How to Connect RV Solar Panels

How to Connect RV Solar Panels
Solar panels installed on an RV provide an effective alternative to generators for powering most appliances, except for air conditioners. The system consists of solar panels to generate electricity from sunlight, batteries to store the charge, and an inverter to convert the 12-volt DC of the battery into 120-volt AC for the appliances. How many solar panels you use depends on how much power your appliances need (how many amps for how many hours). Panels are often installed flat on the roof as near to the batteries as possible without obstructing other rooftop structures such as vents. The final challenge is to wire the solar system together and into the RV's electrical system.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • 10-gauge insulated copper wire
  • Wire cutters
  • Battery
Step 1
Cut the minimum length of wire needed to connect each solar panel to the batteries where the charge is stored.
Step 2
Connect the positive terminal of each solar panel to a circuit breaker, which in turn is wired to the positive terminal of the battery or batteries. The solar panels are wired in a parallel circuit. Note that many RV solar systems employ a charge controller in place of a circuit breaker or fuse.
Step 3
Connect the negative terminal of each solar panel to the negative terminal of the battery or batteries. No circuit breaker or fuse is required between the negative terminal of the solar panels and the negative terminal of the batteries.

Article Written By David Chandler

David Chandler has been a freelance writer since 2006 whose work has appeared in various print and online publications. A former reconnaissance Marine, he is an active hiker, diver, kayaker, sailor and angler. He has traveled extensively and holds a bachelor's degree from the University of South Florida where he was educated in international studies and microbiology.

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