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How Much Solar Power Do I Need For My RV


Many RV’ers prefer silent solar panel options and trading noisy generators with them. It allows you to enjoy your away time being fully off-grid with no generator fuel loads up twice per week is possible without sacrificing too much. You might be asking how much solar power do I need for my RV and here, we will answer that for you.

After all, it is an eco-friendly choice with free power after the initial installation cost. Solar panels produce about 25% more energy on a cloudy day than a sunny day.

So, if you are considering a noise-free campground away from the generators and hookups and ensuring maximum RV experience with power, consider solar panel investments. Solar panels are slowly upgraded to be more effective at utilizing photovoltaic cells gradually in energy conversion at a gradually decreasing price.

Benefits of a Solar Panel

Investing in RV solar panels to use it as a source of power for the vehicle offers some benefits. A solar panel has no moving parts, unlike a generator, while operating with zero noise and smell. You can also expect the least maintenance, considering no dealings with messy oil or fuel for keeping it clean. The noiseless solar panel never disturbs neighbors by making them tolerate noise plus breathe the exhaust fumes of generators.

Solar Panels cannot be expected to be cost-effective instantly after installing it. With Patience, you will learn to make the proper system adjustments to match your needs. An appropriate solar panel system applied for even one battery to charge will come in handy.

Also, having a battery bank storage can run all the conveniences in your daily routine. Getting battery storage of about twice the required daily amount of power is necessary because your batteries that way will last longer. The most important benefit of solar energy is zero spending on costly fuel.

How Much Solar Power Do I Need for My RV

Total Number or Total Wattage?

The number is quite irrelevant as the main focus is the total wattage available from the solar panel array. The concept explains the wattage gained from each solar panel and is multiplied by the total number of used solar panels.

The number of required solar panels for your RV also depends on the number of batteries that need to remain charged. With a larger amount of amp-hours your batteries are usually capable of holding, you will require more solar panels.

Figuring Out Total Energy Output

The best path is practical because you must go camping to figure out your total energy output. Camp multiple times to measure the discrepancies and determine how much power, on average, you consume per day.

Firstly, settle out for a couple of days while utilizing your RV normally without conserving power for an accurate demand load or running your generator.

Secondly, you must keep a battery monitor to track your battery level. However, be careful about letting your lead-acid batteries discharge below 50%. Usually, going below this mark means letting the battery’s lifespan shorten.

Thirdly, determine the amount of power you consume typically per day. Also, note the number of days before your RV batteries are drained. For instance, if the 200 amp-hour lead-acid batteries drain down at 50% after two days of camping, you have used 50 amp-hours daily.

The math to determine the total solar power needed for your RV

____ amp-hours per battery * ____ number of batteries = ____ total amps available from RV batteries

____ total amps available * 0.75 capacity = ____ total true usable amps from both batteries

On an important note, consider the battery bank if your battery drains before the day is complete. Solar panels cannot help if you lack enough battery capacity for storing the required power.

  • A single 12-volt, 100 amp-hour battery should have a minimum of 300 watts of solar panels.
  • Two 12 volts / two 6 volts, 200-250 amp-hour batteries should have a minimum of 600 watts of solar panels.
  • Four 12 volts / four 6 volts, 400-600 amp-hour batteries should have a minimum of 1200 watts of solar panels.

How Much Solar Power Do I Need – Conclusion

The general rule of thumb on the metric is that a 30 amp-hour battery charge can be produced through 5-9 hours of sun exposure using a 100-watt solar panel. A typical solar panel used on most RVs may range between 100-160 watts. Also, on cloudy days, solar panels may drop 75-90% efficiency, so having slightly more than your need is recommended. Solar energy optimization is an environment-friendly way to enjoy living off-grid in your RV for a while if you fully know the specific RV solar power requirements