The best portable solar panels for RV are important investments if you look to break away from the day-to-day hustle and venture into the wilderness to relax. Getting a portable solar panel guarantees you the freedom to travel without needing to change routes to find a power source to recharge your electronics. Also, it does not have a noisy sound like the gas generators. These panels help you to generate solar energy, can charge lead-acid batteries, and help a user get clean power while you are on the move.
Notably, when it comes to the best portable panels, it is not a one is fits all and you have to know what to look for. Therefore, we have listed a detailed buying guide to help you easily navigate the buying process and have listed some portable solar panel kits to help ease your work.
1. Renogy Solar 100 watts Monocrystalline Solar Kit
- Includes 100W Solar Panel + 30A PWM Negative ground Charge Controller + Solar...
- Monocrystalline solar cell efficiency: 21%；The Charge controller has been...
- With the Renogy wanderer 30A PWM charge Controller, you can expand your system...
- Ideal output: 500Wh per day; can fully charge a 50Ah Battery from 50% in 3 hours...
- Negative Grounding controller with battery reversed, overloading, short-circuit...
This is one of the Renogy panels suitable for first-time portable panel users as it includes everything you might need. The unit features a 100-watt monocrystalline solar panel that features an expandable system to 400 watts if your power needs to increase over time. The portable solar panel also comes with a 30A PWM charge controller, so you don't have to worry about overcharging your battery and an 8-foot cable that allows a user to pack their RV in the shade. In contrast, the panel is in the sun for maximum production.
The solar panel kit is designed to be installed on an RV roof. Therefore, it may not be as portable as other panels, and some people also opt to purchase a separate mount to allow the panel to be installed in a tilt to get a better sun angle and allow snow or debris to slide off the panel.
2. WindyNation 100 Watt Solar Panel Off-Grid RV Boat Kit
- The kit includes: (1) 100 Watt WindyNation Solar Panel, 30-Amp (user adjustable)...
- Designed for RVs, cabins, homes, boats, back-up and remote power use
- Kit will provide on average 350 Watt Hours (Wh) or 33 Amp hours of charge per...
- 100 Watt solar charging kit provides up to 100 watts of clean, free, renewable...
- PWM Solar Charge Controller has user adjustable settings! LCD Screen shows...
WindyNation solar panel kit is the best choice for a portable solar panel if you want an LCD screen that will help you track voltage, amperage, and temperature usage. The screen is also beneficial as it makes it easy to change the settings and modes using the up or down arrows. Windynation solar power system also features protection against any overload, short-circuiting, or overcharging. In addition, it is among one the portable solar panel kits that include a battery temperature sensor.
The portable solar panel can be used on the ground and be roof-mounted, and it comes with four sets of stainless steel fasteners and anodized aluminum Z-brackets for a complete installation. The panel performs well in low-light conditions and includes 40 feet of solar extension cable, making it easy to choose a roof location while still connecting to your 12-volt battery.
3. ECO-WORTHY 120W Foldable Solar Panel Charger Kit
- 10 DC Adapters for 95% Power Station: 8mm for Jackery/Goal Zero，5.5*2.1mm for...
- Battery Charge Protection: 20A LCD controller can protect Lithium/Gel/Lead acid...
- Increase 20% DC Charging Speed: Upgrade from 100watts to 120watts, generate...
- Get up to 25% Sunlight: The tilting kickstands allows you to get up to 25% more...
- Light Weight & Compact Design: 9lbs(4.2kg) only, A zippered pouch stores...
Eco Worthy solar charger kit is one of the best portable solar panels for RV, especially if you want an off-grid power station compatible with a solar generator. It features pre-installed cables that make setting easier and quicker but keep in mind that the cables are quite short at less than 10 feet long, which restricts the ability to position your panels in maximum exposure.
These portable solar panels for RV use high-efficiency solar cells for better energy capture and transfer, and the cells are made of monocrystalline silicon. The Eco Worthy is suitable for powering your RV roofs and generator and can be used to minimize using the RV batteries, and they come with two five-volt USB ports that can be used with small electronics. Some electronics you can use this solar charger on include laptops and phones without draining the RV battery.
4. Zamp Solar’s Legacy Series Portable Solar Panel Kit
- Handcrafted in the USA; 25-year output warranty; Best-in-class solar cells;...
- No installation required; Includes everything you need; Charges most 12-volt...
- Compatible with Zamp Solar Ready RV ports; Comes with both SAE plug and...
- Integrated 10-amp digital charge controller protects your battery and lets you...
- Kit includes: 140-watt foldable panel, 10-amp charge controller, nylon carrying...
Zamp Solar panel is among the monocrystalline solar panels that are compact and easy to install, making it suitable for small RV vans because of the single 140-watt panel. The portable solar panel can charge everything from your portable computer to your lights, and it comes with a 12-volt battery or a 12-volt battery bank of multiple batteries.
The foldable solar panel has extendable legs that allow a user to place the solar panel at any angle for maximum production. The solar panel can either be plugged directly into your RV or be connected to a solar battery for charging. The kit also includes a 15-foot cable, a 10 amp charge controller for better battery charging management, and a solar suitcase for easy transportation. Even though the solar kit is pricey, it is suitable for frequent campers who need reliable equipment to generate power.
5. ACOPOWER 120W 12V Portable Solar Suitcase For RV
- Portable: 8.4 lbs; LxWxH 22 x17.5 x1.2 IN; handle design; pocket for holding...
