How Much Do RV Solar Panels Cost?

Are you an RV owner? Have you considered becoming one? If you answer ‘yes’ to either of these questions, it’s time that we talk about solar panels — specifically, RV solar panel cost.

Why? You may ask. Well, solar energy is a fantastic, effective, and eco-friendly alternative to conventional energy generation methods. What’s more, solar systems are by their very nature modular. This makes them perfectly suited to the RV lifestyle.

However, there’s one hurdle that stands in the way of you solar-loving RV owners out there — the lack of data relating to the cost of RV solar panels (especially from trustworthy sources)

Fortunately enough, we at Climatebiz have decided to step up to the plate and provide you with all you need to know about RV solar panel costs.

In this article, we’ll break down our selection criteria, results, the factors that determine RV solar panel cost, and lastly, the amount you can expect to pay to install an RV solar system.

Foreword
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RV Solar Panel Cost Breakdown

Before we go any further, it’s important that we provide you with some context to the information shown in the tables below:

In order for us to provide you with the most accurate RV solar panel cost estimates, we collected data from over 40 different solar panels, from the following manufacturers:

  • Renogy
  • Rich Solar
  • Jackery
  • New Powa
  • Eco Flow
  • Windy Nation
  • Weize
  • ALLPOWERS
Foldable RV solar panels — RV solar panel cost.
Foldable RV solar panels.
Source: Getaway Couple

This allowed us to determine both the average cost and cost per watt of the RV solar panels in our chosen categories.

Related Reading: Everything you need to know about RV solar panels


Our Findings

Based on our research, we discovered the following:

  • In our article — Solar Battery Cost (A Complete Breakdown) — we discovered that a number of manufacturers don’t provide battery prices on their websites. Unfortunately, the same can be said for RV solar panels. Again, this makes it difficult for online consumers to compare and contrast prices.
  • Most RV owners tend to purchase 100W and 200W panels for their energy needs. If they require more power, they simply purchase additional panels and link them up accordingly.

Selection Criteria

Because of our findings, we knew that we had to narrow our search down to 100W and 200W panels.

But it doesn’t stop there – we made use of additional criteria to increase the accuracy of our cost estimates. We did this to ensure that we gave you the most accurate RV solar panel cost possible.

Here are the additional selection criteria:

  • Only solar panels that are rigid, foldable or portable were included. Thin-film panels were excluded.
  • Monocrystalline and polycrystalline cell panels were included. Thin-film cell panels were excluded.
  • Only 12 volt panels were included.
  • Solar panels as part of a kit were excluded.
  • Solar panels with charge controllers were excluded.
Thin-film solar panels
Thin-film, flexible solar panels — these were excluded from our study.
Source: Global Opportunity Explorer

Related Reading: What sort of solar battery is best for your RV?


Last But Not Least

For those of you who decide to do your own research, you’ll notice that some manufacturers use the terms “foldable/suitcase” and “portable” interchangeably.

Let’s clear this up for you — All foldable/suitcase panels are portable, but not all portable panels are foldable.

If this still confuses you — the panels that are portable but not foldable tend to come with stands. This allows you to move them around.

Now, let’s have a look at the data:


100W Solar Panels

Panel TypeCell TypeAverage Cost (USD)Average Cost Per Watt (USD)
Rigid
(Fixed)
Monocrystalline$118.68$1.18
PortableMonocrystalline$147.49$1.47
Foldable
(Suitcase)
Monocrystalline$304.49$3.04
Rigid
(Fixed)
Polycrystalline$95.51$0.95
PortablePolycrystalline$123.99$1.23
Foldable
(Suitcase)
Polycrystalline$159.90$1.59

200W Solar Panels

Panel TypeCell TypeAverage Cost (USD)Average Cost Per Watt (USD)
Rigid/FixedMonocrystalline$229.72$1.14
Foldable
(Suitcase)
Monocrystalline$524.74$2.62
Foldable
(Suitcase)
Polycrystalline$299.00$1.49

RV Solar Panel Manufacturer Cost Comparison

100W Solar Panels

ManufacturerPanel TypeCell TypeAverage Cost (USD)Average Cost Per Watt (USD)
RenogyRigid
(Fixed)
Monocrystalline$148.32$1.48
Foldable (Suitcase)Monocrystalline$259.99$2.59
Rich SolarRigid
(Fixed)
Monocrystalline$129.99$1.29
PortableMonocrystalline$294.98$2.94
Rigid
(Fixed)
Polycrystalline$109.99$1.09
NewpowaRigid
(Fixed)
Monocrystalline$81.87$0.81
Rigid
(Fixed)
Polycrystalline$79.10$0.79
Windy NationRigid
(Fixed)
Monocrystalline$99.46$0.99
Rigid
(Fixed)
Polycrystalline$82.99$0.82
PortablePolycrystalline$123.99$1.23
JackeryFoldable
(Suitcase)
Monocrystalline299.00$2.99
EcoFlowFoldable
(Suitcase)
Monocrystalline$399.00$3.99

200W Solar Panels

ManufacturerPanel TypeCell TypeAverage Cost (USD)Average Cost Per Watt (USD)
RenogyRigid
(Fixed)
Monocrystalline$299.99$1.49
Foldable
(Suitcase)
Monocrystalline$549.99$2.74
Rich SolarRigid
(Fixed)
Monocrystalline$259.99$1.29
Foldable
(Suitcase)
Monocrystalline$449.99$2.24
Rigid
(Fixed)
Polycrystalline$109.99$1.09
NewpowaRigid
(Fixed)
Monocrystalline$81.87$0.81
Rigid
(Fixed)
Polycrystalline$79.10$0.79
Windy NationRigid
(Fixed)
Monocrystalline$99.46$0.99
Rigid
(Fixed)
Polycrystalline$82.99$0.82
PortablePolycrystalline$123.99$1.23
JackeryFoldable
(Suitcase)
Monocrystalline299.00$2.99
EcoFlowFoldable
(Suitcase)
Monocrystalline$399.00$3.99

Related Reading: Everything you need to know about RV greywater


What Factors Determine RV Solar Panel Cost?

