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How Much Solar Power do I Need For My RV ?

How much solar power do I need for my RV is the most common thought that pops up in your head when you plan a weekend out camping or hiking. You ask this question to get an idea of what it would cost you to set up an RV by yourself and do traveling.

Well, you no longer have to solve this riddle all by yourself. We will discuss this most frequently asked question to give you an accurate idea of how things work in an RV. What will it cost you, and what things would be needed in the procedure?

So, if you were looking for a comprehensive guide, you’re in the right place. Let’s dive deep into it without any further ado.

Understanding the Functioning of RV Solar Power?

HOW MUCH SOLAR POWER DO I NEED FOR MY RVsThe Working process of RV solar panels is not so phenomenal and techy that a non-technical person wouldn’t be able to understand and implant it all by himself/herself. You can easily do this job by yourself just by knowing the important facts and the working process of it.

RV solar panel is primarily composed of three components. These components make the basics and are the spinal of the whole RV Solar Panel. These are:

  • Solar Panel
  • Charge Controller
  • Battery

We all know why solar panels are used. They are used to collect natural sunlight. They absorb the sunlight from the sun at the peak and low hours of the sunny day. They absorb and transfer the sunlight to the charge controller. Charge controllers do their job by transferring the natural sunlight into a format easily processed for further access. The sunlight, when converted into a storable form, is then transferred to the Batteries where it is stored for the times when there would be no sun or at night.

Once you’ve installed these components, the rest will be managed. These components process the energy or electricity in DC form. But it doesn’t restrict you from using AC. But it does require some more components with it to help you achieve what is required.

DC aids in operating simple electronic appliances. Let’s suppose you’ve mobile chargers, fans, or lights in your RV, and you have to operate them. DC would be enough to make them work. But if you have advanced appliances in your RV, you would probably need AC.

Now, the real question is: How would you achieve AC? Let us make it simpler for you. You can get AC from DC just by using some inverters. Inverters are available in the markets from high to low price. You would have to buy the one that can match your budget. AC is most often required for the operation of microwaves or some LEDs/TVs. But if you’re not going to avail of this option in RV. you might not need any inverter.

RV Solar Power Calculator

RV Solar calculator is developed after considering the total watts you’ll be using during your journey. Let’s say you’ve made a list of the appliances you’ll carry with you on your travel. You will get started by listing all of them with their watt. The watts are most often mentioned at the end of the back of the appliance. If you cannot find it there, you can find the watts of that particular appliance online.Write the watts with their usages per day. Make at least four columns to mention these separately. In the first column, you’ll mention the appliance name, the watts in the second, the usage in the third, and subsequently, their division in the fourth column. It will give the average usage estimation for your every day and will help you get an idea of your solar panel array in watts and the batteries in amps.This calculator method is simple yet feasible and worth applying as it’ll cure most of your headaches.

Number of Solar Panels Do I Need for My RV

Solar Panels for the RV play the basic role as they’ll draw the raw sunlight for your RV. You must look for several factors while deciding the right numbers for your RV, as you cannot move without them.

As we discussed the RV Solar Power Calculator, we emulated the average daily watt usage. This would help you get an idea of how many Panels would be required for your whole travel. Let’s suppose you get an average of 2000 watts per day; you’d have to buy at least 550 watts of solar panels.

You can easily calculate your watts needed by using the solar power calculator. With the increasing trend and demand for RVs, solar panels have become so affordable and budget-friendly. You can feasibly get a solar panel for $1/watt. You just have to figure out your average watts.

Deciding this factor also depends on where you’d be placing your Panels. The place where they’d be placed affects the amount of the availability of the sun critically. If they are mounted on the top of the roof, you’d be in need of less energy but if they are placed somewhere in the back or other space, the requirement would be enhanced. So you must decide and make a place before calculating and purchasing your solar panels.

Number of Batteries Do I Need for RV Solar?

Deciding on the number of solar panels leads you to another critical factor. Yes, you read it right. Critical! Batteries do seem to provide a fundamental function of storing energy, but it is the most crucial step in your traveling.

Let me explain it to you. In your trips, you won’t have the peak times at most of the day, and the sun would not be at its fullest (certainly in the winters). So you have to store enough energy so you can travel in the evening as well as at the night. So the quality of the battery would matter a lot.

Now coming to the point, how many batteries you would need? It depends on what type of battery you’re going to use. There are primarily two types: Lead-acid and Lithium. The quality battery suggested by most of the RVeirs is the Lithium one as you can optimize the total 100% of it without damaging its storage capacity. In contrast to it, you lose the battery storage capacity of lead acid when it is used two-three times after falling from the 50% limit. So instead of wasting your money multiple times, you must go for the quality one with a budget a bit high.

What Size Inverter Do I Need for My RV?

You need inverters when you’ve decided to convert your DC power into AC. AC power comes out of the outlets mostly plugged into the walls. For DC, the inverters are of no use, but AC can’t be operated without an inverter.

The size of your inverter would depend on your watts. You’d have to buy it accordingly. Let us suppose you do have to operate your microwave of 1700 watts; you would need the inverter of at least 3500 watts to operate other appliances as well. As if you run your microwave twice within the same watts, there might be a chance of getting your inverter crashing.

It’s always advisable to get an inverter of higher watts so you won’t have to plug out all the other appliances or your phones when you need to turn on your microwave.
The high-quality inverters are expensive yet worth it. So you should invest at once instead of crashing and buying the new one every second time.

Cost of RV Solar Setup

We have described every aspect, from building your RV setup to integrating your needs. You’d have to determine the cost by scoping your RV requirements and needs. You must go with your budget anywhere from $400 to $1100. It’s all dependent on your RV setup needs.


Setting up your RV solar panel to figure out how much solar power would be required of it is not an issue if you do measure things rightly. You just have to figure out each aspect keenly and considerably to not run out of power during your travel. We’ve discussed each element in this article. This article will help you get insights and install your RV solar panel at home. But if you still have some queries, you can ask us in the comments below.

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