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Should You Get Solar Panels for your RV.

Last updated: 10 October 2023

As much as we like to get away from it all when out on the road with your RV, there’s still a few things that require power

Batteries and generators only last so long before they need a charge or a refill. But there is another option.

The sun is usually shining while you’re out camping, so why not harness some of that glorious energy? Specially designed solar panels to fit on your RV will do just that!

Why go solar?

As long as the sun is out, you can make use of solar panels. You’ll be able to camp pretty much anywhere with the batteries fully charged in the sunshine. It won’t matter if there’s no power hookups at that campground, or if you’re out in the boonies, you’ll be able to collect and use the renewable energy the sun provides. This reduces your carbon footprint and gives you the peace of mind that you’re doing good for the environment.

Types of power

Certain things in your RV will just run off the battery’s power, like the lights and the radio. This is 12 volt power and will keep the basics going. But if you want other less essential but still useful items, like the TV, microwave, coffee maker, toaster, and other amenities, you’ll need 110 volt power. That’s where the solar panels come in, they will provide that necessary power that not every campground will have access to.

Portable vs onboard

There are two ways to have a solar panel. You can have them mounted permanently on the roof of your RV, or have a portable panel you can set up once you’ve arrived at your destination.


There’s pros and cons to each. The onboard panels are great because they will constantly be collecting energy while the sun’s out, even when you’re driving, and can be left unattended. But they’re definitely more expensive up front with the installation.

The portable panels offer more maneuverability, as you can park your rig in the shade and leave the panel out in the sun, and move it as the sun moves. They’re also more affordable for those looking to try out solar power. However, they can only be out when you’ve stopped and need to be stored away when you’re moving. They shouldn’t be left unattended, as they are more vulnerable to thieves and potential weather damage, like getting blown over by the wind.

Solar components

What makes up a solar array for an RV? The panels are what we mostly think of, but there’s more to it than that.

Solar panels are the main proponent and collect energy from the sun. However, that energy needs some place to go, which is where the batteries come in. Most setups have multiple batteries, called a battery bank, and they’re usually 12 volt batteries. The last piece is the power inverter, which will convert the 12 volt power into 110 volt power so you can use solar to power all those items we talked about previously.

Another component you’ll want to get is a controller, which will prevent you from overcharging your batteries. It controls the power flowing from the panels to the battery, which will keep your system running smoothly.

Ready to go solar?

If you’re thinking solar panels are the way to go and want to see about getting them installed or get a portable setup, we at Vernon Recreation Products can help. Give us a call at 1-833-293-3402 or visit us on site and we’ll do everything we can to get you fit with the setup that works best for you. Call today!

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Adventure is all around you, just waiting to be discovered. So embrace the freedom of the open road and explore it all in an RV.