Is 200 W Portable Solar Panel Enough for RV Enthusiasts?

RV enthusiasts prefer solar kits over conventional power generation options like diesel and petrol generators. These kits are much more reliable and offer access to clean energy and no more noise and pollution. Solar power lets you enjoy complete energy independence and elevate your RV living experience. Solar power options for RVs have diversified a lot; you can go for full-fledged solar kits or portable kits, depending on your power needs.

Portability is crucial for RV owners; however, optimizing space with large solar kits often becomes difficult. That's when portable solar panels for RVs come into the picture. We'll explore everything from setting up a portable RV solar panel kit to checking what's the bare minimum to go easy. We've also got the expert's opinion to see whether a 200-watt solar panel will be enough to power your RV.

How Many Watts of Solar Do I Need To Run My RV?

Solar output is measured in watt-hours; a 200-watt solar panel will provide 800-1000 watt-hours of energy per day. An average-sized RV consumes approximately 1000-1500 watt hours (excluding air conditioners and other heavy-load appliances) daily. The required output depends on RV size, installed appliances, and daily power consumption. You need to make calculations based on these factors to estimate your power needs. However, weather conditions may impact the output. 

For 24-hour usage, you will need a battery backup; the excess solar energy charges the battery, which can be used later. Battery capacity is calculated in ampere-hours; a 12 Volt (100 ampere-hours) battery would need 960 watt-hours to charge. In this case, a single 200-watt solar panel won't be enough to fully charge the battery and power the RV simultaneously. You will need at least 600-watt solar output. Hopefully, this rough estimation offers a fair insight into how much power is needed to run your RV. 

You can use a combination of solar panels and battery packs to power your RV. You can also upgrade the system depending on your power needs. Unlike conventional generators, solar kits offer flexibility to adjust output according to power consumption. Most portable solar kits come with expansion features. 

Is 200 Watt Portable Solar Panel Enough for an RV?

200w solar panel

Yes, for a small RV with limited power consumption, a 200-watt solar panel may be enough. However, it can't be relied upon, as a small change in consumption can leave you out of power. The daily power output of a 200-watt panel is around 1000-1500 watt-hours, which is sufficient for lighting, charging devices, and running a few appliances. If you want to enjoy air-conditioning or watch a complete game on TV, it can't happen with a 200-watt panel.

When using a 200-watt panel, your consumption should be calculated; you must track the solar output and power consumption to avoid shortfall. The weather conditions should also be accounted for, as they largely affect the solar output. For overnight backup, you'll need to add a battery. The panel cannot power your RV and charge the battery stand-alone. You'll have to reduce usage to charge and use the battery later.

A 200-watt solar panel is not recommended for RV living; it can be used for short adventure trips or when power is considered an added convenience. If you're fond of one-day trips on your RV and love to enjoy a chilled beer at picturesque locations, going for a 200-watt panel for powering your RV is good enough. 

What Can You Run On 200 Watt of a Solar Panel?

Any appliance rated below 200 watts could be run on the panel. The exceptions may include air-conditioning, microwave oven, TV, etc. The rated power consumption of these appliances is usually higher than 200 watts. Hence, you can run almost everything in your RV on a 200-watt panel; it's just that you can't power everything at once or for extended periods. Here's a list of appliances you can run on a 200-watt solar panel:

  • Coffeemaker
  • 12-volt Refrigerator
  • Blender
  • RV’s LED lighting
  • Smaller Kitchen Appliances
  • Fans
  • Laptops and Mobile Phones
  • Water Pump 
  • LED TV
  • Heating System

You must track the power output when using multiple appliances together to avoid burnout. If the power consumption exceeds the output, the appliance, especially electronics, may lead to burnout. You can install different monitoring systems to track the power output and consumption. Many modern RVs come equipped with such systems. 

What Do You Need in a Complete RV Solar Panel Kit?

bluetti pv200

RV owners prefer portable solar kits that are easy to store and maintain. A complete RV kit comprises four core elements: solar panels, battery packs, charge controller, and inverter/power station. Here's how you can select each element of the solar kit for your RV:

  • Solar Panel

You can either go for portable solar panels or fixed panels, usually installed on the RV's roof. Portable solar panels are preferred because they're foldable, easily cleaned, and double-sided to provide a high conversion rate. 

