Best RV solar panel kit: top-rated reviews
Did you know that the cost of a full solar setup continues to fall every year? (1) However, RV solar kits come in all different sizes and functions, and they’re much cheaper than a full solar setup. If you’re stuck wondering which is the best RV solar kit for you, our guide should be able to provide you some excellent ideas, tips, and tricks for making your decision.
ACOPOWER 500W Kit
This kit is our best overall because it’s sturdy, beginner-friendly, and easily expandable, and not to mention well-priced.
RV Solar Kit Reviews
|ACOPOWER 500W Kit||
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|Renogy 100W Kit With 30A PWM Controller||
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|WindyNation 400W Kit||
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|ECO-WORTHY 1400W Wind Solar Power Kit||
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|Renogy 800W Kit||
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|WindyNation 400W Kit With 400ah AGM Battery||
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|WindyNation 200W Kit With 200ah Battery And Inverter||
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|Renogy 400W Kit||
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|ECO-WORTHY 800W Complete Kit||
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|ECO-WORTHY 200W Kit||
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|TP-solar 100W Foldable Kit||
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|Renogy 200W Foldable Kit||
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|SUNGOLDPOWER 200W Kit||
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|ECO-WORTHY 120W Kit||
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|WindyNation 200W Kit With 200ah Battery||
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|Renogy 200W Kit With 30A PWM Controller||
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Here, you’ll find our comprehensive RV solar kit reviews, with all our top picks on the market today. While we fully endorse all of them, we’ve done our best to rank them accordingly to further aid your search starting with our best overall choice, the ACOPOWER 500W Kit. Let’s take a closer look.
The ACOPOWER 500W Kit is our best overall pick for many reasons. First, because it’s sturdy, easy to assemble, and even more potent than the rating implies. Then, this MPPT-controlled kit comes with everything you need to get started, including a full five panels, a solar charge controller, and all the mounting gear and cables you could need.
Not only does it work with virtually any type of battery, but you can connect the panels in parallel or in series, too. This makes it extraordinarily expandable, and customizable over time. For those looking to buy the best solar kit for RVs of the year, we highly-recommend the ACOPOWER 500W Kit.
If you’re looking for an inexpensive solar panel kit to get your feet wet, our budget pick from Renogy might be perfect for you. It includes everything you need except a battery.
This PWM-powered kit also comes with a monocrystalline solar panel, making it one of the most efficient on our list! According to the manufacturer, this kit can reach conversion rates of up to 21%, making you get a lot of bang for your buck. All this is incredibly impressive considering the kit’s already-low price. You can’t help but feel accomplished after spending your money so wisely.
While most of the kits on this list don’t come with an included battery, this kit from WindyNation does. This 400W kit comes with four batteries and a compatible inverter, making this the best RV solar kit with an inverter and battery on this list, and not to mention one of the most ready-to-build kits, too.
While the extra batteries that come with this kit make it a bit pricey, you might end up saving a bit of money by purchasing everything in a bundle instead of a la carte. In any case, if you’re looking for something easy to set up and ready to go, this is an excellent option.
This solar panel kit from ECO-WORTHY stands out to us because it also includes a wind turbine. It’s incredibly easy to wire this turbine into the solar equipment, and it helps by providing a bit of extra supplementary power on the cloudiest days.
Not only is this the best wind solar kit on our list, but it comes with a one-year warranty as well, meaning you get a full 365 days to settle into the off-grid life risk-free. Unfortunately, the wind turbine itself is a bit difficult to turn except in very windy conditions, but in our opinion, having one is much better than not!
Renogy is a large, trusted name in solar panels, making this kit the best luxury kit on our list. You can trust that this set will perform, as it’s made from high-efficiency monocrystalline panels, and it comes with one of the most complete, fool-proof kits on this list (not counting an inverter and batteries). It even comes with a BlueTooth-enabled module that lets you connect your system to the Renogy app!
Unfortunately, this kit does not come with assembly or wiring instructions, and Renogy is unlikely to send you any, either, so this may be a better set for solar experts rather than beginners. However, if you’re up to the challenge, this high-quality kit will not disappoint.
