shower quicker than unexpectedly cold water coming out of the showerhead. The Heliatos RV Water Heater Kit is a small, affordable, and unique solution to one of your RV's most essential but easy-to-forget electrical components.
At $890, this unit is an excellent long-term investment, which can help power up your water heater in emergencies. Your water is heated by the Helios SW-38 solar water heating panel, and this kit also allows you to use the solar panels already on your roof to help keep your water hot. At 11.6 lbs, this panel is not too heavy, and the setup is made simpler with detailed instructions and a booklet to help you along. High-quality copper tubing, foam insulation, and an aluminum frame for the panel make this kit safe, high quality, and ready for your RV.
It’s not something you’ll think about much until you need it, but the Helios RV Water Heater Kit is an item that’s a good idea to have on hand and ready to go.
We hope this walk-through has been helpful and informative. Whether you take your RV out once a year, or use it as your home base year-round, having solar panels to help keep your RV connected and powered is intelligent, simple, and allows you greater freedom from the grid. Stay powered up, warm, and safe with these well-built and durable products from Solar Paradise.