RV Solar Panels

Everyone wants RV solar panels nowadays . Going off the grid with your RV is the latest thing . New RV’s and campers are coming solar ready. So the big question is what does all this mean and what do you buy ?


Your batteries are what stores the solar energy . Your rv solar system can be as simple as a way to keep your RV battery charged . Depending on how long you want to be off the grid and how much power you plan on using depends on how how large a of a bank of batteries you want to have .

Series VS Parallel

When you use multiple batteries you can hook them up differently depending on what you are trying to do . In series you are adding the batteries together to increase voltage . Two 6 volt batteries in series will make 12 volts . Two 12 volt batteries ran parallel will be 12 volts with twice the capacity . You can even combine the 2 methods having 2 in series ran parallel with 2 more in series for a total of 12 volts . You probably lost me there so well get to the next part.

Charge Controller

Your solar panels don’t know when to stop charging your batteries. Your charge controller manages this to make sure your expensive bank of batteries isn’t overcharged . To pick a charge controller you need to first know how much charging current you will have as well as the load current that can be expected so it is sized right for your application .


An Inverter converts DC power to AC power . Most campers have 2 electrical systems. A 12 volts system that runs lights , water pump and heater . Then an AC system that works when you are plugged in for your outlets and microwave .In order to run your AC system off of 12 volts you need an inverter .

Solar Panels

Finally the part everyone wants to know . Now that we know all of the components involved we can start looking at solar panels. The cheapest solar charger out there may not be what you are looking for . Harbor freight has this 1.5 watt charger for $15. That definitely wont run your RV off grid but may work as a trickle charger so your propane detector doesn’t run down your battery.

There are tons of options to fit your budget here . There is a nice chart here which will help simplify things if you aren’t an electrical engineer or dont want to do the math for yourself .

Solar can be a great option for remote camping, but it does have it limitations , you aren’t going to be using your Rooftop air conditioner or Microwave with a small solar setup . But you can run your heat, lights and even TV with the right setup and and Inverter .