This solar kit from SUNGOLDPOWER is a slightly larger budget kit that’s great for beginners. While it only comes with two panels, a power controller, mounting brackets, and other wires and connectors, it does come with a great warranty – the panels themselves come with a 25-year warranty. In contrast, the other components are only protected for a year.
This warranty on the panels is especially nice because they’re high-quality and efficient monocrystalline panels. Additionally, SUNGOLDPOWER customer support is impressively responsive and helpful – it’s always more pleasant to work with a friendly, quality company.
This 120W kit from ECO-WORTHY is small and relatively modest in terms of power output, but it’s modestly priced to go along with that. This kit comes with a single panel, a PWM controller, brackets, and connectors.
Despite being relatively small and inexpensive, the solar panel is powerful and may even outperform similar models. The kit comes with a surprising amount of brackets and connection material, too – more than generous enough for a basic, single-panel setup.
This smaller kit from WindyNation is similar to the #3 kit we looked at before but on a slightly smaller scale. This kit is less expensive, but at the cost of fewer panels, an older PWM controller, and no inverter.
However, you can’t deny the benefits of buying (almost) everything you need all at once in a single kit, and WindyNation corners that area of the market. Unfortunately, since this unit is a bit older, the controller’s usage directions are outdated, but it still functions as it should otherwise.
This solar panel kit from XINPUGUANG is unique because it comes with the first flexible panel to grace our list. Flexible panels like these are some of the easiest to install out of all of the solar panel types – no brackets needed.
The 600W solar kit comes with six flexible monocrystalline panels, connectors, cables, and a controller. However, our favorite about these panels is their weight – according to the manufacturer, they weigh 80% less than glass panels.
This 200W kit from Renogy is an excellent mid-tier set for those who want to get started with solar, but want a bit more than a single-panel set.
Unfortunately, the two panels that come with this set don’t seem like enough to justify the price. The controller is a bit strange, as well, since it doesn’t show voltage or current. However, you can trust that they will be efficient, high-quality panels since they’re from Renogy.
This kit from WindyNation is another expensive turn-key kit, but you get everything you need to get started immediately for the price. The only thing to keep in mind is that this kit doesn’t come with an inverter, so it won’t work for any items or appliances that require AC instead of DC power.
That aside, this is a surprisingly lovely kit, and it’s simple, easy to get working, and very dependable. This kit also has a controller with an easy-read LCD screen. This is a nice departure from previous screenless models, making it easy to read and interpret what’s going on with your solar setup.
Number of Panels: 2pcs 100 Watt Polycrystalline
- Wattage: 1500
- Voltage: 12v
- Battery Capacity: 200ah Battery
- LCD Display: Yes
This kit is almost the same as #8, the 200W kit we looked at earlier, but this one comes with a bonus inverter instead of just the plug-and-play kit. The inverter alone almost doubles this kit’s price, so if you already have an inverter or would like to buy a cheaper one separately, this upgrade is unnecessary.
While this kit is excellent overall, keep in mind that it doesn’t come with fuses. If you want to add fuses to your installation, you’ll need to purchase them separately – this isn’t indicated anywhere in the product’s description.
This 400W solar kit from Renogy is an expensive, high-efficiency version of the previous Renogy kits we’ve seen so far. This unit also comes with an optional Bluetooth module that can let you connect to the Renogy app, making this a very “smart” kit.
While the Bluetooth connectivity is excellent, the Renogy app itself sometimes experiences issues, which can be very frustrating – we wouldn’t recommend any plans to depend on the app for setup or diagnostics. However, while lacking fuses and flanges, the kit itself is of the quality you can expect from Renogy.
This complete solar kit from ECO-WORTHY is slightly different from the others in that it comes with a unique feature: an all-in-one (or, more accurately, two-in-one) inverter-controller. By combining the inverter and controller into one unit, you save a bit on space, but it may be harder to access the controller if you store it somewhere out of the way.
Unfortunately, because of its unique nature, this kit is a bit more challenging to set up than its cousins, but if you have the required expertise, it definitely has potential.
This solar kit from ECO-WORTHY is a two-panel kit that comes with everything you need to get started. While it’s a bit limited in terms of power and expandability – if you want to add more solar panels, you’ll need to upgrade the controller, for example – it’s dependable and consistent.
