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Solar Panels for RV Trailers

by GuestPoster - January 17th, 2011.
Filed under: Guest Posts. Tagged as: , .

Most likely you are already familiar with solar panels. Probably saw a few pictures of homes with those things on their roof attached. While many people did hear about solar powered homes or at least have an idea about it, there are other applications of solar panels. Today we’ll talk about solar panel usage for RV trailers.

First of all RV trailer is like a little house, so you can image it also requires some electrical power to operate. Lights, fridge and other small appliances, all require electricity to function. Let’s see how RV electrical solar system is different from the regular house solar system.

First of all RV is much smaller than the average house, fewer people usually live in it, thus it requires less energy. Regular 2,000 square feet house consumes about 50 Kwatt-hours of electrical power per day, while RV trailer consumes only about 1 kwatt hour. Secondly RV electrical system usually uses 12 Volt direct current electricity which is exactly the type of electricity solar panels produce and regular batteries accept, all you need to have is a solar charge controller


Because not as much energy is required in operating RV appliances, solar panels become an ideal candidate for an alternative power source. Also no electricity convertation is required (unlike the house application, since you need to transform direct current to alternating one and back), thus minimizing energy losses. This is why you see much more RV trailiers than houses with installed solar panels.

There are few specific to RV challenges to installing RV trailer panels. One challenge is to mount them on a roof. Regular RV roof is round, so special mounts are reuired to screw the panels to a round roof. Another challenge is that RV unlike house moves and that’s why RV solar panels should be foldable.

Some people overcome these challenges by using smart mounts, which allow to tilt and fold panels when required. Other people carry their solar panel inside RV and put it outsite on a standalone mount only when parked.

Be sure to check our post on diy solar panels.

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