Saturday, June 15, 2024

Portable Solar Panels For Rvs

Dokio 100w Foldable Solar Panel

RV Portable Solar Charging System presented by RV Education 101
  • Ideal for solar panel beginner users
  • Lack of available manuals online

Dokio is gaining popularity nowadays, and its no wonder because everything seems to be positive and refreshing about it. A Chinese company, Dokio Solar manufactures portable solar power units that are polycrystalline and monocrystalline with expected power output for each panel of 100W.

It boasts high power in such a small package. It has a monocrystalline solar efficiency of 21 percent and 17.9 percent for polycrystalline. It is also very convenient to carry it with courtesy of its easy-grip handle. You can take it with you during caravans, RV trips, hiking, boat adventures and the like.

Using it is very simple too. You simply have to open or unfold the solar panels and use the battery clips that come along with it. The battery controller is already pre-installed and thankfully pre-wired as well for 12V battery charging. Hence, you need not worry about having to figure this portion out.

Another simple but smart feature of the Dokio portable solar panels for RV is they come with pre-drilled holes at the back, so you can just safely mount it on the spot. No need to spend hours drilling that hole. Also, I like how it is entirely compatible with on-grid and off-grid inverters.

Goertek Portable Solar Charger

Available Wattage: 2 | Weight: 1.18 lbs | Dimensions: 7 x 3.8 x 1.1 in

The best solar chargers for backpacking offer versatility in a lightweight package to make sure you never end up without your electronics powered up. The GoerTek Portable Solar Charger has a built-in 25,000mAh Li-polymer battery. It can be charged via solar power or with a 5V/2A adapter . It allows you to charge three devices at a time so you can make sure your phone, tablet, and camera or drone are always ready to go. This charger has 36 built-in LED lights with three lighting modes plus charging indicators . In addition to the power bank and the manual, a carabiner and USB cable are also included. This charger is IPX6 waterproof rated, measures 7 x 3.8 x 1.1, and weighs 1.18 pounds. The GoerTek Portable Solar Charger is the perfect option for your future backpacking trips.

Need To Store Them When Not In Use

When your panels arent in use , you need to have room to store them. Depending on the type of portable panels you buy, this could require a fair amount of space.

A small folding solar panel isnt a big deal to store away for travel. But larger rigid panels have to travel somewhere, and depending on the size of your rig, they could take up your entire basement storage or even the hallway in the RV itself.

So, when shopping for a portable solar system, be sure to consider how youll store the panels for travel.

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Best Overall: Renogy 12 Volt Monocrystalline Portable Foldable Solar Panel

For a portable panel thats ideal for van life and recharging RV or boat batteries, the Renogy folding 100-watt panel is built to withstand the elements. It tops our list because it’s a versatile, sturdy, and efficient panel at a moderate price. Measuring 40 inches long x 27 inches wide , the panel is extremely efficienteven in low-light areas or cloudy days. The unit includes a corrosion-resistant aluminum stand and a rugged protective case with heavy-duty handles and latches.

The Renogy panel can be purchased with or without the solar controller and can be combined with a power station for the full off-grid package. The panel weighs just under 27 pounds.

What Are Portable Solar Panels For Rv

Top 5 Best Portable Solar Panels for RV [2021 Review]

RV solar panels work just like commercial and residential solar panels except on a smaller and more transportable scale. Once you install them on your camper, RV, or motorhome, solar panels will capture sunlight and convert it into usable electricity for your vehicle. You can then use this electricity to power the lights, appliances, and sockets in your RV.

If you don’t have solar panels, you will have to use another power source for electricity, such as a campsite hookup or generator. Portable solar panels for RV provide an environmentally friendly and convenient alternative to these conventional sources as they use renewable energy.

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May Have Usb Ports To Charge Devices Directly

Some portable solar panels for RVs have built-in USB ports that allow you to charge devices directly from the panel itself. This can be very handy for charging a phone or tablet while the panel is also charging your RVs battery bank.

Some solar panels have USB ports for direct charging of small devices like cell phones and tablets.

Whether Youre Boondocking Dont Have Access To Electricity Or Just Want To Rely On Solar Energy These Are The Best Portable Solar Panels For Rv Use

There are many reasons that you might want to find a great portable solar panel for your RV.

Maybe you try to use as much clean energy as possible.

Or perhaps, you love to spend a long time off the grid. Jennifer and I prefer to dry camp so that we can feel like we are truly free!

Portable solar panels can also help prolong the life of your rigs battery by keeping it charged and preventing it from draining.

Whatever the reason, if you find yourself looking for the best portable solar panels for RV, you have come to the right place. I have looked over several leading models, and compiled a list of the best!

We use affiliate links and may receive a small commission on purchases at no added cost to you. Thank you for your support. You can read our full affiliate disclosure here.

