Components of a solar panel Kit (Photo credit: Amazon)

A road trip to a remote area is one of the best ways to unwind and take a break from daily hustles and bustles. This is great for both physical and mental health. While doing this, it is still important to keep in touch with the rest of the world. In fact, you still need essential communication devices to stay functional like your GPS and smartphones. Having the best RV solar kit will give you the privilege to do that without relying on crowded camping grounds with noisy gas generators. 

While installing a solar kit on your RV is a sustainable way of having backup electricity, finding the right one can be really challenging. From knowing the wattage that is right for you to finding a durable and reliable product, the large number of options on the market can make things a little more complicated. We sieved through the large pile of products to bring you the best RV solar kit as well as what to look out for when making your choice. 

Review of the Best RV Solar Kit

RV solar panels work just like the ones for homes. However, in this case, rather than powering your appliances, they charge your RV battery. Also, you can get additional batteries for the solar panel to charge thereby expanding the amount of electricity available to you. Today, solar panel kits are customized to suit different RVs with varying power requirements. Whether you need backup electricity or want to power key appliances, there is an option for you. Without further chitchats, here is our list. 

Renogy 100W Solar Starter Kit – Best overall

Key Features

  • 30A PWM charge controller
  • Mounting Z bracket
  • 21% efficiency
  • Corrosion-resistant aluminum frame
  • Weight: 19.84 pounds

If you are just getting into the solar system for RV, the Renogy 100W solar starter kit will be a great starting point. It comes with all the necessary accessories for immediate setup and use. This includes an upgraded 30A PWM negative ground charge controller. With this charge controller, you can add more panels in the future up to 400W. The negative grounding of the charge controller prevents overloading, short circuit, and overcharging or discharging. 

The monocrystalline panel has a cell efficiency of 21% which is among the highest in the industry. According to the manufacturers, this will be able to charge a 50Ah battery from 50% to 100% in just 3 hours (on a bright sunny day). When you purchase this product, you will also get solar panel connectors, 8ft 10AWG tray cable, and mounting Z brackets. The corrosion-resistant aluminum frame ensures extended outdoor use. 

In terms of pricing, this product is relatively affordable—but it is not without a few flaws. Firstly, there have been multiple complaints about the reliability of the charge controller. Perhaps, you should consider replacing it entirely with a more reliable MPPT charge controller. Also, a large number of the Renogy 100W RV solar panel kits reviews show that customer service is sometimes an issue with Renogy. Nevertheless, this is still one of the best RV solar kits for entry-level campers. 

Pros

  • Comes with all the mounting accessories
  • High efficiency monocrystalline solar panel
  • Upgradable to 400W
  • Fair pricing

Cons

  • Durability of the charge controller is questionable
  • Renogy has poor customer service

HQST 200W Solar Panel Kit – Best campervan solar panel kit

Key Features

  • 30A PWM LCD solar charge controller
  • Mounting Z brackets
  • Corrosion-resistant aluminum frame
  • IP65 rated junction box
  • Weight: 35 pounds

This RV solar kit comes with two solar panels of 100 watts each. Compared to the other 100W mono panels, this one uses more cells. Also, the presence of bypass diodes minimizes power drop caused by shading to ensure high performance in a low-light environment. Another impressive inclusion in this kit is the 30A PWM solar charge controller with an LCD display. This allows you to keep your RV battery always charged. 

It has a durable corrosion-resistant aluminum frame that allows you to use your solar panels outdoor for an extended period of time. Also, it has an IP65 rated junction box that provides complete protection from environmental particles and low-pressure water jets. The combination of pre-drilled holes on the back of the panel, 2 sets of mounting Z bracket, and included battery connector cables makes mounting easy. 

This RV solar kit is compatible with all battery types including sealed, AGM, Gel, and flooded. Considering that you will get two solar panels, the price is relatively affordable. Sadly, there is no instruction and you would have to figure everything out yourself. There have been few reports of durability issues. However, the majority of HQST 200W RV solar panels reviews have been positive. When mounting on the roof, make sure you use a sealant. 

