If you’re going on a camping trip in your RV, it means you want to still be able to have your creature comforts even in the wilderness. If you’re staying at a campsite that has no power pedestal, you would need a different source of power. Where else to look but the sun! Utilize this renewable energy resource by getting the best solar generator for RV.
An RV solar generator allows you to have an alternative power source for when your RV battery can no longer hold on its own. You can pre-charge it at home so that it has enough power. Once your charger has run out of or is low on power, simply plug it into your solar panels to recharge it.
Since this is a highly valuable item, you would have to be careful in choosing one. Here are my recommendations.
Table of Contents
- List of 12 Top-Rated Solar Generator for RV Reviews 2022
- 1. EF ECOFLOW DELTA Portable Power Station
- 2. BLUETTI Portable Power Station
- 3. Jackery 500 Portable Power Station Solar Generator
- 4. ROCKPALS 300W Portable Generator
- 5. Kyng Power Solar Generator
- 6. SUAOKI 400Wh Portable Generator Power Station
- 7. AIMTOM Portable Solar Generator
- 8. Goal Zero Yeti 400 Portable Power Station
- 9. Aeiusny 250W Portable Solar Generator
- 10. Jackery 240 Portable Power Station Explorer Generator
- 11. Rockpals 250-Watt Portable Generator
- 12. Renogy Phoenix Portable Generator
- What to Look for When Buying an RV Solar Generator
- Other Important Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
List of 12 Top-Rated Solar Generator for RV Reviews 2022
1. EF ECOFLOW DELTA Portable Power Station
The EF ECOFLOW DELTA Portable Power Station is an impressive power generator, enabling RVers and off-grid families to enjoy modern conveniences wherever their adventures take them. Belying its compact size is a power generation technology that leaves other mini solar generators in the dust.
I am impressed with this power generator’s thoughtful architecture. Its 1.26-kilowatt-hour rating delivers enough juice to different motorhome appliances. Adding to this generator’s convenience is a striking array of outlets, including six ports for AC devices. I can run a toaster, a washing machine, and a TV without worrying about the power running dry.
I also love the pair of fast-charging USB ports, two USB-A slots, and two USB-C outlets. Plugging my drone, smartphone, and other devices is never a problem. It also has a 12V cigarette port, adding an extra outlet for another gadget.
Unlike the solar generator with 30 amp RV outlet I used before, I love this product’s fast-charging capabilities. It can reach an 80% charged state within an hour from being fully drained.
Add another hour, and the generator tops its 1,260-watt capacity. This generator’s X-Stream Technology allows it to recharge ten times quicker than my previous power generator.
The best part? I can charge this generator using a 10-65V solar panel. People can also plug it into a 110V residential wall outlet. It also has overload, over-temperature, and under-temperature protections. Its power-saving feature is also spot-on.
Unfortunately, the company only recommends their solar panels to go with this generator to facilitate easier wiring connections. People can still use other solar panel brands, but they must study the proper electrical connections.
2. BLUETTI Portable Power Station
For outdoor adventurers, few portable power generators can beat the BLUETTI design. Notably, it is more compact than the EF ECOFLOW DELTA.
This RV power station is perfect for RVers who want an outdoor adventure like no other. It has 800 watts of power, revving up to 1,400 watts. It might seem inferior to a design with 1460-watts nominal power and 1,800-watt peak performance. However, this generator is sufficient for most camping needs.
I like its lithium-iron-phosphate battery and 716-watt-hour backup power supply, perfect for running several devices at the camp. RV owners can operate their laptops, portable speakers, drones, cameras, compact TVs, and electric kettles with this power station.
My favorite is its wireless charging platform, allowing me to recharge my smartphone without plugging any cable. It has four AC outlets, so RV owners can power up many small appliances and gadgets and have the best camping trip of their lives.
I am also impressed with this generator’s integrated MPPT charge controller. I do not need to worry about buying a separate unit to manage its solar charge. People can also power it through a wall outlet, a car cigarette port, or a separate 12V generator.
Some people might dislike this 30 amp solar generator because it cannot handle power-hungry appliances. Its charging time is also slightly long, requiring three hours to reach an 80% charged state and another hour to be fully charged.
3. Jackery 500 Portable Power Station Solar Generator
Having a reliable power source is no doubt a priority for anyone with an RV – and I am glad to have found the Jackery Portable Power Station. This power station not only enables me to have all my electronic devices charged at all times: it also helps me save money by not just relying on the grid as a power source.
