10 Best RV Solar Panels Of 2020 | Popular Brands

10 Best RV Solar Panels Of 2020 | Popular Brands

Last Updated on September 10, 2020 by Tanmay Sarkar

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In the beginning, I should tell you that solar energy is not really free as there is a cost to pay for the solar kit. Although after that you do not have to pay for the energy.

Another thing is that the solar panels do not replace your RV battery as they are only another way to charge them, such as a generator or off-grid power would do.

Solar panels come in rescue when you are camping off-grid and you need an additional way to charge up your battery to save fuel. Many RV owners are going solar due to its added benefits.

let’s find a suitable solar panel kit for your next RV adventure!

Contents

1. Renogy 100 Watts 12 Volts Monocrystalline Solar Starter Kit

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Specification

WebsiteVisit
BrandRenogy
Model NumberKIT-STARTER-100D
Dimensions47.01 x 1.5 x 20.87 inches
Weight19.4 pounds

Review

#1 on our list is the Renogy 100 Watts 12 Volts Monocrystalline Solar Starter Kit from the brand Renogy. Its ideal output is 500Wh per day which is sufficient for an average family.

The unit can charge a 50Ah battery from 50% to 100% in 3 hours of that will also depend upon the availability of sunlight. It has a monocrystalline solar cell with an efficiency of 21%.

The frames are made up of aluminum which is ideal for outdoor activities as they are corrosion resistant. If you need to upgrade your power needs then you can use the Renogy wanderer 30A PWM charge controller. This will increase your wattage up to 400W.

The optimum operating current (Imp) is around 5.29A. The unit is equipped with a negative ground controller with battery reversed besides overloading, short circuit, and overcharging and discharging protection. it is safe and protects your appliances too.

The package includes a 100W solar panel, 30A PWM negative ground charge controller, MC4 connectors, 8ft 10AWG tray cable, and mounting Z bracket for your RV.

You get independence from grid dependence and power generation is quiet and eco friendly.

This product is lightweight, easy to install, have good technical support, and got good customer reviews with some complaint.

Customers Reviews By Features

Customers who brought this product gave good reviews about it on these criteria: Lightweight, Easy to install, Tech support and Warmth.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Can add up to 400W
  • You can run many appliances
  • Weather-resistant
  • Highly efficient
  • Easy to install
  • Good technical support
Cons
  • A bit costly

2. HQST 100 Watt 12 Volt Polycrystalline Solar Panel with MC4 Connectors

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Specification

BrandHQST
WebsiteVisit
Model NumberHQST-100Dx2
Dimensions47 x 21 x 3 inches
Weight33 pounds
Maximum power at STC100W
Max System Voltage600V DC (UL)
Optimum Operating Voltage (Vmp)18.2V
Optimum Operating Current (Imp)5.50A
Open-Circuit Voltage (Voc)21.4V
Short Circuit Current (Isc)5.70A

Review

This solar panel kit from HQST is easy to install, sturdy, good value for money, and made up of good quality material.

The product is highly efficient due to the bypass diodes which minimize the drop caused by the shade. It can perform well in even low light conditions. This is great as you can have the peace of mind about your power needs.

The unit is reliable and waterproof as it is anti-reflective, high transparency, low iron tempered glass with enhanced stiffness and impact resistant. The product is made from good strong material as it can withstand high winds up to 2400 Pa and snow loads up to 5400 Pa.

The manufacturer makes sure that the unit is EL tested solar modules with no hot spot heating guaranteed. Further, the advanced encapsulation material is used with multilayered sheet lamination to enhance cell performance. It guarantees a long service life.

The frame is made up of aluminum, a material known for its anti-corrosion properties. The manufacturer has included an IP65 rated junction box that protects the unit against dust and low-pressure water jets.

Installing this solar panel kit is easy with pre-drilled holes on the backside of the panel. You can easily mount it with different types of mounting systems such as pole mounts, tilt mounts, and with Z-brackets.

Customers Reviews By Features

Customers who brought this product gave good reviews about it on these criteria: Easy to install, Sturdiness, Value for money, and Quality of material.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Waterproof and reliable
  • Easy installation
  • Different mounting platforms available
  • Corrosion-resistant
  • Can rest strong winds and heavy snow load
Cons
  • A bit heavier

3. Newpowa 2 Piece 100W Polycrystalline Photovoltaic PV Solar Panel Module

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Specification

BrandNewpowa
WebsiteVisit
Model Number2pcs NPA100-12H
Weight19.62 pounds
Dimensions35.83 x 26.57 x 2.4 inches

Review

#3 in our list is the Newpowa 2-piece 100 watts polycrystalline solar panel it is one of the best performing solar panels in the industry today.