  • Battery Packs

Battery packs are chosen based on your power consumption and backup needs. Usually, deep-cycle and expandable batteries are selected for solar kits. Two common battery types are used in solar kits: lead-acid and lithium-ion batteries. The lithium-ion batteries are efficient but expensive. 

  • Charge Controllers 

Charge controllers are crucial to maintaining battery health and optimal performance; they prevent overcharging and discharging. The charge controllers are rated in ampere-hours and come equipped with a power tracking system. You can select a charge controller according to your total battery pack capacity.

  • Inverter and Power Station

An inverter is necessary to power AC appliances or AC wiring systems. It is unneeded if your RV runs on DC power and you don't have AC appliances. The power station has a built-in inverter and battery pack; it's additionally bought to power AC appliances or used as backup when out of power. 

Solar Generator and Solar Battery to Power Your Adventure

RV enthusiasts love to test their limits; solar generators and solar batteries empower them to go beyond their limits. Going deeper into the wild or up the mountains is more fun with complete energy independence. You can also fuel your adventure spirit and power your RV with eco-friendly solar energy. 

bluetti ac180

BLUETTI has designed efficient solar power solutions for RVs. You can now go on adventures without missing home comfort. BLUETTI AC180 Portable Power Station is an irresistible device for RV enthusiasts who don't compromise comfort. It has an 1152 Wh capacity to power all your AC/DC kitchen appliances and electronics. You'll not miss hot brewed coffee even at the remotest location in Australia.

It is lightweight and easy to carry; you can take it along whether hiking or fishing down the lake. It keeps your devices recharged and your appliances running and keeps you in control through a smart mobile app. Plus, it supports fast recharging; you can use solar energy or a home supply to get it ready for your next adventure. 

bluetti eb3a

Taking a step ahead, BLUETTI EB3A Portable Power Station is the most compact power station available. It can even fit in the kitchen drawer. The device is designed to power regular-use AC/DC appliances and electronics with 268Wh capacity. You can charge it from almost every power source; it has a 6-way recharge facility. The device can be controlled using a smart mobile app. It also supports fast recharging, going 0-80% within 30 minutes. 

bluetti ac200max

If you own a small or a medium-sized RV, BLUETTI has a game-changer product. The BLUETTI AC200MAX + 1*B230 is the ultimate power solution for RVs with a 2048 Wh power capacity and dual fast recharging facility. You can charge it with up to 900-watt solar input or grid AC supply. The device's capacity is also expandable up to 4,096Wh, in case your power needs grow. It's highly compact and space-saving, best suited for small to medium-sized RVs. 

The battery is made using advanced LiFePO₄ technology known for its efficiency and durability. A mobile application or touch-screen color display can control and monitor the device. Plus, it has diverse AC/DC outlets to connect all your devices and appliances simultaneously. 

Setup the Perfect Solar Setup for Your RV

So, it’s time to upgrade your RV and reimagine your RV living with ultimate comfort and energy independence. Here are the three steps to follow to design the perfect solar setup for your RV:

  • Calculate Power Consumption 

Accurately calculate your total power consumption in watt-hours. See your power usage behaviors, how long you use each appliance or lighting, etc. Multiply the time in hours with the rated power of the devices, and add them all to see your total power consumption. 

  • Buy a Solar Kit 

After calculating your power consumption, you can easily buy a solar kit. Select each element per your power needs, and consider battery recharging when purchasing solar panels. It is recommended to select BLUETTI products due to their advanced technology, reliability, and next-level portability. 

  • Install or Make Space 

Last but not least is creating space for the new solar kit in your RV. If you've chosen BLUETTI, you won't have much of a problem because their products are already highly portable. That's all needed to set up the perfect solar kit.  

Final Thoughts

The first step towards adopting solar energy for RVs is understanding your power needs. Depending on your power consumption, you can use a 200-watt solar panel or a 1200-watt system. Solar energy is a convenient, reliable, and efficient power source. For RVs, it is proving to be the best alternative to conventional power generators.