The portable power station can not only be charged by using a regular power outlet or with a car battery – it can also be charged using solar power as it is compatible with the SolarSaga 100W solar panel (or other 100W solar panels you may have). If you live somewhere with almost consistent sunlight during the day, then all you need is around 14 hours of it being connected to the solar panel to get it fully charged.
I am amazed by this particularly, as it allows me to power up a lot of my devices. It can store up to a massive 518 Wh, which is enough to power up even my portable fridge. I had to purchase a separate solar panel, but that and this purchase have been proven to be cost-effective given that I have saved much more in power costs than the cost of the panel and the power source combined.
Although, honestly, I think it’s a little annoying that it takes longer to charge using a carport compared to charging it using the solar panel. If they could find a way to make this power station charge a little faster, then I would definitely give it more than five stars.
4. ROCKPALS 300W Portable Generator
The ROCKPALS 300W portable generator is a truly dependable power station for outdoor and emergency use. It is very lightweight so I can literally bring it anywhere.
I got this for my RV thinking that it will be useful for emergencies because I can simply charge it when I have access to a wall outlet, and then I will have it ready at all times. This is especially helpful for me because the power at my campground is extremely unreliable – there’s a power outage every few weeks because they turn off the connection to the grid whenever there’s even the slightest chance of rain. They say it’s for our safety, but I think it’s just that the camp is really old and maybe the electrical system was not built correctly in the first place.
Even though I got this portable solar generator for RV for emergencies and I used to charge it only using an outlet, I thought of investing in a solar panel as I know that this could also be used as a solar generator. I was elated to find out that it works really well that I don’t even have to rely on the power grid anymore.
I love its LCD display that shows how much juice the battery pack has remaining. It also tells me when it is time to recharge. It can hold up to 280Wh of power, so for powering up phones, tablets, lights, and fans, this is fine.
One thing I didn’t like about this power station is that it doesn’t have a percentage indicator. It shows the power level by bars, which is not good enough for me.
5. Kyng Power Solar Generator
When I was looking for a generator for my RV, I didn’t think that solar generators are an option (at that time) – until I found this Kyng Power solar generator online. I was curious to see how it works, and I am glad that I took the chance and purchased it.
This power unit has a capacity of 288Wh, with built-in ports, is CPAP-compatible, and even comes with a solar panel cable. The solar panel cable itself retails for around 14 dollars, so that’s a lot of savings on its own – and all I had to do was connect it with the solar panels I got separately to charge it.
I am pleasantly surprised when I realized that this solar generator runs very quietly, definitely quieter than my old gas generator – and as a bonus, I don’t even have to buy gas every time I need to use it. When I got this unit, I didn’t even think that I was also doing my part in saving the environment as it uses clean, renewable energy from the sun.
I also like that it has enough ports for charging all types of gadgets or small appliances: it has four USB ports, four 12V DC ports, and three 110V ports (3-prong). The built-in lamp comes in handy for when I am doing repairs for the RV at night; as I have both my light source and power source right next to me, I no longer have to hold up a flashlight. Also, I like that the LED display shows the percentage charge.
I didn’t like that when I received this the solar panel cable adapter is missing. Contacting customer service is a pain as they only have an email address and no phone number. When I sent a message via email, it took three weeks to get a reply.
6. SUAOKI 400Wh Portable Generator Power Station
If you like camping, fishing, and other outdoor activities, you need to have a source of electricity for your gadgets to stay connected to the world. This is what the SUAOKI 400Wh/120,000mAh Portable Generator Power Station aims to provide.
I like how this solar generator was designed. Every port and display panel is organized. This way, users like me, will not be confused as to where to connect my gadgets. In addition, the display panel clearly posts the real-time condition of the generator such as the power level. It can be glimpsed through a simple illustration of a battery or through numerical values. Either way, they are helpful in monitoring the current power level of the generator.
This solar generator’s performance is totally magnificent. The AC socket delivers continuous pure sine wave. Home appliances will surely have uninterrupted supply of energy. Also, I find how recharging this unit very convenient. I can recharge this through AC wall socket, through DC car charger, and of course – via solar panel. The third feature is very convenient especially if there is no available power line in the campsite.
One basic disappointment that I have about this solar generator is its sheer weight. It is very heavy to be carried around, particularly during camping trips. If the campsite is quite far from the parking space, I will be forced to walk to the campsite with this generator in tow. This is definitely going to be a major hassle for me.
