Mounting solar panels on your motorhome and RV

OK, you have finally made the choice and decided that mounting a set of solar panels on the roof of your motorhome or RV and connect it to your existing battery bank so you can charge them as you travel on the road is the best choice for your particular situation. So now what ?

What type of solar panel.

One of the next choices you will have to make after deciding that you want to install the solar panels on your RV is what type of solar panelĀ is best for you. To determine which type you will need, first you will have to look at the power load and how much money you want to spend. Of the types that are available the most popular are the mono-crystalline panels which cost a bit more but are also more efficient, and the poly-crystalline, which are less expensive.

Mounting solar panels

After you have decided on the type of solar panel that is right for you, then next consideration is where you want to mount the panels. A solar panel on the top of an RV or motorhome will have to be pointed at the sun when you are parked to continue charging your battery bank. If you use a solid frame for the solar panels then you will have to find a location that has maximum sunlight during the day. This means that you will not be able to park in a shady spot under a tree or that is shaded. You can purchase and install a frame that is able to tilt when you are parked so that you can maximize the sunlight exposure.

Do I need to add to my battery bank

A solar panel is used to keep a battery bank charged up with electrical power, which then connects to a power inverter to supply AC (Alternating Current) to all of your appliances. Depending on the type and size of the battery bank (Group of batteries) and the power inverter (Pure sine wave or modified sine wave), you may find that you have to add another 12V battery to your battery system to run all of your appliances. A solar panel will charge a battery in a similar way that your cars alternator keeps the automotive battery charged up for you as you drive. It converts the solar rays into usable electricity that keeps your battery charged for the next time you need to start your vehicle.

Connecting the solar panels to your battery bank

If you are mechanically inclined then adding a solar panel system to your RV or motorhome is a simple setup. If you are not then it will have to be installed professionally. Most motor homes already have a gas generator to run electrical devices, so a solar panel system can easily be added when gasoline isn’t available. If you do decide to try installing a solar panel system to your motorhome be sure to research the topic before you start so that you know what to expect. Some of the things to consider are wiring and weatherproofing.

wiring and weatherproofing

Nothing is worse than finding wet spots on the inside paneling of a motorhome. This means that water is leaking into your motorhome and destroying the wood frame inside. It is also very expensive. If you are not sure on how to do an install, then seek professional help (Solar panel installer, not psychiatrist) before you start so that you have some idea of what to expect during your installation. A little bit of cost now will save you a fortune in the future.

One final word on motorhome solar panel kits

Solar power in recent years has become a viable choice in power solutions for motorhomes and RV’s. Whether you choose to start small and build up or buy a full kit and install it yourself, solar power is a great choice to reduce your costs as well as your footprint.

Mounting solar panels on your motorhome


I have a strong passion for all things radio. When I am not writing about different types of radio gear, I am out in the shack working the world on the HF bands, or troubleshooting an older shortwave radio.

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