Best RV Solar Kit: Top 9 Reviews and Buying Guide (2021)

Enjoying your vacation in an RV is the best way to take a break and detach yourself from the world. However, your fun might be interrupted as soon as you run out of fuel to …

best rv solar kit

Enjoying your vacation in an RV is the best way to take a break and detach yourself from the world. However, your fun might be interrupted as soon as you run out of fuel to power up your noisy generators.

Luckily, you can avoid all this hassle by opting for solar energy kits, which are a tremendously efficient solution to supply your batteries with clean, renewable, and quiet energy to stay off the grid for a longer time!

In today’s article, we’ll provide you with a complete guide to help you pick the best RV solar kit available out there!

The Verdict

While many of the products on the market are pretty decent, there aren’t many products that beat the Renogy 100 Watt Solar Starter Kit when it comes to how much value it offers for its price.

The kit is well-designed with exemplary monocrystalline panels efficiency and it comes with a charge controller as well as all other tools needed to transition to solar energy. 

WindyNation Solar Kit is a close runner-up because it uses a polycrystalline panel. However, it’s an excellent choice if you want to save up on the money without compromising heavily on quality.

Alternatively, if you’re on a tight budget and you’re looking for the most inexpensive yet functional kit to kickstart your green transition, you should consider the Topsolar Off-Grid RV Solar Panel kit

Top 9 RV Solar Kits Available on the Market

1. Renogy 100 Watt Solar Starter Kit with Rover MPPT Charge Controller

Let’s start with the Renogy Solar Starter Kit, which is one of the most popular solar kits for RVs on the market, and also our top overall recommendation 

What we like about this kit is that it offers a complete package for an excellent price, which makes it an excellent bang for the buck.

The kit is aimed at those who have never had a solar system before in their RVs. This one has a monocrystalline composition, which guarantees an unmatched level of efficiency, standing at 21%.

The package also includes a 40 Amp MPPT charge controller that utilizes advanced power tracking technology and an LCD display that can support up to 800 watts, so you can expand your solar network

Moreover, it comes with adapter kits, mounting brackets, and tray cables to make the installation process a breeze. 

The kit is also remarkably lightweight but durable, so you won’t have to worry about maneuverability issues.

Specifications

  • Power: 100 watts – 12 volts
  • Type: Monocrystalline
  • Efficiency: 21%
  • Structure: Rigid
  • Controller: 40 Amp Rover MPPT
  • Weight and Size: 26.5 lbs – 42.2 x 19.6 x 1.38 inches
  • Expandability: Up to 400 watts (12 volts) or 800 watts (24 volts)
  • Waterproof
  • Solar Panel Warranty: 25 years

Pros

  • Extremely efficient monocrystalline panels
  • Easy to install with all tools included
  • Durable construction with IP65 protection against elements

Cons

  • Doesn’t come with a battery

2. WindyNation 100 Watt Solar Panel Off-Grid RV Kit

WindyNation’s RV Solar Kit is another excellent solution if you’re a beginner who doesn’t want to spend too much money on solar panels. There’s also an option to buy the kit with a 100 Amp-hour battery

This one has a polycrystalline panel, which isn’t as efficient as the monocrystalline one in Renogy, but still decent enough to get the job done.

The mounting hardware on the solar kit is noticeably easy to use and makes the installation process easy. It also comes with a PWM solar charge controller with simple adjustable settings, so you won’t have to buy one separately.

The kit is available in both 12 and 24 watts and can be upgraded up to 400 or 800 watts, depending on your voltage.

The solar kit is easy to install thanks to the Y connectors and Z brackets that come with the package. 

A good tip while installing this kit is to check WindyNation’s website to download the manual, so you don’t run into installation issues.

Specifications

  • Power: 100 watts – 12 volts
  • Type: Polycrystalline
  • Efficiency: 16%
  • Structure: Rigid
  • Controller: 30 Amps PWM Solar Charge Controller
  • Weight and Size: 19 lbs – 40 x 1.38 x 26.4 inches
  • Expandability: Up to 400 watts (12 volts) or 800 watts (24 volts)
  • Solar Panel Warranty: 25 years

Pros

  • The full kit comes with its own 100 Amp-hour AGM Battery
  • Quite easy to install with a detailed manual
  • Allows you to upgrade your solar panels in the future

Cons

  • The cell efficiency is a bit low

3. ACOPOWER 500 Watts Solar RV Kits with MPPT Charge Controller

ACOPOWER is another remarkable option that you may want to consider for a variety of good reasons. For starters, this kit is incredibly easy to put together and install in your RV.

