5 Best RV Solar Panels for 2023

As an RV owner, engineer, and sustainable development advocate, I believe that RV solar panels are a game changer for RVers. That’s why I decided to write this guide about the best RV solar panels for 2023.

RV solar panels are an innovative way to harness renewable energy while on the road. These solar panel systems enable RVers to take advantage of the sun’s power for all their electrical needs, providing them with the freedom to travel anywhere and stay anywhere. With RV solar panels, you can reduce your reliance on generators and hookups, helping to lessen your environmental impact and save money on fuel costs.

Furthermore, as they are designed with portability in mind, you can easily install and remove them from your RV for storage or maintenance.

Best RV Solar Panels

best solar panels for RVs

Want more freedom to stay anywhere you’d like for as long as you want in your RV? Consider installing solar panels to generate your own electricity and reduce reliance on traditional power sources. Choose from a variety of RV solar panel options including monocrystalline, polycrystalline, flexible, and portable panels.

Here are the best solar panels to install on your camper in 2023:

The Best Solar Panels for RVs


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★★★★★ 4.6

  • High efficiency: 22.8%
  • Monocrystalline
  • High density 9 power bus
  • Panels from 100W to 300W each
  • 25 Years warranty

Best FLEXIBLE Panels

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★★★★★ 4.6

  • 22% Efficiency
  • Monocrystalline
  • Lightweight: only 4.4 lbs
  • Extra-thin: only 0.1 in
  • 25 Years warranty

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Types of Solar Panels for RVs and Travel Trailers

Here are the types of solar panels you can choose for your RV:

Monocrystalline Solar Panels

Monocrystalline solar panels are a popular choice for RVers who require a lot of power or want to occupy minimum space. They are more efficient than other types of solar panels, converting up to 23% of sunlight into electricity. Nonetheless, they are also the most expensive.

Polycrystalline Solar Panels

Polycrystalline solar panels are less efficient than monocrystalline solar panels, converting up to 15% of sunlight into electricity. However, they are more affordable and still offer an excellent cost-to-performance ratio.

Best Polycrystalline RV Solar Panels

OUR PICK (Budget Option)

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★★★★★ 4.6

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Flexible Solar Panels

If you own a curved RV, flexible solar panels might be the perfect fit for you. They are lightweight, thin and can be easily installed on any curved surface without drilling holes. The downside is that they are more expensive and not as long-lasting as other types of solar panels.

Portable Solar Panels

Portable solar panels offer a great solution for RVers who don’t need a lot of power or want a low entry price into solar power systems. They are lightweight, easy to set up, and easy to store when not in use. However, they are more expensive per watt than other panels due to their portability.

Best Portable RV Solar Panels

OUR PICK: Portable Solar Generator

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★★★★★ 4.7

  • Power almost any appliance!
  • 23% Efficiency
  • Monocrystalline
  • Fast Charge
  • 220W of power
  • App
  • 1800W AC outlet

Bluetti Portable Panels

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★★★★★ 4.6

  • High efficiency: 23.4%
  • Monocrystalline
  • Foldable & Portable
  • Panels from 120W to 420W each
  • Durable

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Some of those come as solar generators, including a lithium battery, integrated solar controller, inverter, and multiple outputs to power appliances. The battery is then charged by the portable panels included in the solar kit. Those are great solutions for camping and off-grid living.

Factors to Consider Before Buying Solar Panels

When considering solar panels for your RV, there are a few factors to consider, including budget, power consumption, climate and sun exposure, and ease of installation.


The type of solar panels you select and the amount of solar energy you wish to produce will ultimately determine the cost of your system. If you are looking for an optimal solution with peak performance, monocrystalline solar panels may be the most costly option. However, if you’re seeking a budget-friendly approach that offers great efficiency, polycrystalline solar panels may be your best bet. If you’re considering flexible solar panels, they fall in between the expense of monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels.

Power Consumption

The size of your solar panel system will depend on your energy consumption habits and the efficiency of the panels. You can estimate your power consumption by assessing the wattage of all your RV appliances and equipment. The number of panels you need will also depend on the amount of sunshine your RV receives each day. Daily solar insolation maps are readily available online and can help you determine how much sun exposure you can expect in your location.