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Key Features To Consider In Choosing A Portable Solar Panel System

When looking for a solar panel system to take on the road with your RV, youll want to consider a few key factors. Here are some of the most important ones:


The first thing to consider when purchasing a solar panel for your RV is the type of panel. There are two types of solar panels: portable and fixed.

  • Portable solar panels are smaller and lighter, making them ideal for travel. They can be easily set up and taken down, making them perfect for RVs.
  • Fixed solar panels are larger and heavier, but they offer more power than portable panels. If you have a larger RV or plan to stay in one spot for an extended period of time, a fixed solar panel may be the better option.

Another classification divide panels into Monocrystalline, Polycrystalline, and Thin Film.

Monocrystalline Solar panels will give the most energy for its cost they can be expensive though Polycrystalline has less efficiency than mono , so theres something else in play here besides just sheer power? And then weve got a thin-film panel. These things arent very powerful or efficient compared with others-but sometimes weight is really important when camping outside.

The type of solar panel you choose will depend on your needs and budget. If you are looking for a portable panel that is easy to set up and takedown, a thin-film solar panel is the best option. If you need a larger panel that offers more power, a monocrystalline or polycrystalline panel is a better choice.


Size and Weight

Cord Length

Pros And Cons Of Fixed Rv Solar Panels

Connecting a Suitcase Solar Kit to a RV – Portable RV Solar Charging Video 2

There are both advantages and disadvantages to mounted solar panels. Lets weigh these up:

Pros Cons
Harness clean, green energy from the sun.- No need to worry about finding a powered campground- Power up your home comforts wherever you go Cheaper power in the long term. Can be expensive if youre not a frequent road tripper – Batteries, controllers, and DC/AC inverters must be hooked up to the RV. Fussy to set up – Not portable wired up for RV power only

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Does A Charge Controller Charge My Batteries Any Different From The Built

The converter that came with your RV is most likely a dumb charger with only one stage, the bulk stage. This wont fully charge your battery to 100% and have the other stages that can make your battery last longer.

Look in the manual you received with your RV to learn how many stages your specific converter has.

It might be smart to upgrade the converter if its one stage and youre spending money on big batteries. A lot of inverters nowadays come with a built-in smart converter charger with 3 or 4 stage charging.

How Much Do Rv Solar Panels Cost

How much you spend on solar panels for your RV depends on what you need from your solar system. If you use a lot of electricity, youll need to purchase more equipment, which will raise the overall price of your RV solar system.

You can find RV solar panel kits for as little as $100 or upwards of $1,000. It really depends on your energy needs. When youre just starting out, you can get an RV solar panel starter kit between $200 and $500.

Kits in this range will usually include a charge controller, solar cables, and one or two solar panels, which is a great jumping off point when youre first getting into solar. But, youll probably still need a generator to supplement your usage. Once you gauge how the solar panels are working for you, you may need to buy more panels.

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State & Local Incentives

The other perk here is that you can apply the 26% discount costs of your solar system after also taking any state-level rebates or incentives, meaning you can benefit from both federal and state incentives to help offset the costs of going solar. On a state level, most have an incentive program in the form of a tax credit, but it varies state-to-state. Many local cities and counties also offer direct rebates to help with the costs of solar panel systems and installation.

Best Portable Solar Panels For Your Boat

Portable Solar Panel Kit 80W 12V  Camper Interiors

Boats are more likely to use the larger framed type panels, as they have plenty of room to mount them. You can see this concept in action on the River Otter Waterway Cleanup Project , a marine system we designed for a client which utilizes full-sized panels.

Many of my customers that just boat around for a few hours a day like the flexible panels. They are just smaller, more portable, and get the small jobs taken care of with a lighter solar panel.

If you are going to be boating in salt water, you will want to choose a solar panel that is rated for salt air and corrosive environments.

We currently offer Mission Solar for these applications as their panels pass the IEC 61701 certification for protection against corrosion from salt mist.

When building a solar array on a boat, your choice of accessories matters more than the panels you choose.

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How To Connect Portable Solar Panels To Your Rv

Here is a list of the steps you need to follow to connect solar panels to the battery system.

  • Mount the solar panels on your RVs roof.
  • Install the charge controller inside the RV close to the battery system.
  • Run the wires from the solar panels into the vehicle and over to the charge controller. You can take the wires through a fridge vent or even through the hole from where the water pipes enter the RV if these are close to the battery. You can also drill a hole through the RVs roof to make room for the wires and properly fill any drilled holes. You need to install a circuit breaker or fuse on the wires for this run.
  • Now connect the wires from the charge controller to the battery bank. A fuse that’s a little higher than the charge controller’s rated current needs to be installed on these wires.
  • This is an optional step. Nevertheless, if you wish to use 120-volt AC appliances, you need to install an inverter inside your RV, as close as possible to the batteries, and run appropriate wiring to that inverter.
  • Important Note – If you’re wiring your controller or solar panels directly to your battery system, you don’t have to disconnect the converter in your vehicle. Both the solar panels and the converter can charge the battery bank.

