8 Best RV Solar Kits in The Market 2020
Recreational vehicles are a joy to have and they are even better when you have a reliable energy supply. Having an RV solar kit ensures that you enjoy every bit of your adventure without worrying about lack of power. If you are in doubt about owning one, just take a few moments to read our article on the best RV solar kit. We are sure that you will be tempted to splash the cash on them immediately.
Types Of RV Solar Panels
Before deciding on the solar panel to buy for your RV, it is important you know the types available. There are 3 types of solar panels namely; Monocrystalline, Amorphous and Polycrystalline. We will be explaining the three of them briefly below.
The monocrystalline solar panel is made from one big silicon crystal. Also, it is the most efficient type of solar panel available. Besides, monocrystalline solar panel's efficiency can reach up to 21% which is hard for any other solar panel to reach. Also, the solar panel can produce more power in low sunlight environment compared to any other type of solar panel.
Polycrystalline Solar Panel
The polycrystalline solar panel is different because it is made from several blocks of silicon that contain solar crystals. Another difference between the polycrystalline solar panel and the monocrystalline solar panel is that the polycrystalline solar panel produces about 2% less of power. However, even with this drop in power, the polycrystalline solar panel remains the most popular. We believe this is because it is cheaper than monocrystalline.
Amorphous Solar Panel
They are also referred to as thin-film solar panels. The amorphous solar panel is easy to produce and it produces the lowest amount of power. Also, it is the least efficient and it can take up to 3 times of space to generate the same energy the polycrystalline and monocrystalline solar panel produces. The amorphous solar panel is also less expensive and we can say this is because it is not as efficient as other types of solar panels.
How We Picked?
Choosing an RV solar kit is not an easy task and there are many features to consider before settling for one. This is why we have decided to help you to narrow down some factors that when considered, will lead to you going home with one of the best RV solar kits.
We recommend that you choose a portable RV solar kit for many reasons. One of the reasons is that lighter or smaller solar panels are easier to install. This is because you might not need an extra pair of hands to install it since you can carry it yourself. Besides, when solar panels are for RV use, you will need to move them from time to time. So, the more portable it is, the easier it is to carry.
RV solar panels are supposed to be smaller than solar panels that are used in the home. However, regardless of the size, the solar panel needs to be efficient enough to power the RV. Now, what do we mean by efficiency in solar panels? Solar panel efficiency refers to the percentage of solar energy the solar panel converts to electricity. There are 3 types of solar panels namely; polycrystalline, monocrystalline and amorphous.
Out of these 3 types of solar panel, the amorphous is the least efficient and we advise that you should not buy this. The polycrystalline and monocrystalline solar panels can have an efficiency of up to 17% which is far better than what the amorphous can produce. We advise that you should try to buy the most efficient type of solar panel you find but you need to consider your budget too.
Wattage or watt can be defined as the amount of current the solar panel is capable of producing and outputting. When solar panels have a higher watt rating, it means the solar panel can produce a current that is sufficient to run different electrical activities simultaneously. Besides, when a solar panel has a high wattage rating, it often means you will get a higher efficiency rating.
However, while it is a good idea to buy a solar panel with high wattage, make sure that the panel is of the right voltage. This is because a high voltage solar panel can be expensive.
One factor you should not ignore is the geographical location the solar panel will be used. The reason is; if you are going to use the solar panel in a location with minimal sunlight, then, you should only buy one with the highest efficiency ratings possible.
Some Components Of The RV Solar Kit
The RV solar Kit contains some accessories or components and we will be describing them below.
The work of the charge controller is to regulate the amount of energy that flows into the batteries. The charge controller helps to prevent the batteries from overcharging and circuiting.
The inverter is used to convert the DC power from the solar panel to AC power. This is used to power appliances like televisions, chargeable radios and even to charge mobile phones.
Like the name implies, the battery monitor is used to monitor the battery level. With a battery monitor, you will be able to see the number of amp-hours available for use. To put this in simple terms, the battery monitor is just like your fuel gauge.
The wire harness is used to carry the charge from the solar panels to the batteries.
Review Of The Best RV Solar Kits
We agree that choosing a good RV solar kit from the multiple available for sale might be a daunting task. But we are here to make your search for the best RV solar kit easier by reviewing a few of them. Check them out below and choose the one that suits your needs.
Our Top Pick
1. Renogy 100-Watt 12-Volt Mono-Crystalline Solar Starter Kit
The Renogy 100-Watt 12 Volt mono-crystalline solar starter kit is an easy choice to pick from the lot. Moreover, it is hard to see an expert in RV solar kits not to mention this product. This is because it is known to serve its purpose effectively and efficiently. The key feature of this RV solar kit is its output. The solar kit can give out 500Wh per day and it can also fully charge a 50Ah battery in 6 hours which is quite impressive.