Pros

  • Water-resistant junction box and aluminum frame for high durability
  • Durable 30A PWM charge controller
  • Compatible with RV battery
  • Easy to mount
  • Fairly affordable

Cons

  • Poor instruction
  • Durability is questionable

DOKIO 220W Solar Panel Kit – Best portable folding monocrystalline panel

Key Features

  • 10 amp charge controller
  • Carrying bag with handle
  • Corrosion-resistant aluminum frame
  • Dual USB ports
  • Weight: 9 pounds

Not everyone feels comfortable boring holes on the roof of their RVs. If you fall within this category, you can use folding monocrystalline panels as a substitute. DOKIO 220 watts is one of the best in this regard. The panel is protected within a thick fabric with a carrying handle. In addition to offering protection to the panels, its lightweight also makes transportation easy. It can help you to charge your car batteries during emergencies. 

Although it is smaller than traditional panels, the use of high-efficiency monocrystalline solar cells gives it greater efficiency. It has an inbuilt smart 4-stage PWM solar charge controller. The use of varying stages of charging increases battery life and improves system performance. Arguably the most impressive feature of this solar kit is the inclusion of 5V 2A USB ports for charging your smart devices straight from the panel. 

DOKIO 220W is affordable. It is compatible with all lead/acid type batteries making it suitable for your RV battery. DOKIO seems to have responsive customer service. However, one of its biggest flaws is its inbuilt 10amp charge controller. You may have to replace this after a few weeks of use. Also, without support, tilting this towards the sun can be a huge challenge. Regardless of the seeming setbacks, it is a portable and reliable product. 

Pros

  • Foldable and lightweight makes transportation easy
  • High-efficiency monocrystalline panels
  • Offers dual USB-A charging ports
  • Moderate pricing

Cons

  • Inbuilt charge controller is questionable
  • Tilting towards the sun can be difficult

WEIZE 100W Solar Panel Starter Kit – Most efficient solar RV kits

Key Features

  • 21% efficiency
  • Anodized aluminum frames
  • 10A PWM charge controller
  • Includes set of mounting brackets
  • Weight: 15.9 pounds

Monocrystalline solar panels are usually more efficient than polycrystalline. Weize 100 watts solar panel takes it to another level by being 21% more efficient than polycrystalline panels. The higher efficiency makes it suitable for RVs. Features such as anodized aluminum frames, sealed junction box, and tampered glass give this product heightened durability for outdoor use. In summary, this unit is weatherproof and has superior outdoor performance. 

This solar kit comes with a solitary solar panel that is capable of generating 5.3 amp power for charging a 12V RV battery. It comes with all the accessories you need to get started including a 10A charge controller. The charge controller functions as a voltage and current regulator that protects your battery from overcharging. Perhaps, it will interest you to know that this is one of the most affordable RV solar kits on the market. 

Weize 100W solar panel starter kit has its own challenges too. Firstly, if the charge controller doesn’t arrive dead, it will probably give up within a few weeks of use. Your best bet to enjoying this product would be replacing the charge controller upon arrival. There are a couple of reviewers that claim shading on the panels can lower the output of the panel. Nevertheless, this product strikes a balance between price and performance. 

Pros

  • High efficiency of up to 21%
  • Easy to mount
  • Built tough for extended durability
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Charge controller is unreliable
  • Power output from the panel is questionable

Renogy 400W Monocrystalline Solar Starter Kit – Best 400-watt solar panel

Key Features

  • 30A PWM charge controller
  • High solar cell efficiency (21%)
  • 8ft 10AWG Tray cable
  • 4 solar panels
  • Weight: 73 pounds

When it comes to the best 400-watt solar panel, Renogy 400W monocrystalline solar starter kit is hard to beat. It is most suitable for travel trailers or bigger RVs. The monocrystalline solar cells have an efficiency of 21%. In fact, with this kit, you can charge a 200Ah battery on a sunny day from 50% to 100% in just 3 hours. What is more interesting is that this kit comes with all the accessories for mounting so that you can get to work immediately.

The charge controller has negative grounding with battery reversed which prevents overloading, short circuit, and overcharging or discharging. This gives it a broader off-grid safety and application. While the upgraded Renogy Wanderer 30A PWM charge controller is designed to handle 400W, it may be a nice idea to replace it with a more reliable controller. Other impressive inclusions are a pair of Renogy branded 20ft 10AWG adaptor kits and 8ft 10AWG tray cables. 

