Best Small Solar Panel Kits For RVs, Boats, Campers, Tiny Houses And More

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Best Starter Kit
Renogy logo
Best Kit for Curved Surface
Renogy logo
Best Portable
Go Power! logo
Best High Wattage
Grape Solar logo

Ditch the noisy, smelly and pollution creating portable generator when you travel off the grid in your RV, boat or camper. It’s not only more eco-friendly, it’s handy when camping where there’s no electrical hookup. Solar Panel Kits are the clean way to power your tiny house, shed or cabin.

Article Overview

What Are The Benefits Of Going Solar?

Many small solar power kits aren’t much more expensive than a generator. Sure, a generator may not require the same level of installation, but there are many benefits of using solar power for your tiny house, RV, boat or camper. These include:

  • Clean, renewable energy source
  • Freedom to roam and go off-the-grid
  • Extend your battery life by 50%
  • Quiet and safe alternative to generator use
  • Backup power for emergencies

By going solar, you’re helping to reduce the demand for fossil fuels and to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

Solar power also helps reduce such air pollutants as nitrous oxides, sulfur dioxide, and particulate matter emissions that contribute to chronic lung and heart health problems. So, do yourself, others and the Earth a favor by going solar.

How Does A Solar Panel Kit Work?

Solar cells in a solar panel convert the sun’s energy into DC (direct current) electricity, which then travels as a current to the 12V deep cycle battery via a conducting wire. The battery stores this current as amperage, which combines with the battery’s voltage to produce power.

Solar power kits are an excellent way to keep your RV’s in-house 12V battery charged and to run certain appliances you’ll need (lighting, water pump, etc.). And if you want to run AC-powered devices (ones that plug into a wall outlet) like a TV, small microwave or hair dryer, you can purchase a power inverter. The inverter converts your battery’s DC power into AC household power.

Many small solar panel kits come with (almost) everything you’ll need to power up, but most don’t include the necessary 12-volt deep cycle solar battery. Prices for these batteries range anywhere from $50 to $250+. Some kits come with inverters, which can significantly jack up the kit price. But you could find a kit with an inverter that’s a better deal than purchasing an inverter separately (inverters average about $65).

Learn More About Solar Panels

Monocrystalline vs Polycrystalline Panels

As you’re looking into solar panel kits, you’ll likely notice that you often have a choice between monocrystalline or polycrystalline panels with some products. What’s the difference? Monocrystalline panels are smaller and more energy efficient. Polycrystalline panels use more resources to produce, are larger and not as energy efficient.

The catch? Monocrystalline panels are typically more expensive, but better manufacturers are closing the gap on the pricing difference. In most cases, we recommend going with monocrystalline panels if your budget allows.

Best Small Solar Panel Kits

We’ve broken down our reviews into several “best-of” categories to help you make your decision based on your specific needs. Click on a link to jump to a category you’re interested in.

Small Solar Starter Kit | Small Solar Kit for Curved Surfaces | Portable Small Solar Kit | High Wattage Small Solar Kit

Best Solar Starter Kit: Renogy Starter Kit Review

Renogy Starter KitView on Amazon

The Renogy 100W Solar Starter Kit is perfect for people wanting to start the solar lifestyle. The Starter Kit is ideal for any off-grid need, such as tiny homes, RVs, trailers, boats, sheds, and small cabins and comes with everything you’ll need to get started.

If you want to add more juice, the included 30A PWM negative ground charge controller allows for expansion up to 400 watts. The panel consists of high-efficiency monocrystalline solar cells, a non-corrosive aluminum frame and pre-drilled holes to make installation easy.

Pros

Cons

  • Very competitive price
  • Can fully charge a 50Ah battery from 50% in as little as 3 hours
  • Included charge controller can expand up to 400W
  • IP65 waterproof rated junction box
  • 25-year power output and 5-year panel warranty
  • High customer ratings for performance and easy installation
  • Must purchase battery separately
  • Some customer complaints about missing screws in the kit

Pricing

  • Price: $183.48 for one 100W solar panel kit
  • Price: $318.48 for two 100W solar panel kit
  • Kit includes one 100W 12V Mono Solar Panel, one 30A PWM Wanderer Charge Controller, one 20Ft 10AWG MC4 Adaptor Kit, one 8Ft 10AWG Tray Cable, and one set of Z-brackets.

Runner Up: Solar Starter Kit: Komaes Solar Starter Kit Review

Komaes 200W Starter KitView on Amazon

The Komaes 200 Watt Monocrystalline Solar Panel Starter Kit is another great starter kit option at an excellent price point. This kit comes with two 100W solar panels that feature high-efficiency solar cells, advanced cell encapsulation, and anodized aluminum frames.

The panels come with pre-drilled holes, cables and wiring to make installation easier. And the included 20A PWM charge controller supports up to a 400W system expansion if you decide you want more juice on future outings.