7. AIMTOM Portable Solar Generator
Are you searching for a compact, lightweight, and completely reliable solar generator for your outdoor travels? This product made by AIMTOM will surely satisfy your recharging needs without compromising your gadgets in the process.
The performance of this solar generator is totally impressive. For me, the design was well-conceived. The designers considered not only the aesthetics but also the convenience. I also like the fact that all the ports are conveniently located in one location. This makes recharging the gadgets and powering some appliances easy. It can recharge a laptop, a camera, smartphones, car refrigerator, and other electronic appliances.
In addition, this solar-powered generator for RV recharges using AC, DC, or solar panel. Finally, I like the fact that this product has an integrated flashlight. It can really provide extra illumination on the campsite and ensure the safety of the people inside it.
Another positive feature of this product is its quiet operation. I can place it inside my tent and it doesn’t disturb my sleep at all! Moreover, it has a cooling fan so I’m not worried that it would overheat while my gadgets are connected to it.
My only regret about this product is that it charges really slowly. It took mine more than eight hours to charge. If you are using solar panels to charge this, your panel’s capacity should be bigger to speed things up.
8. Goal Zero Yeti 400 Portable Power Station
Ensuring a steady source of electricity inside the campsite is something that every camper should do. If you want to have your gadgets recharged at all times, you need to have a reliable power generator just like this product made by Goal Zero.
I find this solar generator to be reliable. Its design is simple but very appealing. All of the seven ports (2 AC, 3 DC, and 2 USB) are conveniently located in one location. Its accessibility makes charging simple. Furthermore, it has an LED display which informs me of the current power level of this unit. This is a very nice feature because it enables me to measure the remaining energy in real-time.
I am also amazed with this solar generator. Its performance is more than satisfactory. If you can’t live without your electronic gadgets, this power generator can replenish its battery without problems. I was delighted to find out that it can connect 7 gadgets at the same time. Moreover, it can run a small refrigerator for a maximum of 7 hours.
Another impressive feature of this product is it can be linked with other lead-acid batteries for more power. If you have more appliances or gadgets that need to be recharged, this can be done by attaching lead-acid batteries to this unit.
What I don’t appreciate about this product is the fact that I have to purchase other accessories solely from Goal Zero. Their conversion cables that allow you to use a solar panel from a different maker is no longer available, and other accessories (such as cables are either hard to find or out of stock as well.
9. Aeiusny 250W Portable Solar Generator
Keeping your electronic gadgets powered all the time is difficult, especially if the campsite or the destination has no power connection. The solution to this problem is to bring a reliable solar generator. If you still can’t determine which brand of solar generator you should buy, this one from Aeiusny will surely keep you satisfied to no end.
I like the design of this product. Its yellow color can be easily seen even when the sun is down. Also, it is very easy to carry as it is lightweight. There is a dedicated handle on the top of the generator which can be used when transporting the generator from one place to another.
The ports are located in convenient locations. All the DC and USB ports can be found on the front side while the three AC ports are located at the back. I also like the fact that this product is easy to use. One simple press of a button and the unit can be used to recharge all of my available electronic gadgets.
Another thing that I like about this product is its 18-month warranty. The manufacturer offers a replacement or repair for any damaged units that falls within its 12-month warranty period. For me, this is a kind of relief because I know my solar generator can be repaired without extra cost.
The only problem that I encountered with this unit is the tightness of the solar inlet. It does rotate a little bit and I’m really concerned because it can affect the charging rate of the solar panel. Also, I noted one minor issue with the LED display. This is the accuracy of the remaining power indicator. When the power level dropped to 15%, I thought I would be able to recharge my iPhone for 10 minutes or so. But 20 seconds later, the generator gave a loud beep, indicating that the power is nearly spent.
10. Jackery 240 Portable Power Station Explorer Generator
Sudden power interruptions can bring a total chaos inside a household. If your family is not the type to be comfortable in a powerless condition, you need a generator that can supply you with enough power. This is where Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer excels magnificently.
What I like about this product is its portability. I can easily bring it anywhere I like. It has a handle that I can grab to transport this generator in a convenient location. The design is also commendable. The ports are conveniently located in one accessible spot. I can connect one AC, one DC, and two USB. With this, I can immediately recharge any electronic device. In AC mode, I can connect a small fridge for at least four hours – enough to chill some drinks. It also has an LED monitor which displays the current level of energy left inside the internal battery.
