Sustainable Off-Grid: RV Portable Solar Panels
The RV market is growing, and so is the market for different types of equipment. Solar energy is now the third biggest source of electricity, along with external utilities and generators. The market for RV solar panels has also grown a lot. According to a related report from GRANDVIEWRESEARCH:
In 2023, the solar PV panels market was valued at $170.25 billion. It is expected to experience a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.7% from 2024 to 2030.
RV Portable solar panels have become a popular solar panel category, accounting for 1/3 of the RV solar panel market. What are the main reasons for RV owners to choose portable solar panels? How to choose the right portable solar panels? How many panels do I need for my RV? Let’s explore portable solar panels for RV as a sustainable off-grid solar option.
Why Choose RV Portable Solar Panels
Why do people still prefer portable solar panels for RVs? Many RVs already have solar panels installed or can have them added later during modifications. Because portable solar panels have some qualities that make up for the shortcomings of traditional fixed solar kits.
It is weatherproof and you can install and remove it at any time.
Portable solar panels for RVs are made to fold and be easily carried. When you want to use them, you unfold them to collect more sunlight and generate more power. When you’re done using them, you fold them up and store them away. This makes them simple to install and take apart whenever you need to.
Not limited by caravan space and layout
Parking the caravan in shady or cool spots may reduce the power generated by the solar panel on the roof. However, you can place the portable solar panel and the caravan separately in sunny areas to generate power. However, you can place the portable solar panel and the caravan separately in sunny areas to generate power.
Suitable for a wide range of equipment without complicated installation and wiring
Portable solar panels can charge RV batteries, generators, and portable power stations that come with the RV. Using simple wiring can make it easier to install complicated RV solar systems. Using simple wiring can simplify the installation of complex RV solar systems.
Using portable solar panels can save you money when installing a solar kit on your RV quickly. Additionally, portable solar panels can also make the wiring process less complicated.
Meet the charging needs of small devices
Portable solar panels can generate enough power in a day to charge various small electronic devices in an RV. These devices include cell phones, computers, LED lights, cameras, and other similar gadgets. Having these panels ensures that vital communication can be maintained during road trips. Additionally, they fulfill the basic power needs for off-grid living. This ensures vital communication during road trips and fulfills basic power requirements for off-grid living.
How to Choose Suitable RV Portable Solar Panels
There are different types of portable solar panels for RVs. We must consider important factors before choosing one. Such as power, size, durability, etc. The right solar module can help you better choose the right energy solution for your RV life.
Choose the power that meets your electricity needs
You can choose solar panels based on your electricity needs, and the primary factor to consider is power. Power affects how much energy panels produce daily and directly impacts their effectiveness for RV living. Choose a power range that meets your RV’s energy needs. Usually, 100 to 400 watts is a common and suitable choice.
If you have solar panels on your roof, you can choose smaller ones for charging small devices and as backup power. You can also choose portable solar panels with 100w~200w for outdoor camping. For more devices, choose high-wattage solar panels like 400w ones. They give reliable solar power for your RV, even in less sunny conditions.
Consider solar panel size and weight
The size and weight of the panel are directly related to its portability. Typically in RV travel, a lightweight and portable design is crucial to ensure easy storage and portability.
There are three types of portable solar panels. The first type is thin film panels with fabric stitching. The second type is solar charging bags. These bags are smaller and lighter but have less power.
There is also a solar blanket, laminated one-piece molding, folded up thinner, more convenient to store. The foldable solar panels with frames are long-lasting and stable, although they are heavier compared to others.
Choose portable solar panels based on the size and weight of your RV storage space and your desired weight capacity. Some guidelines may not be suitable for your specific needs.
Choose the one with more durability
Even portable solar panels for RVs try to choose quality and reliable components to get more stable power output. In wet or dusty areas, it’s important to use waterproof solar panels that can handle those conditions. This ensures that the panels continue to generate power efficiently regardless of the weather’s impact.
Choose the one with high conversion efficiency
The more efficient it is, the more power it can generate. This means it is less affected by disruptions and can provide enough power even in poor lighting conditions. Sungold’s most efficient solar panels have 24.4% power, while other solar panels on the market have around 22% power efficiency.
Solar panels with better efficiency may cost more, but you can select one that fits your budget.
RV Portable Solar Panels Top Picks
We have chosen four popular portable solar panels for RVs in 2023. In 2023, we have selected four popular portable solar panels for RVs.
The Winner Bag 100w is the most portable option. People consider the Hi-Power 200w as the most useful. Lastly, people know the Hi-Power 400w for its durability.
