How Much Solar Power Do I Need For My RV?

To comfortably run your RV, you will need an average of 400-700 watts of solar energy. With this power, you can easily power your essential devices. You could even have your AC running for a few hours.

Are you looking to live full-time in your RV? Determining the right amount of power you need may be one of your biggest challenges. Investing in a solar power system is relatively costly, so making a mistake is off the grid. So how much power do you need? Read on to discover this and much more!

Guide to Sizing Your RV Solar System

A lot of solar power systems are available in the market today. They come in different size variations, and you can choose the best suits you. Before we discuss how to size your solar power, it is worth noting that your battery capacity must always match the power produced. If your panels produce more power than your batteries can store, your investment will not be worth it.

Know How Much Power Your Devices Consume

One of the best ways to determine how much power you need is to draft an estimate based on the appliances and devices installed in your RV. All electrical devices usually have a label showing how much power they consume in watts.

Identify the number of watts on each device, and then multiply the figure by the approximate number of hours the device may run on a typical day. This gives you the daily watt-hour power usage for the device. Repeat the process for all your devices. The total will show an estimate of how much power you use. Use this data to inform your choice of how much power you need. The table below gives an example of how this calculation may look like;

Device/ Appliance Watts (W) Hours Per Day (h) Total (Watts/Hour)
TV 200 2 400
Laptop (2) 300 5 1,500
Bulbs (5) 90 6 540
Fridge 50 24 1,200
Blender 600 0.2 180
Water Heater 1500 0.5 750
Total Consumption 4,570

Go Camping and See How Much Power You Consume

Go Camping and See How Much Power You Consume / Motor1

If you do not like to spend time doing a lot of calculations, this method is for you. Just go camping in your RV, and see how much power you use. This method is more practical and shows better accuracy.

Before you go out on your camping venture, ensure your batteries are fully charged. Use your RV, devices, and appliances as you usually would to get the best results. To track your power consumption, you will need a battery monitor.

Your battery monitor will show how much battery charge you have remaining and your power consumption in amps per hour. To convert these to watts per hour, multiply the figure by your battery voltage.


If you choose to live in your RV, one of the hardest challenges you could face is power shortage. With the simple methods listed above, you can easily determine your RV’s power consumption. Use this information to make informed choices, and enjoy a self-sufficient power system in your RV.


Can my AC run on Solar Power in my RV?

Yes, it can. Although the AC requires a lot of power to run, you may have it on for a few hours. However, if you need to use the AC for extensive hours, you may need to boost the power with a generator.

What other factors do I need to consider before installing my RV solar panels?

Other factors you may need to consider are the space available on your RV’s roof, the capacity of the batteries you use, and the weight of the solar panels in relation to your RV.

  • Nichole Hutt

    Hi, I'm Nichole! 👋
    I always felt close to nature during my childhood. Preferring to spend my time alone playing with backyard animals at my family farm. 🐷
    In 1997, I attained my electrical engineering degree at the Oregon Institute Of Technology, graduating top of my class. Several years later, I qualified for my M.S. in Renewable Energy Engineering, also at OIT. 🎓

    Combining my love for nature and passion for engineering, I have worked for solar panel manufacturer's in my state, most notably as a PV solar engineer for Zamp Solar.

    I founded RenewableSystems to share my knowledge and expertise in the renewable energy field and help save this beautiful little planet of ours. ☀️🌎

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