If you’re considering adding solar to your boat or RV, you’re probably wondering where to start. There are so many options for panels, charge controllers, inverters, and more. It’s hard to know which components you actually need to buy. Luckily, solar panel dealers have realized this and created handy solar panel kits to help solve this issue. So, what exactly is a solar panel kit? And are they worth it? Keep reading to find out.
Table of contents
- What Is a Solar Panel Kit?
- How Many Solar Panels Do I Need to Run My RV or Boat?
- 5 Major Advantages of Using Solar Panel Kits
- How Long Do Solar Panels Take to Pay for Themselves?
- What Will a 200-Watt Solar Panel Kit Run?
- Are Solar Kits Worth It?
What Is a Solar Panel Kit?
Solar panel kits are packages that come with all the components you’ll need to install your solar panels successfully. These usually include the solar panel(s), charge controller, electrical wiring, fuses, and monitoring. Some kits even include an inverter and batteries, but the price will definitely reflect this.
How Many Solar Panels Do I Need to Run My RV or Boat?
The number of solar panels you’ll need to run your RV or boat will depend on your specific energy usage. The best way to determine these needs is to perform an energy audit. If you’re already living in your boat or RV, this can be as simple as keeping track of your amp hours.
Once you know how much power you’re using, simply convert the amp hours into watt-hours by multiplying the amp hours by the volts (this will either be 12 or 24). Therefore, 100Ah x 12V = 1,200Wh, which approximately two 100-watt solar panels can produce.
If you aren’t living in your boat or RV, you can always tally up how many watts each appliance will draw. This will give you a ballpark estimate of the watt hours you’ll need to compensate for. It may be a good idea to round up just to be safe.
→ Click here to figure out how much solar you really need.
Many times, however, even a small system can do wonders for keeping your batteries charged and powering your critical lights, electronics, and other small appliances.
5 Major Advantages of Using Solar Panel Kits
Why should you buy a solar panel kit instead of piece-mealing one together or relying on expensive hookups? Let’s take a look at five major advantages of using solar panel kits.
1. Easy to Use and Set Up
When you buy a solar panel kit, there are no guessing games. You know that the accessories that come with your panels are designed to work cohesively as a system. This means that your kit will come with cut and dry instructions for each piece and how they fit together, making the installation, set up, and use easy as pie.
Suggested Reading: Find out how to install solar panels on a sailboat.
2. Keeps Your RV or Boat Batteries Charged
Most solar panel kits come with an MPPT charge controller for your batteries. These ensure that your batteries will receive a maximum, consistent energy load without risking over-charging. Thus, when you invest in a kit, you won’t have to wonder if you’re using your solar panels to their fullest potential or accidentally damaging your batteries in some way.
3. Keeps You Off-Grid Longer
We can’t talk about solar power without talking about the increased freedom they bring. You won’t have to rely on electrical hookups at a campground or slip anymore. Imagine setting up camp in a secluded, free spot in the pristine wilderness with all your energy needs met by the sun. That’s exactly what a solar setup will give you.
4. Low Maintenance
The amazing thing about solar setups (including the batteries, as long as you go with lithium) is that they’re virtually maintenance-free. Unlike a generator, once you’ve made the initial investment in the kit, you won’t have to worry about expensive or tiresome maintenance. All you’ll really need to do is clean off your panels occasionally and ensure everything is working properly. Then, you’ll be good to go for years to come.
→ How Long Do Solar Panels Last? Find out here.
5. Saves You Money
Buying a solar panel kit can be a lot cheaper than installing a full-blown solar system. You’re ensuring that you’ll have exactly what you need and nothing you don’t. It will also save you overtime if you account for the money you’d be spending at campgrounds and/or mooring your boat.
How Long Do Solar Panels Take to Pay for Themselves?
Think about it this way — a monthly stay at a campground or boat slip can easily cost $500 or more. Compare this to the $529.99 Renogy 200 Watt 12 Volt Solar Kit, and you can feel confident that your investment will pay for itself in about a month of camping or docking off-grid. This happens especially fast if you plan on boondocking instead of staying at a campground.
What Will a 200-Watt Solar Panel Kit Run?
A 200-watt solar panel kit is a fantastic option for smaller solar panel projects, including RVs and boats. It can power smaller electronics such as LED lights, TVs, radios, coffee makers, and even microwaves. You’ll also be able to easily recharge your mobile devices, such as laptops, cell phones, and tablets.
→ Check out our 210w Solar Energy Kit complete with a 100ah Battle Born lithium battery.
Are Solar Kits Worth It?
A small solar panel kit will likely pay for itself in a camping season, and because of this, we think they are completely worth it. Not only that, solar is environmentally friendly, low-maintenance, and extremely freeing. You’ll be able to venture anywhere your heart desires, knowing you can harness all the power you need from the sun.
Of course, if you do invest in a solar panel kit, you’ll need a good battery set up, too. Lithium-ion batteries are the best way to store energy from your solar panel kit. Start investigating your energy needs to see if a solar panel kit could make traveling even easier and more comfortable for you.
Want To Learn More About Electrical Systems and Lithium Batteries?
We know that building or upgrading an electrical system can be overwhelming, so we’re here to help. Our Reno, Nevada-based sales and customer service team is standing by at (855) 292-2831 to take your questions!
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