6 Best Solar Panels for RV of 2019

Among numerous power outsources for RVs, solar panels are arguably the most popular as it’s eco-friendly, clean, low-maintenance, and quite. Moreover, this source of power is ABSOLUTELY free.

If you’re serious about the consideration of choosing the best solar panels for RV, the list below might be what you’re after.

Here are the best solar panels for RV you can buy in 2019:

  • Best Overall: Renogy 100 Watts
  • Best Bang for the Buck: WindyNation 100 Watt
  • Top Rated: ACOPOWER 100W
  • Highly Weather-Resistant: HQST 100 Watt
  • Most Flexible: WindyNation 100W
  • High Energy Output: Renogy 400W

Best Overall: Renogy 100 Watts

Top Pick
Renogy 100 Watts
Renogy 100 Watts
9Outstanding
Pros
  • Very user-friendly: LCD screen, 5V 2A USB ports & user-adjustable settings

  • Can deal with different weather conditions, even snows, and winds

  • Can supply maximum voltage of 600V

Cons
  • The charge controller is low-end

  • Don’t have AWG markings on the cables, some research will be needed

I believe Renogy 100 Watts is an unbeatable RV solar panel currently on the market due to its phenomenal performance.

Made from premium aluminum – one of the most heavy-duty materials for RV solar panel systems nowadays, this Renogy is capable to deal with the changing weather conditions, even snow loads or heavy winds.

The unit also comes with other impressive features.

Such as the versatile charge controller to charge 12V, 24V, and 48V batteries; the compatibility to both on-grid and off-grid power inverters to supply maximum voltage of 600V; and the pre-installed diodes for easier installation.

My most favorite is the ideal output that can reach up to 500W/day. Accordingly, the solar panel system just takes around 3 hours to fully charge a 50Ah battery from 50%.

Renogy 100 Watts Specifications

Cell Type

Monocrystalline

Maximum Power

600V DC

Current at Pmax (Imp)

5.72A

Voltage at Pmax (Vmp)

17.9V

Ideal output

500Wh/day

Charger Controller Included

Renogy Wanderer 30A PWM Charge Controller

Dimensions

6.5 x 4.3 x 1.8 In.

Weight

19.84 pounds

Highlight Features

Integrated 5V 2A USB ports to charge USB devices
Backlit LCD screen, Temperature compensation
Smart 4 Stage PWM charging (Bulk, Boost, Float, and Equalization)

Verdict

With a reasonable price tag, great warranty, easy installation, heavy-duty components, and user-friendly construction, I bet you’ll find yourself smitten for the Renogy 100 Watts solar panels.

Best Bang for the Buck: WindyNation 100 Watt

WindyNation 100 Watt
WindyNation 100 Watt
9Outstanding
Pros
  • Can automatically adjust overcharge or over-discharge voltage to lengthen the battery’s lifespan

  • Versatile: Work for many other applications, like boats, homes, motorhomes, and cabins

  • Designed as a complete kit with a useful instruction for beginners

Cons
  • Lower watt-hour charge than other counterparts

For beginners, if you intend to try utilizing a complete solar panel kit on your rig, the WindyNation 100W is a particularly ideal choice to start with.

It comes with full basic components and in addition to some necessary mounting hardware, like fastener sets and mounting brackets while the price is miserly under $160. Besides, it can work for versatile applications, like cabins, homes, RVs, boats, and motorhomes.

You will also appreciate the LCD display PWM charge controller that allows you to utilize it for either remote or backup power. For those who don’t understand yet, it can handle with hassle-free 4pcs or 8pcs of 100W solar panels due to your preference of using a 12- or 24-volt system.

The best thing is WindyNation 100W auto-adjusts overcharge or over-discharge voltage thanks to the external temperature sensor, which means you can extend your battery’s lifespan.

WindyNation 100 Watt Specifications

Cell Type

Polycrystalline

Maximum Power

100W

Current at Pmax (Imp)

5.75A

Voltage at Pmax (Vmp)

13.8V

Ideal output

350Wh/day

Charger Controller Included

30-Amp (user adjustable) WindyNation P30L LCD Display Solar Charge Controller with Battery Temperature Sensor

Dimensions

40 x 1.4 x 26.4 inches

Weight

10.86 pounds

Highlight Features

Kit includes many accessories
Handle up to 4pcs 100W solar panels (12-volt system)
8pcs 100W solar panels (24-volt system)

Verdict

By including full essential gears and necessary mounting hardware, the WindyNation 100W is the most bang-for-bucks solar panel kit to outfit in your RV.

Top Rated: ACOPOWER 100W

ACOPOWER 100W
ACOPOWER 100W
9Outstanding
Pros
  • Battery and Generator Ready to charge multiple appliances at once

  • A protective case to secure the kit when storing

  • Can expand up to 200W

Cons
  • No complaints, I’m happy with this purchase

The off-grid ACOPOWER 100W is built with two 50-watt solar panels, meaning they are foldable and extremely portable to easily carry anywhere. A protective suitcase is also included to secure the kit while transport.

Like other good RV solar panel systems, this unit is constructed with an aluminum frame, IP67 waterproof materials, pre-installed stands, and versatile MC4 connectors.