Inasmuch as Renogy is a reputable company when it comes to solar power, this product has a few flaws that you should pay attention to. Firstly, the charge controller has garnered lots of negative reviews. Lots of customers complain that it failed after a short use—and can cause irreversible harm to your battery. Also, this product appears to be overpriced. Besides this, you will definitely enjoy this product. 

Pros

  • Comes with Z bracket mounting accessories
  • Offers upgraded 30A PWM solar charge controller
  • Solar panel has high efficiency
  • Compatible with all battery types

Cons

  • Charge controller is potentially problematic
  • Extremely expensive

HQST 400W Solar Panel Kit – RV solar kit with the best charge controller

Key Features

  • 40A MPPT charge controller
  • Separate LCD display for charge controller
  • Mounting Z bracket
  • IP65 rated junction box
  • 4x monocrystalline solar panels
  • 20ft 10AWG cable
  • Weight: 65 pounds

It is easy to see that the solar charge controller plays a pivotal role in a solar system. Therefore, if you want to buy the best RV solar kit based on a charge controller, one of the products that should catch your admiration is HQST 400 watts. Firstly, it is cheaper than Renogy 400 watts and comes with a 40A MPPT charge controller. The advanced MPPT charge controller is proven to be better than the PWM charge controller. You can attach an LCD screen to the charge controller for real-time monitoring of battery status. 

This RV solar kit is suitable for both 12 and 24 volts arrays. In terms of durability, this RV solar kit was built tough. It features a corrosion-resistant aluminum frame for extended outdoor use. In addition to that, the junction box has an IP65 rating for total protection from low-pressure water jets and environmental particles. Unlike most RV solar kits, this unit is compatible with Li-ion batteries. 

What might actually seem like a source of concern with this product is the fact that the LCD for the MPPT tends to become foggy in a cool, damp environment which may affect the integrity of the product over time. Also, the parts are shipped separately which can lead to unnecessary delays in setting up your RV. So, if you are planning for an off-grid camping experience, you need to plan your purchase well ahead of time. 

Pros

  • Upgraded 40A MPPT charge controller
  • Compatible with Li-ion battery
  • High-grade aluminum frame for better durability
  • Junction box has a high waterproof rating

Cons

  • Dampening of the LCD monitor may lead to damage
  • Parts are shipped separately leading to unnecessary delay

WindyNation 100W Solar Panel – Best solar panel with battery

Key Features

  • 1x monocrystalline solar panel
  • AGM Deep Cycle battery
  • 30A user-adjustable charge controller
  • Necessary hardware for mounting
  • Weight: 93 pounds

Perhaps, your RV battery is dead and you want to replace it with a solar kit. WindyNation 100W is one of the best RV solar kits in this regard. It comes with 100Ah AGM deep cycle battery. To protect your battery, the kit also comes with a 30A solar charge controller. This controller has an LCD screen for real-time monitoring of the battery condition. It also has a battery temperature sensor to keep your battery from overheating. 

This kit is estimated to produce up to 350-watt hour or 33A daily (depending on sunlight availability). Thanks to the charge controller, this kit is expandable. It allows you to add more solar panels or batteries in the future. This is because the charge controller has user-adjustable settings. With WindyNation 100W solar panel kit, you will get all you need for easy mount. 

Judging by what you will get with this RV solar kit, it is safe to say that it is affordable. While this is a great product, you may need to purchase additional components to be able to set it up. Also, it may lead to hiring an expert to check it out—and that will cost you more money. That can put a strain on your budget. There are also a few cases where the included battery was dead on arrival. If you can overlook the flaws, you definitely have one of the best RV solar kits to get going. 

Pros

  • Comes with AGM deep cycle battery
  • Quality 30A solar charge controller
  • Charge controller has a temperature sensor
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Not a complete kit
  • You may need to spend more on accessories

ACOPOWER 500W Solar RV Kits – Best polycrystalline RV Solar Kits

Key Features

  • 5x polycrystalline panels
  • 40A MPPT charge controller
  • Mounting brackets
  • 25-year transferable power output warranty
  • Weight: 17.6 pounds

Unlike most of the RV solar kits on our list, this one comes with polycrystalline solar panels. Thus, you will get 5x 100 watts polycrystalline panels which can be connected in series or in parallel using branch connectors. Another impressive feature of this campervan solar panel kit is the included 40A MPPT charge controller. This smart controller automatically detects the voltages of 12V and 24V DC systems. It has a high tracking efficiency of up to 99.5%. 

