How Many Solar Panels Do I Need For My RV: 2 Effective Methods

So, how many solar panels do I need to run an RV? Here we go over that, the math behind energy drainage, watts, and is having solar panels worth it?!

Hitting the road soon, getting all your items together and you find the best RV solar panels. Now you’re one step closer to traveling efficiently.

We like to start by reminding you that Solar power comes down to balancing the two main parts of the power equation:

  • Power Used: (the amp-hours you use each day)
  • Power Stored: (the energy your solar panels provide to your battery)

How Many Solar Panels Do I Need For My RV

A single 12-volt battery, at about 100 AH, you should have 300 watts of solar panels, minimum.

Basically, you need as much as you use. Read your RV battery to figure out how much battery is left or how much energy your appliances drain.

There are 2 methods you can use to accomplish this:

You calculate your wattage needs by appliance usage. Check your appliance wattage and then multiply them by how long you have them on.

You can look in your manuals or simply google the products and the watts should populate.

How Many Solar Panels Do I Need For My RV
  • Method 1 – Math: 1-hour running time x 200 Watts = 200, therefore if we are running an RV fridge all day and night, it will drain 4800 watts/per day.
  • Method 2 – Camping Test: Figure out how much energy you actually use. Go camping! or do a test run.
    • Find a spot to camp in for a few days and use your RV like you usually would.
    • Use a battery monitor or voltmeter to track battery levels.
    • Now you can do the math on how much power you used a day.

How Many Solar Panels Do You Need?

You will establish your RV Solar Panel needs once you calculate all your appliance’s wattage and expected time use. Then you can determine how many solar panels you need.

Consider area too.

If you plan on doing the set and forget method, you most likely will have your panels on the roof. Now you have to think about how many panels can fit.

On average you can cover about 140 square feet of an RV rook and solar panels can produce 15 watts per square foot, so you’ll get about 2100 watts per hour.

Again, this is based on some averages, you have to do your own measurements.

Still, with those numbers, in a 5-hour span, you’d be generating about 10,000 watts which is plenty.

Are Solar Panels for an RV Worth It?

Don’t be wary, although solar panels can get expensive it’s worth it for RVers who want it o charge their “home” batteries and to provide electrical power.

So, are solar panels worth it? depends on your reason for having them, because they are not necessary but we love having them.

RV Solar Panels are a luxury, but a luxury that can help you travel in remote locations, extend your battery life, explore breathtaking views by going off-grid, and provide backup power in case of emergencies.

They are also virtually maintenance-free, can last decades and there are hardly any recurring costs.

Related: Quietest Generator for Camping

Save Energy Usage Tips: How Can I Make My RV More Energy Efficient?

  • Cook meals on the outdoor grill more often to keep from heating up the RV’s interior.
  • Use LED bulbs, LED TVs
  • Unplug electronics and chargers when finished to reduce the trickle draw of watts. (See best battery tender for RVs )
  • Park under trees to shade the sidewall and use an awning to keep cool instead of overusing the RV air conditioner or RV fans.
  • Take shorter showers to reduce the energy demand of the hot water heater.
  • Heat coffee and other warm beverages over a camp stove in a percolator.
  • Turn off fans and other comfort devices when you’re not in the RV.

How Much Does It Cost To Put Solar Panels On An RV?

It cost $500 to $700 to put solar panels on an RV. Like most things, this depends on individual needs, wants, and amps (30 amp, 50 amp, etc.).

That’s That …

That’s that on How Many Solar Panels Do I Need For My RV.

Although solar panels are a popular upgrade for RVers, campers, and boondockers alike- it is still not a necessity (especially if you’re living in your backyard)

But, it is an awesome add-on that will grant you miles of freedom.

It’s essential for those who want to take extra measures when camping off the grid and be comfortable while doing so.

So, we hope this post about how many solar panels you’ll need helps you on your next steps to living on the road or off-grid.


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