Climate and Sun Exposure

When it comes to RV solar panels, one crucial factor to consider is the climate and sun exposure of your area. The amount of sunlight and the typical weather patterns in your location can significantly impact the performance of your solar panels.

If you want to get the most out of your solar panels, try to park your RV in areas with more sunlight. Such areas are more likely to yield higher energy from solar panels. In contrast, areas with cloudy or rainy weather may limit solar panel performance. To make a well-informed decision, research the solar insolation in the areas you plan to travel or park your RV.

Ease of Installation

Another crucial factor to consider when purchasing RV solar panels is the ease of installation. Even if you’re not a seasoned DIY-er, many solar panel kits come with step-by-step instructions for easy set-up. Make sure the system you choose comes with all the necessary hardware and cables to connect the panels to your RV batteries. It’s also essential to consider the size, weight, and portability of the solar panels you’re purchasing. Lightweight, flexible panels may be easier to store when traveling around or storing your RV.

Here’s a handy kit with all the essential tools you will need to perform the solar installation DIY on your RV:

Best Toolkit For DIY Solar Installation


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★★★★★ 4.7

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Installation Process

The installation process of RV solar panels mainly involves mounting the panels on your RV’s roof and connecting them to your battery bank. If you don’t have the time to learn how to DIY, then it’s best to hire a professional to mount your new panels securely.

If you want to install solar panels on your RV yourself, be careful to follow the manufacturer’s instructions precisely and take proper safety precautions including using a harness to avoid slippery roofing materials. Once the panels are mounted, you’ll need to run cables from the panels through your RV’s roof access to connect them to your battery bank.

Battery bank

If you don’t have a battery bank yet, then you should definitely consider lithium batteries. They are more pricey than lead acid batteries but they are 100% worth the investment. Lithium batteries are so much better in so many ways!

Lithium batteries are more efficient and have a better charging profile. Lithium batteries can draw down to just 5% (theoretical) of their charge or less, while lead-acid batteries can’t be drawn down below 50% without significantly reducing their lifespan.

This means that you will not be able to use all of the power stored in your lead acid batteries, while you can use almost all the power stored on lithium batteries.

In addition, the charging profile of lead acid batteries tends to drop off after about 1h of charging. Meaning that the batteries will become much less efficient in absorbing the power provided by solar panels. Considering that on a sunny day, your panels will produce power for many hours in a row, that would be a lot of wasted power due to the poor efficiency of lead-acid batteries.

This is why, depending on the size of your solar array and the use case, I would generally recommend using lithium batteries if you can afford the investment. Here are the best lithium batteries for your RV:

Best Lithium Batteries For RVs


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★★★★★ 4.7

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PWM vs MPPT Solar charge controllers

If it is not integrated in your solar panels, then you will need to get a solar charge controller. This is a sort of small computer to manage the way the batteries are charging and ensure that the solar system is safe without risking damaging the batteries. That’s why you should never connect a solar panel directly to your battery bank.

There are two types of solar controllers: PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) and MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracking). MPPT controllers are more expensive but are more efficient and can increase your system’s output by almost 30%.

Here are the best MPPT solar charge controllers, just select the right Amps and voltage for your needs:

Best MPPT Solar Charge Controllers

OUR PICK: Victron

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★★★★★ 4.7

  • High efficiency: 98%
  • Bluetooth
  • Custom charging based on battery type

Best Value

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★★★★★ 4.4

  • High efficiency: 99%
  • Affordable
  • Compatibility: 12, 24, 36, and 48V

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This is why it is very important to choose an MPPT solar charge controller for your sailboat. The last thing you want is to waste 30% of your solar power generation capacity just because of the wrong controller.

Type of Installation: series vs parallel vs hybrid

The installation type can also influence the efficiency of your system. If you are installing solar panels in an area that can be subject to shade, you should opt for a parallel installation or a hybrid serial and parallel system. Otherwise, if one of your solar panels is shaded in a series configuration, you will lose power from the entire array.

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This is because when you connect your solar panels in series, if one of the panels is not working because it is being shaded, the panel will interrupt the circuit, therefore also all the power that could have been generated by the other connected panels will be lost.

This doesn’t happen if instead, you connect the panels in parallel. However, the installation in parallel is more challenging because you will need to install a combiner box or a branch connector and make that waterproof. In addition, you will require a larger charge controller to handle the combined currents. This can be pricey!