Furthermore, it can supply a 100W power which is powerful enough to power multiple devices at the same time. Besides, the RV solar kit comes with a 30A PWM negative ground charge, tray cable, MC4 connectors and mounting Z brackets. With its 30A PWM charge controller, you can upgrade the solar kit up to 400W. Also, the mounting Z bracket is useful for those planning to mount the RV solar kit on an RV boat. The kit’s tray cable is of an impressive 8ft length and it can be used to connect the battery and the charge controller.
Equally important is the solar kit's durability. It was designed to withstand harsh weather conditions. It is also strong enough to withstand a reasonable level of impact without breaking. However, we must add that you need to check the glass occasionally to be sure it is still in perfect condition. Finally, it is constructed out of high conversion efficiency modules. These modules help the panel to convert any light to energy easily.
2. HQST 100 Watt 12 Volt Polycrystalline Solar Panel
The HQST 100 watt 12-volt polycrystalline solar panel is designed with 36 powerful and efficient polycrystalline solar cells. The manufacturers of this product made it with durability in mind. You can witness this by its IP65 junction boxes which mean that it is well protected for water and extreme weather conditions. Besides, the IP65 ratings mean that you can use the solar panel on water jets and boats without worry.
Moreover, it was also built with a strong iron-tempered glass that makes it resistance to coalition or impact. It can also withstand strong blowing winds up to 2400 PA. Besides, it has a frame made from aluminium which is resistant to corrosion. With this, you get to use the solar panel outdoor for a lengthy period without worrying about it rusting. We also need to add that the HQST 100 watt 12-volt polycrystalline solar panel has an output of 500Wh per day. However, this is dependent on how much sunlight is available for charging.
It also has an advanced encapsulation material sheet that helps to improve the performance of the solar cells. With this, the solar panel charges faster and lasts longer. Besides, it is built in a way that shades and low sunlight doesn't affect its performance hereby making it suitable for all-year use. Finally, it has a 25-year power output warranty which further attests for its durability and quality.
3. Allpowers 100-Watt Solar Panel
The Allpower 100-watt solar panel is one of the most efficient solar panels on our list. It has an efficiency rating of up to 23.5% compared to 19% which most monocrystalline solar panels tend to have. With this solar panel, you will get more energy to use than the majority of the other monocrystalline solar panels. Coupled with its efficiency, the solar panel also has an impressive and durable panel. This durability is due to it having a semi-flexible solar panel that is stronger than solar panels of glass and aluminium moulds.
Also, the solar panel's junction box is waterproof which means you can also use it on boats or diving jets. You can also rest assured that rain and snow won't have any effect on its durability. Besides, with 100 watts of power, the Allpower solar panel offers enough power for its users for a major part of the day. However, unlike the first two solar panels in this list, the Allpower solar panel is very light and it weighs just 2.15 KG. Its weight means you can easily install, move and hang it.
Speaking about the installation, the manufacturers predesigned four mounting holes on the panel to aid installation. Furthermore, the Allpower 100-watt solar panel has an 18-month warranty. This warranty helps to give potential buyers a reasonable assurance on the quality of the product they are purchasing. However, we have a little problem with this RV solar kit and it is the wires being difficult to route. And this is because the wires run in opposite directions.
4. Renogy 12 Volt, 200 Watt MonoCrystalline Solar Starter Kit
Introducing the Renogy 12 volt, 200 Watt monocrystalline solar starter kit. It has an ideal output of 1000Wh per day and can fully charge a half-charged 50Ah battery in less than 2 hours. However, this depends on how much charge it gets during the day. Besides, the solar panel can be wired in series up to a maximum of 400W and this is possible by using its 30A PWM charge controller. Also included in its kit is an adaptor kit, connectors, tray cable and Z bracket.
Installation of the Renogy 12 volt, 200 Watt monocrystalline solar starter kit is also easy and this is mainly because of its Z-brackets. Besides, this Z bracket lets you install the solar panel on any vehicle including boats. The portability of the solar panel also aids its installation. By this, you can easily move the solar panel around. Furthermore, it is efficient, gets charged easily, and holds power for a long time.
Also, it has a negative grounding controller that protects the solar panel from overcharging, short circuit and overloading. So, rest assured that your solar panel is protected at all time. Finally, it promotes grid independence while producing power quietly.
5. Newpowa 2 Piece 100W Polycrystalline Photovoltaic PV Solar Panel
Do you want a very strong solar panel? Then the Newpowa 2 piece 100W polycrystalline solar panel is the one for you. This is because the solar panel has a reinforced anodized aluminium frame. More so, with its frame, you can use the solar panel on your RV and drive around any terrain without fear of it crashing. Besides, the Newpowa 2 piece 100W polycrystalline solar panel is not just about durability because it also promises exceptional performance. It can comfortably charge multiple devices at the same time and you do not have to worry about its power going out quickly.
Furthermore, its big size means it can be used for different applications no matter how rigid or tough it is. It is also easy to install and you can get it done without needing to call in a professional for help. However, it is heavy and you need to have an additional person around before trying to install it. We need to add that when connecting, make sure you attach the cables firmly with the charger to avoid them falling off.
