Three Keys to Buying a Solar Charger for Your RV or Boat
Whether you need to trickle-charge a battery, or provide power to your entire rig, a portable solar panel can help.
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You’re a boondocker, or a gunkholer, and you’ve got the t-shirt to prove it. You love getting away from campgrounds and marinas and hookups and pump out stations—anything that adds to your independence is right in your wheelhouse. So, a solar charging system fits perfectly with your gadabout persona. Whether it’s a small, portable system to keep your batteries charged or a large-scale set of panels to carry your full electric load, let a device’s convenience, power output, and cost factors guide your choice.
This portable system features two 100w panels, fits into a suitcase, weighs 27 pounds, and is designed to be connected to your battery. Renogy
Small systems designed for portability are great when the boat or RV moves from place to place, and the charging system needs frequent takedowns and set-ups. The ability to permanently mount larger systems with minimal maintenance can also be a factor when choosing the system that’s best for you.
This 63w portable panel weighs only three pounds and is designed to keep your vehicle battery at full power. BigBlue
Look for a solar charger rated for the wattage you need. Small wattage chargers are great for trickle charging. However, to completely power an RV may require 500 or more watts, which requires large solar panels taking a substantial amount of space, extra batteries for storage, a charge controller, and an inverter. Large solar charging systems are often permanently mounted to a base.
This product features a portable 200w foldable panel with a controller, weighs only nine pounds and is available for under $250. DOKIO
In general, the more power you need to generate with your solar charging system, the more it will cost. More portable solar chargers in the 10- to 30-watt range are available ranging from $100 to $500, while large wattage solar chargers integrated into the vehicle’s electrical system can reach into a couple grand.