Portable Solar Panel Kits: The Best Options for an RV


Everything You Need to Know About RV Solar Kits

Buying a solar panel kit for your RV as a first-time owner can be an overwhelming experience. Even though the is an expense, in the beginning, they prove beneficial once you cover the costs and then you get to call it an “investment.”

Solar kits help you to convert solar energy into electricity, which you can use to charge RV batteries, appliances, and heater.

Best RV Solar Panel Kit

What is all included in a solar kit?

A typical solar kit includes solar panels, obviously, along with an inverter, panel racking, sundry electric supplies, cables, and other connectors, charge controller, nuts and bolts, and an instruction manual to guide you through the installation process.

How does a solar panel work?

In simple words, when a solar panel is exposed to sunlight or solar energy, it creates an electric current. It travels into the charge controller that adjusts the amount of current the battery can take at one point. The battery converts the charge into DC, which is then sent to the inverter, which turns it into AC power, which is commonly used to run small appliances, charge smartphones and tablets, and power up computers.

These kits are available in a variety of sizes, so bigger the kit, more power it generates.

Benefits of installing solar panels on your RV

Let’s jump right to the five amazing benefits that solar panels offer:

1. Inexhaustible

The primary power source is inexhaustible. Even if you are up in the mountains in the winter, you get a few hours of sunlight, which are enough to generate power.

2. Clean energy

You are producing green energy. Your sustainable choices will encourage others to protect the environment.

3. Zero maintenance costs

It is virtually maintenance-free. Once you install the entire set-up, you aren’t going to move it, so there are zero chances of it breaking. If you want to expand the set-up, you can just add around without moving any panels.

4. Extends battery life

RV batteries have a lifetime of up to five years, and that’s because they are continuously in use. When you compliment them with a natural power source, it takes up at least 50 to 75 percent of the load. The battery life extends to around eight and sometimes more than ten years.

5. Perfect for RV owners

You are just out there, living your life and helping the environment grow. It doesn’t get any more perfect than this.

Types of solar panels and choosing the right one for your RV

There are three types of solar panels you can choose from. These include:

1. Mono-crystalline

The entire solar panel is made using one silicone crystal.

2. Polycrystalline

It is made up using several pieces of crystal.

3. Amorphous

Amorphous panels are extremely thin film panels attached to a thick backing panel for support. It is also the cheapest of the three.

The type of solar panel you choose depends on your RV size. Amorphous is twice as efficient as monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels. However, the monocrystalline variant works better in low light conditions. Polycrystalline panels require the least space. The choice is completely yours. Ask your friends or other RV users what their experience was and only then come to a decision.

The better choice: rigid or flexible solar panels?

As the name suggests, rigid panels are firm and has an aluminum frame. It is highly durable and withstands rough weather and extremely bumpy rides. It also has high resistance to heat. If you plan to use the RV for a long time, investing in a rigid panel is better compared to more expensive flexible panels. You can mount it on a hinge, so that it stays tilted. However, it comes with a few disadvantages. It is extremely heavy and difficult to place between antennas, AC units, and other electrical components. Even though they are unbreakable, they are made with glass, which, like we all know, can break.

A flexible solar panel is a recent technological development. It is lightweight and available in both monocrystalline and polycrystalline styles. It is made using silicone and can be installed directly on your RV roof. However, flexible panels crack under pressure, which reduces their power-generating capacity.

For us, a rigid solar panel is a better choice because it leaves some space between the set-up and the RV roof. It helps you to keep your vehicle cooler and is also a suitable option in extreme climatic conditions.

How many solar panels do you need?

Again, this is something that depends on your RV size. However, for an average-sized RV, two panels that produce 120 watts of output together or one panel generating the same amount does the job.