The manufacturer has used high-performance cells that are encapsulated in EVA (ethylene-vinyl acetate). These cells are placed between high transparent low iron tempered glass and a durable TPT back sheet. TPT stands for Tedlar-polyester-Tedlar.

The panels are durable and corrosion resistant as heavy-duty anodized aluminum frames have been used to support the cells. Great for outdoor use and the product is resistant toward vibrations and shock produced by RV. The unit can resist high winds up to 2400PA and snow loads up to 5400PA.

The panels are compact and smaller in size without affecting the power output. It has higher cell efficiency when compared to other products.

The unit has a max power of 100W Voltage at Pmax (Vmp) and 17.0v current at Pmax (Imp): 5.89A.

The company gives 25 years of transferable power output warranty and the diodes needed for the installation are pre-installed in the junction box with a pre-attached 3ft MC4 cable.

Customers Reviews By Features

Customers who had earlier brought this product have given good reviews about the product on these criteria: thickness, sheerness, easy to install, and value for money.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • High-performance solar panel
  • Durable
  • Can handle heavy load
  • Easy to install
  • Can resist high winds and snow loads
Cons
  • Quality of junction box is low

4. ACOPOWER 100W Portable Solar Panel Kit

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Specification

BrandACOPOWER
WebsiteVisit
Model NumberHY-PTK-100
Dimensions28.5 x 22.9 x 4.1 inches
Weight25.5 pounds

Reviews

This solar panel kit comes with many features that will solve many problems. First, it is very portable as it has two 50 watts of solar panels which can be taken anywhere with comfort.

The case design used in manufacturing gives additional support to easy transportation and also keeps them safe when in storage.

This product comes with battery and generator ready as you have 3 different choices.

  1. You can build a charge controller which makes it ready for a 12V battery.
  2. You can charge a 12V RV battery and a solar generator simultaneously.
  3. Lastly, you will need an MC4 connector design for a solar generator.

This unit is IP67 waterproof (IP67 means it can work in water) which is a big relief for an RV owner. The charge controller which is on the back is also waterproof.

If your power needs exceed demand, then you can expand it up to a 200W solar system for that 20A charge controller is pre-set. If you need any assistance you can contact the technical team of ACOPOWER through the link given above.

The panels frame is made up of aluminum which gives it corrosion-free properties.

The set-up is easy as there are pre-installed stand and the MC4 connectors or an Anderson plug can connect it to the RV battery.

Customers Reviews By Features

The solar panel kit got great customer reviews for features such as Weatherproof, Charging power, Sturdiness, and Value for money.

How to install

  1. First, connect the alligator clamps to a 12V battery.
  2. Now look for the 2 LED lights to glow
  3. After that, face the solar panels toward the sun
  4. Keep the battery connected, it will start charging

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Compact solar panels
  • Easy installation
  • Can be used in a wide range of applications
  • Portable
  • Protective suitcase make it safe and easy to transport
Cons
  • Can be upgraded up to 200W only

5. WindyNation 100 Watt Solar Panel Off-Grid RV Boat Kit

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Specification

BrandWindy Nation
WebsiteVisit
Model NumberSOK-100WP-P30L
Weight19 pounds
Dimensions40 x 1.38 x 26.4 inches

Review

A product from Windy Nation, quite a good name among solar panel kit brands. This unit is designed for use in RV, homes, boats, and others.

Depending upon the availability of sunlight the kit can provide on an average 350 Watt per hour or 33 Amp hours of charge per day.

In the future, if you have to add up more solar power that is possible by adding up to 4 pieces 100W solar panel of 12-volt system and 8 pieces 100W solar panels of 24-volt system. For that, the charge controller already comes with preset settings.

A 100-watt solar kit will provide you with 100 watts of clean and renewable electricity.

You can adjust the setting from the charge controller and the LCD will show you the amperage, voltage, amp-hours, temperature, and DC load draw.

The kit includes one 100 watts solar panel, 30 Amp P30L LCD solar charger with a battery temperature sensor, 40 feet UL 12 AWG solar cable, connectors, mounting hardware, and an installation manual.