- Efficiency: monocrystalline cells from SUNPOWER the highest conversion...
- Kit Includes: portable solar panel suitcase; 10A LCD charge controller;...
- Work With: clamps to you 12v batteries it would automatically start charging;...
- 100% money back guarantee. Customer service and technical support based in...
Acopower solar power station is ideal for camper vans and cab over campers thanks to its compactness and portability as it weighs a mere nine pounds when packed up. It also comes with a suitcase-style case for easy transportation and features the highest conversion efficiency with the monocrystalline solar cells. Notably, it comes with pre-installed wiring on the back of the portable solar panel, making it easy to set up.
Acopower portable solar panel works best with RV batteries, and it includes alligator clips that can connect to your battery easily to start charging. In addition, it is among the portable solar panels for RV that include a pocket on the panel that holds accessories such as the user manual, removable MC4 connector cables, and alligator clamps.
Factors to Consider Before Purchasing the Best Portable Solar Panel for RV
1. The Types of RV Solar Panels
There are three common portable solar panel types for RV, and they include:
a). Monocrystalline Solar Panels
These panels are created from one large silicon crystal, and they are considered the most effective ones because they still provide high power even when there's no sunlight. Monocrystalline panels look like familiar dark panels. They are the best for efficiency and high power output, and even though they are quite expensive, they are less sensitive to high temperatures and are very durable.
b). Polycrystalline Panels
Polycrystalline solar panels are one of the best RV solar panels because they are created from multiple silicon blocks and take up less space than amorphous solar panels. As a result, they are less costly when compared to monocrystalline solar panels. Even though they don't produce as much power as monocrystalline, they are a worthy investment for the RV.
c). Amorphous Panels
These are the panels constructed by the spreading of silicon on a large bed, and they can also be referred to as thin-film panels. These portable solar panel kits are usually a good choice because they are less costly than the two types, and they are more flexible, meaning they have more installation options. However, these panels usually take up a lot of space, up to three times the polycrystalline and monocrystalline panels take while producing the same power.
The higher the wattage, the better the portable solar panels for RV will simultaneously provide power to several electronics. How many watts you opt for should depend on how long and what you plan to run the RV battery on. High watts also usually mean the efficiency rating is better, but it comes at a high price point. However, when on a limited budget, you can start with a low-wattage solar panel and see how it serves you first.
3. Weight and Portability
Weight has more to do with the traveling you will be doing and where you will be playing your solar panel. For activities like hiking, you should opt for compact solar panels t avoid getting weighed down, but if you are attaching it to the RV, you should ensure it will not cause RV damage because of its weight. Before making your purchase, ensure you know how much the solar panels weigh to avoid surprises.
Also, ensure they are portable power stations to enable the user to carry from their house to their RV, and also they should be easy to install. Some portable RV solar panels usually come in a briefcase, and others feature a traveling case, so ensure you purchase one that you can travel with easily.
The efficiency value is the amount of solar energy converted to DC power and usually in a percentage form. The higher the efficiency is, the lower the panel will weigh and the less space it will take. Ensure you purchase a solar panel that gives you maximum output while not taking up a lot of space because efficiency is mostly important if you are not guaranteed to get sunlight often.
How a solar panel is made will affect its cost and efficiency. Therefore, if you are not on a budget, you should purchase the most efficient portable solar panel, like a high-efficiency monocrystalline panel. Although you want to spend less and have enough space to store your solar panel, polycrystalline or amorphous panels would be a great option.
5. Battery, Inverter, or Charge Controller?
If you use the panels to charge the battery on an RV and draw power from your vehicle with a cigarette lighter or internal power outlets, you might not need anything else. However, with an increase in power usage, you may need a deep-cycle solar battery to store the power generated during the day. Also, with the additional RV batteries, you might need a solar charge controller to protect the batteries from overcharging because solar panels may sometimes produce high voltage than your batteries can handle.
6. Ease of Use
All solar power systems usually need some basic electrical knowledge to install them. Some solar kits are easier to install than others, so ensure the portable panel you choose has clear instructions. Also, for portable solar panels for RV camping, it's better to opt for one that has a transfer switch, especially if you plan to use the solar system as a daily power source. The transfer switch is useful to allow your solar panel to supply direct power to your RV because the battery capacity can be directly affected by the air temperature.
You should ensure you know how much solar power you need and what you need to help you choose the best portable solar panel kit. Notably, suppose you are not confident in your solar panel knowledge or unfamiliar with the positive and negative terminals. In that case, it's important to hire someone to set up your solar kit.
7. Mounting Options
Fortunately, most solar panels usually include mounting brackets, pre-drilled holes, and adapters that you may need to install your panels. However, if your solar kit doesn't include one, you should ensure you know exactly what you will need to use to mount before you make your purchase.
8. Cord Length
If you don't park against direct sunlight and park in the shade, you might need a long cable or extension cord to reach your battery. Notably, the longer the power cable, the more power drop you will experience in DC electricity. Therefore, you should opt for a short wire from the solar panel to the solar charge controller and finally to our RV battery.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is a portable solar panel better than a portable solar generator?
They are better for the environment in the long run but not better for your pocket. Solar panels are a worthy investment that will cost you, and purchasing portable solar generators may be cheaper even though they are propane or gas generators, so you will still need to spend.
2. How Much Electricity or Power Do I Need?
This usually depends on what you need the solar charger to either top off your battery charge or supply your RV with daily power needs. Most portable panels usually range between 100 and 200 watts, but you should know your specific needs before purchasing.