How Much Solar Power Do I Need for My RV?

Dec, 2017
How Much Solar Power Do I Need for My RV

If you want to finally free yourself from the noisy campgrounds, generators, and hookups while still enjoying your RV experience by ensuring that your vehicle has power, then you should consider investing in a solar panel. It lets you camp out in any place you want for a long period.

That’s possible without having to sacrifice anything while also ensuring that you do not enlarge your carbon footprint. It should be noted that solar panels are constructed from photovoltaic cells that are capable of converting the energy of the sun into electricity. If you plan to use a solar panel, then note that it is rated using watts of output.

Also, you can determine its wattage rating by multiplying the peak power voltage of the power by the peak power amperage. You have to know exactly how much solar power you need to run your RV so you can make the most out of this excellent source of power.

Benefits of a Solar Panel

Benefits of a Solar Panel


Investing in the best RV solar panel and using it as a source of power for your recreational vehicle actually carries with it plenty of benefits. Unlike a generator, a solar panel is more beneficial because it does not come with any moving parts. In addition, it operates without noise or smell. It also requires the least amount of maintenance.

With that, expect it to be really cost-effective. What’s even better about a solar panel system is that you can size it in such a way that it perfectly suits the needs of your RV. You can find a solar panel that’s just right for you even if what you need is only to keep a single battery charged.

You can also use it to maintain a huge battery bank so you can run all the modern facilities and conveniences that are part of your recreational vehicle. One more benefit of a solar panel is that it is free. It makes use of the energy of the sun, which is free and does not require to spend on costly fuel.

It is also clean considering the fact that you do not need to deal with messy oil or fuel. You will also like the fact that the solar panel will never disturb your neighbors. It does not cause your neighbors to tolerate noise or breathe exhaust fumes that usually come from generators.

How Much Solar Panel Does your RV Need?

How Much Solar Panel Does your RV Need?


There are several ways for you to calculate the power requirements of your recreational vehicle. One way to determine your RV’s power requirements is to boondock without the use of an AC generator. What you have to do is to determine how long it takes to run your RV during normal usage without generators but only batteries.

If it took around three days for the batteries to be drained (assume that you are using two group 27 deep-cycle batteries with a 100 amp-hour rating each), then note that your batteries give you around 200 amp-hours of energy that you can draw from. The problem is you can only use around 75% of that energy.

That said, you only have around 150 amp-hours to use. Divide that figure by the number of days it took to drain the batteries when you boondock (150/3) and you will get 50 amp-hours. That’s actually the amount of energy you consume on a regular day.

Now that you are aware of the storage capacity of your battery, you have to figure out the number of solar panels required to replace the 50 amp-hours often consumed on an average day. If you use your vehicle during summer and spring, then there is a great possibility that you will be exposed to 5 peak-sun-hours daily on average.

A solar panel, which has around 100-watt power, is capable of producing around 6 amps per peak-sun-hour on average. This can also be translated to around 30 amp-hours daily. In that scenario, you will most likely need 2 solar panels (around 100 watts each) to recharge or give full power to your RV on an average day.

How Much Solar Power Do I Need for My RV


Such can give you a rough idea of the amount of solar power needed for your RV. Also, you can make a good decision by checking the specs of a specific RV solar panel. When checking the spec, make sure that the following are thoroughly checked and assessed:

Watt rating – You need to check the watt rating of a specific solar panel as it works in helping you size the system accurately.

Peak power (amps) – This refers to the max power measured in amps that the solar panel is capable of producing when used in full sunlight. In case the solar panel comes with a 5-amp peak power rating and you have plans of enjoying 6-hour sunlight daily, then expect daily charging of around 30 amp-hours.

If you plan to choose a solar charge controller, then make sure that you are aware of the solar array’s combined peak power rating as such can help you pick a controller with the accurate amp rating.

Peak power (volts) – This refers to the max power measured in volts that the solar panel is capable of producing in full sunlight. Such is a vital factor as when the panel heats up, it tends to be less efficient. It has the tendency of dropping its output by up to two volts, greatly affecting the charging rate.

Also, note that low-light conditions have the tendency of reducing charging rate so you have to really consider this spec prior to choosing.

Tolerance – Check the tolerance of the solar panel, too, as it has a major impact on the power that the solar panel can supply. It would be best to look for a lower tolerance percentage. Five percent is actually a good choice as it lets the panel come nearer to the rated wattage.


Solar power is one of the best sources of power for an RV. However, you have to make sure that you are fully aware of the specific solar power requirements of your RV. That way, you can pick a solar panel, which can really meet such requirement.

Thomas Harmon is the owner of Please, visit his website to learn more RV care, tips and tricks.