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The Complete Guide on Mounting Solar Panels on RV

by WEI WANG 01 May 2022

A Recreational Vehicle (RV) solar system can be a smart option if you spend more time hiking or traveling. RV solar panel installation could help save money on electricity while also helping to protect the environment. Furthermore, if you're in a remote location, you don't have to think about charging any electronics or keeping the food in the fridge fresh.

Moreover, solar will let you move further off the grid as you want without worrying about running out of power. Why would you want to know how to install solar panels on an RV? Installing solar panels allows you to stay off-grid for periods without worrying about going out of electricity. It helps you save money on campground fees and generator fuel. Several fantastic off-grid options are available when you are not tied to shore power.

 RV solar panel

What Are the Requirements for RV Solar Installation?

  • Solar panels come in a variety of sizes and shapes.
  • The monitor and the batteries: You'll need the cells to save you by storing the energy the panels generate, particularly at night. The monitor allows you to keep track of your battery life.
  • Solar charge controllers prevent batteries from being overcharged.
  • Inverters: Since AC power is required, they turn DC energy into AC electricity.
  • Cables- They are used to connect the panels to the batteries.


Examine the Roof for Any Damage


The first step is to look for any damaged places on the roof. If you discover any issues, it's best to address them before placing your panel. It will cost you some money to repair the damage after installing solar panels on the RV. It will also be time-consuming to redo the panel.

Note: Because an RV solar panel is slightly more involved than a building's roof, try to complete most of the work on the ground.


Determine the location of the solar panel on the RV.


Next is deciding where the solar panels will go on the rig's roof. Some will decide to put all of their solar panels on the front of the RV because it has a huge open space. It's straightforward to angle the RV into the sunlight in regions where trees and shading may be an issue because the panels are all in one place.


Identify how many panels you'll require.


Determine your appliances' power requirements and how many hours you can use them in a day.


Assess what you already have in your RV.


A handful of RVs on purchase already have solar panels installed or are solar-ready. Ensure the RV has heavy-gauge cabling that can supply the entire amount of electricity from your solar panels to the batteries for efficiency and safety.


Purchase everything at the same time.


The RV solar system's components must be interoperable with one another. Solar panel sets for RVs are more costly than buying them separately; however, their components are compatible already.

Mounting solar panels on the RV roof comes with a hefty price tag. However, these prices might save you money on fuel, petrol, electricity, and camping fees. Also, solar panels will help you lower your carbon footprint. Take a car-camping journey in an electric engine if you wish to go fully emission-free.


Get the solar panels ready.


Inspect the portable solar panels and mounts before putting them in position. Place each in direct sunshine and check the voltage at the wires' ends with a multimeter. If you do this one before installing the mounts, you'll be able to return them if you uncover any flaws.


Make a rough draft.


Draw your plan on a blank piece of paper the way you want it on the RV's roof. Draw one large rectangle to depict the RV's roof, for example. Then, within the rectangle, make a list of the smaller things. Fill in the length and width of the boxes with the measurements.


Fix your mounting hardware.


On how to hook up solar panels to RV, drill holes in the panels, set the brackets in position, and secure them with bolts and nuts. Ensure they're securely fastened before mounting the solar panels on your roof, so they don't fall off while driving.


Install the panels on the RV roof.


Install the mounts and get those up onto our roof, where you can bond them in place. Make a hole in the ceiling for the wires now, then cover and seal it with a cable gland. Ensure to remove the cable gland collars.

These will be attached to the cables individually. Complete by polishing the edges and wiping away any dirt with a clean cloth before priming and painting the hole to prevent corrosion.

It's preferable to perform this during a dry day, then wait 24 hours before moving the vehicle or moving onto the next stage.


Connect the charging controller to the cords.


Attach the monitor panel for your charging controller within the RV. You'll note that every positive and negative cable is one meter long. The connector has been installed. This cable is usually shorter, and you may need to expand it. A longer wire will readily contact the solar controller.

To keep the cords short, ensure the fuses and charge controller are near the battery. The size of the wires is critical; the smaller the cables, the more you'll avoid power loss.

Insert the solar breaker to the connecting cables. The breaker is usually installed between your solar charge controller and panels.


Build a series.


After solar panel installation for RV, you'll need to connect them. 

You can find a loose end in the first and last solar panels. These loose ends should be connected to a wire and then to a cable entry plate. If you have a lot of wires, an MC4 connector will give you a tidy one-cable finish.

After learning how to mount solar panels on an RV roof, note that conversion is among the greatest things one can do to live a more independent lifestyle while also lowering your van living costs. People take advantage of boondocking and live off-grid as often as possible in their campervan.

People will get far from everything and enjoy the calm and tranquility of nature by living in their van full-time. However, they'll still want to use their refrigerator, charge the cameras and computers, turn on the LED lights, and, in the winter, heat their homes. That's how this portable solar panel installation guide comes in handy while you are on that road trip or camping.

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