Customers Reviews By Features

This product got good reviews by the customers for features such as Value for money, Easy to install, and Easy to use.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Can be upgraded up to 400 watts for 12 volts system and 800 watts for a 24-volt system
  • Can be used for RV, cabins, and others
  • Charge controller gives you freedom of setting of your choice
Cons
  • The quality of panels is a bit low compared to its price

6. Renogy 100 Watt 12 Volt Extremely Flexible Monocrystalline Solar Panel

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Specification

BrandRenogy
WebsiteVisit
Model NumberRNG-100DB-H
Dimensions47.9 x 21 x 0.08 inches
Weight4 pounds
Max System Voltage600 VDC
Optimum Operating Voltage18.9v
Optimum Operating Current5.29A
Open Circuit Voltage22.5V
Short Circuit Current5.75A
Operating Temperature-40 degrees F to 194 degrees F

Review

The first thing that comes in mind after seeing this solar panel is the word “amazing”! This solar panel can be mounted on any curved surface where regular solar panels would not fix, generally. The solar panel is capable of flexing up to 24 degrees.

Places such as the curved roof of the Airstream and many other travel trailers also have a curved roof. The manufacturers have used advanced polymer materials which makes it ultra-lightweight. This is good for easy transportation and keeping the RV weight under control.

This solar panel weighs 70% less than that of a standard solar panel. The lamination on the panel is so thin that it is hardly noticeable. Panel thickness is 1/10th of an inch.

But do not think that it is not durable enough as the product has gone through rigorous testing. It can withstand high winds up to 2400 PA and snow loads up to 5400 PA. That is what a regular solar panel can resist easily.

The IP68 junction box is complexly waterproof and suitable for outdoor activities.

You can easily use it for any off-grid applications such as RV, cabins, and boats.

Customers Reviews By Features

This product got good customer review for criteria such as Lightweight, Durability, and Value for money.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Extremely flexible up to 248 degrees
  • Durable
  • Extremely lightweight up to 70% less than regular panels
Cons
  • Sharp edges

7. SOLPERK 20W Solar Panel

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Specification

BrandSOLPERK
Dimensions18.1 x 13.8 x 1 inches
Weight6.84 pounds
Max Power20W
Max Power Current1.11A
Max Power Voltage18V
Operating Voltage12V
Open Circuit Voltage21.6V
Short Circuit Current1.19A

Review

This solar panel kit is for your small power needs. It is a highly efficient solar panel that works fine to charge a battery.

This is solar kit can charge the battery and will do the maintenance too. It can maintain different types of batteries such as Wet, Gel, AGM, MF, and EFB. Suitable for use for RV, cabins, boats, and others.

The good thing about this product is that it is equipped with an intelligent three-level charging mode, chip intelligent management charging, and complete protection of the battery.

It also protects the battery from short circuit, open circuit protection, reverse protection, overload protection, under-voltage protection, and overcharge protection. It helps to extend the life of the battery.

The kit is lightweight and compact, suitable for easy transportation. It is easy to install the solar panels and some brackets can be adjusted for angles that will allow better reception of sunlight.

The frames are of aluminum and the kit is rainproof ad windproof. There is also one year warranty and lifetime technical support available.

Customers Reviews By Features

This product got good ratings from the customer for the criteria such as Weatherproof, Easy to use, Durability, and Water resistance.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Highly efficient
  • Charges as well as maintains the battery
  • Fully automatic charging and maintenance
  • Easy to install and adjust
Cons
  • Not for heavy power use

8. Go Power! GP-PSK-130 130W Portable Folding Solar Kit

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Specification

BrandGo Power
WebsiteVisit
Model NumberGP-PSK-120
Weight28.7 pounds
Dimensions32.48 x 2.76 x 19.8 inches
Wattage120 watts

Review

This product from the manufacturer Go Power is an easy and quick solution for all your RV battery charging needs. A good performing solar panel kit for eco-friendly power needs.

It’s a 130-watt power and a 6.9 ampere DC per hour solar panel kit, comes with all the essential equipment needed for the installation. A charge controller is there from where you can control most of the settings.

The solar controller is 10 amperes with a rated current of 6.7A. You will also get a heavy-duty nylon carrying case which will keep the solar panels safe during transportation.

The adjustable folding legs give you freedom for max sunlight exposure. This kit can be used in RV, boats, and other outdoor activities.

