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Solar panel kits for RV, camping, and other off-grid uses

Do you have a boat, RV, or just like to get off the grid sometimes? These all-in-one kits make it easy to keep your stuff powered with solar electricity.

Photo of a Goal Zero solar kit with power station/battery storage.

If you like to get off the grid, whether it’s roughing it in a tent, or you’re more of a “glamper” who likes to stay comfortable in a boat or RV, you probably still like to have electricity to keep your devices powered.

We’ve written articles about some of the solar technology you can use to make this happen, such as flexible solar panels, charge controllers, and solar phone chargers. However, if you have big power requirements that involve keeping a larger battery charged, things get a little more complicated.

This article includes affiliate links, and we may earn a small commission when you purchase one of the products listed on this page. Our reviews are independent, and none of the companies have paid to be featured.

To put together a system that will keep your devices or appliances powered when there isn’t a power outlet nearby, you’ll need a few things. You need one or more solar panels, of course. You will also cables, mounting brackets, a charge controller, and a battery if you don’t already have one in your boat or RV. While you can certainly buy these items individually, it’s annoying when you have a make a second order because you, for example, miscounted the number of z-brackets you need or forgot to include a cable entry housing for the roof of your RV.

That’s why it’s often a better option to buy a ready-made kit with all the components packaged together. This is handy because it means you’ll literally have the correct number of nuts and bolts to make the system work, and you’ll also have a charge controller that is correctly sized for the number of panels in your system.

Finally, you’ll often get a better price by buying all the components together, especially if shipping costs are considered.

This article assumes that you understand the individual components needed to make a DIY off-grid system, but if not you can read our articles on RV solar panel systems, flexible solar panels, foldable solar panels, and charge controllers.

How do I choose the right solar panel kit?

In many cases, you will already have a battery to store the electricity you generate, such as if the kit is for your RV or boat. If you don’t, you’ll need to purchase one separately because most kits don’t include one.

The other things to know are the system output power you’ll need, and whether you want rigid or flexible solar panels.

You’ll choose a power output - the number and wattage of the panels - depending on how many amp-hours of battery storage you need to keep topped up.

Flexible solar panels offers some advantages over rigid ones, such as light weight and the ability to mount them smoothly against curved surfaces (such as the roof of an RV), but they are generally less durable than conventional panels that have aluminium and glass frames.

This article lists kits with rigid and flexible panels, as well as a range of different wattages.

Lastly, you want a kit from a name brand and a supported warranty. If you do a little searching on the internet, you’ll find cheap solar panel kits from overseas manufacturers with little or presence in the US. The kits might ship directly from overseas which saves costs, but good luck getting support if you need to make a return or warranty claim.

All of the products listed on this page are from manufacturers where the customer service and warranty information is clearly published.

Solar panel kits with rigid solar panels

The kits below include solar panels with glass and aluminium frames, making them appropriate for any application where they will be semi-permanently mounted. They include cabling with MC4 connectors, mounting brackets for the panels, and an MPPT or PWM charge controller with an input capacity compatible with the included panels.

ACOPOWER

ACOPOWER is a company based in Los Angeles. They offer a 1 year warranty with their charge controllers, an 18 month warranty with the flexible solar panels, and a 5 year warranty with rigid solar panels.

These kits range in solar output from 100 to 550 watts, and include extra hardware appropriate for mounting on the roof of an RV.

Depending on the kit, the package includes:

  • Total solar output ranging from 100 watts to 550 watts
  • 12 volt polycrystalline or all-black high efficiency monocrystalline panels
  • PWM or MPPT charge controllers ranging from 20 amp to 40 amp output
  • Z-brackets
  • 10 AWG or 12 AWG cables with MC4 connectors
  • 8 AWG battery tray cables
  • cable entry housing (for tidy cable entry through a roof) ACOPOWER solar power kit

Price: between $170 and $693

Get an additional 10% off with the coupon code SOLARNERD at checkout!

Buy direct on Acopower.com with free shipping

Check pricing on Amazon

Renogy

Renogy is a California-based company that was started as a college project at Louisiana State University, and has quickly become one of the fastest growing solar brands.

Renogy kits come in a wide range, from very small 50 watt packages (good enough for charging some phones or tablets) to large 4.8 kW kits that are large enough to power an off-grid cabin. Some kits also include a Bluetooth module that lets you monitor your system with a smartphone.

The kits come with a 3 year warranty on the panels and a 1 year warranty on the accessories.