What makes it outstanding is the Battery and Generator Ready with multiple choices thanks to the included alligator clasp. In other words, you can charge a 12V RV/Car/Boat/Trailer battery and a solar freezer/generator at once.

The ACOPOWER is also known for its capability to expand power up to 200W with minimal and fast setup.

ACOPOWER 100W Specifications

Cell Type

Monocrystalline

Maximum Power

200W

Current at Pmax (Imp)

6A

Voltage at Pmax (Vmp)

22.3V

Ideal output

Charger Controller Included

PWM Controllers

Dimensions

28.5 x 22.9 x 4.1 inches

Weight

25.6 pounds

Highlight Features

Battery and Generator Ready with three choices
Case design facilitates transportation and helps keep solar panel safe when storing
IP67 waterproof, expansible

Verdict

For those who are in need of a portable RV solar panel kit with weather-proof construction, ACOPOWER 100W will never let you down.

Highly Weather-Resistant: HQST 100 Watt

HQST 100 Watt
HQST 100 Watt
9Outstanding
Pros
  • Pre-drilled holes for quick mounting and securing

  • Innovative encapsulation component for superior cell performance & extended service life

  • Polycrystalline solar cells for extra protection

Cons
  • Connectors aren’t detachable

  • No mounting hardware

Out of variable weatherproof RV solar power systems, the HQST is the best.

While featuring an IP65 rated junction box to withstand low-pressure water jets, it can hold up well under 5400 Pa of snow loads and 2400 Pa of high winds. That’s a big thank you to the perfect combo of a corrosion-resistant aluminum frame and advanced encapsulation material.

This kind of material is very worth-considering as it’s crafted with multilayered sheet laminations for extended service life and superior cell performance.

But to talk about the biggest selling point, it must be the polycrystalline solar cells. They are crafted with tempered glass to excel the protection, which is a big bonus for an off-grid solar panel kit like this.

HQST 100 Watt Specifications

Cell Type

Polycrystalline

Maximum Power

100W

Current at Pmax (Imp)

5.50A

Voltage at Pmax (Vmp)

18.2V

Ideal output

500Wh/day

Charger Controller Included

No

Dimensions

35.6 x 25.9 x 1.4 inches

Weight

15 pounds

Highlight Features

Withstand high winds (2400 Pa), snow loads (5400 Pa)
IP65 rated, high module conversion efficiency
Advanced encapsulation material

Verdict

If you’re in a tight budget, the HQST 100W, with highest weather-resistant performance and versatility, will be the best bet.

Most Flexible: WindyNation 100W

WindyNation 100W
WindyNation 100W
9Outstanding
Pros
  • Give a maximum flex of 30 degrees to efficiently mount on curved surfaces with ease

  • Be the lightest product in this list for easier carry, storage, and transport

  • Super thin

Cons
  • Does not have ideal finish

The WindyNation 100W Bendable offers a solution to the current market that previous solar panel systems can’t do – setup in curved surfaces (boats, cabins, RVs, trailers, and carports). As maximum, it can be bent up to 30 degrees.

The unit also highlights a thin silhouette – only 0.1-inch-thick – that when installing above your RV, it can hide more easily on sight. The installation is accordingly easy as well. You only need to attach suction cups to the corners of the module and done.

What amazed me the most is its incredible lightness (3.18 pounds, even lighter than its competitor – the ALLPOWERS), making it the most valuable compact product in this industry.

WindyNation 100W Specifications

Cell Type

monocrystalline

Maximum Power

100W

Current at Pmax (Imp)

Voltage at Pmax (Vmp)

Ideal output

350 Watt Hours

Charger Controller Included

No

Dimensions

106.7 x 2.5 x 69.8 inches

Weight

3.18 pounds

Highlight Features

Flexed to a maximum of 30 degrees
Extremely lightweight and efficient, easy to mount

Verdict

The WindyNation 100W Bendable Solar Power System with emphasis on 30 degrees of flex is a top-rated option for those who want a product to install in curved surfaces.

High Energy Output: Renogy 400W

Renogy 400W
Renogy 400W
9Outstanding
Pros
  • Give a high-efficiency value of up to 18.4%

  • Perform decently even in low-light conditions

  • Advanced controller to handle 800W of power

  • Deliver 2000Wh per day – good for small consumption use while giving location independence

Cons
  • Not include an installation instruction

  • Not include a battery bank

This Renogy solar panel kit makes a great step up in its performance with the impressive 400W rating. For travelers who look to high energy output to power their rigs, this is a key selling point.

By using monocrystalline solar cells, it delivers the highest efficiency rating in this list – up to 18.4% that performs truly well even in sub-optimal, low-light conditions.

Rover MPPT charge controller is another big bonus when it’s arguably more efficient than the PWM models in terms of RV applications. This latest version is built to allow for battery compatibility and aesthetically clean flush mounting.

It can also handle up to 800W of power.