A popular solution to reduce shading issues is having panels installed in multiple series. Those series can then be connected in parallel to the controller (hybrid system). In this way, if one panel is in the shadow, you will only lose the power generated by the interested series, while the rest of the panels will keep working.

But by far the best solution for shading problems (if you can afford it) is to have one solar charge controller per panel. In this way, only the shaded panel will be cut off, while the others will keep producing electricity.

Your installation type will determine the number of solar charge controllers needed for your system.

Maintenance of Solar Panels

To ensure the optimal performance of your RV solar panels, you’ll need to undertake regular maintenance. Keeping your panels clean is vital to increase efficiency. Dirt, dust, and debris can block the panels, reducing their energy output.

Cleaning and Protecting Your Panels

When cleaning and maintaining your panels, avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials that can damage them. Always check the manufacturer’s recommendations for cleaning.

Checking the Electrical Connections

Another essential aspect of maintaining your RV solar panel system is periodically checking the electrical connections. Check all wiring and connections for any signs of damage or wear and tear. If you notice any issues, fix them promptly to avoid system damage or underperformance.

Monitoring the System Performance

Regularly monitoring your RV solar panel system’s performance can help ensure that everything is working effectively. Keep an eye on the system’s energy output and the battery charge level to identify any issues. If you notice a significant drop in energy output, or your battery bank is not charging correctly, it may be time to call in a professional or troubleshoot the issue.

The most useful tool to troubleshoot an issue on your solar system is by using a multimeter like the one below to identify where the problem is.

Best Value Multimeter


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★★★★★ 4.5

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Once you identified the problematic component, you will be able to take the right steps to fix it.

Common Questions

Finally, let’s address some common questions that you may have about RV solar panels. One of the most common queries is how many panels do you need?

Many solar panel kits come with all the hardware and cables necessary to complete the installation.In summary, RV solar panels are a great way to harness renewable energy to power your RV on the go. When choosing and installing solar panels for your RV, take into account the climate and sun exposure of your location, ease of installation, and maintenance requirements.

The answer depends on many factors, including your energy consumption habits and the amount of sunlight your RV typically receives.Another common question is how to connect your panels to your RV’s existing electrical system. It’s best to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to connect your panels to your battery bank safely.


How many solar panels Do I need?

To determine the necessary number of solar panels for an RV, you need to first calculate the total daily power consumption. Then consider the camper’s available space for panel installation and the desired level of backup power.

Depending on the size of your RV, you may need anywhere between 400 watts to 1.2 kW, depending on how many appliances you need to run. It all depends on your daily power consumption.

It’s important to remember that the efficiency of solar panels can vary based on location, weather, orientation, and installation type. Additionally, the solar charge controller and type of batteries are also playing a significant role in determining the overall efficiency of a solar system.

Can RV AC be powered with solar?

Yes, it is possible to power your RV air conditioner using solar energy. However, the amount of solar power required depends on the wattage of your air conditioner and the capacity of your solar panels. However, depending on the power drawn by your air conditioner, you may need more than 1,000 watts of solar panel power and enough battery storage capacity for proper off-grid living and efficient operation.

What can a 100W solar panel power in an RV?

A 100-watt solar panel can power various devices in an RV such as small appliances, lighting, and charging gadgets. However, it may not be enough to run a power-hungry air conditioner. For an adequate power supply, one may need to have multiple solar panels or a portable power station. It’s essential to consider the wattage of the appliances to be powered and the capacity of solar panels when setting up an RV solar system.

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Now you are ready to revolutionize your travel experience with the best RV solar panels! Those panels can be installed on RVs and even sailboats and you will be able to harness renewable energy to power all your electrical needs while on the road.

Imagine being able to stay anywhere, go anywhere, and do anything without worrying about fuel costs or environmental impact. With the right solar panels for your RV, that dream can be a reality. And the best part? Most of those panels are designed with you in mind – easy to install, tough enough to withstand any weather, and portable enough to take with you on all your adventures.

So why wait? Join the revolution and get the best RV solar panels for your camper today! With their innovative technology and cutting-edge design, you’ll never have to rely on generators or hookups again. Plus, you’ll be doing your part to help save the planet while saving money on fuel costs.