How To Install Solar Panel On RV Quickly And Efficiently

 

How to install solar panel on RV

How to install solar panel on RV

Have you ever feel that your RV electricity is quite limited to your actual needs? If only your vehicle is equipped with a renewable energy source, you can park your wherever you want. And with the popularity of the solar panels on the rise, it seems to be a good choice here. But it’s not like you know what to do and how to do it right away. You are not a professional. If that is your concern then there is no need for that. You can learn how to install solar panel on RV simply by reading this article.

The basic working principle of the solar panel is actually simple, no matter if it’s for household or vehicle use. Generally, when the sun is up, the solar panel will use the sunlight to continuously charge the batteries. Then in night times, the accumulated energy from the batteries can be used at your leisure. While not really endless, solar panels did offer you a good way to save your electric cost. You don’t need to always look for RV hook up when you decide to park at a place too.

Solar panel installment is also relatively easy. If you wish to outfit your RV with solar panels, just follow the preparations and procedures below.

Best Sellers in Solar Panels on Amazon 

#1 Amazon Best Seller

Sale
Jackery SolarSaga 100W Portable Solar Panel for Explorer 240/300/500/1000/1500 Power Station, Foldable US Solar Cell Solar Charger with USB Outputs for Phones (Can't Charge Explorer 440/ PowerPro)
  • EASY SETUP & KICKSTAND INCLUDED: The Solar Saga 100 features 2 kickstands that can be placed firmly on any surface ground. With just a few seconds of setup, you can start soaking energy from the sun for your Jackery power station. The TPE rubber handle allows you to carry around easily when taking off-grid adventures.
  • HIGHER ENERGY CONVERSION RATE: Covered by monocrystalline silicon solar cells, the solar panel adopts multi-layered cell technology to generate energy from the sunlight and perform better with higher conversion efficiency that up to 23% than other conventional panels.
  • DURABLE & SPLASH-PROOF: The ETFE-laminated case is durable enough to extend the lifespan of the solar panel. It is IP65 water-resistant that will protect from water splashing (Do not place it under the rain, or to soak in water). The zippers on the pocket can hold the power cords, and cover the power port.

#2 Amazon Best Seller

Sale
Renogy 2PCS 100 Watt Solar Panels 12 Volt Monocrystalline, High-Efficiency Module PV Power Charger for RV Battery Boat Caravan and Other Off-Grid Applications, 2-Pack Compact Design
  • [Reliable Power Output] Renogy's 100W monocrystalline solar panel can provide an average of 400-500 Watt-hours (Wh) or 33-41Amp-hours (Ah) of electricity per day (depending on sun availability).
  • [Efficient Performance] Bypass diodes protect the solar cells from overheating and allow the solar panel to continue working during accidental shading by bypassing the underperforming cells.
  • [Industry-Leading Technology] This Renogy 100W 12V Monocrystalline Panel is made from high purity silicon cells coated with advanced encapsulation material with multi-layered sheet laminations to enhance cell performance and provide long-lasting durability.

#3 Amazon Best Seller

Sale
Jackery SolarSaga 60W Solar Panel for Explorer 160/240/500 as Portable Solar Generator, Portable Foldable Solar Charger for Summer Camping Van RV(Can't Charge Explorer 440/ PowerPro)
  • EASY TO CARRY & KICKSTAND INCLUDED: Weighing at only 6.6 lb, this solar panel is foldable and handy with a TPE rubber handle. The kickstand leans on an angle that makes the solar panel to easily soak energy from the sunlight.
  • HIGHER CONVERSION EFFICIENCY: The monocrystalline silicon solar cells provide conversion efficiency of 23%, higher than other conventional panels, allowing your Explorer 160/240 power station(sold separately) to be charged in 4.5hrs/6.5hrs. Ideal for RV camping, off-grid road trip and unexpected power outages.
  • DURABLE & SPLASH-PROOF: The ETFE-laminated case is durable enough to extend the lifespan of the solar panel. It is IP65 water-resistant that will protect from water splashing (Do not place it under the rain, or to soak in water). The zippers on the pocket can hold the power cords, and cover the power port.

#4 Amazon Best Seller

Sale
Renogy 100W 12V Monocrystalline Solar Starter Kit w/Wanderer 10A Charger Controller
  • [Wide Application]400Wh daily output depends on the 4 hours sunlight availability.This panel is suited for applications that require a smaller footprint, making it a favorite for those with RVs, campers, and more!
  • [Excellent Performance]21% High solar cell efficiency. Corrosion-resistant aluminum frame for outdoor use, allowing the panels to last for decades as well as withstand high winds (2400Pa) and snow loads (5400Pa).
  • [Multiple Protection] Smart 4-Stage PWM charging (Bulk, Boost, Float, and Equalization) increases battery life and improves system performance. Intelligent protection against reverse polarity, overcharging, short-circuit, and reverse current.