Another positive feature of this product is the way it can be recharged. I can replenish its supply via wall socket (AC), cigarette charger (DC), or solar panel. This is advantageous especially in a campsite where sunlight is abundant. In only 8 hours, I can have a full capacity that I can use for the rest of the night.
My only problem with this unit is that it only has one AC port. I need to run two appliances in my RV – a TV and a fan – both of which are powered through AC socket. Right now, I can only use one AC appliance at a time, which is disappointing.
11. Rockpals 250-Watt Portable Generator
If you are looking for a multi-purpose portable RV solar inverter generator at a mid-range price, this one from Rockpals can be one of your best bets. This solar generator is very portable and can be recharged in three ways, so there is always a way for you to store power for future use. It can be charged via car cigarette port, wall outlet, or via solar panels.
The Rockpals 250-Watt portable generator made me more aware of the RV power consumption because I noticed that my electricity bill went down since I started using it. I think that’s just logical since I have been charging this using the solar panels I got and I use it to charge all my electronic gadgets. The AC outlets also enable me to power small appliances in the RV (mainly a fan in the summer and my laptop all-year-round).
I like how this solar power generator for RV is versatile, as it can be connected to either a 60-Watt or 100-Watt solar panel. I forgot to check this part before purchasing the power unit; I have a 100-Watt solar panel and I was worried it would not work – but fortunately, it does. Its AC output sockets
I also like that it goes on auto-protection mode when the AC output goes over 350W or the DC output goes over 60W – a good safety feature that is essential for any RV as it protects my appliances and devices.
I didn’t like that the power unit only has two AC output sockets. I also realized that my coffee machine (600W) cannot be powered using this solar generator.
12. Renogy Phoenix Portable Generator
The Renogy Phoenix portable generator had made me a hundred times more popular among fellow campers: not only does it look sleek and high-tech, it runs very quietly and provides power without having to drain my camping van’s battery.
I like to go camping because I get to hang out with friends (or even meet new friends) while enjoying the outdoors. However, we often take my camper van, and with everyone’s gadgets, my car battery drains pretty fast as we all used to rely on it for power.
I thought of getting a typical battery pack that can be charged by using a wall outlet, but the battery pack cannot supply enough power for everyone when we go on long camping trips. I got this portable generator because it already comes with its own solar panel and I basically just had to open it under the sun to charge it. Solar panel is built-in and setup is easy – you basically just have to open the unit the way you would open a suitcase
I like that it has a CIG output port: as I already have a CIG plug when I use my car to charge my phone, I can use it on this portable generator for when all the USB ports are being used.
I wish it could go up to more than 150W, though, as I wanted to use a blender for making frozen margaritas one time and couldn’t because my blender is at 250W.
What to Look for When Buying an RV Solar Generator
The RV has become synonymous with traveling as the years have gone by. With its hulking size and a premise of space, plus the capabilities of what under its hood, it is no surprise that the RV’s popularity has gone from here and abroad. However, even with its size and strength, the RV is still limited in the convenience it can give for further betterment of its accommodation experience.
Back then, when you want to go off the grid, sit in the fresh green grass and gaze at the bright stars of a clear sky, you would have to sacrifice the luxury of having your phones, laptops, and other stuff with you. But nowadays, you can have that same movie-like experience and still have the technology within your reach, thanks to the arrival of the RV solar generator.
A solar generator for camper is a very useful device. It converts the energy that solar panels gather into electricity and stores them in a battery for future use. Once there is a need for electricity, you can simply plug into the right port and you’re good to go.
Although many solar generator manufacturers seem to offer awesome products, not all are created equal. When choosing a solar generator, you should look into the following aspects:
- Battery capacity
This would depend on your daily power use. You would have to calculate how much electricity your appliances need, based on the number of watts they need per hour multiplied by the number of hours these appliances need to run.
Let us take for example you have a laptop that requires 60 Watts, and you use it six hours daily for watching movies or maybe even for remote work. To compute the consumption, you only have to multiply the power requirement on the number of hours, like this:
60 Watts x 6 hours = 360 Watt-hours (Wh)
The end result would then be in Watt-hours. Now do the same process for all your appliances you want to plug into it, and then add them up.
Based on this amount, you should get an RV solar power generator that has this wattage capacity or more. This way, you can use your RV home as expected, without any concerns when switching to the generator.