If you’ve paid close attention to the above tables, you’ll notice that some of the contributing factors are already present. But there are a few extras that require consideration.

The following are factors that determine RV solar panel cost:

  • Manufacturer/brand
  • Panel Type
  • PV cell type
  • Panel size(wattage)
  • Voltage
  • Other accessories
Monocrystalline Vs. Polycrystalline — RV solar panel cost.
Source: Solar Magazine

Manufacturer/Brand

Any solar-related product’s price tag will depend on the company that manufactures them. This goes for inverters, batteries, panels, EV’s, etc.

This can come down to their manufacturing process, marketing strategy, material cost, and other various overheads.


Panel Type

The panels that we included in this article can be broken down into three categories:

Rigid Panels

Renogy 100W Rigid solar panel.
Source: Renogy

Rigid/fixed solar panels are not portable; they are mounted at a permanent site, usually a roof, where they remain until the end of their lifespan. Their inability to move makes them the cheapest of the panel types.

Portable Panels

Rich Solar 100W monocrystalline solar panel
Rich Solar 100W monocrystalline solar panel
Source: Rich Solar

Portable solar panels, unlike their rigid/fixed counterparts, aren’t restricted to one area. They tend to come with stands that help you to move them around your RV, campsite, or general area. As such, they tend to be more expensive

Foldable/Suitcase

Jackery SolarSaga 100W Solar Panel
Source: Jackery

Foldable solar panels (sometimes referred to as solar suitcases) are the most space-efficient panel type. These panels can be folded one or more times (depending on their size) and come with handles to help you move them around. For this reason, they are the most expensive.

Related Reading: Best solar panels for campervans


PV Cell Type

The solar panels in this article are either monocrystalline or polycrystalline:

Each type has certain advantages and disadvantages that may or may not suit your unique situation.

Monocrystalline

monocrystalline solar panels for home

The easiest way to identify a monocrystalline solar panel is by its dark color.

These panels are usually dark blue, almost black in color. This is because of how light interacts with the monocrystalline layer.

Another way to identify these panels is by the small white circles located inside the interior of the panel.

Monocrystalline solar panels are best used for their high efficiency, as electricity flow has minimal resistance in their cells.

Positives
  • High-efficiency levels
  • Use up less space on your homes roof
  • Higher solar energy yield per square foot
  • Lifespan of up to 25 years
Negatives
  • More expensive than polycrystalline panels
  • Requires more fossil fuel to manufacture
  • Do not perform as well in lower temperatures

Polycrystalline

polycrystalline solar panels

You can identify a polycrystalline solar panel by its sky-blue hue.

They are also commonly referred to as multi-crystalline or many-crystal silicon panels.

Because of the high amount of crystals in each cell, there is less space for electrons to flow freely. This results in lower efficiency ratings when compared to monocrystalline panels.

The main reason you would choose poly over mono is simply the price — polycrystalline panels are cheaper than monocrystalline panels.

Positive
  • Less expensive than monocrystalline
  • Manufacturing process requires less fossil fuels
Negatives
  • Lower level of efficiency
  • Takes up more space on your homes roof
  • More susceptible to damage in high temperatures

Panel Size (Wattage)

Electrical power is expressed in watts. It, therefore, stands to reason that the more watts a solar panel can produce, the more expensive it’ll be


Other Accessories

We specifically stated that the solar panels used for this article did not come as part of a solar kit.

However, when purchasing a solar panel, it’s essential to note any accompanying extras that may increase the price. We aren’t just talking about full-on solar kits here; we’re also referring to individual accessories such as batteries, inverters, charge controllers, cases, cables, and mounts.


How Much Do RV Solar Panels Cost To Install?

According to Renogy, there are a lot of factors that influence the cost of installing an RV panel.

These factors include:

  • System size
  • Panel type
  • Additional components such as extra panels or batteries.

In general, though, the installation cost of a complete RV solar system can range from $600 for the most basic setup to upwards of $2000,00 for larger installations.


Final Thoughts

Now that you have a much clearer idea about the cost of RV solar panels, we hope that you’ll take the necessary steps to add them to your vehicle.

Sure, we understand that these systems can be pricey for some of you out there, but in all honesty, the long-term benefits will eventually outweigh the upfront expense.

And finally, whether you’re an RV owner with solar panels or someone looking to add panels to their setup, please feel free to reach out to us in the comments section below. We’d love to hear from you!

Robert Wortrich

Robert Wortrich

Robert is a content creator and editor. His passion for researching and the environment led him to joining the Climatebiz team. When he isn’t busy writing articles or learning more about everything Green Technology-related, you’ll find him spending time with friends or hiking one of the many wonderful trails that his home – Cape Town – has to offer.

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