RV Solar Battery Charger

For people on the go, RV’s are a great way to get around, and millions of Americans use them every year for travelling, vacations, camping, or just getting away from the real world for a little while. The power requirements for RV’s are not that high and campsites have power points to connect you RV to but if you’re not at a campsite or you want to keep the cost down and avoid paying for the power connection then you need a different power source.

Solar power is your best option. After the initial installation costs the power produced is free and it’s green so you’re not contributing to global warming.

The technology required commonly known as solar panels are a collection of solar cells called photovoltaic cells. Photovoltaic cells come in different sizes and produced different voltages but the standard output is 12V.

A solar cell or photovoltaic (PV) cell is a device that converts sunlight directly into electricity by the photovoltaic effect. Their construction is completely different to solar panels for hot water which use pipes to collect the heat from the sun. Solar cells are made up of thin layers of silicon, and when sunlight strikes a cell's light absorbing material, chemical reactions release electrons, generating an electric. current.

Solar power system

The solar panels are placed flat on the top of the RV. They are reasonable light weight so won’t increase your fuel consumption.

The 12V output from the solar cells is connected to a charge controller which in turn is connected to the batteries of your RV. The charge controller regulates the voltage going to the batteries and prevents over charging. During the day, if you are parked up, the light shining on the solar panel charges your batteries and generating power for you to use. An additional benefit of RV solar panels is that if you are driving during the day, the solar panels charge the batteries of your RV reducing the load of the RV’s engine and therefore increasing your fuel consumption.

Before deciding on the size and rating of solar panels you will need to calculate your power consumption. If you have a large RV you’re likely to need a 330 watt installation. This is likely to consist of three 110 watt solar panels that are mounted on the roof of you RV. For small RV’s one 110 watt solar panel will be and adequate RV solar battery charger. Medium size RV’s can use two 110 watt panels producing 220 watts.

Solar power RV kits are available from supplies such as RVMaxx. Their biggest kit is 330 watts. The kit consists of the following components.

  • Solar Module: 110W x3
  • Flat Mount Hardware x3
  • 35 amp charge controller
  • 34 feet of 8-2 output wire (8 ft for module interconnection, 6 ft for controller to battery connection, 20 ft for solar array to controller connection. Battery clamps and connection lugs not included)
  • Combiner box with breakers
  • DC disconnect with breakers


  • 110 watt RV solar battery charger kit will cost in the region of $900
  • 220 watt RV solar battery charger kit will cost in the region of $1800
  • 330 watt RV solar battery charger kit will cost in the region of $2500