Unfortunately, the manual that comes with this kit is a bit vague – it’s not conducive to setting up for novices and beginners. However, if you have a little patience or know-how, it’s likely this kit will not let you down.
This is the first (and only) kit from TP-solar we’ve seen on this list, and there are a few reasons for that. For one, this solar kit is not designed to power an entire RV. While it’s portable and quick to assemble, it’s designed to charge a single battery or a few electronics, not a full camper.
However, if your solar needs are low, this kit is relatively cheap for such a portable product, and it doubles as a compact unit that you can take hiking or camping.
This surprising foldable kit from Renogy is slightly different from the other offerings from them so far. As the name says, this unit is foldable and portable, so it’s designed to be placed on the ground, on a pole, or on another surface outside your RV when you need it. Then, when you travel, you can bring it back inside again.
Overall, this solar kit is excellent, but with a few caveats. Firstly, you get less power for the price than you do with permanent panels, and secondly, it’s a bit cumbersome.
Buyers’ Guide (Top 8 Tips – How to Choose the Best RV Solar Kit for You)
Still having trouble narrowing down which is the best RV solar kit for you? We recommend starting by answering these eight questions.
1. Calculate Your RV’s Solar Needs
Before you even consider buying a solar panel (or multiple panels), you should figure out how much power your RV needs every day. Calculating your energy needs will give you a better idea of your solar setup’s final price before you even purchase it. If you draw a lot of electricity, for example, you may need more batteries and more panels than someone who mostly relies on propane.
If you want a precise number, you should look for the wattage draw of all of the appliances you keep in your RV. Then, you can consider switching to equipment with lower energy demands like a solar-powered refrigerator if you want to bring your total wattage draw down.
However, if you’re okay with a quick-and-dirty (and not always exact) estimation for your current equipment, a RV Solar Calculator works in a pinch. (2) Solar calculators like these, for RVs or otherwise, are located all over the web, so don’t be afraid to compare tools and use the one that works best for you.
2. Know the Three Main Types of Solar Kits Available
Not all solar kits are created equal. This is especially true for RVs, which differ significantly in size and power production. Aside from size and the number of batteries you have on hand, though, the type of photovoltaic cells in your solar panels can affect things like their power and price, too.
Amorphous solar panels are a newer photovoltaic technology. An amorphous solar panel is made up of several silicon crystals in a very thin layer. Since these solar panels stick flush against the roof of your RV, they’re sometimes less susceptible to damage, but they tend to wear out faster, too. Amorphous solar panels are more portable but slightly less efficient than the other types.
Monocrystalline solar panels are the most efficient variety of solar panels, but they tend to be the most expensive, too. As the name suggests, the cells in these panels are made up of a single crystal instead of several. Monocrystalline solar panels do exceptionally well in low-light conditions.
As you might have guessed, polycrystalline solar panels are similar to monocrystalline panels, except they’re composed of multiple crystals instead of a single one in each cell. Because it’s easier to create polycrystalline solar panels, they tend to be cheaper than their monocrystalline counterparts, but they’re a bit less efficient, too.
3. Consider the Mounting of Your RV Solar Kit
The decision of where to mount your solar panels is relatively easy for a stationary house. Where would they get the most sunlight exposure? However, this isn’t the case for RVs, since you might catch different amounts of sunlight depending on your location and the time of ear. Other factors can come into play, too, like the shape and height of your RV.
Stationary RV Solar Kit
Stationary RV solar kits are designed to attach to your RV, then never be moved again (or as little as possible). They’re a “set-it-and-forget-it” type of kit.
The benefits of a stationary RV solar kit are obvious. You don’t need to set it up each time you go to a new location, and it can even charge your batteries when you’re on the road. However, this also means that you need to take extra care not to damage them while driving and parking your RV, and you may not be able to reposition them as easily to maximize your sun exposure.
Flexible RV Solar Kit
Flexible solar panels, as their name implies, are not heavy and rigid like other solar panels. (3) These panels are stick-on models that often adhere like tape to your RV rather than needing a complicated installation. While these solar panels are incredibly easy to install, they tend to wear out faster, and they don’t produce as much power.