The package comes with a complete set of all the items you’ll need while installing the kit. This includes 5 panels, each with the full power of 100 watts. 

Moreover, the system comes with an MPPT charge controller, which allows you to upgrade your panels up to 8 at a time!

The system is compatible with a wide range of batteries, whether you’re connecting it in series or parallel. The system also comes with mounting gear and simple instructions for installation.

Specifications

  • Power: 500 watts – 12/24 volts
  • Type: Polycrystalline
  • Efficiency: 16%
  • Structure: Rigid
  • Controller: 40 Amp MPPT LCD Solar Controller
  • Weight and Size: 17.6 lb – 40.2 x 26.4 x 1.4 inches
  • Expandability: Up to 800 watts (12/24 volts)
  • Solar Panel Warranty: 25 years

Pros

  • Works with Li-ion, Lead, and Gel batteries
  • High powered kit for those who are looking for a decent upgrade
  • Comes with an intuitive charge controller

Cons

  • Slightly more expensive than other options

4. ECO-WORTHY 195 Watts Solar Panel Off-Grid RV Kit

If you want a little more power than 100 watts without costing you a lot of money, you should consider the 195 watts ECO-WORTHY Solar Panel Kit.

The kit comes with a 20 amp charge controller with an LCD screen that allows you to adjust a variety of aspects with a USB port of about 2 amps.

The kit also comes with a 12 AWG solar cable set with a total length of 16.4 feet as well as mounting Z brackets to make the installation process as simple as possible. 

Although the kit comes with a single solar panel, ECO-WORTHY also offers a variety of power options that extends up to 3900 Watts.

Specifications

  • Power: 195 watts
  • Type: Monocrystalline
  • Cell Efficiency: 21%
  • Structure: Rigid
  • Controller: 20 Amp LCD charge controller
  • Weight and Size: 29.2 lb – 58.3 x 26.3 x 1.4 inches
  • Expandability: Up to 3900 watts (12/24 volts) 
  • Warranty: 1 year

Pros

  • Comes with multiple Z brackets for easy installation
  • Offers enough power to power a variety of devices throughout the day
  • Durable aluminum frame

Cons

  • Limited warranty compared to the industry standard

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

If you like the idea of harnessing solar energy but don’t fancy mounting them permanently on your RV’s roof, you should opt for a portable folding solar kit like Go Power!

What we like about the system is that it’s incredibly easy to fold and unfold, so you can store it whenever you don’t need them. 

Not only that, but they also come with a carrying case to make both the storage and portability even easier.

The panel offers power of 130 watts and it comes with a PWM charge controller as well as the necessary cable and battery clamps for easy recharging. 

You can also pair the lightweight kit with an existing roof-mounted system for extra power whenever needed!

Specifications

  • Power: 130 watts
  • Type: Monocrystalline
  • Cell Efficiency: 21%
  • Structure: Foldable
  • Controller: 10 Amp LCD PWM charge controller
  • Weight and Size: 28.66 lb – 32.48 x 2.76 x 19.88 inches
  • Expandability: up to 800 watts (12/24 volts) 
  • Solar Panel Warranty: 25 years

Pros

  • Comes with a carrying case
  • Easy to deploy and fold
  • High-efficiency cells

Cons

  • Pricey for a 130 watts panel

6. Newpowa 200 Watt Solar Panel Kit for RV

The Newpowa Solar Panel Kit comes at a power of 200 watts, which offers a decently high power to keep your power off the grid.

Not only that, but it’s also a monocrystalline solar panel, which offers a remarkably high cell efficiency that reaches up to 21%.

The Newpowa solar panel comes in both a full kit or a simple 200-watt solar panel. The kit includes an automatic MPPT 30 amps charge controller with an LCD screen for easier controls.

