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Solar panels and RV’s are a match made in off-grid heaven. Whether you are living in an RV full time, or simply use a recreational vehicle for the occasional getaway, portable solar panels are one of the best ways to ensure you have enough electricity to fuel your adventure.
When it comes to building RV solar systems, you can either source the various components or look into purchasing an RV solar panel kit. With so many options available for portable solar panels and solar panel kits for RVs, we wanted to create this helpful list to guide you in determining the best solar panels for RV use.
So, what are the best solar panels for RVs on the market? In this article we are going to review the following best solar panels for RV use:
Renogy 100 Watt Monocrystalline Solar Panel
HQST 100 Watt 12V Solar Panel
ACOPOWER 100W Foldable Solar Panel
Go Power! 130W Portable Folding Solar Panel
ALLPOWERS 100W Solar Panel
ECO-WORTHY 20-Watt Solar Panel
Mighty Max 100-Watt Solar Panel
OUR PICK: The Renogy 100 Watt Monocrystalline Solar Panel
Renogy’s products are well known in the solar industry for use in smaller applications like off-grid homes and RV solar systems. The 100 Watt 12V Monocrystalline solar panel is everything you need in more when looking for the best solar panels for RV use.Solar Is The Future
Monocrystalline solar panels are built with technology that leverages the most efficient conversion of sunlight into electricity. While traveling in your RV, sunlight hours may be limited, so maximum charging efficiency is crucial.
Renogy’s solar panels are extremely easy to install. The panel itself comes with predrilled holes in the back for easy mounting, as well as waterproof MC4 cables prewired for easy plugging into your charge controller. The panels are compatible with mole mounts, ground mounts, or easy installation on the roof of your recreational vehicle.
The 100-watt monocrystalline solar panels from Renogy are also the best solar panels for RV’s on the market largely in part due to their power guarantee for the future. Backed by a 25-year warranty, these solar panels are built to withstand tough weather conditions thanks to the corrosion-resistant frame and waterproof components.
Of course, you get what you pay for. RV solar systems powered by Renogy’s 100-watt solar panels will come at a higher price than most alternatives. However, the highly efficient charging and long-lasting source of power make these solar panels amongst the best value solar panels for RVs.
In terms of portable solar panels, it is unlikely that you will find something better than this kit from HQST. The HQST 100 Watt Foldable solar panel suitcase is one of the best value solar panel kits for RVs. Solar Is The Future
HQST 100 Watt Foldable Solar Panel Kit Review
HQST delivers the best RV solar kit as it is filled with the essentials and extras you need to power your battery. The RV solar kit comes with a foldable carrying case as well as an aluminum stand for quick mounting on the ground or on top of your vehicle. The kit also includes a charge controller and nine feet of wiring with alligator clips, cutting down the time needed to make this one of the best solar panels for battery charging.
Like the Renogy, the monocrystalline panels in this kit make for highly efficient charging. The PWM charge controller also includes a great LCD screen for easy monitoring of your system’s input and also includes a temperature gauge to minimize the potential damage to your battery.
Because the system is so highly portable, it can also be moved and turned for maximum sunlight, without having to move your vehicle.
Price and Quality
The HQST 100 watt solar panel kit comes at an extremely affordable price for the amount of hardware included, which is why this is our runner-up for the best solar panel for RV use. However, some of the Amazon reviews of this solar panel kit indicate improper functionality of the charge controller and wiring. Without proper knowledge on how to test and fix the system, you may lose power when you need it most.
ACOPower is a California based company producing some of the best solar panels for RVs made in the USA. The 100W Foldable solar panel kit is their best RV solar kit and makes for a great way to power your RV solar system.
The 100W Foldable kit from ACOpower comes with a nice padded case for ease in carrying to wherever you need power. The panels come with an aluminum stand attached to the back for quick and easy setup. However, once the stand is deployed and the panels are unfolded, the unit itself is large and awkward to move or reposition.
If this is your first time working with portable solar panels, you may need additional instructions on setting up this unit, as multiple sources have cited a lack in clarity and contradictions in the solar kits included information.
The ACOPower foldable solar panel kit is on par with its power and price point with other top solar panel kits for RVs. Included in the price is a pre-mounted charge controller as well as all of the necessary wirings for RV solar.
Able to deliver 100W of monocrystalline solar panel power, the ACOPower is still one of the best value solar panels for RV thanks to all of its included components. It may be the best option when used in conjunction with a solar power generator.
Unclear Installation Instructions
Our Score: 7/10
Go Power! 130W Portable Folding Solar Panel Review
Go Power is a premium provider of mobile solar solutions. The 130W portable folding solar kit provides one of the best solar panels for RV battery charging as it packs an extra punch and comes with everything required to generate power.
