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How Do RV Solar Panels Work

How Do RV Solar Panels Work

It doesn’t matter whether you’re on the road or setting up basecamp, you’re going to need electricity at some point.

Fortunately, with RV’s, there are all kinds of options for how to power up, from the typical generator to personal wind turbines.

However, one power source that has been gaining popularity is solar power from RV solar panels.

Does solar have a place in your rig?

The answer is maybe.

There are some definite benefits to using solar power. When it’s sunny out, you can charge your batteries for free using the power from nature.

Your only expense is the initial cost of the equipment. Plus solar power is environmentally friendly and doesn’t kick out bad smelling fumes as a generator can.

On the flip side, solar energy isn’t a terribly efficient power source for your RV, an average-sized solar panel can only charge up to 25 amps an hour.

Solar energy is a great option as a back-up power source. It can also be useful if you’re going to be camping in one area for a while, as you can set the panels up and let them charge all day.

What Does A Solar Panel Do?

A solar panel essentially acts as the charging station for your electricity rig. The panel takes light from the sun and converts it to usable energy that can be stored in a battery. The battery is then used to power your electronics.

What Equipment Do I Need?

First, you need the solar panel to absorb light. Next, that energy needs to go to an inverter, which is a machine that converts the energy produced by the solar panel into usable energy.

Once that energy has been converted, it can be stored in a battery. It’s a good idea to have multiple batteries available so you can swap them out when one becomes fully charged.

A generator can also be a part of your rig. The generator is useful for days when there isn’t much sunlight and your batteries are drained. Some people don’t find it necessary; however it really just depends on how heavy your electricity needs are.

How Much Solar Power Does My RV Need?

This is an important aspect to consider prior to purchasing any equipment. Too weak of a panel and you won’t be able to provide enough power to your electronics, and you may find yourself without A/C on a hot day.

Too powerful of a panel and you won’t be able to store all the excess electricity that your rig produces.

It’s best to accurately gauge your electricity needs before committing to a certain sized solar panel, which is made easier with the proper planning.

You will need to have some idea of your energy usage in order to determine the right sized panel for your needs.

One way to do this is to see how long it takes you to drain your current battery. Divide that by the number of days. For example, if you used 200 amp-hours over four days, you would need 50 amp hours per day. The average 100-watt solar panel can deliver 30 amp-hours per day, so you would need two 100-watt solar panels.


Solar energy can be an efficient option for powering your electronics, and it works well as a back-up or alternate power source. If solar energy is right for you, be sure to first consider what your energy needs are before making a purchase.

The process used to determine your solar power needs is similar to what you’d use to figure out the needs for a home.

Given the benefits of using solar power to provide electricity for your RV, I think the investment is well worth it.

The greatest benefit of using RV Solar Panels is how eco-friendly they are, which helps to reduce your carbon footprint.

As with any major purchase, be certain to do your research before committing.

Have fun harnessing the power of the sun!

RVing brings with it all the joys of travel, exploration and adventure. It's both exciting and educational to go from camping area to camping area while travelling the country in total comfort. I started this website to help others create great memories with their loved ones by RVing that will last a life time. I'm looking forward to sharing more information with you about RVing. Ecstasy is an overwhelming feeling of great happiness or joyful excitement!

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