Pros

Cons

  • Excellent value
  • Can fully charge a 50Ah battery from 50% in as little as 1.5 hours
  • Comes with cables, wiring, and mounting brackets
  • Up to 25-year service life
  • Customers report great performance
  • Must purchase battery separately
  • No warranty information available

Pricing

  • Price: Out of stock
  • Kit includes 2 100W Solar Panels, a 20A PWM Charge Controller, one pair of 20Ft 5AWG Tray Cables, one pair of 20Ft 5AWG Adaptor Kit MC4 Solar Cables, and 2 sets of Z Brackets

Best Solar Kit For Curved Surfaces: Renogy Extremely Flexible Monocrystalline Solar Panel

Renogy Flexible Solar PanelView on Amazon

Don’t have a large enough flat surface to mount a solar panel? That’s not a problem with the Renogy 100 Watt 12 Volt Extremely Flexible Monocrystalline Solar Panel. This ultra lightweight solar panel weighs 70% less than conventional solar panels and it fits on curved and other irregular surfaces, making it a perfect choice for a boat, tent, RV or camper where added weight could present a problem.

This solar panel is also available in 50 and 160 watt versions, if you need more or less power. All panels are 95% thinner than traditional panels and are made from a highly durable material that has been rigorously tested to withstand extreme wind and weather. It has silicon adhesive on the backside for mounting.

Pros

Cons

  • Thin, durable, waterproof flexible panel
  • Comes in three wattage options
  • Extremely lightweight and portable
  • Adhesive might not be as strong as securing with other mounting options (and might require professional help for installation)
  • Cable and assembly parts are sold separately

Pricing

Best Portable Solar Kit: Go Power! Portable Folding Solar Kit Review

Go Power! Portable Folding Solar KitView on Amazon

The Go Power! Portable Folding Solar Kit is an excellent option if you don’t want to mount panels to your RV or camper. This 120 Watt monocrystalline kit has two small solar panels with adjustable legs that all fold up together for easy mobility and a built-in controller attached to the back.

Set up only takes a couple of minutes, and you get everything you need to fully charge your batteries, including the cables and connectors. You’ll pay more for Go Power! products, but they have a great reputation for quality panels and kits — and you get a 25-year warranty.

Pros

Cons

  • High-quality panels with anodized aluminum frame
  • Fast and simple setup
  • 25-year panel warranty and 3 years for controller
  • Comes with carrying case, all cables and plugs
  • Customers report excellent performance and quality
  • On the pricey side
  • Included controller isn’t weatherproof and can only be expanded up to 160W
  • Must purchase battery separately

Pricing

  • Price: $399.00 for 120W Portable Kit
  • Price: $377.58 for 80W Portable Kit
  • Kit includes solar panel, 10A PWM Charge Controller, Battery Clamps, Quick Connectors, Ring Terminal Connectors, SAE Solar Plug Adapter, XLR-Style Solar Plug Adapter, 15′ of UV 12/2 Cable, and a Heavy-Duty Nylon Storage Case

Best High-Wattage Small Solar Panel Kit: Grape Solar 400W Panel Kit

Grape Solar 400W Panel KitView on Amazon

Do you have a large RV, tiny house or small cabin you’d like to turn solar? We recommend the Grape Solar GS-400-KIT 400-Watt Off-Grid Solar Panel Kit. Grape Solar is a well-respected solar panel manufacturer with a good reputation for high-quality products and excellent customer support.

This kit not only includes 4x-100W polycrystalline panels, a charge controller and wiring, but it also comes with a 2,000-watt pure sine Xantrex inverter with two universal AC outlets and a USB port that allows you to plug in small devices or appliances. And if 400 watts isn’t enough, you can expand this system to 500 watts with the included charge controller.

Pros

Cons

  • High-quality panels and accessories
  • Kit includes a powerful inverter with added safety features
  • Included charge controller works with both 12V and 24V battery banks and allows for an additional 100W panel
  • Each solar panel has a 2-diode junction box for enhanced performance
  • Polycrystalline panels not as energy efficient as monocrystalline
  • Larger panels than our other reviewed products
  • Must purchase mounting hardware, connectors and battery separately

Pricing

  • Price: $615.00
  • Kit includes 4 100-Watt polycrystalline solar panels, a 35Amp PWM charge controller, a 2,000-watt inverter with two outlets and 1 USB port, cables and manual.

Difference Between Batteries, Watts, Amps And Volts?

Once you dig deeper into your research about solar panel kits, all the power lingo can get confusing. But Go Power! has an excellent video that explains watts, volts and amps and what they all mean in relation to solar power. Check it out below.

Solar Beyond Mobile Living

Learn more about solar for your permanent home too in our review of solar panel options for your home. You can also install a solar attic fan to reduce your AC bill, use solar landscaping lights, try solar pool heaters, or even something as easy as a portable solar mobile charger while you’re on the go.

How do you plan on using your solar power kit?

About The Author:

Sally is a huge fan of fresh, organic food. One of her favorite hobbies is cooking with as many fresh herbs, spices and veggies as possible. And she's devoted to her all-natural skin products and cosmetics. It's saved her and her daughter from the curse of skin allergies. When she's not writing and researching (and being a Mom), you can find Sally getting down to earth in her home garden.

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Phyllis A Prokes
Will this work on kia soul
Megan S
My family’s going camping next week and am going to try one of these out. Our electric costs are always so high (especially in the Summer) so hoping this will help offset some of the costs. And hopefully since they’re on Amazon I can get in time before we hit the road.