The charge controller has user-adjustable settings. You can program the controller for battery types, load control, and so on. It is compatible with all types of batteries including Lithium batteries. In terms of mounting, this product comes with all the hardware you will need for a successful mount. The icing on this unit is the 25-year transferable power output warranty. For the other components of the kit, you will get a 1-year warranty. 

Unlike other products, this one offers 1 pair of 30ft 12AWG cable (for connecting PV to charge controller) and 1 pair of 8AWG tray cable (for connecting charge controller to the battery). On the downside, polycrystalline panels are not as efficient as monocrystalline panels. Thus, take up more space to achieve the same efficiency as monocrystalline panels of the same wattage. The price is not also as friendly as most of the competitors. Ignore the shortfalls and you have a product that will outlast the price. 

Pros

  • Up to 25-year warranty on power output
  • Superior 40A MPPT charge controller
  • Compatible with all battery types
  • Comes with longer connecting cables

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Polycrystalline panels are not as efficient as monocrystalline

WindyNation 400W Solar Panel Kit – Best Camper RV solar panel kit

Key Features

  • 4x 400 watts solar panels
  • 4x AGM battery bank
  • 1500 watts VertaMax Power Inverter
  • 30A PWM solar charge controller
  • Weight: not indicated

Planning to set up your camper RV with a solar panel kit? WindyNation 400W solar panel kit is your best bet in this regard. It comes with four solar panels, each delivering 400 watts of power. This massive power is stored in a 4x 400Ah battery giving you access to an enormous amount of backup power. This unit comes with 40 feet 12AWG solar cables for connection. Another important inclusion is the 30A PWM solar charge controller. 

With this RV solar kit, you will be able to set up your travel trailer for an off-grid experience. Besides charging your RV battery, you can set up a system where other RV appliances can draw power from the battery bank rather than the car battery. This allows you to use all the basic home appliances in your RV without having to worry about running down your battery and getting trapped in a jungle. 

Inasmuch as it is cheaper to buy a solar kit, this product is definitely not for beginners or those on a low budget. Sadly, you may still need to spend more on cables and setup. Also, you may need to change the PWM charge controller for a more reliable MPPT controller. Nonetheless, the biggest advantage is that it allows for expansion when needed. 

Pros

  • Offers 4 battery banks
  • Huge 400 watts panel for better charging
  • Comes with a 30A PWM charge controller
  • Included inverter for using RV appliances

Cons

  • PWM charge controller is not reliable
  • Pricey for budget buyers
  • Not suitable for beginners

SereneLife 100W Solar Panel Starter Kit – Best budget

Key Features

  • 1x monocrystalline panel
  • IP67 marine-grade waterproof
  • 30A PWM charge controller
  • Mounting brackets and accessories
  • Weight: 24.4

When your choice of RV solar kit goes down to price, this is one of the best products you should consider. This simple solar kit comes with 1 monocrystalline solar panel that delivers 100 watts of power. It is capable of generating 33.4Ah or 400Wh of electricity per day. The 30A PWM controller has an LCD screen where you can switch between various interfaces or adjust your charging parameters. 

Arguably the most impressive feature of this RV solar kit is the IP67 marine-grade waterproofing. Pair this with the anodized aluminum frame and you will have a durable outdoor solar panel that will pay its cost over time. Like all other products, this panel comes with pre-drilled holes at the back of the panel for easy mounting. From mounting brackets to 20ft 11AWG sheathed cable, you will get virtually all you need to set up your kit. 

While a 30A charge controller is more than sufficient for a 100 watts solar panel, PWM controllers are less reliable and becoming obsolete. Also, customer support is usually a major source of concern for most companies—particularly the less popular ones. However, this unit has glowing reviews that should convince you to give it a shot. 

