- WindyNation 100 Watt Solar Panel Off-Grid RV Boat Kit with LCD PWM Charge Controller
- Non Flexible
- Renogy 200 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Solar Starter Kit with Wanderer
- Non Flexible
- ALLPOWERS 100W 18V 12V Bendable Flexible RV Solar Panel Charger Lightweight
- Komaes 200 Watts 12 Volts Monocrystalline Solar Starter Kit with Mounting Z Brackets
- Non Flexible
How to buy the Best RV Solar Panels on the Market?
First thing you must know is that not all RV solar kits are sold with a battery. You will usually need to buy this separately. Also, you might have to buy an AC to DC inverter separately as well, as it is usually not included in a RV solar energy kit.
Solar panel quality
The quality and efficiency of your solar energy originates from your solar panels. That’s where it all begins. The better quality your solar panels, the better the solar energy they will provide.
If budget isn’t an issue, only buy solar panels that are made with photovoltaic cells. These are about 30% more energy efficient than non-photovoltaic cell solar panels. Remember that solar panels need to be able to produce more energy in order to pay you back savings that you will otherwise spend on electricity from the grid. The more solar energy you produce, the faster your payoff will be. So, even if it means spending beyond your budget, we highly recommend that you shell out more for photovoltaic cells on your solar panels.
Also, look for features such as advanced cell encapsulation. The best RV solar panels will also have a feature called no hot-spot technology. What this essentially means is that the solar panel will not unevenly heat up in one spot that can otherwise reduce longevity and durability of a solar panel.
Other desirable features that you can look out for are solar panels that can be bent and solar panels that are designed to work well in low light conditions. You also want your solar panels to be very durable. As a minimum, they must be snow and wind resistant and also water resistant if not water proof.
With solar energy, you always want to buy solar panels with expandability options. That way, you can keep going greener, simply by adding more panels. The best solar panels for RVs will usually allow you to expand maximum capacity to 400 W.
The best RV solar panels come with a charge controller
When it comes to the best RV solar Kit, the charge controller is the second most important component after the panel. A charge controller protects your batteries against over-charging, over-discharging and other potential fatal problems like reverse polarity. Think of it as a fuse or circuit breaker in your home, capable of saving all your appliances in the event of an unfortunate short-circuit or high-voltage blowout.
Charge controllers come in different forms. The good ones will have an LCD display and will also allow user-adjustable inputs to allow you to optimize and fine tune the way your batteries get charged from the solar panels, with maximum efficiency.
Some charge controllers will also come with a temperature gauge which will then constructively affect the way in which the charging is delivered, using said temperature reading as an input to reprogram charging.
Output of solar panels
You need to be very sure about how many watts you will want out of your solar panels. Remember that you might not always get the maximum advertised wattage from a said solar panel for your RV. Therefore, it always makes sense to go for over-capacity than buying just the right amount of capacity. In other words, a solar panel might promise a max output of 100 Watts but might only give you 75 watts on a day when there isn’t much quality sunlight. If you had a larger solar panel with more capacity, you would have made up for that deficit power with more surface area exposed to sunlight, albeit not very good sunlight.
Output for the best RV solar panels are also sometimes measured in watt hours per day that range from 350 to 500 and also in the form of amp hours of charge per day.
Best RV solar panels always come with guarantee or warranty!
The best RV solar kit models will come with at least a year’s worth or warranty or guarantee. Stay away from manufacturers who do not give you any guarantee whatsoever!
Since you will want to probably use your RV solar panels when your RV is on the move, it is essential that the solar panels are securely mounted on your RV’s roof or on the side. So, when buying RV solar panels, make sure that the solar panels already have pre-drilled mounting holes on them. Do not buy solar panels with frames on which you have to drill holes yourself.
In fact, the best RV solar panels on the market will come not just with mounting holes but also mounting brackets that will allow you to mount it on an RV.
Now that you know what features and functionality you can expect from the best RV solar panels, let’s look at some RV solar panels reviews to help you make the perfect purchase.
Solar panels for RVs reviews – Which panel to buy from Amazon?
WindyNation 100 Watt Solar Panel Off-Grid RV Boat Kit with LCD PWM Charge Controller
This is one of the best RV solar panels on the market primarily because of the quality of the charge controller that comes in the kit. The user adjustable charge controller displays an array of useful information that includes amperage, amp-hours, voltage, temperature and also DC load draw. Besides giving you critical information to monitor your solar charging, you can also fine tune and input settings related to solar disconnect voltage, load disconnect voltage and amp hours generated. All these user input variables, when done smartly, can bump up charging efficiency.
