4 Best Portable Solar Panels for Motorhomes in 2022 Reviewed

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There’s nothing quite like the unbridled adventure of having a motorhome. The open road, freedom, excitement, flexibility — what more does one need in life? 

Perhaps the only limitation is the need to stop for power, whether to fuel up or plug in at a campsite. 

But solar generators have changed all that, and now, a new generation of solar panels allows motorhome owners even more opportunities to get off the grid and on the road. 

Solar panel technology is flying right now, and there’s never been a better time to invest in solar energy. Find the best portable solar panels for motorhomes in 2022 and sustainably power your road adventures. 

4 Best Portable Solar Panels For Motorhomes 

With the popularity of solar energy on the rise, an increasing number of solar panels appear on the market each year. Solar panels come with significant variations in size and power output and a wide variety of applications. It’s essential for you to find something that meets your requirements. 

Here are our reviews of the four best portable solar panels for motorhomes. Be sure to check out the critical factors to consider before making a purchase below.

EcoFlow 110w Portable Solar Panel

Our lowest-priced portable solar panel is the 110w portable solar panel. You can use it with an XT60 charging cable to power the DELTA and River 2 Series portable power stations. 

This small, lightweight solar panel set is perfect for camping or hiking trips. You can easily chain the panels together to provide additional power.   

Specifications

  • Capacity: 110W
  • Dimensions: 
    • Unfolded: 178.5 x 42.0 x 2.5 cm
    • Folded: 42.0 x 48.0 2.5 cm
  • Weight: 4 kg
  • Protection: Waterproof, dust-proof
  • Design: Foldable
  • Accessories: Kickstand case

Pros 

  • Low price and an excellent option for those with limited energy needs
  • 10% smaller than comparable models 
  • Incredibly lightweight at just 4 kg (8.8lbs)

Cons

  • At just 110w, it won’t be able to power a larger motorhome with significant power needs.

EcoFlow 160w Portable Solar Panel

The 160-watt portable solar panel is a step up in energy generation capacity and overall performance. Its 32 premium monocrystalline silicon cells deliver a high conversion efficiency of 22%. With EcoFlow’s MPPT power station algorithm, it performs better in cold and cloudy environments when compared with other models. 

Specifications

  • Capacity: 160W
  • Dimensions: 
    • Unfolded: 157 x 68 x 2.4 cm
    • Folded: 42 x 68 x 2.4 cm
  • Weight: 5.6 kg
  • Protection: Waterproof and dustproof IP68 rating
  • Design: Foldable
  • Accessories: Kickstand case

Pros 

  • Small and lightweight at just 7kg (15.4lbs) and 157 cm (61.8 inches) when unfolded. 
  • An IP rating of 68 and an ETFE film ensures protection against dust, water, and ultraviolet light.  

Cons

  • While certainly a step up from the 110w model, its power generation capacity is still somewhat limited if you want to use it for a large motorhome or campervan.

EcoFlow 220w Portable Solar Panel

Unlike other solar panels on this list, the 220w portable solar panel is bifacial, which means that both the front and the back of the panel can soak up the sun’s rays. The front is 220w, while the back is 155w. Combining the two, this solar panel can capture up to 25% more solar energy than monofacial panels.  

Specifications

  • Capacity: 220W front, 155W rear
  • Dimensions: 82 x 183 x 2.5 cm
  • Weight: 9.5 kg
  • Protection: Waterproof and dustproof IP68 rating
  • Design: Bifacial, foldable
  • Accessories: Kickstand case

Pros 

  • Bifacial design allows the panel to pick up ambient light and convert it to energy
  • Captures up to 25% more solar power than one-sided models 
  • 10% smaller than the comparable 220w solar models.
  • IP68 rating keeps out water and dust

Cons

  • If you’re planning on mounting your solar panels on your roof, the bifacial element becomes somewhat redundant. 

EcoFlow 400w Portable Solar Panel

EcoFlow’s most powerful portable solar panel by wattage is the 400W portable solar panel. With an improved conversion efficiency of 23%, it’s the perfect option for those motorhomes and campervans that require plenty of energy.   

Specifications

  • Capacity: 400W
  • Dimensions: 105.8 x 236.5 x 2.5 cm
  • Weight: 16.0 kg (35.3 lbs)
  • Protection: Waterproof and dustproof IP68 rating
  • Design: Foldable
  • Accessories: Kickstand case

Pros 

  • 400W offers the highest energy-generating capacity on the market
  • Fold out kickstand case adjustable between 40 and 80 degrees to maximise power collection 
  • IP68 rated for durable protection

Cons

  • Significantly bigger at 16 kg (35.3lbs) and measuring 239 cm (94.1 inches) across when unfolded
  • Higher priced, but this also reflects higher energy generation

What To Consider When Buying Portable Solar Panels for Motorhomes 

If you’ve already got the motorhome, you’re halfway there. Here are a few points to consider carefully before purchasing some portable solar panels for your home on wheels.   

What Kind of Wattage Do You Need?  

The most obvious place to begin is to calculate what kind of wattage you require in your motorhome. The good news is that, compared to traditional homes at least, electricity consumption in motorhomes is usually far lower. However, you’d be surprised how quickly that wattage figure begins to rise when you start adding appliances. 

The size of your camper or motorhome is probably a good baseline. There is an enormous difference between a converted camper that can just about fit two people in and a large-scale motorhome that can accommodate the entire family.  