Customers Reviews By Features

The customers who brought this product rated it well on these criteria: Easy to use, Value for money, Sturdiness.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • 130-watt power supply
  • Solar controller
  • Heavy-duty nylon carrying case
  • Easy installation
Cons
  • Costly

9. ACOPOWER UV11007GD 100W Foldable Solar Panel Kit

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Specification

BrandACOPOWER
WebsiteVisit
Model NumberHYS100-12MB
Dimensions25.4 x 19.9 x 2.9 inches
Weight25.5 pounds
Max Power2*50W
Max Power Voltage17.8V
Max Power Current2*1.81A
Open Circuit Voltage22.3V
Short Circuit Voltage2*3.03A
Max PV Input Voltage34V

Review

This solar panel kit is easy to set up and portable as the panels are foldable. You will get two 50W each solar panels with high-efficiency grade A monocrystalline solar panels with a 10A charge controller.

You can use it to charge a battery or a generator or both. MC-4 connectors will make it easy for you to connect the panels and battery. You can also add another solar panel of 40W to charge the battery faster with the MC-4 connector.

Corners of the panels are protected from damage done during setup by corner protectors. The kit contains 1 Anderson plug, 2 pairs of MC-4 connectors, 1 pair of alligator clips, a junction box with diode, handle, latches, fuse, suitcase, and two 50W solar panels.

The frames are made up of aluminum which makes the panel corrosion-resistant and lightweight. Set up is easy and convenient with pre-installed stands and you do not need separate mounting brackets.    

Customers Reviews By Features

The customers have given good reviews about the product for criteria such as Charging power, Quality of material, Easy to use, and Weatherproof.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Compact and foldable solar panels
  • Easy installation
  • Portable
  • Protective suitcase for easy and safe portability
Cons
  • Can only be extended up to 40 watts only

10. WindyNation Complete 400 Watt Solar Panel Kit

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Specification

BrandWindyNation
Model NumberSOK-400WPI-15
Weight100 pounds

Review

Depending on the availability of sunlight the kit will provide on an average 1600 watt-hours or 135 Amp hours of charge per day. The solar kit is designed for RVs, boats, remote power use, off-grid, and cabins.

It offers a complete solar solution as all the necessary component for proper installation is provided in the kit.

Customers Reviews By Features

This product got good reviews from the customers on criteria such as Tech Support, Value for money, and Easy to install.

Package Includes

  1. 4 pieces of 100-watt solar panel
  2. 30 amp P30L solar charge controller
  3. 40 feet of UL listed 12 AWG solar cable
  4. Connectors for wiring
  5. Solar mounting hardware
  6. 1500 watt (3000-watt surge) Vertamax DC to AC power inverter
  7. 2 pcs of 2 AWG battery cables for connecting the inverter to the 12V battery

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • All components are available in the kit
  • 1600 watt per hour
Cons
  • Installation is not easy

What is RV Solar Panel?

RV solar panel is a word used colloquially for photo-voltaic or PV modules. These cells are fitted into a frame to make panels. When these photo-voltaic cells are exposed to sunlight they generate DC electricity.

It’s a one-time investment as the panels keep working for a long time depending upon the maintenance and quality of the product. It provides energy from the sun besides lowering your dependence on fossil fuel.

You no longer will hear generator noise and your batteries will get charged. At first, it will cost you a bit more but later it will pay you slowly but steadily.

How Do RV Solar Panels Work?

Solar panels work by allowing photons or particles of light to knock out a free electron from the atom, which generates a flow of electricity. A solar panel is made up of many smaller units known as photovoltaic cells.

Photovoltaic cells are actually made up of two slices of semiconductor material usually silicon. For the photovoltaic cells to work it has to make an electric field.

During the manufacturing process, silicon is doped with other materials which give the two slices of positive and negative electric charge.

Power output depends upon the number of solar panels you fit on your RV.

The solar kit also has a charge controller which transmits power generated by the solar panels to the RV battery. The charge controller is useful to regulate the amount of charge reaching your battery as you can control it to avoid overcharging.

The electricity from the battery is DC or direct current whereas most of the devices and appliances running in your RV run on AC or alternating current. To change DC to AC you need an inverter.

What is a charge controller?

A charge controller is a device that controls the power entering the battery and protects both solar panel and battery from damage.

The power that is generated in the solar panel can be high or low to ensure that the battery does not get damaged during the process. It also ensures that many panels work as a single unit during power generation.

The solar kit also has a device called an inverter which converts DC to AC as most of the appliances on your RV run on AC.

A charge controller controls the charge coming from different power sources such as solar panel, generator, or shore power.

The best charge controller is equipped with “Pulse Width Modulation or PWM. It can regulate the speed and width of the pulses which charges the depleted battery sooner.