The mounting brackets and extension cords come ready with the kit. However, a lot of users with varying height roofs found it a bit confusing while installing because all brackets have the same height.

Specifications

  • Power: 130 watts – 12 volts
  • Type: Monocrystalline
  • Cell Efficiency: 21%
  • Structure: Fixed
  • Controller: 30 amp MPPT Charge Controller
  • Weight and Size: 27.56 lbs – 64.57 x 26.57 x 1.38 inches
  • Solar Panel Warranty: 25 years

Pros

  • Easily adjustable with a high-end 30 amps MPPT controller
  • The packaging retains the quality of the panels
  • Available as single panels for expansion

Cons

  • A bit tricky to install on non-flat roofs

7. Topsolar 20 Watts Off-Grid RV Solar Panel kit

The market is full of affordable solar panel kits. However, a lot of these panels are cheaply made and won’t deliver the quality it promises.

If you’re on a strict budget and you’re looking for an inexpensive yet functional option, we recommend the Topsolar RV Solar Panel Kit.

Of course, there are cheaper options on the market. However, this one is the most inexpensive option that would still offer a decent quality for its price.

In addition to the durable and lightweight panel, the kit also comes with a surprisingly decent PWM charge controller and extension cables.

Specifications

  • Power: 20 watts – 12 volts
  • Type: Monocrystalline
  • Efficiency: 21%
  • Structure: Rigid
  • Controller: 10A PWM Solar Charge Controller
  • Weight and Size: 4.8 lbs – 18.9 x 13.4 x 0.7 inches
  • Waterproof
  • Solar Panel Warranty: 25 years

Pros

  • An excellent pick for buyers on a strict budget
  • Remarkably compact and lightweight
  • Comes with a durable aluminum frame

Cons

  • Has a relatively low wattage

8. Giosolar 200 Watt Solar Kit for RV Off-Grid System

Flexible panels aren’t for everyone. However, if you prefer a lightweight and easy panel that still offers a lot of power, you should keep the Giosolar Solar Kit in your mind.

The system might be a bit expensive, but you get what you pay for. The panel offers up to 200 watts with a high cell efficiency of 21%, thanks to its monocrystalline construction.

It also comes with a 20 amp solar PWM charge controller and an extended 25-year warranty for a worry-free purchase.

The panels are adjustable by 30 degrees and bendable to varying heights to allow them to absorb and convert as much sunlight as possible.

However, you should keep in mind that such systems are typically not as durable as standard fixed solar kits. 

This can be a problem if you travel continuously with your RV. Moreover, the panels typically lose their flexibility after extended periods of time in the sun.

Specifications

  • Power: 20 watts – 12 volts
  • Type: Monocrystalline
  • Efficiency: 21%
  • Structure: Flexible
  • Controller: 20A PWM Solar Charge Controller
  • Weight and Size: 4.4 lbs – 39.96 X 26.38 X 0.1 inches
  • Solar Panel Warranty: 25 years

Pros

  • A high-powered flexible solar kit
  • Lightweight and easy to adjust 
  • Comes with a high-amp PWM solar charge controller

Cons

  • A bit flimsy when compared to rigid solar kits

9. HQST 400 Watt Solar Panel Kit

Last but not least, if you’re looking for a high-powered solar panel kit without costing you an arm and a leg, the HQST Solar Panel Kit might be a perfect choice for you.

The kit gives you the choice between a variety of combinations, including the type of solar panel as well as the solar charge controller included.

The kit comes with a 10 AWG battery connector and controller cables with a total length of 8 feet. Also, it comes with an excess of mounting brackets and Y connectors for simple installation.

The panels are protected with a durable aluminum frame that should last for several years without corrosion. 

The junction box is rated at IP65, which means that you won’t have to worry about rain and dust particles damaging your panels

Specifications

  • Power: 400 watts – 12/24 volts
  • Type: Monocrystalline
  • Efficiency: 21%
  • Structure: Flexible
  • Controller: 30A PWM Solar Charge Controller
  • Weight and Size: 65 lbs – 43.31 x 34.25 x 4.72 inches
  • IP65 waterproof protection

Pros

  • Durable frame that lasts for a long time and resists the elements
  • Offers high wattage at the highest possible cell efficiency 
  • Works with both 12 and 24 volts systems

Cons

  • A bit heavy and bulky

The Advantages of Transitioning to RV Solar Kits

There are tons of benefits that you’ll enjoy if you install a solar kit on your RV. let’s have a quick look at some of them:

1. Saves You a Lot of Money in the Long Run

No matter how expensive the solar kit is, it should be about a couple of year’s worth of batteries and generator fuels.