Different RVs have different requirements, which depends on the number of appliances and lighting fixtures it has. The Watt-hours requirement to fully-power an RV would typically be anywhere between 500 Watt-hours to 2,000 Watt-hours.
If you only intend to power select devices, such as your phone, lights, fan, cooler and the RV battery, the generator’s battery capacity need not be as much. The average capacity for such needs would be anywhere between 200Wh to 1,000Wh.
- Inverter Rating
It won’t matter if your battery capacity is large if your inverter rating is small. You should also base the inverter rating on the devices you intend to plug in at the same time.
What if you need to pull 300 Watts at a time and your generator’s inverter can only do 200W? Alternatively, if the inverter can pull 500W, but your generator has a capacity of 200Wh, it won’t make much sense to go beyond 200W inverter.
The rule of thumb is that solar generator for RVs must have an inverter to capacity ratio of two is to three (2:3). This means if you have a 400W inverter, you must have a 600Wh battery.
- Monitoring Ability
Being able to monitor how much electricity your solar panels are pulling in, how much power your battery currently has, what’s the voltage at the moment, and other information is necessary. This allows you to properly allocate which devices you should prioritize so you can manage your usage well.
Many solar generators nowadays have LCD monitors to give you the necessary data. In the past, this wasn’t as important, but nowadays, it is. Some generators even have mobile apps which allow you to check the usage, battery status and more from your phone, helping you keep track without having to approach your generator.
The weight matters if you want to be able to move your solar power generator from one area to the next. For instance, you may want to use this generator when you’re camping outside the RV. If it’s too heavy, chances are you wouldn’t even try to take it out of the RV.
Now even if the generator is heavy, if it has the right features to make it easy to move, the weight may not matter at all. Portability means it has the proper handles or even wheels to allow you to move it with ease.
Since the space inside an RV is limited, it only makes sense to get a solar generator that is not too bulky that it would take up a lot of space. Consider how big of the space you have allotted for this item before purchasing one. However, the size should be the least of your priorities.
We live in a connected world. Even if you go on a camping trip for a digital detox, you still need to be able to power up your phone for emergency purposes, turn on the lights at night time and even have the ability to charge your RV’s battery if it dies when you camped out. A solar generator for RV will benefit you greatly, as long as you choose the right one for your needs.
Other Important Factors to Consider
What is an RV solar generator?
The RV solar generator is a power supply option that the modern-day RV owner utilizes. With it, you can now roam freely with no fear of getting completely cut off from the rest of the world. By converting the sun’s powerful rays into reusable energy all the while traveling from Point A to Point B, you are able to travel between great distances while gathering enough energy that can later be used from various activities, like powering phone chargers, cameras, laptops, among other gadgets and appliances.
Gone are the days where you would need to carry those heavy, gas generators as you pack up for a weekend camping trip in the mountains. The weight it has, the space it occupies, and along with the other tools and equipment needed to power it, all those are factors that can affect your overall trip. Not to mention the noise it creates and the fumes it can emit while in use. With the use of the RV solar generator, you are guaranteed to have a smoother, cleaner, and quieter trip that you can enjoy with your friends and loved ones.
How does it work?
Although the technology looks complex by the way it functions, it is quite simple to comprehend. Basically, there are a few parts to an RV solar generator. The first one, known as the solar panel, is a device that is built to convert light into energy, to be more precise, electricity. When the light hits the solar panel, an electric field is created between the thin layers of silicone that is present in the photovoltaic cells, which are the small divisions that are visible in the panel. Then the electricity that was gathered is then placed into the second main part, which is the energy storage.
Through the use of an inverter, this energy supply can be harvested and used in order to power compatible devices and tools. In order to regulate the flow of electricity from the power source and into the device, you will need the help of a device called the charge controller. This is to make sure that no sudden spikes or surges are going to harm your devices and appliances since such are the main culprits of breaking the said items while charging.
The RV solar generator gathers solar energy by use of panels that are placed in strategic spots in the RV’s frame. The idea is to gather as much energy as can be stored all the while you are trying to travel to your destination. Basically, it is about hitting two birds in one stone!
What are the different types of RV solar generators?
There are three basic types of solar generators for RVs, and these are:
- Pure Solar Generator – this system makes use only of solar panels as source of energy. Not many people use this type due to issues of weather changes. If the weather is cloudy or rainy, there won’t be enough energy harvested, which means there won’t be enough electricity to power most devices.