You can expect most motorhomes or campers to use at least 2.16 kilowatts of electricity in 24 hours. Still, that number can rise and fall quite a bit, depending on what appliances or gadgets you use and for how long. 

To get a more accurate idea of how much wattage you’ll need, you can calculate each appliance’s energy consumption and how long you’ll use it. A compressor fridge, for example, uses around 40w of power per hour. Since you’d probably want to keep it on at all times, we can multiply that by 24 to reach a figure of 960 watts per day. 

Bringing back to the solar panels themselves, a single 400w panel will usually produce anywhere between 1.2 and 3 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per day. You will need to do similar maths for everything onboard your motorhome, but it should give you a relatively accurate idea of how much energy you will need overall.    

Where Do You Plan to Keep It?

The next point to consider is where you plan to keep your solar panels and whether you want to fix them on the roof of your motorhome or place them on the ground when you stop. 

Both of these options come with benefits and drawbacks. You should carefully consider your circumstances and abilities. Consider whether you want to or can unload a solar panel set at each stop or install one on your motorhome roof.

All the solar panels mentioned above are portable, folding into more compact sizes. They also come with carrying cases. You can set them up on the ground when you stop or mount them on the roof using a separate mounting system. 

You give yourself more freedom when you park by deploying them on the ground since you don’t need to angle the vehicle towards the sunlight. You can also easily pack up the panels and use them for a separate camping trip or anytime you require some energy and aren’t near your motorhome. 

Some EcoFlow solar panels are also bifacial, which means they can capture ambient light from the back of the panel. This dual-capture isn’t possible when mounted to the roof.    

But that’s not to say the decision is a foregone conclusion. Mounting a solar panel on the roof comes with several very different benefits. Decide which is more important to you before making a purchase. 

Roof-mounted solar panels are unquestionably easier to deal with since you don’t need to load and unload them constantly. Plus, when you have panels on the roof, they can continue soaking up the sun’s rays even when you’re on the move. 

Continuous light capture isn’t possible when you need to unfold the solar panels at each stop. When you have them safely attached to your motorhome’s roof, you can also leave the solar panels charging when you’re away from the vehicle. You’ll need to be careful about the hands-free installation if you simply leave them on the ground unsecured next to the motorhome. 

There’s not a single correct answer here. The best set-up for you depends on your personal preference. However, if you plan to mount the panels on the roof, it’s probably preferable to go for something with a higher wattage. That way, you can maximise energy capture. 

What Size and Weight Are Best For You?   

Size and weight are essential criteria to consider when choosing where to install your solar panels. If you’re planning on loading and unloading the panels every few days, size and weight will become a factor.  

When we’re talking about portable solar panels, they need to be just that: portable. Realistically, most people should be able to handle them without difficulty. The heaviest and most powerful solar panel on our list weighs 16 kg (35.3lbs), which is around two and half times as heavy as a typical bowling ball. 

That may not seem too much. However, if you’re moving the panels around frequently, you’ll probably start to feel it. 

The dimensions suitable for you might also depend on the size of your motorhome. Again, this is where portability and foldable design come into play. A large camper might be able to accommodate a solar panel on the roof, while a smaller motorhome might not have the space. 

To put it simply, when it comes to weight, the higher the solar panel wattage, the heavier it will be. Try and balance your solar power generation capacity needs with maximum portability, especially if you’re not mounting the panels on the roof.

What Level of Protection Do You Need?  

Before purchasing some solar panels for your motorhome, go through a quick checklist. Is it waterproof? And if so, to what rating? What kind of film does it have to keep dirt and dust out? And what conversion efficiency does it have? 

The good news is that it’s difficult to find solar panels that aren’t waterproof these days, but not all offer the same level of protection. Panels come with an Ingress Protection (IP) rating, and the higher the number, the better the waterproofing. IP68 is the highest rating, which means the panel can be submerged in water for a sustained period.   

Water isn’t the only problem, though. New solar panels come with an ETFE film that protects them against dust while making them lighter and creating excellent ultraviolet light stability. 

What’s the Efficiency Rating?

By efficiency, we mean how well a solar panel can convert sunlight into energy. It’s one point where spending more tends to bring in better results. 

Solar panels are usually either monocrystalline, polycrystalline, or thin film models. The cell type defines the inner structure of the panel and the type of cells it uses. 

Monocrystalline panels, called single-crystalline cells, come with the highest efficiency rating under laboratory conditions. Their efficiency rating usually falls somewhere between 22-27%. Polycrystalline and thin film fall significantly behind, with a typical efficiency of 15 to 22%.   

Conclusion

Portable solar panels limit your dependence on spending time on campsites with electricity hookups. It’s always tempting to spring for the most powerful option with solar panels. But before diving in, have a clear understanding of how much power you need and how you plan to set them up. If you have a large motorhome that requires plenty of energy, then your options are relatively limited compared to a small camper that doesn’t use much electricity.

There’s very rarely a single right option when it comes to solar energy for your motorhome or camper. Instead, it usually comes down to assessing your situation, calculating your energy needs, and going from there. If in doubt, we’d recommend getting something slightly above your requirements rather than below, simply because it’s better to have more power available than you need — not less.

Check out EcoFlow’s industry-leading portable, flexible solar panels today and see if they’re the right fit for your motorhome.

ECOFLOW
ECOFLOWhttps://www.ecoflow.com/
EcoFlow is a portable power and renewable energy solutions company. Since its founding in 2017, EcoFlow has provided peace-of-mind power to customers in over 85 markets through its DELTA and RIVER product lines of portable power stations and eco-friendly accessories.

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