One flaw we noticed about this product is that its junction box is not of high quality and it tends to go bad quickly. This is because it is not water-resistant which means it is not advisable to use on boats. Finally, to attest for quality, the manufacturers of Newpowa 2 piece 100W polycrystalline solar panel placed a 25-year power output warranty on it.
6. ACOPOWER UV11007GD Foldable Solar Panel Kit
The ACOPOWER UV11007GD is a foldable solar panel kit with the power of 100 wattages. If you are interested in going off-grid, then this solar panel kit is what you should be looking at. Also, regardless of it having so much power, it is still compact. Its compactness means you can install it easily. Besides, its small size also means you can take it off your RV in case it develops a fault. If you are interested in using the same solar panel for different RVs, you can also opt for this mainly because of size.
Furthermore, it is ideal for marine applications and it has less chance of getting destroyed by water. Speaking about the installation, besides it being portable, it comes with pre-installed stands. These stands make it easy to mount the solar panel on any RV without worrying about removing the brackets. The kit includes charge generators, 12V car or marine batteries with clips, and MC4 connectors. Moreover, the MC4 connector can be used to connect an additional solar panel of 40-watt maximum.
Also, it has a protective case that allows you to carry it around with ease hereby making setting up easy. The ACOPOWER UV11007GD is a great product but one flaw we noticed the solar panel has is that its instruction manuals are not understandable. We expected that the manufacturers to include a pictorial step by step guide to install the product but they didn’t.
7. WindyNation Complete 400 Watt Solar Panel
The WindyNation solar panel kit consists of 4 pieces of 100-watt polycrystalline solar panels. It also comes with a 30 amp P30L solar charge controller, MC4 connectors, and a 40ft long 12 AWG solar cable. Its solar charge controller is known to be of the highest quality and we assure you that it will last for a long time. Besides, the controller helps in keeping a tab on the voltage, amps, amp-hour and temperature of the solar panel when charging.
Furthermore, it comes with all the needed mounting hardware needed for installing the solar panel. The hardware is also designed in such a way that you can easily mount it on any RV or boat. It is also a versatile solar panel because it is well suited for homes, cabins and also serves as backup power use. We also like the fact that the solar panel is like a complete kit because you get all the necessary accessories hereby reducing your cost.
Besides, the solar panel provides an average of 1500 watt-hours of charge per day. However, this depends on how well charged it is. It also has a 1500 watt Vertamax power inverter that provides more energy to power your homes/apartments. Finally, it gives you a choice to expand your solar panel in future if the need arises.
8. Go Power LLC GP-PSK-120 Solar Kit
The Go power LLC GP-PSK-120 solar kit is a powerful solar panel choice. It produces 120 watts of power and it has an output of 6.7 ampere DC per hour. With this solar panel, you can comfortably charge a 12-volt battery in no time. Also, it has an inbuilt 10 amp solar controller. Its charge controller ensures that its battery is adequately protected from overcharging. More so, part of its accessories is the battery clamps that can be used to easily connect the battery and cable.
Furthermore, it has a protective case that can be used to transport the solar panel around easily. This supply is made of durable aluminium material that can protect it from unexpected impact. Additionally, it is easy to install and we assure you that it will take you only a few minutes to set it up. Finally, to attest for the durability of the product, the manufacturers placed a 25-year warranty on it.
How To Maintain An RV solar Kit?
Below are easy steps to maintain an RV solar kit
Tighten The Mounting Brackets
After installing an RV solar panel, make sure you check the screws of the mounting brackets occasionally. The reason is that when the RV is moving or is vibrating, the solar panel can get loosed and fall off.
Cleaning of the solar panel is necessary because too much dirt can reduce the rate at which it gets charged. When you clean, it is advisable to not use chemicals because it can be abrasive to the solar panel. Using a rag and water is enough to perform the cleaning process. However, we advise that you should not use high-pressure water to clean the solar panel
Check Water Level of Batteries
If you are using flooded batteries, then, make sure you check its water level monthly. Also, top it up with the right amount of distilled water if the water level becomes low.
Read more: Top 6 Best Flexible Solar Panels - Review and Advice
After reading this article about the best RV solar kit, we are sure you learnt a lot. We made sure we wrote about the factors to consider before choosing an RV solar kit. We also wrote about the types of solar panels available. Remember that while the monocrystalline solar panel is the most efficient, its polycrystalline counterpart is also a very efficient option.
We also reviewed some of the best RV solar kits in the market and we are impressed by all of them. However, the Renogy 100-Watt 12 Volt mono-crystalline solar starter kit is our top pick. This is because it is efficient, durable and powerful. We also need to add that because the Renogy 100-Watt 12 Volt mono-crystalline solar starter kit is our top pick doesn’t make the other products of less quality. This is because we carefully selected every product that made the list and we promise you won't regret buying any of them.
This article is very well supported by advice from Denver Party Bus