Pros

  • High efficiency monocrystalline solar panel
  • Marine-grade waterproofing helps to extend the lifespan
  • Comes with all mounting accessories
  • Highly affordable

Cons

  • PWM charge controller is not as reliable as MPPT controller
  • Customer support can be a major challenge

Buying Guide for the Best RV Solar Kit

Investing in RV solar kit can be a great way to cut down the cost of purchasing the individual components separately. However, you have to make sure the kit is capable of running all the appliances on your RV. There are so many more factors that you need to consider. If for any reason you choose to make your own search, the factors below will help you to make a good choice. 

RV energy requirement

The average daily energy consumption of most RV campers is 20 kilowatt-hours. Therefore, the first thing that you need to consider when choosing an RV solar kit is the power consumption of your RV. Calculate the capacity of your battery and choose a solar kit with the right amount of panels to effectively charge your panel.

Mounting 

The amount of space on your roof is another important factor that will help you to choose the right solar kit. If you don’t have enough installation space, consider getting a foldable solar panel which you can store safely in your RV when not in use. If you are going to mount your solar panel on the roof, make sure it has all the necessary mounting hardware.

Charge controller

Solar charge controllers play an important role in a solar system. They control how the power from the PV cells gets to the battery. There are two types of charge controllers namely PWM and MPPT. The newer MPPT technology is preferred in terms of power management to the PWM technology. However, it is usually more expensive. 

Type of solar panel

Most RV solar kits incorporate either monocrystalline or polycrystalline panels. While monocrystalline panels are usually more efficient, they are also more expensive. Polycrystalline panels are usually less expensive but bulkier. You need to weigh the options and find the balance depending on your available RV space. 

Weight

The weight of the solar panel is crucial. You don’t want to get a solar kit that will be heavier than what your roof can handle. This may lead to the collapse of your roof. 

Warranty

It is always a smart idea to choose a product with a longer warranty. This can save you lots of headaches as well as help you to get the most value for your money. 

Battery compatibility

Some kits work with only certain battery types. If you already have dedicated batteries in your RV, make sure you get a compatible solar kit. 

Benefits of choosing the best RV solar kit

The benefits of using an RV solar kit are enormous. Firstly, it is a noble act of protecting the environment. It takes away the noise and air pollution of diesel generators and helps you to reduce your carbon footprint. Other benefits include;

1. Low maintenance: once installed, the only maintenance that you need is occasional cleaning the surface of the panels. The absence of moving parts means less wear and longer duration. 

2. Cut spending on energy: besides the initial investment, you don’t have to pay any more money to keep your energy running. If you are using a diesel generator, for example, you will need to spend regularly on diesel. 

3. Protect battery life: solar kits can protect the life of your battery by keeping it charged all the time. Manufacturers always advise that you charge your battery at least once every three months. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How many watts of solar do I need for my RV?

The number of watts you will need for your RV will depend on the size of your battery. For example, for a single 12V battery with 100 Ah, you will need a minimum of 300 watts. However, that number will jump to 400 watts if you are using two 12V batteries with about 200 to 250 Ah. 

  • How many solar panels do I need to run an RV refrigerator?

An RV can consume as much as 2 kW at peak load. However, if all other major appliances are turned off, the refrigerator can consume as much as 500 watts. Therefore, to maintain the power at all times, you will need 12 solar panels. 

  • Are solar panels for an RV worth it?

While solar panels for an RV are not compulsory, they have lots of benefits—especially if you are planning to go off-grid. In fact, caravanning will never feel the same without solar panels for RV. 

  • What is the highest wattage of solar panels for RV?

The highest wattage you will get from the best solar panels for RV use is 100 watts. You will get this mostly from solar panels with high efficiency or power output. Monocrystalline solar panels that fall under this category usually have a conversion rate of about 21%. 

  • Can you run an RV air conditioner with solar power?

It is actually possible to run an RV air conditioner with solar panels. However, to achieve this, you may need to upgrade to an electrical system and have a large number of solar panels. 

Conclusion

Renogy, WindyNation, and Goal Zero are the top three brands when it comes to solar energy. However, there are other less popular brands which we featured on this list because of their impeccable quality. One thing is obvious, when choosing the best RV solar kit, keep an open mind and embrace new brands. Some of them outperform their reputation. Rather than focusing on the brand, follow our buying guide and you will never go wrong. 

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