Important Factors to consider before purchasing an RV Solar Panel

All solar panels are not equal in power output, durability, efficiency, portability and the list goes on, that’s why their prices also vary. Let’s see some important criteria which you should see before buying a solar panel for your RV. It will make sure that it works fine and fulfill your power needs.

1. Efficiency

A highly efficient solar panel will do the work in less time or you can say in less exposure to sunlight it can generate a larger amount of power.

An efficient solar panel takes needs less space.  The efficiency of a solar panel is measured in percentage as the amount of sunlight that can be converted into electricity.

During your process of selection keep in mind about the power output this is also important as the amount of power depends upon the solar panel size and efficiency. So, if the efficiency is less then you would need a bigger panel for the same required power output.

The efficiency of a solar panel also depends upon the type of solar panel. Generally, the cheapest ones are less efficient than others.

Efficiency of different types of solar panels

TYPES OF SOLAR PANELSEFFICIENCY IN %
Amorphous solar panel7% to 10%
Polycrystalline solar panel15%
Mono-crystalline solar panel20%
Concentrated PV Cell or CVP41%
Efficiency of different types of solar panels

2. Solar Panel Wattage

Solar panel wattage is defined as the current that it can generate. A higher wattage solar panel will fulfill the power need of appliances on board. Higher the wattage, the faster the charge.

However, before buying a higher wattage solar panel you must look at the voltage that you may need as these solar panels are costly.

3. Geographical Location

How much power you can harvest from the solar panel will depend upon the exposure of sunlight. If you travel to places where sunlight is low then opt for a highly efficient solar panel as it can provide enough power.

Places such as the north of the country receive less sunlight where you may need an efficient solar panel. Climate is also important as during summers sunlight is more than the winters.

4. Portability

Portability is another factor that may play a major role. If you frequently go out for RVing then a compact and lightweight solar panel kit will be handy. During moving in and out they can get damaged.

Investing in the most portable unit will extend the life span of the product.

5. Durability

The durability of a product ensures that you have invested in a good product that will serve you for a long. Durability depends upon the quality and maintenance of the product.

Maintenance is on your hand and quality depends upon the manufacturers. We have tried our best to pick those solar panels kits that have sufficient and good customer reviews.

6. Dimensions

As we have said earlier that the size matters for the solar panel but you have to see whether or not you have sufficient space for the solar panel to get it installed.

Know the measurement of the roof before purchasing a unit as you may end up with the wrong size. The product has to compete with other devices on the roof such as AC and antenna. If you have space and budget then go for a large one as it will increase power supply.

7. Weatherproof

Solar panels for most of the time will remain outside. High winds, dust, and snow load are the possible reason for the damage. Look for the weatherproof product.

8. Expandability

Last but not the least point to consider is the expandability of the solar power. If in a year or two you need to upgrade, will the system is pre-ready for it. Most of the listed units have the ability to expand where you can attach new solar panels to increase the power output.

Types of solar panels

There are three types of solar panels available in the market today. Before buying you should look at the advantage and disadvantages of different types of solar panels. Let’s see what are they.

TYPES OF RV SOLAR PANELSADVANTAGESDISADVANTAGES
PolycrystallineLow costLower lifespan, Less efficient, Sensitive to high temperatures
MonocrystallineHigh-efficiency rate, Optimized for commercial use, Longer lifespan Costly
Thin-filmPortable, Flexible, Lightweight, Lower-costLowest efficiency and shorter lifespan
Concentrated PV CellVery high performance with higher efficiency rateSolar tracker and cooling system installed for higher efficiency

1. Polycrystalline

Polycrystalline solar panels or Poly-SI are the first generations of solar panels. These types of solar panels are easily recognized by their square panels and angles are not cut. It also has a blue and specked look.

Their price is low and also has lower efficiency. They tend to has a short lifespan because they are affected by hot temperatures.

2. Monocrystalline

These types of solar panels are made up of the purest form of monocrystalline silicon. They have a uniform dark look with rounded edges. The high purity of silicon make’s it highly efficient.

They have high power output, occupy less space, and life span is the longest among other types of solar panels. These types of solar panels are expensive because of the material used in it. Monocrystalline solar panels have a longer life span because they are less affected by high temperatures.

3. Thin-film or amorphous

These types of solar panels are made up of placing one or more films of photovoltaic material such as cadmium, silicon, or copper.

One of the less expensive options, coming from the second generation of solar panels. Although, they have some advantages such as flexibility and are less affected by high temperatures.

Disadvantages such as taking a lot of space and a shorter lifespan than mono and polycrystalline solar panels make them less desirable.

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