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How to install a solar panel on a motorhome

Updated April 17, 2017

Every year it is becoming more popular to install a solar charging systems on a motorhome or caravan. A Motor Home Photovoltaic solar system can not only put an end to battery worries it allows you to "dry camp" without giving up the luxury of electricity. Solar systems are easy to install and should not take you longer then a weekend. Once you install a solar panel on a motor home you will find that it is a great way to power all your electrical appliances.

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  1. Determine what are your basic weekly electrical needs. This step is critical as you want to make sure that you dont have a system that is too large or too small. Many websites provide calculators.

  2. Prepare the photovoltaic panels for installation. Find a good area on the roof to mount the panels. Place the panel so that the widest end faces forward. This positioning will provide less wind resistance and better fuel economy. The ideal location is near the refrigerator vent because it will make routing wiring into the cabin easier.

  3. Install the four mounting screws. Use outdoor sealer compound on the mounting brackets to ensure there no water gets into the motor home.

  4. Mount the panel to the mounting kit.

  5. Push the panel's wires through the refrigerator conduit.

  6. Select a location to install the DC to AC regulator and the display panel. Typically the ideal space is above the refrigerator since your panel wires were fished through the vent. Cut out an opening and pull the two wires from the solar photovoltaic panel. Remember that there is another set of wires that will be connected to the actually battery system. Connect the solar panel to the regulator. Play close attention that your are connecting wires to the correct polarity.

  7. Run the battery connection down the refrigerator cabinet and find the shortest route to the battery. Most RVs use white and black coloured wires. The white wire is the ground (negative) and the black wire is the positive. Typically, you have to connect the solar panels red wire to the RV black terminal and the solar panels black wire to the white terminal post.

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Things You'll Need

  • Solar RV online calculator
  • Photovoltaic panels
  • Photovoltaic mounting kit with screws
  • Waterproof insulation compound
  • Cables
  • DC to AC charger inverter and display
  • Controller to battery cable

About the Author

Stefano Marrero has been writing since 1992. He has contributed to various websites, including Octane360, covering everything from Sony televisions to potholes. Marrero has also written for several urban magazines and blogs. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from California State University, Long Beach.

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