So, even if the upfront cost is a bit higher than a generator, solar energy itself is completely free and it’ll generate a lot of extra power to run electricity in your RV.

2. Renewable and Clean Source of Off-Grid Electricity 

With generators, electricity isn’t reliable and you’ll always be dependent on fuel to keep the power in your RV.

On the other hand, solar energy isn’t only free, but it’s also renewable. In other words, solar panels are self-reliant and you won’t have to depend on extra factors other than the availability of sun, which is excellent for living off the grid.

3. Requires Less Frequent Maintenance and Upkeep

The process of producing solar energy requires a lot less when compared to other sources of power. 

This translates to a lot fewer chances for things to malfunction or require maintenance.

Solar panels are simple items that don’t move around, so it’s much less likely to get worn or damaged.

4. Extends Your RV Battery’s Life

The cleanliness of the RV solar panel means that it transforms solar energy into electricity without any residue. 

This means that the battery in your RV will harness the energy without the extra work that wears it off, which considerably extends the life of the battery.

5. Reduces Your Carbon Footprint

Solar energy is one of the cleanest forms of energy on the planet, so they have a minimal carbon footprint when compared to other sources, even the clean ones. By transitioning, your RV will instantly become much more eco-friendly and greener!

6. Increase the Overall Value of Your RV

The previously mentioned benefits are global for all kinds of users. Just like winterizing, maintenance, and cleanliness, having an advanced form of power production will instantly increase the resale value of your RV in the market.

What Are the Types of Solar Panels for RVs on the Market

RV solar kits come in a variety of types and styles. However, there are two main ways to classify them. 

Let’s check them out, so you can have a better understanding of the ideal solar kit for your needs:

According to Composition

The composition of a solar panel depends on the type of photovoltaic cells used. Different types of cells have different forms of crystalline structures, which affects both the efficiency and the price of the solar kit. 

Ideally, the photovoltaic cells are classified in the following:

  • Monocrystalline: These panels are usually made by cutting a single crystal of silicon into a thin layer and laying it out in the form of small squares. 

Monocrystalline solar panels require a lengthy purification process, which makes them quite pricey. However, they’re more efficient than other types, making them ideal if you don’t have enough space to organize multiple solar panels.

  • Polycrystalline: As the name suggests, these panels are made from a variety of small crystals in each separate cell. A polycrystalline solar panel will typically have a bluish hue and rectangular cells.

These cells are typically less efficient than monocrystalline panels but they’re also more reasonably priced. Since they have the same durability and longevity as monocrystalline cells, they’re a more suitable option if you have enough space to lay them out.

  • Amorphous: This one is considered a relatively newer technology than the previous two, so they’re not as readily available as them. In this design, you have a silicone cell that is made from several crystals into extremely thin films, which makes them quite flexible.

They have a lower efficiency rating than other types and tend to wear out quickly, so they’re not typically recommended for RV use.

According to Design

  • Rigid (Fixed): This one is the most popular type of solar kit on the market. They’re also the to-go option for RVs because they’re easy to use and offer the durability needed to handle a mobile vehicle rather than a stationary house.

These are considered a “set it and forget it” type of panel, so they’re an excellent permanent solution to offer solar power in your RV.

  • Flexible: These solar panels are usually extremely thin and unprotected by an aluminum frame, which makes them adhere to the roof of the RV. 

They’re less commonly used in RVs because they’re a bit complicated to install, despite offering the least clutter on the roof.

  • Portable: These RV solar panels are great if you don’t want to permanently install the solar kits on your roof. They have a rigid base like the fixed panels but they have one or more foldable points.

The design of these panels makes them easy to deploy and store. They often come in a carrying suitcase to keep them neat and protected.

