How To Solar Power Your RV Trailer (AND NOT TO)

How To Solar Power Your RV Trailer

How To Solar Power Your RV Trailer

If you want to learn how to solar power your RV trailer, then this article will teach you what you need to know. You’ll need a battery charger that has the capability of charging with solar power.

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10 Most Luxury RVs In The World

Solar panels are also a good investment if you find yourself in an area where the sun is more reliable than electricity.

What is an RV solar panel setup?

An RV solar panel setup is a device that can be used to power an RV. It makes use of the sun’s power by charging the batteries through solar power.

This battery charger can then be used to provide electricity throughout the day for all of your devices.

The basics of an RV solar panel setup

An RV solar panel setup usually includes several basic components:

1. Solar panels

These are installed on a surface where they will get as much sun exposure as possible, like mounting them on trees or flat ground or building roofs.

2. A charge controller

This is an accessory that helps prevent overcharging of your vehicle’s battery and will show you how much charge your battery has left. The charge controller also protects your battery from damage in the event of too much sunlight.

3. Batteries

This is the part of your setup that will store the power generated by the solar panels and keep it until you need to use it. You can expand this system as much as needed, such as having a separate system in each vehicle or RV, or using them together for a larger installation.

4. Inverter

The inverter will take the DC from the battery and convert it into Usable AC power

What Solar panel System To Get For A RV Trailer?

As you begin looking at RV solar panel setups, you will see there are many options available to fit your needs and preferences.

Many people start with smaller systems and then upgrade to larger ones later if they find that their energy needs increase over time. One advantage of choosing an RV solar panel setup is no longer being reliant on public supply sources for electricity when off-the-grid.

A backup generator is another option which is necessary for the times when there is no sun and you need to recharge batteries with a power source other than solar.

A larger system, like the one shown below, can have several different types of RV solar panels setup that are designed for specific functions.  

These accessories include:

Solar Panels

These panels are great at storing energy without needing much maintenance. They should be mounted on your roof in an area where they will get plenty of sunlight and can collect as much as possible to help you during the day while recharging your batteries.

You can also have these installed on a stand or rooftop rack if it gets too hot up there, or if you want them somewhere else instead of on top of your vehicle.  If you have a larger system, you may not need to have all of the panels on your vehicle.  You can use them for other applications and still gain power from them using power inverters.

A Charge Controller

This is an accessory that helps prevent overcharging of your vehicle’s battery and will show you how much charge your battery has left. The charge controller also protects your battery from damage in the event of too much sunlight.

You want this setup on each solar panel so it will be able to keep track of how much energy gets in at once without harming it as well as letting you know what percentage is left in the storage battery when you check later.

Inverter Charger

An inverter charger takes DC or direct current and converts it into AC or alternating current.  This is a type of power that can be used by your other devices and appliances. DC is usually what is stored in the batteries when you charge them, and this step allows you to use that energy as needed without recharging.  

You can get these for any size system, whether on small systems to just run a single vehicle or RV with off-grid power, larger ones for every aspect like running air conditioners as well as multiple battery pack builds, or even solar panel chargers to let you use your solar energy wherever there is sun available –

A Battery Charger

A battery charger will take the direct current from an inverter charger and turn it back into DC so that it can be stored in the batteries. You can have one for each RV vehicle or just a few depending on your setup and what you need to be running at any given time.  

When they are not charging, your battery chargers will want to feed power back into the grid rather than being idle, so this lets you store the excess energy instead of losing it

A Battery Bank

This is where all of that electricity gets stored once collected, and can consist of several different sizes or setups depending on your needs.  You may need to add more batteries if you have larger loads using electricity frequently like air conditioning while driving during hot months.

If you already have a solar panel system installed, they will likely work as a battery bank for an off-grid setup, even if they are not meant to do so.  

You can use the existing wiring and connections to make it work for your needs.

Inverter/Chargers

These go with most systems for charging batteries off of solar panels or through a charge controller, but you may want to purchase one regardless if you have larger functions that require power from multiple sources at once like air conditioners and RV appliances on high demand when in use during hot summer months.

Since this will be used heavily when your battery pack is low, you will need something large enough to give power quickly while recharging simultaneously.

Should you install solar panels on your RV Trailer?

Yes you should. Solar power can and should be efficient and inexpensive enough to appeal to everyone who cares about saving money, living more sustainably, or both.

Ever since I got my RV trailer, one of the first things I did was research installing solar panels. For me, it’s not just about saving money on propane and electric–it’s also about living more sustainably. After reading several blog posts and articles that extolled the virtues of both the economics and environmental benefits of solar power, I decided to go for it!