Next up on our list is the 130W Solar Kit from Go Power! Adding an extra 30W of power over most alternatives, Go Power!’s solar panel kit is great for RV’s that need a faster charge.
The 130W monocrystalline solar panel paired with the 10 amp solar charge controller provides plenty of power when compared to most solar panel kits for RVs. The kit’s wiring is also sized appropriately to maximize the system’s efficiency. The included carrying case and easy set up make this system an overall great portable solar panel solution.
Although the solar panel and charge controller are of top-tier quality, testing has led some owners to believe that the hardware included with the system could be improved, as bits of weather have left the hinges and supports rusting in the first year of use.
Overall, this kit will come at a higher price tag than most RV solar systems. Of course, it is one of the highest-powered mobile solutions, whereas most panels over 100W require permanent mounting on RV roofs. Despite the price, the lightweight build and wattage capability still allow the Go Power! 130W portable folding solar kit to rank amongst the best value solar panels for RVs.
No list of portable solar panels is complete without a mention of a bendable, flexible solar charger. All flexible solar panels come with distinct advantages and disadvantages, but the 100W model from ALLPOWERS is among the best solar panels for RV use.
The jury is still out on whether or not flexible solar panels are worth the investment, but if you are wondering, “what are the best solar panels for RV on the market?”, you will undoubtedly come across some bendable models. ALLPOWERS delivers the best bendable solar panels on the market, which comes with some great advantages but also some undeniable downsides.
Advantages of Flexible Solar
The flexibility of ALLPOWER’s portable solar panels makes it the perfect fit for curved topped RV’s or campers. The unit can even be removed and placed on top of a tent or a different car with ease. The panel weighs less than half as much as most other solar panels for RV use.
This particular brand and model boasts installation capabilities such as adhesive and zip-ties for quick, painless setups and can even be hung from a pole or a tree.
Flexible solar panels are less efficient and more prone to damage than traditional solar panels, and ALLPOWER’s 100W panel is no different. ALLPOWER’s panels are considered water-resistant, rather than waterproof, which could quickly lead to replacement necessity.
Additionally, accidental overbending, which can be caused by weather or user error, will permanently damage the panels and cause them to lose efficiency or break altogether.
Although the advertised efficiency of these portable solar panels is over 23%, normal wear and tear will quickly cause this efficiency rating to drop within the first year of use.
ECO-WORTHY’s 20 Watt solar panel kit is a dramatically smaller and cheaper option than all of the others on this list. It’s size and price point make it the best RV solar kit for vehicles that remain idle for long periods of time.
Although not nearly as powerful as a 100-watt solar panel kit for RV’s, ECO-WORTHY’s system may be the perfect option for someone who does not require a lot of power. The product is great for gates, chicken coops, and sheds, but also is among the best value solar panels for RV.
Although it is only capable of 20 Watts, for some recreational vehicles, that is all that is required to keep the battery fully charged. If you are only planning to run a fridge and charge a few devices, if your vehicle is parked in full sun, this RV solar panel kit may be all you need. The system will work best if your RV’s battery is set up to charge from the car’s alternator while the engine is running.
A cool feature of this particular package is that there are USB plugs in the charge controller ready to power your mobile devices!
ECOWORTHY provides detailed instructions for easy installation for this RV solar system. However, the installation may not last as long as some of the other solar panel kits for RV’s on this list. The wires are not fully waterproof, and there have been a number of defects found in the included charge controller.
Although the components of this solar panel kit are not of the highest quality, if left untouched, there should be no issue with the system’s ability to generate solar power. Daily use for RV solar is not recommended, however, for the occasional trip upstate, this solar panel kit is priced to deliver a tremendous amount of value.
Mighty Max Battery is a company known for delivering high-quality electronics at an affordable price. Their 100-watt solar panel is the perfect option if you are replacing the solar panel for your RV solar, or have the know-how to set up a full system.
Mighty Max’s 100 Watt solar panel is the only polycrystalline option on this list. Although not as efficient as the monocrystalline alternative, the compact design of this panel makes in one of the best solar panels for RV use.
Weighing in at just over 16 lbs, this panel is also one of the lightest traditional solar panels available for RV’s. The panel is also highly resistant to weather, able to stand huge bouts of snow and wind.
If you are in need of a lot of power, purchasing and installing a few of these panels is among the easiest options for large RV solar systems.
If this is your first time building an RV solar system, Might Max’s panel may not be for you, as there are no instructions or additional parts included in the purchase. In addition to searching and purchasing the right size wiring and charge controller, you will have to talk to an expert or go online to source the information required for a successful installation.