For many of us out there, cruising the roads and the wilds in a cozy RV is one of the finest experiences in life. Whether you’re boondocking across the country off grid all year or just taking a few weeks out for a mobile vacation, it’ll be something to write home about.
It’s so exciting and fun that you won’t have any worries at all–except, maybe, how much time you’ll really get to spend relaxing with your RV’s battery life.
While usually long lasting, batteries will run out, and recharging them can be a pain. The hassle of finding a campsite with strong outlets, dealing with adaptors and cords, and trying to manage your energy use to avoid blowing a circuit breaker is frustrating enough. On top of that, a lot of cheaper, less crowded, and harder to get to spots don’t even have outlets to use. No one likes a neighbor with a loud, obnoxious generator running, so a wise choice to avoid all of this is to share or switch completely to solar power. As many seasoned solar power users know, nothing beats having a big battery charger right on top of your RV.
|Top Rv Solar Panel||Features||Rating||Price|
1. HQST 100 Watt 12 Volt Polycrystalline Solar Panel
|Resilient and sturdy, the frame is made from corrosion-resistant aluminium and the windows are iron-tempered and resistant to both impact and weather!||4.8 stars out of 5 from 101 reviews on amazon.com|
2. Renogy 100 Watts 12 Volts Monocrystalline Solar Panel
|This panel is made from monocrystalline cells, mono solar cells are made of higher grade silicone, allowing them to absorb, convert, and store more energy!||4.6 stars out of 5 from 654 reviews on amazon.com|
3. Suaoki 100W 18V 12V Flexible Solar Panel
|Not all RVs are neat little boxes; many have rounded edges and corners, if that sounds like you, then you’re in luck--this panel is flexible and can bend up to 30 degrees!||4.4 stars out of 5 from 49 reviews on amazon.com|
4. Uni-Solar PVL-136 Power Bond PVL 136 Watt Flexible Panel
|This is a flexible solar panel for your sloped or irregularly shaped RV, this one has much more curve to it, can bend much further than thirty degrees.||4.9 stars out of 5 from 15 reviews on amazon.com|
5. ECO-WORTHY 12 Volts 120 Watts Portable Folding Polycrystalline PV Solar Panel Foldable Solar Suitcase
|As a solar panel, it has a high conversion efficiency and a pre installed solar charge controller to prevent both overloads and excess drainage.||4.1 stars out of 5 from 48 reviews on amazon.com|
While not heavy duty tough like other solar panels, this one will still hold its own against a little rough weather. Its thin backing makes it easily mountable or portable and plenty of connections let you even charge small things like your phone or laptop without worrying of an overcharge that a larger panel would give you. Of almost 160 amazon reviews, the vast majority have given it a four or five star rating. For a small minority, it seemed to drain their batteries overnight, but most found that it worked perfectly well and caused no problems for them.
Outfitted with monocrystalline panels, this little thing will definitely give you enough power for emergencies or other little things. With a sturdy frame and glass as well, it can withstand as much show and wind as the big ones. MC4 connectors allow quick access to energy so you can get started as soon as you get it set up. Every single review out of 71 has given it four or five stars for its performance, with only a few small complaints about aesthetics and pricing. It is cheap for one small panel, but its reliability, energy output, and convenience are all well worth the price.
5. ECO-WORTHY 12 Volts 120 Watts Portable Folding Polycrystalline PV Solar Panel Foldable Solar SuitcaseSometimes the best part about travelling in an RV is getting out and exploring somewhere a little off of the beaten path. In addition to being a strong battery for your vehicle, this portable solar panel will let you do just that. As a solar panel, it has a high conversion efficiency and a pre installed solar charge controller to prevent both overloads and excess drainage. Heavy duty aluminium makes up the frame and the legs, and the panels are covered by low iron tempered glass able to withstand heavy wind, snow, and temperatures. This model also comes in several different sizes, from five 40-200w polycrystalline panels and two monocrystalline panels. As its own unit, it folds in half down the center and locks securely together with strong clips. A comfortable handle allows you to carry its 23 pounds anywhere you want with relative ease. Instead of mounting it on the top of your RV, you can set it up and plug in a few electronics outside to get some sun and fresh air of your own. Bring it with you to a gathering at a crowded camping spot to share with others or carry it and a stereo somewhere inaccessible by RV to enjoy some nice tunes with a view. The unfolding legs are simple and should support the panel’s weight easily, though a few reviewers did comment some disappointment at their strength.
Bypass diodes are installed along the length of it to stop power leakage and extend battery life. With triple-junction solar cells to absorb sunlight at different layers, energy production is maximized, even with low light. Many reviewers have also said that they hold up very well against strong wind, rainy weather, and high temperatures.
Four reinforced holes at each corner allow for quick and simple installation, and a junction box with MC4 connectors allows easy use as soon as possible. Using high efficiency Sunpower solar cells during the day, it gathers sunlight and converts it quickly; at night or in low light, an internal diode helps to limit power leaking out over time until it can next recharge. It does carry the slightly higher price that comes with monocrystalline solar cells, but as always, the extra power output is definitely worth it.
With such efficient energy conversion, this panel is ideal for extended periods of low light. You won’t have to worry about too much of your battery draining at night or during cloudy weather, and it’ll always charge right back up before you know it when the sun next comes out. A heavy duty aluminium frame and sturdy glass will withstand heavy treatment from wind and snow, and pre-drilled mounting holes make secure installation easy.
For a basic, reliable, all-around solar panel, this is the one that you want. Resilient and sturdy, the frame is made from corrosion-resistant aluminium and the windows are iron-tempered and resistant to both impact and weather. A waterproof backing and strong encapsulation material for the solar cells provide even more protection and guarantee a long physical lifetime.
As for power output, this panel is highly efficient with 36 polycrystalline cells that can put out up to 500Wh per day. That’s just one panel, and enough to power a single TV nonstop for about twelve hours. Add that to the fact that it’s designed to minimize the amount of energy leaked while in shade or at night, you won’t be running out of power in a hurry with this by your side. It also comes with pre-drilled holes and a back compatible with several different mounting systems for easy installation. The junction box has two MC4 connectors so you can easily plug in and use whatever you need to with little hassle.
So there you have it! A handy guide to some of the best solar panels on the market. Now you can make the right choice for your needs to conserve energy, save yourself the hassle of worrying about your battery life, and make everything a little bit easier for the planet as well. Whether you’re looking for flexibility, durability, or longevity, you’ll be well equipped and out on the road again in no time. Keep in mind, though: these are all just single solar panels by themselves, not complete kits with mounts, cables, connectors, and everything needed to properly install them. If you need help finding one of those for yourself, don’t worry–we’ve still got you covered with our list of the top five RV solar panel kits in Canada. Happy travelling!