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Selecting Right Size Solar Panel For Your RV

Date : Oct 10, 2016 Category : Best RV Resorts
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RV solar panel2

RV solar panel

Figuring out how to size an RV solar panel may sound challenging, but it’s not. It will take a little time to measure and do some basic math, and that is all there is to do. Here Is some handy tips that anyone can follow so they can determine their best size for their inverter, battery bank, solar charge controller, and ultimately their solar panels.

Energy Matters

Energy Matters

It’s important to know a few different formulas before getting started. Amps X Volts = Watts, Watts / Amps = Volts, and Watts / Volts = Amps.It’s crucial to remember that although Watts will rarely need conversion,

Amps and Volts have to be converted when switching from AC to DC and DC to AC.1,000 Watts AC is equal to 1,000 Watts DC.To convert Amps from AC to DC, simply multiply by ten.

Ten Amps AC, therefore, equals 100 Amps DC. DC Amps divided by ten will be the right number for AC Amps. 100 Amps DC is 10 Amps AC.

Power Usage of Appliances

Power Usage of Appliance

Most appliances come with labels that say exactly how much energy they use when they are on or in use. If for some reason the label is worn off or missing, the world wide web can likely provide the missing information.

One can simply type the make and model of their appliance followed by “Watt usage” into Google and get the answer they are looking for.

Determining the Watt usage of every appliance is time-consuming, but necessary. No one wants to be camping and run out of energy or to spend way more money than necessary on a system more powerful than what they need.



Chances are any new RV owner will be using a few if not all of these items when they are camping: Lights, Laptop, TV, and Water Pump.In order to better illustrate the energy usages of these modern technologies.

In this example the TV will be used for two hours, using up 6 DC Amps of power. The laptop will be utilized for six hours and take up 4.8 DC Amps, lights will be in use for two hours and take 8 DC Amps, and the Water Pump will be used for two hours and take 2 DC Amps.

This scenario comes out to be 103 Amp hours of daily use. Weather conditions must be accounted for since every day won’t be sunny and bright. If battery life drops below 60% it could mean extensive damage, then a 40% /103 Ah system is required. The math translates to a 258 Ah, which would be the minimum necessary.

RV Inverter

RV Inverter

The inverter one choose should be able to meet total draw. If the inverter isn’t the right size, campers will have to take turn using appliances, which will be no fun.

Campers sharing an RV will likely want to be able to perform tasks at the time of their preference. For example, if there are three campers and one is watching t.v.

And charging his cell phone, another is vacuuming, while another has their laptop plugged in while they are microwaving a snack, the inverter has to be able to handle a lot of electrical current at one time.

Charge Controller

Charge Controller

The charge controller Amp output is typically a quarter of the maximum Ah of the battery bank. If the panels are getting plenty of sunlight and producing 35 Amps of energy, It’s a shame to see it wasted because the controller can only do 20 Amps.

An ideal charge controller can handle at least 60 Ah as it can seize as much energy as the panels can likely produce and deliver it to the batteries.

Solar Panel Array

Solar Panel Array

Every step of sizing thus far has lead up to this. By determining energy needs, RV owners will know the size battery bank they require. By knowing the correct size of a battery bank, he can then determine what size charge controller he will be needing.

He will use that information to know what size panel array he will need. For those who need 60 Ah system, they can probably handle 750 Watts at 12 DC Volts. Solar kits can be purchased in the range of 480 Watts.

An array could be installed consisting of three 160 Watt panels leaving room for further installations down the road if the RV owner sees that he needs more energy.

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