Carrying more and more electronic devices during travel has increased the demand for electricity in the RV , and "insufficient electricity" has become a major problem for long-distance travel in the RV.
In order to solve the problem of RV power consumption, many RV manufacturers have begun to incorporate solar charging systems into the optional items for car purchases, and many RV refit factories also provide solar panel installation services.

However, due to the high cost of installing solar panels, many customers are usually very cautious when choosing: Is it necessary to install solar energy? How should I choose a solar panel ? How much power is suitable for installing solar panels?So let's talk with you about solar panels for RVs today .

The basic way of using electricity in RV

The power supply in the RV basically comes from four aspects, namely the battery, the driving generator, the external 220V power supply and the solar charging system.


Practical and commonly used types of batteries include acid batteries, nickel batteries, lithium batteries, lithium batteries and ternary lithium batteries, lithium iron phosphate batteries, etc.

Ternary lithium (nickel-cobalt-manganese) batteries have obvious advantages in terms of energy density and single product cost. Its main disadvantages are poor safety and low thermal stability (relative to lithium iron phosphate materials).Although the performance of lithium iron phosphate is not as good as that of ternary lithium batteries, it is relatively safe.

Driving Generator

Self-propelled saloon cars in the process of driving, the generator will generate electricity supply and directly charge the RV battery. The two parts of the battery of the car and the house are independent of each other, and there will be no mutual loss during use.

Solar Charging System 

RVs use solar energy mainly by absorbing sunlight through solar panels laid on the roof, and then converting it into AC power for daily use through inverters. The converted electricity can be used directly or stored in batteries for emergencies.

How solar cell systems work

Is it necessary to install solar panels in RV

Whether the RV needs to install solar panels is designed according to the electric load inside the car and the actual use requirements of the RV.

If the RV travel frequency is relatively low, and the riders who like to live in the camp, generally can directly charge the RV through the electric pile in the camp.

But if it is more long-term, long-distance travel, and there is no fixed driving route, then adding solar panels to the RV can not only use solar energy as the main source of electricity, but also effectively protect the RV's own battery.

How much power solar panels should you choose for your RV?

The above figure lists the power consumption of some commonly used electrical appliances. you can simply calculate according to their own usage, and then make a selection.

If a solar panel with a rated power of 400W, in the case of standard light intensity and battery shortage, the theoretical storage capacity for 1 hour is 400W÷18V×12V×1h=0.267kW·h, which is what we often say 0.267 kWh, if calculated according to an average of 8 hours per day, then 0.267kW·h×8=2.136kW·h, which is about 2.1 kWh.

That is, a set of 400W solar panels can generate 2.1 kWh of electricity a day. If the light intensity and intermediate loss of electricity are included, the charging efficiency is calculated at 70%, and the actual charging capacity in one day is 2.1×0.7=1.47 kWh.

In a self-propelled C-type RV within 6 meters, the total RV lighting is temporarily calculated as 100W, 80W refrigerator, 80W LCD TV, 30W laptop and mobile phone, the total power is about 300W, after installing 400W solar battery After the board is installed, these electrical equipment can work together for 2.1÷0.3=7 hours.

Therefore, under normal circumstances, a C-type self-propelled RV is installed with 3-5 solar panels with a power of 100W, which can ensure the normal operation of the interior lighting equipment and other small appliances.

 RV Solar Panels

What kind of solar panels should you choose for RV?

Solar panels can continuously obtain energy through the sun light source to provide electricity for the RV, so how to choose the right solar panel?

Types of solar panels - preferably monocrystalline solar panels. 

At present, the more common solar panels can be generally divided into three categories: monocrystalline silicon solar panels, polycrystalline silicon solar panels and amorphous silicon solar panels.

Monocrystalline silicon photovoltaic modules are solar panels made of high-purity monocrystalline silicon rods, which are currently widely used in the photovoltaic market.

Monocrystalline silicon photovoltaic modules have the highest photoelectric conversion rate (high photoelectric conversion efficiency of monocrystalline silicon>crystalline silicon, polycrystalline silicon>amorphous silicon), so most RV enthusiasts choose monocrystalline silicon solar panels, of course, the price will be more expensive.

Rigid VS Flexible Solar Panel

In addition, solar panels are divided into Rigid panels and Flexible panels, both of which have their own strengths and can be selected according to your own preferences and needs.

Rigid Solar panels, after overhead installation, leave a certain space with the roof to ensure air convection; and avoid direct sunlight on the roof, the air conditioner can save some electricity in summer, and the price is relatively cheap, the disadvantage is the installation requirements Tall, not beautiful enough.

The advantages of Flexible Solar Panel are that they are beautiful and low-key, relatively easy to install, and hardly increase the weight of the RV. However, because the lower the temperature of the solar panel, the higher the efficiency, the soft board is close to the roof, which is not conducive to heat dissipation, so the efficiency will be lower, and the price is higher than that of the hard board.