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Knowledge Base : Frequently Asked Questions : Large/RV/Marine Batteries FAQ : Can I Use a Solar Battery Charger to Keep My RV Battery Charged?

Can I Use a Solar Battery Charger to Keep My RV Battery Charged?

Solar Panel

Many people have asked us: Can I use a solar battery charger to keep my RV battery charged? The short answer is yes, a solar panel can be used to charge a RV battery. You first must calculate how much power you used, so you know how much you need to replace. Your heater will be rated in watts or amps. Multiply that number by the estimated number of hours the heater ran, and you will have your baseline number. Once you have that you can calculate what size panel you need. You can use our solar calculator once you have that info.

Before you do, keep in mind that solar only charges when the sun is shining on the panel, which is roughly 6-7 hours per day average. To charge a discharged RV sized battery with a solar panel charger in 6 hours would take a couple 100 watt+ panels

Choose Your RV Battery Solar Charger


Related question: 

How Do I Keep My RV Battery Charged When in Storage?

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6 people commented, Tech, Tim Kirchgessner, Mike, Lorne Evans, and 2 others
This article is rated 5.0 out of 5
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  • Tim Kirchgessner
    I live in a rv full time. I converted to 2 12volt batteries last year. I only run my generator once or twice a day for maybe 30 min each time. Only to use the coffee maker or microwave if needed. The rest runs off propane. Could I get away withe just a 100 or 200 watt portable solar

    Reply  •  Rated article 5  •  August 19, 2022 at 10:36 am
    • BatteryStuff Tech
      Tim - It depends on individual circumstances and would be hard for us to predict if you could get away with a portable solar charging system. What I can tell you is that our 135-watt foldable solar panel output 30 to 46 amps a day depending on sunlight and the season. Knowing if that is sufficient for your circumstances will depend on how much you draw from the battery pack. Our experience is that solar most of the time, can only be used as a supplement. In the end, we find a battery pack will need a generator or shore power at some point to charge the battery pack fully.

      Reply  •  Rated article 5  •  August 23, 2022 at 12:23 pm
  • Mike
    Hi there.I have just bought a 4.5w solar panel to trickle charge my engine battery 12volt.I put the solar panel connected to a volt meter and it read 21.7 volts .If I connect the solar panel to my battery will this do any damage to the battery.Kind regards Mike waiting for your urgent reply

    Reply  •  Rated article 5  •  May 7, 2016 at 1:49 am
    • BatteryStuff Tech
      While it is always recommend that you use a solar charge controller when using a solar panel there are times when you can get by without one. If this is a 12 volt panel, and it is going on a 12 volt automotive battery then you should be fine without a solar charge controller. A 4.5 watt panel is only going to put out about 300 mA an hour max, so not enough to hurt a larger battery in most cases.

      Reply  •  May 9, 2016 at 10:24 am
  • Lorne Evans
    Can I use a 1 amp 15 watt solar panel to act as a continuous trickle charger for the deep cycle batteries on my motor home while it stored over the winter ? In Calgary we would only get 5 or 6 hour of direct sunlight during the winter months. Thanks, Lorne

    Reply  •  November 23, 2014 at 4:04 pm
    • BatteryStuff Tech
      If you’re in a zero draw situation when they are in storage and you are overcoming there natural discharge rate then you could get away with it. General discharge rate of an AGM sealed battery is about 3% a month. It is exponential so you definitely want to be sure they are fully charged from the start, or it might not work.

      Reply  •  Rated article 5  •  December 29, 2014 at 12:25 pm

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