RV Solar Panels

Tips for Using Solar Power for RVs

RV solar panels are a practical and affordable way to generate power to a recreational vehicle, especially if you enjoy visiting remote and out-of-the-way locations. Here are some tips for using solar power for RVs.

Many of today's campgrounds will provide hook-ups to electricity, but there are the occasional times when you find one that does not provide this service.

There will possibly be those times too when there is a camping spot available, but not one with a hook-up. What is an RV owner to do then? Solar energy can fill the gap!

How Do Solar Panels for RVs Work?

Solar panels on recreational vehicles work just like residential and commercial versions; they're simply smaller and more compact in their design.

Solar panels collect the sun's energy and convert it into power that your RV can use to charge your batteries or to provide power to the appliances, lights, and even the air conditioner. The conversion of DC power to AC power that your RV requires is accomplished through an inverter.

RV solar panels are mounted on the roof of the vehicle. The panels can be mounted flat and flush with the vehicle roof and remain stationary. Or, you can purchase adjustable mounts that can be manually repositioned to capture the sun's rays as the sun moves throughout the day. The adjustable mounts will increase the cost of your panels, but some people like the flexibility they offer.

How Much Power Do I Need?

The general guideline for panels on RVs is somewhat sketchy, but you should allow for at least 75 to 120 watts of solar energy to each 200 AH of RV battery. A typical RV will require between 360-400 watts of solar energy.

Price Ranges or Solar RV Panels

Solar panel kits for RVs are available to the avid DIY camper or you can pay to have the panels professionally installed on your vehicle. The range is between $300 and $1,000. Solar unverters are not included in the base package, so expect to pay additional for an inverter.

Tips for Getting the Best Quality Panels

  1. Opt for a monocrystalline or polycrystalline solar panels - they are built to last longer and are more durable than thin film panels.

  2. Don't settle for less than a 10-year warranty on your panels.

  3. Purchase your RV solar panels from a http://www.spheralsolar.com/rvsolarpanels.html who offers customer service after the purchase.

  4. Confirm all the costs involved with your purchase, including panels, inverter, and installation.

  5. It's wise to purchase a kit that utilizes charge controllers - these ensure that your battery won't be overcharged.

  6. Make sure your solar kit is stamped with the UL or Underwriter's Laboratories stamp of approval.

  7. Are instructions included with the kit? Make sure they are!

  8. A battery backup system will be required if you want to use power during the nighttime hours or in the case that you experience several cloudy days consecutively.

    Make sure your battery backup system is sized properly for the number of solar panels on your vehicle.

Caring for Solar Panels on RVs

Solar panels on an RV can be installed permanently on top of the vehicle or they can be attached with super-strong suction cups that allow you to remove them for any needed maintenance.

It's not often that you'll need to perform maintenance, but you should check them periodically anyway to make sure they've not incurred damage during travel.

Wipe away excess moisture after a night of heavy dew or heavy rains. Make sure you keep the panels clean or else they won't perform as well for you.

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