Renogy 200 Watt 12 Volt PWM Wanderer Solar Starter Kit

Sale
Renogy 200 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Solar Starter Kit with Wanderer
  • Negative grounding controller with battery reversed, overloading, short-circuit and over charging /discharging protection ensures the broader off...
  • The charge controller has been upgraded to Renogy' s new 30A PWM Negative-Ground Charge Controller - the Renogy Wanderer
  • With the Renogy Wanderer 30A PWM Charge Controller, you can expand your system up to a maximum of 400W
  • Ideal output: 1000Wh per day; can fully charge a 50Ah battery from 50% in 1.5 hours (depending on the availability of sunlight)
  • The kit now includes an 8ft 10AWG Tray Cable to connect your charge controller and battery

The Renogy 200 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Solar Starter Kit comes with a Wanderer 30A PWM solar charge controller. It expands your set-up output to a maximum of 400 watts. You can turn it into a negative grounding controller by reversing the batteries to avoid chances of a short circuit. The solar kit is easy to install and can produce up to 1000 watts per day. It can completely charge a 50Ah battery from 50 to 100 percent in only 90 minutes.

It comes with an eight feet 10 AWG Tray Cable to connect the charge controller with the battery, one 20’ 10AWG MC4 Adaptor Kit, one set of MC4Y connectors, two Renogy 100W 12V Poly/ Mono Solar Panels, two sets of Z-brackets, and the controller like we mentioned earlier. You can choose between the type of solar panel you want. Monocrystalline is more efficient and a more durable choice. However, if are low on budget, go for a polycrystalline panel; it works great too. Renogy offers 25 years warranty on power output, five years warranty on material and workmanship, and one-year material warranty.

Pros

  1. Produces 1000 watts per hour per day
  2. User-friendly installation
  3. 25 years warranty on power output

Cons

  1. Bulky for small RVs
  2. Expensive compared to other similar models

Renogy KIT-RV200D Solar Panel Kit

Sale
Renogy 200 Watts 12 Volts Monocrystallin Panel Solar RV Kit
  • Designed for off-grid solar panel system, Caravan, RV, boat, Green house Solar panel system. Mono-crystalline Solar Cell efficiency: 18. 4%
  • Corrosion-resistant aluminum frame for extended outdoor use, allowing the panels to last for decades as well as withstand high winds (2400PA) and...
  • This kit includes our adventurer 30A PWM flush mount charge controller can charge the Battery quickly and safely under almost any condition
  • Order will be delivered in multiple packages; bypass diodes minimize power drop caused by shade and ensure excellent performance in low-light...
  • Complete kit includes: (1)2 pc Renogy 100 watt 12 volt Mono-crystalline Solar panel (2) adventurer Li 30A PWM flush mount charge controller...

A superior module conversion efficiency model, Renogy KIT-RV200D Solar Panel Kit produces an output of 1000 watts per day on a sunny day. It is fitted with a corrosion-resistant aluminum frame that prolongs its life and quality. Renogy’s panels last for more than ten years without needing any repairing. Also, they can withstand extreme wind speed of 2400PA and snow loads of 5400PA. The kit has a bypass diode, which reduces the power drop caused by shade to continue outstanding performance in low-light conditions.

It is available in four sizes including 100, 200, 300, and 400 W so that you can pick one depending your RV size. The panels have a back sheet of TPT, which reduce heat loss and ensure uniform performance during its lifetime. It also comes with an Adventurer 30A PWM charge controller that assists in flush mounting and is grounded negatively for battery compatibility.

The package includes 100 watts 12-volt monocrystalline solar panel, mounting Z brackets, cables and connectors, and the charge controller. You will receive 25 years warranty on performance, five years warranty on material and workmanship, and one-year material warranty. If you don’t like the product, you can return it in 60 days.

Pros

  1. 60 days return period and 25 years warranty on performance
  2. Available in four sizes
  3. Top performance in low-light conditions

Cons

  1. Installation is difficult

WindyNation 400 Watt Solar Kit

WindyNation 400 Watt Solar Kit: 4pcs 100 Watt Solar Panels + 30A P30L LCD PWM Charge Controller + Mounting Hardware + 40ft Cable + MC4 Connectors. RV's, Boats, Cabins, Camping Off-Grid
  • 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...
  • Complete kit includes: (4pcs) 100 Watt Polycrystalline WindyNation Solar Panels, Premium 30-Amp (user adjustable) LCD Display Solar Charge...
  • PWM Solar Charge Controller has user adjustable settings! LCD Screen shows system amperage, voltage, amp-hours, temperature and DC load draw. See...
  • Kit will provide on average 1600 Watt Hours (Wh) or 135 Amp hours of charge per day (depends on sunlight availability)
  • 5 year solar panel warranty. 25 year power output warranty. 1 year warranty on all other included components.

