RV Lifestyle

The 5 Best Portable Solar Panels for RV Use (2021)

photo of the best portable solar panels for rv

Whether you're boondocking, don't 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 rig’s 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!

Monocrystalline vs. Polycrystalline Solar Panel

When it comes to portable RV solar panels, you will likely see ones that are either “monocrystalline panels” or “polycrystalline panels.” 

Monocrystalline solar cells are cut from a single source of silicon, making them more efficient than polycrystalline. Polycrystalline solar cells are a blend from multiple silicon sources, making them a bit less efficient. 

3 Things to Consider When Looking for the Best Portable Solar Panels for RV use

When shopping around for the best portable solar panels for RV, you will see a lot of information available to you. The three “big ones” that you will want to pay attention to are watts, weight and cord length.

1. Watts

The wattage of a solar panel tells you how much electrical power output it provides. Since we all use electricity differently, how much wattage you need depends on your individual power needs.

Most panels come with anywhere from 100-200 watts. If you only plan to use 12V lights and a restroom fan for an hour a day, then 100 watts would be sufficient. 

However, if you plan to run a 12V tv each day, then you likely want to go for wattage that is closer to 200.

2. Weight

If you travel around quite a bit, you will find yourself having to load and unload your portable panels. Depending on your age, physical strength, and how your storage is set up, weight might be one of the most important factors for you. 

3. Cord Length

Portable solar panels come with different length cords. If you like to park your RV in the shade, then you might want to consider getting a longer cord than if you park in the sun.

The 5 Best Portable Solar Panels for RV Use (2021)

1. Renogy 200 Watt Eclipse

Watts: 200

Weight: 36.6 pounds

Cord Length: 10 feet

This high quality and efficient panel tops my list for the best portable solar panels for RV. This 200W monocrystalline panel gives you all the charging power you’ll need!

The Voyager charge controller is waterproof and it will tell you the battery voltage. It will also inform you about how many amps you are beginning into the battery. It also features battery voltage sensors and temperature for easy monitoring.

The panel can be carried in a rugged case, protecting it during transport. The panels also lock with latches to provide additional storage safety when carrying. 

For even more protection, the panel features plastic protectors along the edge to keep it safe during transport. 

An aluminum case and stand keep the solar suitcase relatively light, weighing in at just over 36 pounds. 

Connecting the charge controller to your RV’s battery is simple. Just use the alligator clips and 10-foot wire included with the panel.

2. Goal Zero Boulder 100 Solar Panel Briefcase

Watts: 100

Weight: 25.9 pounds

Cord Length: 6 feet

This panel is rugged and strong. Made from durable and rigid materials, this solar panel is built from tempered glass and an aluminum frame. The frame also features corner protection for temporary or permanent installation. 

This panel is made from two Boulder 50 Solar Panels (100 W total). They are chained together and connected by a hinge.

The frame also comes complete with a kickstand to keep the panel at an optimal angle to get as much direct sunlight as possible.

Transporting the panel could not be easier. Just use the protective canvas bag that comes with it. 

 


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3. ACOPOWER 120W Portable Solar Panel Kit

Watts: 120

Weight: 8.95 pounds

The ACOPOWER portable solar kit offers extra portable design, but remains durable for outdoor activities. This 120W panel is made of three 40-watt flexible solar panels that fold, becoming nearly flat. That makes for a lightweight, portable panel that can be easily stored.

The controller has two USB ports, allowing for the charging of devices like phones, lights, tablets, and speakers. 

Although it's a flexible charger, there is a kickstand to tilt the panels toward the sun. That makes for higher efficiency charging. 

One downside to this charger is that it is not waterproof. You would want to be sure to bring it in during rain.

4. Goal Zero Nomad 50 Solar Panel

Watts: 50

Weight: 6.85 lbs

As the name suggests, the Nomad is a great option for RVers who like to keep moving.

This monocrystalline solar panel is lightweight, weather-resistant, and highly portable. Plus, you can chain these monocrystalline panels together.

It also has built-in USB ports. So, you can plug your small electronic devices directly into the solar power system.

5. ECO-WORTHY 120W Foldable Solar Panel Charger

Watts: 120

Weight: 9 pounds

Cord Length: 9.84 feet

What RVer could not use a space-saver when it comes to any gear? This panel is foldable, making it an excellent space-saving design. 

This panel is also lightweight, weighing in at only nine pounds. 

Another great strength of this model is its durability. Its carrying case consists of a splashproof surface made from Oxford cloth. This impressive material is known for its long-lasting quality. 

In addition, the panels themselves are tough. Laminated and made with tough ETFE material, the construction should last for a solid 15 years. 

Read Next: 6 Super Easy Tips on How to Care for RV Solar Panels

Do you want to save money by avoiding RV parks and campgrounds?

Our Beginner's Guide to Boondocking eBook gives you a detailed look into our preferred way of RVing and traveling.

Boondocking is camping totally self-contained with no commercial power, water, sewer, or any other on-the-grid service. 

We get questions every day from other RVers wondering “How do you do that?” In this step-by-step guide, we show you exactly how to boondock in your RV! 

CLICK HERE for information.

 

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