Depending on the kit, the package may include:

  • Total solar output ranging from 50 watts to 550 watts
  • 12 volt polycrystalline or all-black high efficiency monocrystalline panels
  • PWM or MPPT charge controllers ranging from 10 amp to 150 amp output
  • Z-brackets
  • 10 AWG or 12 AWG cables with MC4 connectors
  • 4 AWG or 12 AWG battery tray cables
  • inline fuse
  • Bluetooth module
  • branch connectors
  • combiner box, circuit breakers, and enclosure Renogy solar power kit

Price: between $120 and $15,000

Get an additional 10% off with the coupon code RenogySolar10 at checkout!

Buy direct on Renogy.com with free shipping

Check pricing on Amazon

Rich Solar

Rich Solar is based in Montclair, CA and makes a variety of small solar panel and battery storage devices.

Their kits come in sizes ranging from 100 to 800 watts, and include hardware appropriate different mounting situations, such as RV rooftops.

Rigid panels come with a 5 year warranty, flexible panels get a 1 year warranty, and charge controllers are warrantied for 2 years.

Depending on the kit, the package may include:

  • Total solar output ranging from 100 watts to 800 watts
  • Polycrystalline or high efficiency monocrystalline panels
  • PWM or MPPT charge controllers ranging from 30 amp to 40 amp output
  • Z-brackets
  • 8 AWG or 12 AWG cables with MC4 connectors
  • 8 AWG or 12 AWG battery tray cables
  • inline fuse
  • branch connectors

Price: between $195 and $1,090

Buy direct on Rich Solar with free shipping

Check pricing on Amazon

Solar panel kits with flexible solar panels

Flexible solar panels are handy if weight is a factor, or if you want the panels to have a minimal profile when mounted on a surface.

ACOPOWER

These kits from Renogy come in 100 watt, 200 watt, and 350 watt sizes.

  • Total solar output ranging from 110 watts to 440 watts
  • High efficiency SunPower monocrystalline flexible panels
  • PWM or MPPT charge controller ranging from 20 amp to 40 amp
  • 12 AWG cables with MC4 connectors
  • 8 AWG battery tray cables
  • cable entry housing (for tidy cable entry through a roof) ACOPOWER flexible solar power kit

Price: between $345 and $1,079

Get an additional 10% off with the coupon code SOLARNERD at checkout!

Buy direct on Acopower.com with free shipping

Check pricing on Amazon

Renogy

These flexible panel kits from Renogy come in 100 watt, 200 watt, and 350 watt sizes.

  • Total solar output ranging from 100 watts to 350 watts
  • 12 AWG cables with MC4 connectors
  • 10 AWG or 12 AWG battery tray cables
  • PWM or MPPT charge controller ranging from 10 amp to 40 amp

Price: between $240 and $730

Get an additional 10% off with the coupon code SOLARNERD at checkout!

Buy direct on Acopower.com with free shipping

Check pricing on Amazon

Solar panel kits with battery stations (from Goal Zero)

All of the kits listed above are intended to be used to charge a storage battery - either one that you already have (such as the coach battery in your RV) or (usually) a lead-acid battery that you buy separately.

One downside of this is that you end up with a lot of fiddly bits - multiple cables, a charge controller, along with your battery and solar panels. It’s not a very portable package. That might not matter if you’re installing your kit onto a boat or RV, but if you want solar power and battery storage that you can carry around, having a cleaner package would be very handy.

Goal Zero, a company based in Bluffdale, Utah, makes very cool kits that include folding solar panels and power stations that have a charge controller built in. They vary in battery capacity from 150 Wh - enough to charge some phones and tablets - up to 3,000 Wh, which is enough to power even large appliances for up to an hour.

The best part of these kits is the packaging. Instead of multiple cables and an external charge controller, the solar panels plug directly into the power station, which has a charge controller built-in. This eliminates the tangle of wires, and make this a nicer package for packing around.

Another convenience is that the solar panels are rigid but fold into a briefcase with a handle. The largest power stations also get wheels and a retractable handle so that you can wheel the thing around like a piece of luggage.

Prices for these complete kits, which includes a carrying case, the panels, cables, and the power station, range from to $350 to $3,500. All products include a 30-day money back guarantee and a two year warranty. Goal Zero Yeti power station

Buy direct on Goal Zero with free shipping

Check pricing on Amazon



TAGS:
#Campers #Batteries #Solar Products

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