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Solar power gives you the freedom and independence you’ve been looking for as a boat or RV owner. It allows you to go anywhere at any time, without being tied down. And at the end of the day, isn’t that what any recreational vehicle owner wants?

A quality boat or RV solar set-up converts sunlight into power or electricity. This can charge your “house” batteries as well as provide electrical power to your vehicle or boat.

When creating the perfect boat or RV solar set-up, there are a few things you’ll need (or want) in order to have a solar energy system that works for you and your family’s needs. Keep in mind that there are many variables that go into a solar set-up for RV or boat use. Make sure to research and choose the best set-up for you.

Required Materials

There are some required materials that you’ll definitely need if you want efficient and reliable solar power. The following list consists of only the main components of your system and does not include the individual items you’ll need for your boat or RV solar panel installation.

Solar Panel(s)

Firstly, you will, of course, need a solar panel. Solar panels typically come in various sizes, and if you’re looking to bulk up your system, you can purchase additional panels without having to overhaul your entire set-up.

Some of the best options include Go Power! and Samlex solar panels. Samlex’s panels are known for their sheer durability and are made to last in even the harshest conditions. Go Power! solar panels offer an innovative, dependable and cost-effective power solution for those looking to make the switch to green energy.

Solar Panel Batteries

Second, you’ll need batteries so that all the energy your solar panels collect has somewhere to go. A boat or RV’s batteries act as a temporary storage place for electricity. Appliances and electronics run on amps which are drawn from batteries. The batteries will thus need the solar panels to recharge the amp-hours that have been depleted from the appliance usage.

Charge Controller

Next, you’ll need a battery charge controller in order to regulate the flow of electricity to the batteries. A crucial component of your boat or RV solar set-up, this will protect your batteries from over-charging and extend their lifespan for years to come.

Inverter

An inverter converts low-voltage DC power collected by the solar panel into household AC power. This AC power is used for appliances and electronics like coffee makers, TVs and phone chargers. To learn more about inverters and how to find the right model for your needs, check out our guide to finding the best inverter charger.

Battery Monitor

A battery monitor is quite simply the equivalent to a fuel gauge on a gas tank. It allows you to keep track of your battery levels and how many amp hours you have remaining.

Wire Harness

A wire harness is used to carry the charge from your solar panel or panels to your batteries. So, if you want any of that power your solar panel is soaking up, you’ll need a wire harness.

Automatic Generator Start

The main function of an automatic generator start is to turn on your generator if the batteries get too low or if the interior gets too hot and air conditioning is needed. If you have a pet, this is crucial. Once the interior temperature drops, the automatic generator start will switch off the generator.

Optional Materials

In addition to the necessary components of your solar power system, there are some optional products that you can add that will make life on the road (or on the water) just a bit easier.

Rain Shield

A solar rain shield can help protect your solar panel when not in use or when inclement weather rolls in. A rain shield can help to prolong the life of your solar panel, saving you money in the long run.

Surge Protector

A surge protector is designed for both AC and DC systems and provides protection to load centers, service panels and more. A surge protector is a great safety feature to protect your system, yourself and your family.

Wind Turbine

The wind turbine is extremely efficient and useful as it generates power when your solar panels can’t. Compact and easy to install, a wind turbine makes for an unstoppable power partner when paired with a solar panel.

Shop Boat & RV Accessories for Your Boat or RV Solar Setup

At Boat & RV Accessories, we work hard to provide our customers with the best products at the lowest prices. Shop our wide selection of solar accessories today to create the ideal solar set-up for your RV or boat. Have a question or need more information about boat or RV solar panel installation? Reach out today — we’ll do everything we can to take care of you and answer any questions you may have.