- Three-way Solar Generator – this is the most common one, which is why most of my recommended products fall under this category. This type of system allows you to charge the power supply via AC (at your home or at an RV site), via your car battery, or through solar energy.
- Hybrid Solar Generator – this one is not as common but is slowly gaining popularity. This type allows you to power your generator through a combination of solar and another renewable energy source such as wind or hydro-power.
Although these three are of different features, they are very common in a sense that they all have batteries to store energy, an inverter to make the stored energy available for use, and a voltage controller for both input and output.
Why do you need an RV solar generator?
As a long-time RV owner and enthusiast, I cannot stress enough how important it is to use RV compatible appliances, tools, and equipment in order to have a smoother, cleaner, and better off-grid experience for you and your loved ones.
- It is specifically made for traveling. This means it is more durable than the typical solar generator that you use at home. It can withstand the humps and bumps you encounter along the way. By using equipment built specifically for the RV, you are guaranteed to meet less hassles as you drive through grassy plains and the dry country roads because you know that you are not leaving your experience up to chance.
- It is portable. Aside from being able to use it inside your fifth wheel, you can also use it in a campsite. Imagine being able to use lights, fans, your mobile devices and more while inside a tent! By having a solar-powered generator for camping with you in your travel, you can now have the best outdoor experience under the stars while having enough energy to charge your cameras for an epic picture underneath it!
- It uses renewable energy. Since you like going out on adventures, it goes to show how much you love nature. Using a solar-powered generator means you can reduce your carbon footprint, which is great for Mother Earth!
Frequently Asked Questions
What are good RV solar generator brands?
There are a bunch of solar power stations available now, thanks to the boom of reliable energy awareness. But not everything is created equal, and many don’t live up to their promise. If you want to purchase a solar power generator based on the brand, here are the most recommended ones:
- Jackery – this company specializes in renewable energy solutions for adventurers. They offer a wide range of solar panels and solar generators, for both indoor and outdoor use. They were the first in the world to release a Lithium Power Station in 2015.
- Rockpals – this producer has a line of portable electronic devices under its belt. Their target is outdoor adventure enthusiasts, such as campers and RVers. Their products are of high-quality and they are very well-loved in the industry.
- Kyng – this company has a diverse portfolio. They offer one of the cheapest power generators in the market, especially since they manufacture their products themselves.
- Suaoki – established in 2015, this brand is well-known for its awesome all-around power stations. Their solar-powered chargers are highly portable and reliable.
- AimTom – the company name is short for Aim Tomorrow, which is where they want to take their brand. The products are designed in Canada but are manufactured in China. What’s great about this brand is that all their products come with a 30-day full refund policy and a 12-month warranty.
- Goal Zero – this is one of the most popular brands when it comes to outdoor power source. RVers here and beyond have heard of Goal Zero as this company has been in the industry for more than 12 years now. Their products are very well-made and are top-notch.
- Renogy – when it comes to solar power and related devices, Renogy is a go-to brand. This company has received several awards for its products and performance, which gives you a hint on how reliable they can be.
Are solar powered generators noisy?
No, solar-powered generators are not noisy because they do not have moving components. The only noise one might hear in an RV solar generator kit is the barely audible hum from the inverter.
How many solar panels do I need for my RV?
The number of solar panels RV owners need for their motorhomes depends on a few factors.
Most RVs consume four to fifteen kilowatt-hours daily. Hence, the solar generator for off grid living should deliver at least this much electricity every day.
Peak sun hours are also crucial because solar system effectiveness depends on sunlight exposure length. For example, RVers traveling through Louisiana will enjoy 4 to 4.5 hours of peak sunlight.
Most solar panels for RVs have 100 to 200-watt ratings.
Determining the number of solar panels needed for RVs requires dividing the monthly electric usage by the monthly peak sun hours and multiplying the result by 1,000. One must divide the outcome by the solar panel’s power rating.
Suppose an RV family uses 5,000 watts/5 kW daily (150 kW monthly), and they are in Arizona with average peak sun hours of seven (210 monthly). In that case, dividing 150 kW by 210 hours produces 0.71 kWh. Multiply this by 1,000 to get 710 watts.
If this family gets a 200-watt solar panel, the number of necessary panels is four (710 ÷ 200 = 3.55). If they decide on 100-watt solar panels, they need eight (710 ÷ 100 = 7.1).
Should I get a 30-amp or a 50-amp solar generator?