Foldable RV Solar Kit
Foldable solar panels reach a nice, happy medium between rigid solar panels and flexible panels. These solar kits are mostly rigid, but they’re designed to fold in one or more places along the panel. This makes them much easier to store and transport, so they make excellent “temporary” solar panels that sit on the ground or on a stand instead of being attached to your RV permanently.
Wind + Solar RV Kit
As you might already expect, wind and solar RV kits combine the benefits of solar panels with the help of an energy-generating wind turbine. Wind and solar combination kits give you a bit more flexibility since they allow you to continue generating electricity on windy, cloudy days.
4. When in Doubt, Oversize > Undersize (for Wattage, and Battery)
As wonderful as solar panels are, we still haven’t reached the technological level where they can be 100% efficient. Today, most common solar panels are between 15% and 20% efficient, while the very best can reach slightly upwards of that. (4) In other words, that means only about 15-20% of the energy your solar panels absorb gets successfully converted into electricity.
As such, if you’re stuck deciding whether to undersize your solar panels or oversize them, it’s always best to oversize. Unless your RV is permanently parked in one of the sunniest areas of the world, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be able to collect more power than you need. (This is where oversizing your batteries comes in, too.)
By overshooting your wattage and battery needs slightly, you’re much more likely to hit your projected energy needs.
5. Consider the Expandability of Your Solar Kit
An RV solar kit (which we’re assuming, in this case, is off-grid) is made up of two main components: the solar panels and the batteries. As you know, the solar panels collect energy from the sun, and the batteries store that energy. However, before that energy is stored, your controller needs to feed it to the batteries properly.
The capacity of your controller limits the size of your RV solar kit. No matter how fast your solar panels absorb power if your controller can’t direct the energy that quickly, the extra will end up wasted. As such, if you envision having more solar panels in the future, you may want to consider whether your current controller can handle that burden.
6. Consider What Kind of Solar Charge Controller You Want
The solar charge controller is an integral part of your RV solar system that shouldn’t be overlooked. The primary function of a solar charge controller is to monitor your batteries and control how much power goes to them at any given time. For instance, when your batteries hit a full charge, they shouldn’t receive any more electricity; not only is this dangerous, but it’ll wear them out much faster, too. (5)
Solar charge controllers come in two main types: MPPT, which is a newer and more advanced protocol, and PWM, which is older and more basic. We’ll go over the benefits of each of these protocols below.
MPPT, or Maximum Power Point Tracking, is a variable protocol that runs your solar panel at its maximum voltage, then converts that maximum voltage down to precisely what your batteries can accept. While MPPT controllers are more expensive and complicated, they’re compatible with a broader range of panels and batteries.
PWM protocol, while simpler and gentler than MPPT protocol, isn’t as efficient as its newer cousin. Because PWM controllers don’t convert the resulting voltage, your solar panel and batteries must be compatible if you want them both to work at their maximum capacities. (6)
7. Look for Bonus Features That Excite You
This one is pretty self-explanatory: which cool features would you most like to see in your RV’s solar kit? If you research by reading RV solar kit reviews, you’ll learn a lot about portability, durability, cost, and other aspects of owning an RV solar kit, but you may miss out on some of the more fun things.
You don’t need to splurge for every bonus feature in your solar kit, especially if these features make your final price too high. However, it’s a good idea to at least use them to narrow your search. For example, some of our favorite bonus features from this guide include:
- An included wind turbine for extra power
- Batteries included
- The ability to run the kit parallel or in series
- Bluetooth compatibility for in-app control
- Long-term and transferable warranties
- Friendly and helpful customer support
- Flexible or foldable panels
- Controllers with status displays for easy troubleshooting
- Plug-and-play capability (i.e., you can install it and use it instantly)
- All-in-one vs. separate controllers and inverters
8. Find the Top Deal for You
Finally, we’ve come to the most crucial part: the price of your RV solar kit. While picking and choosing based on size and features is all well and good, if you can’t afford it in the end, you’ll get nowhere. Make sure to consider the long-term price of the kit, sales and tax incentives, and any energy savings you might receive, too. (7)
Your RV solar kit’s warranty can factor into the total long-term price if you end up running into durability trouble. The size, quality, and type of solar panel kit you buy will help determine the warranty that comes with it, but you may also be able to purchase an extended warranty if you so choose.
