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How much solar power do you need for your RV

Lakeshore RV Center

Solar power has advanced over the years making it more affordable and easier for RV owners to get power from the sun. You may need to determine how much solar power you will need to power your RV. If you choose a system that under-sizes your power, you may not have enough to enjoy your RV as you’d like. If you choose a system that overpowers your RV, you run the risk of wasting money.


How Solar Power Works

RV solar power systems work the same way as a traditional solar power system in a home. The difference is the size of the system. Most RVs have solar panels mounted on top of the RV or on a portable set up on the ground. The panels capture energy from the sun and convert it into electricity. This energy passes through a charge controller which converts the power for safe storage in the battery. You will need an RV battery inverter installed in your RV to convert the DC power from the solar panel to AC power to run your RV.


How to decide what size RV Solar System you need

Solar power systems come in several sizes and price points. First, you should identify the appliances or devices you use and how long you use them each day to figure out the total watt-hours consumed. Once you know your power consumption and how long you use them each day, you can decide which system will give you the full power needed to enjoy your RV. Many RV owners will do a camping test to determine if their estimates are correct. This can take some time but will keep you from over estimating and spending too much on your system or under estimating and not having enough power. If you choose the camp test method, make sure your batteries are fully charged before you head off the grid. Use your RV as you normally would to get an accurate power audit. If you have a battery monitor, you can keep track of your charge status. Once you determine your average daily power consumption, you will need to decide how many solar panels you will need. A good rule of thumb is a 100 watt solar panel will generate 30 amp hours (approximately 350 watt-hours) per day. Take your daily energy consumption and divide it by 350 to get an estimate of how many 100 watt solar panels you will need.


Considerations when going to solar power

Some things to consider when deciding whether to invest in solar power are your batteries, your budget, portable verse permanent, and your roof space. Your battery sysen is the most crucial component of a solar panel system. Lithium ion batteries offer many advantages over the lead-acid batteries that are more common in RVs. They offer greater capacity and efficiency but come at a higher price point. There may be expenses you’re not anticipating with a solar panel system so keeping your budget in mind is important. There are often higher upfront costs that will lead to saving you more money in the long run. It’s important to calculate how many solar panels you will need and measure your roof space to ensure you can mount the panels on top of your RV. Some people can use more energy than others and may need to supplement their power source. If you don’t have enough space on your roof, you can opt to have a portable solar panel. This can offer more flexibility with maximizing your sun exposure but you will need to assemble and disassemble each time you change locations.


What are Solar Ready Systems

Solar Ready RVs mean the manufacturer of your RV has added features to make the process of adding a solar system easier. This can be as minimal as plugging in your solar panel to a special outlet that connects to the electrical system. The only drawback is that some RVs that are Solar Ready are only compatible with a certain brand or style of panel. Manufacturers do this to encourage RV owners to buy the solar panels directly from them or their partners. It is easy to modify the setup if you choose to go with a different system that is not compatible with the Solar Ready system.

Determining how much solar power you need can seem like a complicated question. The staff at can help walk you through the process of performing a power audit on your RV and help you with parts or installation of your equipment. We have the top RV brands that are Solar Ready in stock and can help you find the perfect RV to meet your needs. We offer zero down financing and delivery right to your home. We know that adding solar power can be overwhelming for RV owners so give us a call to help you with the process! 231-788-2040