RV Solar Panels – Pros and Cons

Should you consider RV solar panels? Solar power is considered an eco-friendly way to power your home and reduce costs.

However, like all things, solar power has pros and cons that should be carefully considered before buying an expensive solar pane kit, especially for RVers.

rv solar panels

A generator can be louder and less eco-friendly for RVs than solar power. While solar power is great for boondockers and camping off the grid, some unfortunate truths are unknown to most and should be kept in mind.

RV Power is Complicated While Off-grid

Setting up RV solar panels is more complicated than hooking up to shore power at a campsite. To buy and install the right solar panels, you must know how much power you use daily.

RV Solar Power Comes at a High Cost

The price of RV solar panels is high. A good, long-lasting solar panel kit can be pricy by itself, but it doesn’t stop there.

You also must get solar batteries for storing the power, a charge controller to not overcharge, and an inverter to turn the solar power into usable power for your rig. All in all, eco-friendly power is an investment that comes at a major cost.

You Have to Purchase a Battery Tank

When you have solar power for your RV, you need a battery tank for backup power. This is needed to provide power for cloudy days, parking in the shade, and nighttime.

The cost of a good battery tank alone is something to keep in mind because solar power differs from connecting to shore power, where you never have to worry about having power.

These are the best RV batteries I recommend.

Can You Park in the Shade?

Parking in the shade on a hot summer day sounds like a dream. However, when you have solar panels, parking in the shade will decrease power generation since they are not in direct sunlight.

If you don’t need a lot of power, you could use portable solar power units, but that isn’t always a guarantee you can get the power you need, especially on days when the weather doesn’t cooperate.

RV Solar Panels – Final Thoughts

So, the question remains, is solar power worth it? That depends on the power you normally use and the amount of time, effort, and money you’re willing to invest.

Solar power is not for you if you use a lot of power and never want to worry about running out.

However, if you’re a person who likes to go boondocking or camping off-the-grid, it can be worth the cost and save money; in the long run, you would spend on camping fees and electricity costs.

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How Many Solar Panels Do You Need for Your RV?

Glad you asked. In this video, you’ll learn all you need to figure out how many solar panels you’ll need for your camper.

Additional Resources:

How do solar panels work?

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Ray & Tammy Roman

Ray and Tammy Roman are the co-owner/authors of Go Travel Trailers. They have been featured in AARP, RV Today, and Porch.com, among others. When not writing about RVs and the RV lifestyle, you'll find them fishing, vacationing in Red River, NM, and spending time with family and friends.