Most Portable—Winner Bag 100w
The Winner Bag is a small and lightweight solar panel for RVs. It weighs only 3.02kg, making it easy for one person to carry. You can use it in the caravan parking area or take it with you on outdoor trips.
100w portable solar panel brings you an easy and fast charging experience, Winner Bag is designed with multiple output ports to charge multiple electronic devices at the same time, you can charge your cell phone, computer, and tablet at the same time.
Like most solar panels, the Winner Bag has an adjustable bracket on the back that allows you to adjust the angle of support according to the direction of the sun for higher conversion efficiency and power generation, or you can fold the bracket and lay it flat on the ground.
- Lightweight and portable, weighing only 3.02kg
- Charging efficiency up to 22.40
- Easy charging with 2 USB ports, 1 Type C port, and 1 DCC521 port
- Low power, can’t charge high power appliances in RVs
- Waterproof performance is only IP65, overall waterproof performance is weak
Most Practical—Hi-Power 200w
The Hi-Power 200-watt solar panel is highly efficient, reaching up to 22.8%. It generates over 100 watts, which is more than double the electricity of standard panels. This means you can charge more electronic devices, making it a more practical choice.
Foldable solar panels have a compact size when folded, measuring only 987 * 547 * 50mm. Put it wherever you want, without having to find space specifically for it. When unfolded, the panels maximize sunlight absorption. With a waterproof rating of IP67, they are splash-proof, ensuring the solar cells function well in wet conditions, and making them more durable.
- The high conversion efficiency of 22.8%, can generate more power.
- Compatible with portable power stations and generators
- IP67 waterproof
- Can’t charge electrical devices directly
Best Durability—Hi Power 400w
When selecting a portable solar panel for your RV adventures, it’s crucial to prioritize durability. For RV trips with beautiful views and challenges, choose solar panels that are not only long-lasting but also perform well in key areas. Consider the water and the wind, sand, and dust that will be present during your adventures, and make sure that the solar panels you buy will be able to handle the different outdoor conditions.
That’s why we suggest the Hi-Power 400-watt solar panel. This panel is equipped with IP68 waterproofing, passing rigorous tests to guarantee efficient battery cell operation even in extreme conditions. With a maximum power of 400 watts, it’s ideal for running high-energy appliances in RVs like TVs, refrigerators, lamps, and more. The Hi-Power 400-watt solar panel can be used in a wide range of outdoor environments.
- 22% efficiency in power generation
- IP68 waterproof
- Portable and foldable
- Heavier and less portable
- High power so the price is a bit higher than the other two options
How Many Panels Does My RV Need?
To figure out how many solar panels you need for your RV, consider how much electricity you use, the efficiency of the solar panels, and the available space in your RV for installation.
Figure out how much electricity you use per day
Add the daily power usage of the electrical devices in your RV. You can find this information on the appliances or in the manual.
Consider the efficiency of the solar panels
Before choosing a solar panel check out its efficiency. Let’s say you have a Hi-Power 400w portable solar panel: the power is 400 watts and the efficiency is 22%.
Estimate the amount of sunlight
How much sunlight your RV solar panels absorb each day is related to where you are, the season, and the weather. Generally, you can make a rough estimate using 4-6 hours of peak sunlight per day.
Figure out how much electricity your solar panels can generate per day
To know how much electricity you can get everyday, just multiply the number of solar panels you have by the amount each panel produces in watt-hours (Wh). This will give you the total amount of electricity your solar panels can generate per day.
Compare the electricity your solar panels generate with the electricity you use
Compare the total amount of electricity your solar panels generate each day to the total amount of electricity your RV uses each day. Be sure that the electricity generated by your solar panels meets your electricity needs.
Consider battery storage
If you plan to store excess electricity in your batteries for cloudy days or nights, then you’ll want to consider how large the capacity of your battery bank is.
Suggestion for RV Solar
Solar panels can’t yet fully support the electricity needs of RV living, but you can use RV solar to reduce your carbon footprint and help the environment. Generally speaking, it is possible to install solar panels on the roof of an RV while using portable solar panels to supplement the RV’s electricity consumption.
Sungold Solar is a manufacturer specializing in off-grid RV solar panels, for RV solar, we have launched a series of products, the most suitable for RV roofs TF series flexible solar panels, the most rugged RV solar kit SGSP series, and our portable solar panels for RV Top Picks: Winner Bag, Hi-Power. you can choose from a variety of solar panel combinations to match your RV’s specific needs. Feel free to contact us for more information about RV solar panels.