A few months after we started RVing full time, the time had come for installing RV solar panels on our our fifth wheel. Responsible for harnessing free power from the sun RV solar panels are hugely important part of self-sufficient RVing.
Today’s we share our process for installing RV solar panels on our Grand Design fifth wheel toy hauler. The panels we purchased was a part of the Renogy 300 Watt Solar Panel Kit. The kit fit our budget and included almost everything we needed for installation.
The video shows you exactly how we installed our solar panels. Including how we wired the panels to our battery bank. And how we installed our solar charge controller (including a Grand Design Solar Wiring Diagram).
We hope you find this video is helpful if you’re interested in having RV solar or want to see how we install RV solar panels on our fifth wheel.
RV solar install shopping list
We wanted to include the exact items we used and needed in order to install our RV solar kit. That way if you want to do your own DIY solar set up, you have the resources in one place.
- Renogy 300 Watt Solar Kit with 40 amp MPPT Charge Controller
- Volt Meter
- Fish Tape
- Electric Drill Set
- Socket Wrench Set
- Painters Tape
- Dicor Lap Sealant (at least 2 bottles)
- Caulk Gun
- Dremel Kit
- Denatured Alcohol
- Renogy 30 Amp In-Line Fuse
- (2) Disconnect Switches
RV solar panels installation map
Before we dive into our step by step installation process, it’s important you understand how the system will work once it’s all installed. The “map” to the right is from Renogy and shows you how we link the solar panels to the batteries and charge controller.
If you have an inverter this map also shows you how to add that piece to the puzzle. Before you set anything up it’s important to consider the location of your batteries in proximity to your panels.
Make sure the electric cables will reach from your panels to the batteries. Also confirm it reaches from your charge controller location to the batteries.
- Test your Solar Panels with your Volt Meter. When the panels face the direct sun it should read within the range specified on your panels (look on the sticker on the back of the panels for range).
- Map out where you want your solar panels. Think about space on your roof and proximity to your batteries (length of your electrical chords). Make sure your layout will work before installing or drilling any holes.
- Assemble brackets to panels using a socket wrench.
- Once you’ve determine where your housing bracket will go, outline it with a pencil. Using your electric drill, make a 1″ hole in the center of where the housing bracket will go.
- Feed the chords through the housing bracket.
- Label the positive and negative chords with blue tape and a marker so you know which is which once the chords make it to the battery bank area.
- Attach the two positive and negative electrical chords to the fish tape, so you can easily maneuver the chords through the hole down toward your power bay (or battery bank).
- Determine where you will want your Solar Charge Controller, outline the size of it wherever you will be installing it using a pencil.
- Cut a hole to fit the size of the charge controller using your dremel.
- Turn the battery disconnect off to your coach.
- Once chords are in the battery bank attach to the proper positive and negative feeds of the batteries. (Make sure you did #10 before this)
- Attach the battery leads to your solar charge controller (positive to positive, negative to negative).
- Drill pilot holes in roof for mounting brackets on the solar panels.
- Add roof epoxy to mounting brackets, flip panels down where you will be installing on roof and drill screws over the epoxy and into the pilot holes.
- Add epoxy over the mounting brackets and drills. More is better here!
- Plug in the proper lead to the in-line fuse.
- Plug in the MC4 adapters to their proper connection.
There you have it. Our step by step guide to how we install RV Solar Panels to our fifth wheel Grand Design Momentum 38M. If you have any questions please post in the comments below.