Is Adding Solar to Your RV Worth It? 873

One of your biggest concerns when RVing is power. It doesn’t matter if you’re a full-timer or a weekend warrior, you need electrical power to make the systems and electrical components and applications work. Without that power, you’ll be much less comfortable and less happy while camping.

While there are electrical hookups at many campgrounds, solar power is another way of getting power to your RV. While it takes a little doing and a little planning, it can certainly do the trick. Is solar worth it though? Let’s take a closer look.

Why Solar Power for Your RV Is Smart

Camping without campground utilities in the Arizona desert.
Image by photosbyjim from Getty

Solar panels installed on an RV is one of the most common ways that people who RV often get power to their rig. It’s a popular option for many reasons. Here are some of the biggest ones.

Costs are Coming Down

Solar panels used ot be a massive investment. While you’ll still have to make significant investment, the cost of the equipment in terms of the panels themselves, the inverter, controller, and batteries are coming down.

According to Energy Sage, the cost of solar power equipment has come down significantly in the last few years. It’s also expected to continue to do so. This means you can make the investment for less money overall.

You Have Power Anywhere

If you’re an avid boondocker, then solar power is basically a must-have. When boondocking you’re not plugged into any power grid and this means you’ll need to create your own power.

Some people do this by using portable gas generators, which work great, but a solar power setup can be a great alternative or supplement to your generators.

Solar Equipment Works in a Variety of Environments

Many people think if it’s cloudy your solar panels won’t work. That’s not the case. Modern solar panels can harness the sun’s energy even when conditions are less than ideal. Don’t think adding solar panels to your rig means you’re stuck to only camping in high sunlight areas.

You can easily use your solar panels even when its cloudy. When doing this, plan ahead and have a backup. Obviously bright direct sunlight will give you the most power, but it’s not absolutely necessary. Keeping a portable generator on hand is still a smart move.

It’s Not Too Difficult to Install

Many RVs come prepped for the addition of solar panels. Whiel most of these models are newer, even older RVs can be outfitted with solar panels pretty easily.

If you don’t have an RV that comes solar prepped, then you can get help from a variety of retailers, who will help you outfit your rig with the necessary equipment. Reach out to your local Camping World location to see if you can have the installation done by our service professionals.

Why Solar Power Can Not Make Sense

Camping with solar panels for converting energy from the sun to electricity.
Image by photosbyjim from Getty

At this point you might be thinking that solar planes sound great and you want to go out and buy some. Well, that’s fine, but you should know why and when they can not make sense.

It Can Be a Major Investment and Take Time to Pay Off

It’s true that the price of solar panels are coming down, but they’re still a pretty big investment for most people. Depending on the size of your rig, you may need a lot of panels to cover your electricity needs. This can make the costs add up.

Also, if you don’t use your RV extremely often, then it can take a very long time before you really get enough use out of your RVs for the initial investment to make sense. Full-timers should have no problem getting the most out of their solar investment, but many weekend warriors will find the expense tough to justify. Think long and hard about whether or not it’s worth it to make the investment.

Most RV Parks Have Electric Hookups

Related to the idea that solar panels can be a big investment is the fact that many RV parks and campgrounds offer electric hookups. So, if you’re camping at locations that already have the hookup, you won’t need your solar panels. If you’re a weekend warrior, this can mean it’ll take even longer to justify the investment.

However, if you camp solely in locations where there are no electric hookups adding solar can make sense. Think about how and where you camp before you add solar to your rig. It’s really your habits that will determine if adding solar to your RV is worth it.


Do you have solar panels for your RV? How do you like them? Leave a comment below. 

Is adding solar to your RV worth it?

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