Getting a 30 amp or a 50 amp solar generator depends on one’s RV. Most motorhomes have a 30-amp electrical system to run electric appliances with low energy demands.
In such a setup, the RV’s total electrical requirement is only 3,600 watts (30 amps x 120 volts = 3,600 watts).
On the other hand, motorhomes with 50 amp RV outlet can accommodate more RV appliances. It is worth noting that a 50 amp RV requires 12,000 kilowatts of power because there are two 120V hot wires (120V x 50 amps = 6,000 watts; 6,000 watts x 2 = 12,000 watts).
RV owners must check their motorhome’s electrical specifications to determine the correct size (50 amp vs. 30 amp) solar generator for van life.
How to determine the correct size solar generator for RV?
Determining the correct size solar generator for travel trailer units, motorhomes, campers, and fifth wheels requires estimating the RV’s power requirement. The steps are as follows.
- Determine the RV appliances’ power ratings by looking at their stamped technical specifications. Alternatively, RV owners can multiply the appliance’s power input and amperage to obtain the wattage.
For example, if the amperage for RV air conditioner is 13 amps running at 110 volts, the wattage for this appliance is 1,430 watts (110V x 13A = 1430W).
- Determine how long each RV appliance must run every day. For example, most people only use the RV AC for about four hours daily while operating the refrigerator 24/7.
- Combine the watt-hour ratings of all RV appliances to determine the motorhome’s energy demand.
- Choose a solar generator with a rated capacity higher than the computed RV energy demand. For example, one should get a 6,000-Wh generator if the daily power requirement is 5,500-Wh.
Can a solar generator power a refrigerator for RV?
Yes, it can.
DC refrigerators usually run on 12 Volts, and solar-powered generators have ports for such needs. Make sure to check the generator’s amp capacity and compare it to your DC cooler’s amp requirements to calculate how much power you may need.
If your RV fridge is using AC (although it will most likely have the DC option), it depends. You would have to check the number of watts and determine the number of hours the compressor will use electricity. Then compare this to the battery’s wattage.
How to choose the right size?
It really depends. Most portable generators are very compact, so there is not much to worry about. However, there are also those that are a bit bulky, especially if the capacity is huge.
For instance, Goal Zero Yeti weighs a whopping 44 pounds, with dimensions 18 inches by 13 inches by 13 inches. It has a capacity of 1,425 Watt-hours of power storage. Jackery, on the other hand, has a four-pound power generator, with dimensions 7.5 inches by 5 inches by 1 inch. This one has a capacity of 167 Watt-hours, which is pretty small (the size, weight, and capacity).
So overall, it depends on the battery capacity you want.
How to set-up?
Most power stations are plug-and-play, which means you just have to plug it in (to AC or solar panels) to charge, or plug your devices to start charging them. Some have the option to turn the charger on and off.
If you have a kit that needs to connect to an external solar charger, then you just need to connect it as well. If your power kit has no voltage controller, I suggest you purchase one to prevent voltage fluctuations when charging via solar panels.
How to use?
Before using for any device, make sure to check the power rating of your device, and if the controller provides the output that your device needs. For instance, if you are using the AC power, if your power generator has a 110V output, you device must use 110V as well and not 220V.
How to care and clean?
Portable solar generators can be a bit heavy. If you can’t carry it by yourself, seek assistance. Accidentally dropping one can cause some wirings to come loose or cause damage to the battery or inverter. So be very careful when storing.
Also, make sure the generator won’t get wet. As we all know, water can cause electronic items to short circuit. Store it safely away when not in use. If necessary, wipe dust and dirt away using dry cloth.
Where to buy?
RV solar generators can be purchased at local RV distributors and accessories shops. They can sometimes be available at Lowe’s and Home Depot, but not all the time.
The most reliable source as per experience is Amazon.com. When purchasing at Amazon, I am able to choose the exact product I want, as opposed to buying at local shops wherein I usually have no choice but to purchase whatever they have in stock.
What’s great about having a solar generator is that not only you can use it outside your home when camping, boondocking or fishing, but you can use it inside your home whenever there’s a power interruption. Power outages are more common nowadays because of the ever-intensifying strength of storms. Aside from being a supplemental source of power, it can also be used as an emergency power source.
Moreover, as its name implies, solar generators need not depend on pedestal power to charge; it can be powered up by solar panels. As long as you choose the best solar generator for RV, you can be confident that your devices can be powered up as needed, wherever your adventures may take you.