Limited Time Deals
Limited-time deals are great for getting high-quality solar kits for rock-bottom prices. While these deals can vary throughout the year, one of the best times to purchase solar panels is, surprisingly, during the winter. Since many people decide to buy solar panels in the spring and summer, the winter season can be slow, which means better deals and incentives for you. (8)
Don’t forget about special discounts, like tax incentives, when purchasing solar panels for RVs because they can have a significant impact on the overall final price you pay. The Solar Investment Tax Credit, or ITC, for example, was put into effect in 2006 and exists to this day. In 2019, this tax credit covered up to 30% of your solar purchase, while it fell to 26% in 2021. The tax credit is projected to fall again to 22% in 2021. (9)
Do you still have questions about purchasing an RV solar kit? If so, no worries! Here are the most popular frequently asked questions to know before buying one to further aid your search.
Solar panels can absolutely be worth it for an RV. While they have a high upfront cost, solar panels are especially well-suited to RVs because of their off-grid capabilities. RVs pair exceptionally well with solar panels because of the limited amount of power that they use, too.
Not only can solar panels save you money on electricity, but they allow you to experience more off-grid camping locations, too. In our opinion, that makes them worth it for the lifestyle advantage alone.
While the technical answer to the above question is yes, air conditioners use a lot of electricity. It would require lots of solar panels and batteries to run your RV AC on solar power alone. However, there are many other options for you to consider, too, such as fans, evaporative coolers, and even propane-powered air conditioners.
While the best RV solar kit for you can differ depending on your needs, we think the best one is the ACOPOWER 500W Kit. Not only is this kit affordable, expansive, and sturdy, but it’s easy for beginners to work with, too, making it great for just about anyone.
The Bottom Line: What Is the Best RV Solar Panel Kit to Buy Today?
The technological landscape for photovoltaic power is continuously changing and improving. As such, the best RV solar kit might be different tomorrow than it is today. However, if you were to purchase one today, we highly-recommend the ACOPOWER 500W Kit, our top overall choice of the year.
In our books, here at Your Energy Blog, not only does this kit come with everything you need to get started, but it’s not just a single-panel kit, either – this kit comes with five full panels to get you going. While it doesn’t come with batteries, it’s an impressive (and savvy) purchase for beginners and experts alike.
- How Solar Panel Cost & Efficiency Change Over Time | EnergySage. Retrieved from: https://news.energysage.com/solar-panel-efficiency-cost-over-time/
- Best RV Solar Panels & Kits (Review & Buying Guide) in 2020. Retrieved from: https://www.thedrive.com/reviews/28074/best-rv-solar-panels-and-kits
- Buy portable and flexible solar panels | SunPower. Retrieved from: https://us.sunpower.com/flexible-solar-panels
- Solar Panel Efficiency: What Panels Are Most Efficient? | EnergySage. Retrieved from: https://news.energysage.com/what-are-the-most-efficient-solar-panels-on-the-market/
- Solar Charge Controllers | Battery Charge Controllers | Unbound Solar. Retrieved from: https://www.wholesalesolar.com/charge-controllers
- MPPT vs. PWM Charge Controllers – What’s the Difference? – Solacity Inc.. Retrieved from: https://www.solacity.com/mppt-vs-pwm-charge-controllers-whats-difference/
- How Much Do Solar Panels Save You in 2020? | EnergySage. Retrieved from: https://news.energysage.com/much-solar-panels-save/
- Top 5 Reasons to Shop for Solar in the Winter | Solar News. Retrieved from: https://news.energysage.com/top-5-reasons-to-shop-for-solar-in-the-winter/
- Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) | SEIA. Retrieved from: https://www.seia.org/initiatives/solar-investment-tax-credit-itc
Hi, Im Dara. Born and raised in Farmingdale NY and I spend my time online covering alternative energy news and local developments,in the space. My mission is to help more people realise the benefits of using alternative energy. When i’m not blogging about energy you’ll find me walking my dog, working out, or practicing meditation!