The WindyNation 400W Solar Kit includes a four solar panels, 30-Amp LCD solar charge controller with a battery temperature sensor; UL Listed 12 AWG solar cable and all required connectors. The controller comes with user adjustable settings, which makes it an ideal pick for your RV. It displays voltage, amp hours, amperage, DC load draw, and temperature. The panels generate 1600 watt or 135 Amp per day of charge.

WindyNation will give you 25 years of warranty on power output, five years on the solar panel, and one year on all other components. You can also purchase the kit with 300ah or 400ah AGM Battery. You will have to DC-to-AC inverter, and your entire sustainable system is ready to be used.

Pros

  1. 25 years of warranty on power output
  2. Quick delivery and prompt customer service
  3. Fast charging

Cons

  1. Extremely sensitive to shade
  2. Difficult installation process

Go Power! Weekender SW Complete Solar and Inverter System Kit

Go Power! Weekender SW Complete Solar and Inverter System with 160 Watts of Solar
  • Complete kit includes everything you need to hook up solar and inverter system
  • No fuel, no maintenance and no noise
  • Completely green power solution
  • Great for power usage on weekend and long weekend trips
  • Run your TV and other AC appliances anytime day or night without the noise of a generator

Virtually maintenance-free, Go Power! Weekender SW Complete Solar and Inverter System Kit is your one-stop solution for green power. You can use it to run your television, charge mobile and laptop, and run small appliances. The kit includes a 160-watt solar charging kit and 1500 watt pure sine wave inverter system. You can purchase two kits separately to boost your RV’s green power. It ensures a fast charging with smooth and uniform power supply even on cloudy days.

The affordable all-in-one kit comes with a 25 years warranty on power output and performance, five years on the solar panels, and two years on other parts.

Pros

  1. The user can combine two kits for higher output
  2. All-in-one affordable kit that doesn’t burn a hole in your pocket
  3. 25 years warranty on power output and performance

Cons

  1. Slow delivery but excellent customer care
  2. Difficult to assemble and install

Goal Zero Yeti 1250 Solar Generator Kit

Goal Zero Yeti 1250 Solar Generator Kit with Boulder 100 Briefcase Solar Panel
  • Kit includes a Yeti 1250 Portable Power Station, Boulder 100 Briefcase solar panel with cord and kickstand, a roll cart and a wall charger
  • 1250Wh lead acid battery portable power station can power up to 10 devices at once (100Ah @ 12V) with continuous 1200W (1500W surge) pure-sine...
  • Chainable with other 100Ah lead acid batteries for longer runtimes
  • Recharges from AC or pair with a solar panel (sold separately). No noise, no fumes, no maintenance
  • Solar panel is a lightweight, 100-watt monocrystalline panel with briefcase folding enclosure, handle and case

The Goal Zero Yeti Solar Kit includes a Yeti 1250 Portable Power Station, one roll cart, Boulder 100 Briefcase solar panel with cord and kickstand, and a wall charger. It also includes a 1250Wh lead-acid battery portable power station, which can power up ten devices at a time. You can couple it with more 100Ah lead-acid batteries to ensure a longer runtime.

It requires zero maintenance, doesn’t make any noise, and doesn’t generate fumes. You can charge and use it at the same time. The kit comes with a 30 days money back guarantee and one year manufacturer’s warranty.

Pros

  1. 30 days money back guarantee
  2. Can power up ten devices at a time
  3. Works well in cloudy conditions

Cons

  1. Only one year warranty
  2. Takes time to charge

Conclusion

This Solar Panel Kit from Renogy is our top pick from top pick from the list. Available in four different sizes from 100 to 400 watt, the kit comes with 25 years warranty on power output and performance. It also has a 60 days money back guarantee.

The solar panels can bear extreme wind speed of 2400PA and snow loads of 5400PA, which makes it a perfect choice for someone traveling to Idaho, Colorado, or Alaska in the winters. It a complete kit, which means you don’t need to buy anything else to install it. Also, Renogy offers excellent customer service.

To your next adventure!