#5 Amazon Best Seller

Sale
Renogy 100W 12V Monocrystalline Off Grid Portable Foldable 2pcs 50W Solar Panel Suitcase Built-In Kickstand
  • 【Reliable】excellent performance in low-light environments. Adjustable corrosion resistant aluminum stand, heavy duty handle and latches for longevity. Protective case.
  • Designed for expansion, you can add panels to system based on your available space.Maximum Operating Current (Imp): 5.56A
  • Ideal output 500 watt hours per day (depends on sunlight availability), Solar cells performance excellent in weak light environment and yield better energy over the long run

 

How to install solar panel on RV

The preparations

A solar energy system includes the solar panels, lithium batteries, inverter and lots of wires. To secure it properly on top of your RV, you are going to need several tools too. For the most part, drill and screwdriver would be enough. Some form of braces and frames are also needed to support the panels. You can make just that using planks of plywood. And you also need to know the measurement of the roof so get a tape measure and a marker beforehand.

Since you are going to deal with dust and possible electric shock, suitable gears are needed. Put on a pair of goggles and insulation gloves.  Electric tester is recommended to check leakage and system operation. Due to the fact that you are about to alter the RV appearance, rechecking the vehicle insurance terms and policies is advised. If you RV has been around for a long time, you must ensure that the insurance won’t be voided when you do this. When everything is ready then let’s gets to work.

The procedures

Step 1: Disconnect the RV batteries and measure the roof

Safety is your number one priority so remove all batteries cables before you do anything.  It also applies to the shore power if you have them on at the moment. This will eliminate any possibility of you getting an electric shock while installing the solar system. After that, get on the roof get it exact measurements. You will need these numbers when you consider how many panels you need and their associated arrangement.

To maximize efficiency, you should plan the panels and the junction box to be on the driver side front. Leave some gap between them for walking and later inspections.  When everything is up to your satisfaction, mark the panel position. These lines will help your installation to proceed smoothly and precisely

Step 2: Put in the control box

When you are done on the roof, it’s time to think about where to install the control box. That place must stay within your reach, easy to handle and require simple wiring. In order to better preserve the power, the wires distance should be kept to the minimum.  But the control box must be as far away as possible from gas pipes or heating devices. Usually, the cabinet sidewall of the RV should be able to meet all of these requirements. If you find a more convenient place in your case, feel free to put the box there.

Solar Charge Controller

Solar Charge Controller

Step 3: Assemble the braces and frames then install the panels

Base on your previous marking, construct the panels supports and nail them first. Remember to take into account spaces for the panels to attach themselves to the roof. Next, transport the panel on the roof and connect their wires with the junction box. After that, you will need to drill several sets of holes on the roof to secure the junction box and the panels. When you are done drilling, put the panels and the box on top of the holes.

After the securing holes are formed, you will need to drill another hole for the wire from the junction box to reach the controller down below. After that, proceed to pour some forms of sealant into all holes and along the junction box frames first. This will keep everything tightly together. Sikaflex is an ideal choice for the job. Pour a moderate amount of Sikaflex into each hole then drive in the nails. Do the same before pressing down the junction box.

Step 4: Place the batteries and connect them to the control box

When the wires from the junction box are connected to the control box, you will need to run additional wires. These extra wires job is to connect the control box and the batteries. If you have multiple batteries sets then remember to link them first. Once the connection is made, the entire system should be ready to go. Give it a test right away to see if the panels are functioning normally or not.

If everything goes smoothly, you can start hooking the batteries to your RV outlets. Simply connect the batteries to the inverter and run the wires from the inverter to the outlets. And that would be it, your solar energy system is operational.

Conclusion

Nothing can be more enjoyable than to go camping in your RV. And it would be even better if you don’t have to look for RV hook up every time you park. Fearing the electricity won’t hold out, you constantly search for RV parking lot and that is annoying. But if you know how to install solar panel on RV, that issue is solved. After some times and effort at a minimum cost, you can save a lot of money with solar panels. If you want to have a true freedom on the road, solar energy is the way to go.

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You may like to see this: Top 5 Best RV Solar Panels Review | Panel, Suitcase And Kit

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