Renogy 400W Specifications

Cell Type

Monocrystalline

Maximum Power

800W

Current at Pmax (Imp)

5.70A

Voltage at Pmax (Vmp)

17.7V

Ideal output

2000Wh/day

Charger Controller Included

40A Rover MPPT charge controller

Dimensions

42.2 x 19.6 x 1.4 inches

Weight

88 pounds

Highlight Features

Advanced encapsulation material with multilayered sheet laminations
Corrosion-resistant aluminum frame, bypass diode

Verdict

For efficient high energy output, the Renogy 400W featuring four 100W monocrystalline panels is the best choice if that’s also what you’re searching for.

How To Choose A Good Solar Panels For RV?

Weight

  • This feature is particularly worth considering if you intend to install the solar panels on your RV’s roof as heavy models won’t last during snowfalls or hailstorms while the roof of your vehicle will be badly affected.

  • Ordinary RV solar panels generally weigh within 15 – 22 pounds. The lightest models currently on the market are flexible solar panels that weigh a mere 3 pounds. The heaviest that I’ve known is Renogy 400W but it’s the heavy-duty model designed for higher energy output.

Efficiency & Types of Solar Panels

  • The higher efficiency the solar panel, the better. Since the space on your RV is always limited, such solar power systems can maximize their output while taking really little space.

  • The efficiency is reflected in percentage (%) and it’s different among types of solar panels.

  • Up to now, there have been three: The amorphous, the polycrystalline, and the mono-crystalline. The third option currently gives the highest efficiency of 23% while the first is the lowest. In turns, remember the higher efficiency the type, the costlier.

Wattage cells

  • This indicator can be defined by the current that solar panels or every cell of theirs are capable of outputting. The higher the wattage cells, the better. It also leads to higher efficiency to safely run different electronics at once.

  • However, I don’t advise to choose the RV solar panels with the highest wattage cells because of the expensive price. You should rather go for a small system at first then, upgrade it gradually until fitting your demands the most.

Durability

  • As RV solar panels are usually off-grid, you should focus on their materials. At least, they should be weather-proof to handle the changing of different weathers, like downpours, snowfalls, and strong winds.

  • Meanwhile, it must be lightweight for easy transport. Accordingly, corrosion-free aluminum is the best options.

Which Brands Make The Best Solar Panels For RV?

Renogy

  • Out of many top-rated brands specialized in RV solar panels, Renogy gets my highest appreciation for the longest lifespan, durability, and heavy-duty components in their products. That means you’ve got a really good chance to continuously charge the RV batteries no matter the weather conditions.

WindyNation

  • In the DIY solar market, WindyNation is considered a reliable brand for people who want to eliminate completely the need to search and buy additional hardware for your solar power system. Moreover, their lines are vast to ensure meeting the deepest needs of yours

ACOPOWER

  • ACOPOWER products lead the market by their unique folding panel designs that are the most favorite of travelers or perpetual nomads.

HQST

  • Last but not least, is HQST – another well-known brand in the solar panel market. Like other competitors, their lines are diverse, from starting kits to marine solar panels but their best-sellers are the off-grid with highest weather resistance feature.

FAQs

Are solar panels for an RV worth it?

Solar panels are considered worthy for RV use for many reasons:

  • Require the energy-producing

  • Use natural, free power source -> eco-friendly, quiet operation, clean energy-producing, no fuel cost

  • High efficiency rating

  • Can be used efficiently even in cloudy areas

How many solar panels do I need to run an RV air conditioner?

To find out the exact number of solar panels you should buy to run your RV air conditioner, sizing is the most important step. Here is a full instruction about sizing solar panels to follow.

How does solar power work in an RV?

An RV solar power system relies on the sunlight hitting its panels to turn into an electric current and then, go into a charger controller and finally contain in the batteries.

But there, the produced electricity is in the form of DC power. It needs converting to AC power form for usage and that’s when the inverter comes into place.

Does RV battery charge driving?

There are two ways that allow you to charge RV batteries while driving:

Firstly, change to Anderson plugs to minimize the voltage loss while ensuring a huge amount of amp. This also lets the cable attach easily at the tow bar.

Secondly, organize the connections with the Voltage Controlled Relay where the replay is closed while paralleling the start and auxiliary batteries automatically. It means the RV batteries will be charged when the vehicle starts and disconnected when it turns off.

Which are better monocrystalline or polycrystalline solar panels?

Monocrystalline and polycrystalline are both crafted from crystalline silicon and each of them features specific strengths and weakness. To know which is better for your needs, look at this table:

Monocrystalline

Polycrystalline

Pros

Highest efficiency rates

More efficient in warm weather

Long lifespan

Require the least amount of space

Have a higher temperature co-efficient than monocrystalline

Have slightly lower heat tolerance than monocrystalline

Simpler and cost less producing process

Cons

The most expensive

Less aesthetically pleasing than monocrystalline

Lower space-efficiency

Not quite as efficient as monocrystalline

Conclusion

The most common drawback of RV solar panels is difficult setup but I’m glad that the list of best solar panels for RV above includes all the easiest models with specific pre-assembled parts.

This article is about to end but beforehand, I’d like to share one last note. Don’t ever mix a solar panel with one(s) from other different brands because the difference in electrical parameters can leave side effects on all of the panels.

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