Now that my panels are installed and functioning properly, I can’t imagine camping without them. Here are some of the most important benefits of using solar energy:

-No fossil fuel emissions anywhere near my campsite! That means cleaner air for everyone. In a world with an ever-increasing population, this was one of the most important motivations for me to install solar panels.

-Even in cloudy weather, my solar panels collect a bit of energy that makes my batteries last longer. In sunny climates like Southern California, I know that solar panels will work year round and recharge my batteries enough for weeks without sun.

But even in less sunny climes, many people are finding success with their solar panels thanks to advances in technology since they were first installed years ago. Right now seems like a great time to invest if you’re interested in solar power.

-I can use all of the appliances I want while keeping everything plugged into a single charge controller box instead of using separate chargers. This is more efficient and convenient!

-I feel proud of myself for helping my little corner of the world become a better place. I’m encouraged by the fact that my solar panels are capable of meeting as much as 75% of my RV’s energy needs, especially since there is no cost remaining once the initial investment has been made.

Best solar panels for RV Trailer Table

There are many options when it comes to buying solar panels for your RV. Below are some products that are specifically designed for RV setups, but there are several other companies and products you can use.

RV Trailer solar panel options

PRODUCTCOSTPANEL WATTAGE (W)INCLUDED EQUIPMENT
Renogy flexible solar panel$200100 WNone
WindyNation solar panel$160100 WCharge controller, connectors, mounting brackets
Renogy solar panel$175160 WNone
Newpowa solar panel$100100 WNone

You’ll need to buy a charge controller or inverter separately if your solar panel kit does not include those components. Often times, battery storage products have built-in inverters and charge controllers.

How many panels do you need for a RV Trailer?

If you have an 800W RV solar panel system that is in direct sunlight for 5 hours a day, you’ll produce approximately 4,000 Wh of energy each day (5 x 800 = 4,000).

Most solar panels for RVs are between 100 and 400 watts of power, and a full system might be about 800 watts. What can you actually power with that kind of solar panel setup for your RV? For the following examples, we’ll assume that your RV solar panel setup is sized at 800 watts and you have an appropriate storage setup to take full advantage of the energy your panels produce.

How many solar panels do you need for RV Trailer common appliances?

APPLIANCEPOWER CONSUMPTION (W)DAILY HOURS OF USEDAILY POWER CONSUMPTION (WH)
Lightbulb60 W6360 Wh
TV200 W4800 Wh
Microwave800 W.5400 Wh
Mini-fridge200 W244,800 Wh

What do these numbers actually mean? Looking at column four, you can see an example of how much energy in watt-hours running each appliance for a normal amount of time in a day might use.

According to our calculations in the table above, that’s more than enough to power small devices like lights and TVs, but you won’t be able to run a refrigerator for an entire day.

What Is The Best Solar Panel Kit For My Camper Trailer?

Before purchasing an RV solar panel kit, it is important to determine what components will be needed in order to produce enough electricity to power all life support systems for your camper / trailer.

In addition, determining how much energy storage, load control, battery monitoring and recharging capabilities are also required before purchase can save thousands of dollars due to inappropriate product purchases.

Here Are Our BEST Choices when it comes to RV Solar Panel Kits

Goal Zero Yeti 150 Portable Power Station

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The Goal Zero Yeti 150 power station is a portable battery bank that can store up to 7800 watts of electricity . . . but it also has several features that set it apart from other power systems.

A solar array covers the top and sides of this system, and the included 15 amp PWM charge controller allows you to easily connect multiple modules together if you need more power storage for your RV or camper trailer.

There are three 12 volt DC ports so you can connect all your indoor appliances at once, including things like lights, refrigerators and televisions.

120W 18V Portable Solar Panel with Kickstand

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Renogy 100 Watts 12 Volts Monocrystalline Solar Starter Kit

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What type of batteries can a RV solar Panel Charge?

RV solar panels will charge all kinds of different batteries, including deep cycle marine batteries and AGM deep cycle batteries . . . but they aren’t powerful enough to run a DC power system directly.

That means you need additional equipment like an inverter to create household style 120 VAC electricity from the 12 volt DC current your solar panel produces.

Conclusion

It’s easy to imagine a world where solar power is the norm. This article has given you all of the information and inspiration that you need in order to do your part for our planet by going solar.

You can install it yourself or work with a company like ours who will take care of everything from permitting, design, installation, financing and more!

If you have any questions about how we get started on this project together please don’t hesitate to reach out! We’re looking forward to hearing from you soon!

RCT

We own and operate multiple camping and RV Trailer site. Its our passion to see the world thru camping and traveling. There is no bigger pleasure for us then to share with you our readers our experience in RV Travels and Camping.

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