How To Hook Up Solar Panels To Your RV: An Energy Saving Guide
Using solar panels to generate power is a popular upgrade for RVs, especially for RVers who enjoy off-grid and remote camping. RV solar panels help you run your RV appliances without the noise and expense of buying a generator. If you’re an RVer looking for an alternative way to consume power, then this article is for you. This will cover the basics on how to hook up solar panels to your RV.
However, what is the necessary parts to install an RV solar setup. Or how do you hook up solar panels to your RV to generate power? There’s much confusion about how do solar power works? In this article, we’ll address all the common questions about RV solar panels.
Essential Parts Of An RV Solar Setup
Here are some critical components you will need to install the RV solar panel.
- Panels – these devices come in frames that generate direct electricity from the sunlight. These solar cells can be mount and arrange in a grid-like pattern on top of the RV.
- Charge controller – they are used to limit the flow of electricity passing to your batteries. It regulates the voltage and current distribution that goes through the appliances.
- Battery monitor – this pack measures and controls the status and load rate of the battery. It tracks the amp-hours and battery levels of your RV home batteries.
- Inverter – these devices convert the Direct Current into Alternating Current, which is used to supply electricity to your TVs, coffee maker, and air conditioner.
- Wires – these are cables that transmit the current from solar panels to the RV batteries.
Reasons Why You Need Solar Panels To Your RV
There are many reasons why most RV owners consider adding solar panels to their RVs.
- Solar power provides a steady and slow charge to RV house batteries. It helps to maximize the lifespan of the RV battery.
- Solar power provides electrical power to TVs, lights, and other appliances inside the RV.
- Solar power serves as backup power for an emergency.
- Solar power is energy efficient
- Solar power is safe, reliable, and lasts.
For most RVers who like to go off-grid and traveling to a remote area, having a solar panel is a great help for them.
How To Hook Up Solar Panels To Your RV
Before installing the solar panels to your RV, you need to understand how much power you need for your RV. In the sections below, we’ve explained how many panels you need for your RV to create such electricity.
Here are the steps of how to hook up solar panels t your RV.
- Find a safe place to mount your solar panels on top of your RV.
- Before mounting your panels, make sure that you connect them with screws so you can easily adjust or remove them from their position.
- Attach the power cable beneath the entry point of the panel where the connection of wiring can be placed.
- You can place the wires into the vent, which goes through the roof into the RV.
- You can run the wire beside the plumbing pipe and apply adhesive to prevent holes and leaks to your RV.
- You can drill a new hole on top of your RV and then apply a sealant to the entry point to cover the holes.
- Once you have chosen your mounting location, connect the wire cables to your charge controller. Choose a closer area to place your charge control to minimize the usage of wires connecting to the solar panels.
- You can install the inverter near the battery charge controller. Keep the inverter away from heat and other damaging elements because they are susceptible to breakage.
- Connect the negative and positive wires to your inverter, then connect your RV home battery. The home battery is the cells you used to supply electricity to your appliances inside the RV.
Note: Make sure to connect the negative wire first to your RV coach battery to prevent any sudden charge of electricity to your RV and appliances.
Benefits Of Having A Solar Panel To Your RV
RV solar panels help batteries to extend their lifespan. Solar panels cut down generator use and even prevent RVers from buying one.
Here are some of the benefits of adding solar panels to your RV:
- Solar power is cost-efficient
- The resource never runs out, even during winter months, you’ll see some sunlight.
- It does not burn fuel to generate electricity.
- It is eco-friendly.
- It is quiet and clean compared to propane-powered generators.
- They are maintenance-free. You only need to install and leave them there.
- There are no recurring costs or expenses.
- You can add and expand your solar panels to produce more power.
- You can expect to increase your battery life to almost 75%.
- You don’t need to replace your battery for ten years
- RV solar panels allow you to enjoy camping and living full-time with RV without worrying about electricity.
How Many Solar Panels For Your RV
Depending on the electricity you’re trying to generate, you need about two or three solar systems for your RV. A standard 40 feet motorhome that consumes 30 amps is not going to need more solar panels.
However, it’s essential to understand that your appliances like HVAC system need a particular supply of power to run.
The number of solar panels you need to install on your RV roof also depends on how frequent you will use electricity.
A solar panel that has about 100 watts can produce six amps of electricity. On an average day, you might need two solar panels with 100 watts each to recharge or provide power to your RV.
A great way to keep your camping energy-efficient and safe is by adding solar panels to your RV. It’s also one way to go off-grid while you’re staying in your RV. Always make sure you know the solar power requirements and how to hook up solar panels to your RV. Using solar panels to your RV can offer such benefits, and one of them is you enjoy your camping experience. But above all, it's safe for the environment.
Getting the best portable solar panels for RV battery charging is one of the most valuable investments you can make.
If you are looking for an alternative source of power for your RV other than gas-powered generators, solar panels might be the second-best option for you.