    Nekteck Portable Solar Panel Charger

    Available Wattage: 21 | Weight: 1.13 lbs | Dimensions: 26.3 x 11.1 x 1.06 in

    When it comes to the best portable solar chargers, The Nekteck Portable Solar Panel Charger will always make the list. This charger is made of three monocrystalline solar panels and can provide up to 3 amps. It has dual USB outputs along with technology to promote fast charging. At only 6.3 x 1.1 x 11.1 and 1.13 pounds, the charger likely weighs less than your camping tent and is a breeze to bring on all of your camping trips. The IPX4 waterproof rating means its resistant to both water and dust. With up to 24% solar conversion efficiency, youll love how quickly the Nekteck Portable Solar Panel Charger charges your devices while youre exploring the great outdoors.

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    What Size Solar Panels Do You Need For Boondocking

    Getting right down to brass tacks, you want portable panels that are relatively powerful.

    The one thing I dont like about most of the small ones is that they top out at around 200w-300w and its not enough for full-time boondocking in my opinion .

    If youre planning on staying at RV parks or public campgrounds, then these will be fine but if youre planning on getting off-grid, then having the ability to charge up all of your electronics without worrying about running out of juice will make life easier especially if you have many more power-hungry devices.

    Best Portable Solar Panels For Rv Living & Campervans In 2022

    Roof Installed Solar -vs- Portable Solar Panels For Your RV? Pros And Cons

    Posted on Last updated: July 7, 2022

    Home»Van Life» Best Portable Solar Panels for RV Living & Campervans in 2022

    Portable solar panels for RV living and van life can provide a complete energy solution or extend the existing solar system for extra juice.

    Charging your batteries from solar panels is super helpful when boondocking, even if you spend most of your time on campgrounds.

    There are many portable solar panels on the market, and choosing the right panel for your needs can be challenging.

    Here are the best portable solar panels for RV living and van life to keep you comfortable, and off-grid for longer.

    When you click on links to various merchants on this site and make a purchase, this can result in this site earning a commission. As Amazon Associates, we earn from qualifying purchases. For more info, please check our disclosure page.

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    Polycrystalline Vs Monocrystalline Solar Panels

    Polycrystalline panels can be identified by their lighter blue color. The process used to make polycrystalline silicon is a simpler process, making these panels less costly to produce, and thus less expensive to buy. However, theyre also slightly less efficient than monocrystalline solar panels.

    Monocrystalline panels can be identified by their darker blue/black color. These panels are not only more efficient at generating power, but more space-efficient because theyre smaller. Monocrystalline panels are more expensive than polycrystalline panels.

    Go Power 130w Portable Folding Rv Solar Kit

    The Go Power! 130W Portable Folding RV Solar Kit has gained a stellar reputation that comes from it featuring one of the most versatile portable solar panels for RV batteries. Its the perfect option for rig owners who dont want to mount panels on their roofs permanently.

    A huge reason for its ability to offer this versatility comes from it having Anderson-style battery charging connectors. These connectors allow users to change the charging accessory quickly without much hassle.

    In fact, you can use this solar panel for various purposes, like maintaining your rig battery or trickle charging a boats battery. This multi-purpose ability has made the model a favorite among rig owners over these last couple of years.

    You should also take note of the products adjustable folding legs, which make maximizing sun exposure easier. Its a simple inclusion to ensure users can always get the most out of their portable solar panel in any situation.

    This feature wont hurt when it comes to storage, either. Its foldable legs ensure the device can fit into smaller areas without issue. The heavy-duty nylon carrying case will ensure this product doesnt get damaged in these storage places, as well.

    If it does get damaged, theres a 25-year warranty to ensure you always have insurance. This manufacturer has proven to honor this policy based on customer reviews. Some other companies tend to use these warranties as a selling point without any intention of living up to them.

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    How Do I Connect My Portable Solar Panel To My Rv

    This isnt complicated, but there is a piece of information thats critical to the process of connecting a portable solar panel to your RV.

    A solar panel shouldnt be connected directly to a battery. A solar panel would apply too much voltage and/or current to the battery which could eventually overcharge and damage the battery.

    Between the solar panel and the battery, you need a solar charge controller. The purpose of a solar charge controller is to regulate the voltage and current coming from the solar panel/panels going to the battery/batteries, providing the proper charge cycle, voltage, and current to properly charge your battery .

    So, to connect your portable solar panel to your RV, youll need to connect the solar panel to the solar charge controller and connect the solar charge controller to the battery.

    Now your portable solar panel will be charging your battery/batteries.

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