What to Look for While Shopping for an RV Solar Kit

In addition to the type of solar panel you’re buying, there are some critical factors that you need to decide on before buying an RV solar kit. Let’s check them out:

Power and Wattage

One of the most essential factors that affect the quality and price of a solar panel is the power of the solar panel, which is typically expressed in watts.

Before buying a solar kit, you need to figure out the power demands and how many watts will your appliances consume. 

Luckily, there are plenty of RV power calculators out there that can help you get a rough estimation of the wattage you should be looking for. 

Efficiency

While discussing the types of RV solar panels, we’ve ventured into the composition of each type and how it can affect the efficiency of the panel.

The efficiency here means the amount of sunlight absorbed and converted into electric energy, which is defined by a percentage.

Ideally, monocrystalline cells are the most efficient ones, offering a range of 20% to 22% efficiency.

Polycrystalline cells are typically less efficient and range between 15% to 18%, with most of them standing at 16%. Amorphous cells efficiency is usually between 6% to 7%.

Choosing the suitable efficiency depends on your budget and the available space you have on the roof of the RV.

Expandability of the Kit

A lot of beginners start with a simple 100 or 200 watts solar kit but then want to expand their solar energy network.

In that case, buying a starter kit that also supports expansion by adding additional solar panels would really come in handy. 

Most of these solar kits are upgradeable to 400 watts on 12 volts or 800 watts for 24, so you have to pick the one compatible with your solar setup.

Solar Charge Controller

The solar charge controller is a simple device that allows you to manage the stored power and protect the battery from overcharging, which can have negative effects on the battery in the long run.

There are two types of solar charge controller technologies on the market, which are PWM and MPPT.

Ideally, PWM controllers are better at managing solar power, but they typically come at a much higher price.

Ease of Installation

This point is often overlooked while buying an RV solar kit, despite being extremely critical. After all, you won’t be able to utilize the panels if you can’t set them up correctly and adjust them for optimal exposure to the sun.

Always check the kit and make sure that it contains all the mounting brackets, cables, and pre-drilled holes needed for proper installation.

FAQs

Are RV Solar Kits the Same as Household Solar Panels?

The answer here depends on how you look at it. For instance, both solar panels use the same concept of absorbing the solar energy from the sun and converting it into electrical power to run devices.

However, an RV solar panel will also require a solar inverter and a solar charge controller to work effectively.  

The first component is responsible for converting the DC power produced to usable AC power while the second is for monitoring and modifying the produced energy to prevent the panels from overcharging.

How Many Solar Panels Does My RV Require?

This depends on the amount of power you want the solar kit to offer in your RV. The produced power by RV solar kits will range from running a few appliances and lights to fully powering up the whole RV.

Depending on the size of the RV and the number of appliances included, an RV may require anywhere between 2,000 to 3,500 watts.

A simple 100 to 500 watts solar kit will help you maintain lights and a few appliances while 3,000 watts or more may be more than enough to ditch the generator completely

How Do I Charge an RV Solar Kit Optimally?

The way to get as much solar energy as possible from your solar panels is by keeping them in a spot that is directly exposed to sunlight, typically on the roof of the RV.

Additionally, you should always adjust the height and angle of the solar panels and avoid parking in areas with plenty of shade or indirect access to sunlight. 

Lastly, opt for high cell efficiency panels whenever possible, and remember to rinse and wipe off any debris or dust particles that will affect the chagrin quality.

How Much Should a Solar Kit for RV Cost Me?

As you can see, solar kits exist in a wide range of prices that extend from as little as $50 all the way up to a few thousand bucks.

While setting a budget for your solar kit, you should keep the following factors in mind:

  • The amount of solar energy you want to produce
  • The cell efficiency 
  • The availability of sunlight in your area
  • How much you’re willing to spend on an RV power upgrade

Wrap Up

With that said, you now have a complete guide with everything you need to know in order to pick the best RV solar kit on the market.

If you want a complete starter kit that comes with all the tools necessary to power up your RV or camper, you should consider our top recommendation Renogy 100 Watt Solar Starter Kit.

Besides coming at a great price for what it offers, the kit is easy to install and you can upgrade it up to 800 watts on 24 volts to meet all your needs!

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