The single panel included with this RV kit can output a maximum of 100 Watts. It comes with a 40 foot long AWG solar cable with MC 4 connectors. Also included is panel mounting hardware to install it on your RV. You will find the detailed installation manual very useful as it lays out all the steps in an easy to follow manner.
The max output from this panel is about 350 watt hours per day or the equivalent of 33 amp hours per day. Considering it is from a single panel, the numbers are actually pretty impressive, making this one of the best RV solar kit products when it comes to getting value for your money.
If you ever need to expand this kit, you can ramp it up to a maximum of 4 x 100 W 12 V panels or 8 x 100 W 24 V panels.
Please note that this kit does not include a battery or a DC to AC converter, both of which you will need to buy separately.
Renogy 200 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Solar Starter Kit with Wanderer
Comprised of 2 x 100 W solar panels, this is a great RV solar energy kit to buy if you want maximum efficiency. The solar panels are made out of a monocrystalline design that pack in energy converting cells in a very dense manner.
Included in this RV solar panel kit is the very efficient Wandered solar charge controller. It is a 30 A PWM negative ground controller that is very popular on the market.
Expandability of this solar kit for your RV maxes out at 400 W. The two panel set up will give you 1,000 Watt hours per day. Included in the kit is an 8 feet long 10 AWG cable and a 20 feet long 10 AWG cable. Also included are 4 adapter kits and a pair of branch connectors, giving you everything you need to harness energy from panels mounted on your RV. Also included are 2 sets of versatile Z-brackets that give you multiple mounting options.
The solar panels used in this kit also come with the no hot-spot technology, thereby ensuring long life, without localized deterioration on a small portion of the panel’s surface area.
ALLPOWERS 100W 18V 12V Bendable Flexible RV Solar Panel Charger Lightweight
This is “the” best RV solar kit to buy if you are specifically looking for a lightweight and bendable solar panel to mount on your RV. Weighing just an unbelievable 4.7 Lbs., this panel can also be bent to form up to a 30 degree arc. The arc is perfect to maximize surface area when you have a very limited footprint to capture the sun’s energy from. It can be straightened out when necessary as well.
The bendable feature has made it a very popular choice for installation on irregular surfaces.
If you take a look at the RV solar panels reviews for this particular model, you will notice that many of its users particularly like it for the fact that the panels are made in the USA. The manufacturer claims that these panels are capable of outputting 23.5% efficiency as opposed to just 18% to 20% efficiency that other panels can manage. Other notable features are that the panels are waterproof. Also waterproof and sealed away is the junction box.
Maximum power output is 100 W. The lightweight design is mostly possible because the panels use a frameless design. But, being frameless doesn’t stop it from being mountable on your RV, as it still has very sturdy mounting holes. Despite being so lightweight, the panel comes with an 18 month guarantee that speaks volumes about the quality of construction.
It can withstand wind up to 2,400 Pa and snow up to 5,400 Pa. it can also withstand hail of up to 1 inch at speeds of 52 mph! Quite impressive, it has to be said!
Komaes 200 Watts 12 Volts Monocrystalline Solar Starter Kit with Mounting Z Brackets
If you want an industrial strength solar panel for your RV, this is the model to get. Though it weighs a rather hefty 20 Lbs., the manufacturer claims that you can easily expect this panel to last you 25 years! The solar panels have diodes that are pre-installed.
The kit comes with 30 inch cables and MC 4 connectors. The panel is easily capable of withstanding snow up to 5,400 Pa and wind up to 2,400 Pa. Users also like the low light performance of these panels. The kit comes with a 20 foot long 4 AWG cable pair and also a pair of adapter kits.
The 20 A PWM charge controller does a great job of protecting your RV solar battery against shorts, over charging, over discharging and reverse polarity shorts.
Expandability options allow you to hook up to 400 W in solar panel capacity before maxing out. If you want heavy duty solar panels for your RV and don’t mind the extra weight, these corrosion resistant industrial grade panels are a great choice. Besides being very robust in terms of build, they also feature advanced cell encapsulation design that maximizes solar energy conversion. The panel is set on an aluminum frame design that can be mounted very securely, using the two sets of Z brackets that are included in this RV solar panel kit.