How to build an RV solar system?
In this blog post, we will answer the question: “How to build an RV solar system?” We will discuss the steps to build an RV solar system by looking into the wiring and installation process in detail. We will also talk about a few important tips to consider when choosing the right solar system for your RV.
How to build an RV solar system?
To build an RV solar system, you will need to follow the steps described below.
- Mount the solar panels to the RV roof
- Install the charge controller inside the RV
- Connect the wiring from the solar panels to the controller
- Connect the wires to the charge controller
- Mount an inverter inside the RV
Mount the solar panels to the RV roof
- Building an RV solar system is not as hard as you think. With the right equipment and a few instructions, you should be able to build an RV solar system in just a couple of days.
- First, you will need to mount the solar panels to the RV roof. Be sure to purchase solar panels that fit your RV roof correctly. Avoid purchasing solar panels that are too big for the RV roof.
- It is also important to consider the type of solar panels that you want. Some RVs require only two to three solar panels while some require four. It depends on the wattage that you need. 200 to 400 watts should be enough to get the job done. In that case, you can install four 100-watt solar panels.
- Once you have the solar panels, you will need to mount the solar panels to the roof. One of the best ways to mount solar panels to the roof is by using pre-built solar panel roof racks.
- The best way to go about this process is to mount the solar panels on a flat surface of the roof. Make sure that there are no objects in between where you choose to mount the panels.
- You might want to consider the angel to install the panels. Fix the solar panels with the help of screws or adhesives. Most of the solar panels are attached to the roof with screws or adhesives.
- It is also important to maintain a gap of six inches between the panel and the roof. There should be space to circulate under these solar panels.
- If you are using mounting brackets, you will need to drill these brackets into the roof first and then install the panels to the brackets. Solar panels arrive with the accessories for installation. Hence, you will simply need to follow the installation diagrams.
Install the charge controller inside the RV
- Next, you will need to install the charge controller inside the RV. Be sure to install the charge controller inside the RV as close to the batteries as possible. This will help you to run the wires with ease.
- One of the most common areas to install the charge controller is above the refrigerator. The wire from the solar array usually enters through the RV fridge vent on the roof. Remember to keep it as close as possible to your RV batteries.
Connect the wiring from the solar panels to the controller
- In the next step, you will need to connect the wiring from the solar panels to the controller. You can choose to run the wiring through the refrigerator vent or through the holes where the plumbing enters the RV.
- Another option is to drill a hole through the roof of your RV to run the wires. However, be sure to cover and caulk all the holes that are drilled to avoid any leakage during rain.
- Make sure to install a circuit breaker or a fuse on the wires for this connection since it is important to have one. Installing a circuit breaker is easy and it can be done in no time.
Connect the wires to the charge controller
- Once you are done with the wiring for the controller, you will need to connect the wires to the charge controller to your battery bank.
- The connections are not too difficult, but it is always advised to hire an expert to get the job done.
- You will also need a fuse that is a little bigger than the charge controller’s rated current. This fuse must be installed on these wires for safety purposes.
- Once you are done with these steps, your system will not be fully installed. However, the RV solar panels are not connected to the charge controller.
- Double-check the wiring systems and make sure that all the wires are connected properly. Check if the positive and negative wiring is all correct.
- When you are confident about the connections, you can go ahead and plug in the solar panels to the charge controller.
- It is also advised to do this at night or with the panels covered by a blanket to prevent any sparks.
Mount an inverter inside the RV
- In the next step, you will need to mount the inverter inside the RV as close as possible to the RV batteries. You will also need to connect the right wiring to the inverter.
- While this might be optional, it is necessary to do this if you plan on using 120-volt AC appliances.
- In case you are wiring the solar panels or controller directly to the battery back, it is not necessary to disconnect the existing converter in your RV. The solar panels and the converter should be able to supply charge to the battery bank.
Tips to choose the right solar panels for your RV
Choosing solar panels for your RV can be confusing at times, especially with several options available. Each type of solar panel has its own pros and cons, be sure to get the right ones. Here are a few tips to choose the right solar panels for your RV.
Understand the types of solar panels
- Once you get to know the various types of solar panels, you will understand your requirements and the selection process becomes easier.
- There are three basic types of solar panels that are widely used for RVs and motorhomes. The three main types are monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin-crystal solar panels.
- Do enough research on the types of solar panels that you need. In some situations, RV owners look for thin or film panels.
Consider the wattage
- It is good to know how many solar panels you want to have on your RV roof. It does not make sense to have your roof covered with solar panels.
- Be sure to consider the wattage of the appliances in your RV that you plan to run on solar panels. Once you have that figured out, you can go ahead and choose the right wattage.
Installation and maintenance
- The installation process of solar panels must be easy. This is the most important aspect since most people do not want to waste time with solar panels that are difficult to install. It is also good to purchase solar panels that come with installation instructions.
- When your solar panels are up and running, the maintenance must also be minimal. Consider the maintenance aspect since you do not want to be removing the panels every now and then.
Consider the cost and rebates
- Depending on the type of solar panel that you choose, it is important to consider the cost and rebates. Look for a bundle that has everything you need to get started. Your solar system should save you money and it should also be a perfect fit for your RV.
Those were the steps to build an RV solar panel with ease. When you have all the right equipment in place, it is all about assembling everything. It will hardly take you a day or two to build an RV solar system. Ensure to consider the tips to choose the right solar system for your RV.
In this blog post, we have answered the question: “How to build an RV solar system?” We have discussed the steps to build an RV solar system by looking into the wiring and installation process in detail. We have also talked about a few important tips to consider when choosing the right solar system for your RV.