solar panels for RV

A best solutions for RV PV systems.

What is solar power system for RV ?

It will be a solution including solar panel + inverter + battery storage. Solar panel collect energy from sun and save it into the battery. The battery will provide electricity to home appliance and electronic device through DC-AC inverter.

solar panels for RV

Do I need a solar power system for RV ?

Talking about building a solar power system in RV, we all know it will bring you more advantages than RV electric hookups in parking lot or campground. You will need solar power kit in RV if you are looking for some distinguishing RV lifestyle as following :

  1. Energy independent – you don’t need to connect to grid when boondocking, solar power system provide totally self-sustainable energy supply for off-grid camping site.
  2. More place to go – with solar power system and battery storage, you can go further deep into nature wild and enjoy amazing view where is usually very far from populated area.
  3. Silent and clean – stay away from those noisy and polluting oil generator, which should not exist when you are enjoying nature and privacy in remote location.
  4. Emergency power backup – if there is mechanical break down and you have to wait on the road or camping site for a while, solar power system will continually support your necessary equipment such as cell phone, radio and lighting.

solar panels for RV

What kind of solar power system for RV is feasible for me ?

It depends on how many electric appliance you need to use in RV, and calculate the total power consumption by those electric appliance or device. The following is example for power consumption of items in RV :

Typical RV Power Consumption Items

(Note that the Watts and Amps below are typical. Some appliance may require more or less depending on their efficiency and size)

Appliance (@AC 115V)


Running Watts






8 Watts 


0.1 Amp


Air Conditioner*

Roof Top 13,500 BTU


1600 Watts 


14 Amp

Roof Top 15,000 BTU


1700 Watts


14.5 Amp

Dual Basement 27,000 BTU


2000 Watts


18.5 Amp




300 Watts


2.6 Amp

Blow Dryer (Hair)* 


900-1500 Watts


7.8-13 Amp

Can Opener* 


120-300 Watts


1.0-2.6 Amp

CD/DVD Player


35-100 Watts


0.3-0.9 Amp

Clock Radio


50 Watts


0.4 Amp


Electric Water Heater (6 gallon)


1440 Watts


12.5 Amp



40-300 Watts


0.4-2.6 Amp

Furnace Fan *(1/3 HP)


1200 Watts


10.4 Amp

Heating Pad


250 Watts


2.2 Amp

Hot Plate


1200 Watts


10.4 Amp



1000-1500 Watts


8.7-13.0 Amp

Microwave (600 to 1000 W cooking power) 


1100-2000 Watts


9.6-17.4 Amp

Mini Lights (Christmas Type - 50) 


25 Watts


0.2 Amp

Power Converter 


575-800 Watts


5.0-7.0 Amp



400-1200 Watts


3.5-10.4 Amp

Satellite Dish & Receiver** 


200-250 Watts


1.7-2.2 Amp



35 Watts


0.3 Amp

Space Heater 


1000-1500 Watts


8.7-13.0 Amp

Typical RV Power Consumption Items

(Note that the Watts and Amps below are typical. Some appliance may require more or less depending on their efficiency and size)

Appliance  (@DC 12V)


Running Watts 




Aisle Light


12 Watts 


1 Amp

CO Detector


12 Watts 


1 Amp

Fluorescent Light


24 Watts


1-2 Amps



144 Watts


10-12 Amps

LP Gas Leak Detector


12 Watts 


1 Amp

Overhead lights (Per Bulb)


12 Watts 


1 Amp

Porch Light


12 Watts 


1 Amp

Power Roof Vent


18 Watts


1.5 Amps



48 Watts


4 Amps

Range Hood (Fan & Light)


36 Watts


2-3 Amps

Refrigerator (LP Gas Mode)


24 Watts


1.5- 2 Amps

Security System


12 Watts 


1 Amp

Television (12 volt)


60 Watts 


4-5 Amps

TV Antenna Booster


10 Watts


<1 Amp

TV Antenna Booster 12 Volt outlet


120 Watts


Up to 8 Amps

Variable Speed Ceiling / Vent Fan


48 Watts


4 Amps

VCR Recorder / Player


24 Watts


2 Amps

Water Pump


48 Watts


4 Amp

solar panels for RV

Hopefully this clears up any confusion on the difference between using amps supplied by the campground electrical source (AC amps), and using amps supplied by the converter (DC Amps).

After calculating total power consumption, for example AC 500W, then we have to know how much time they are being used, for example, 6 hours / per day. Then we can know the power consumption is 500W x 6 hours = 3000Wh / per day.
And we will need at least AC 500W inverter output

Next step, we need to choose the battery type and size. 12V 150Ah AGM and Gel deep cycle battery is recommended for solar power system. (see more) One battery can provide 12V x 150Ah = 1800Wh power storage, in this case we will need 2 pcs battery 1800Wh x 2 = 3600Wh to cover the power consumption.

Then we have to calculate how many pcs solar panel, the effective solar exposure is about 4 to 6 hours a day, let’s use 5 hours, 3000Wh / 5 hours = 600W, We need 600W solar panel to supply daily use in RV.

However, this is very rough calculation, which is just for idea-catching. The actual usage time and real efficiency of solar power system is determined by many factors, including daily weather change, the quality of solar panel / inverter / battery, the discharging setting of battery, and the installation and wiring quality… etc.

To learn more about photovoltaic power generation, please follow SOLARPARTS official website:

Twitter: Solarparts      Instagram: Solarparts

Tumblr: Solarparts      Pinterest: Solarparts

Facebook: Shenzhen Solarparts Inc

Email address:


Subscribe to our newsletter

Promotions, new products and sales. Directly to your inbox.