How to Install Solar Panels on a Travel Trailer

by Monty Dayton

Installing solar panels on a travel trailer is a great first step towards energy efficiency, even on the road. While large recreational vehicles may be more popular than ever, many people still choose to tow a travel trailer behind their vehicle to enjoy the same amenities. Both can have solar panels installed, and the process of installing solar panels on a travel trailer is nearly the same as installing them on an RV.

Purchase a solar panel installation pack designed for RVs or travel trailers. While it can be tempting to try to jury-rig something together, the solar panels and battery system will be different for a house than for a vehicle or trailer.

Disconnect any battery, generator, or other power source. It's critical to make sure there is no battery or power running. You don't want to get a shock while installing solar panels and safety always comes first.

Cover the solar panels with cardboard to make sure they're not gathering electricity as you install them.

Find the best mounting locations on top of your travel trailer. Look for a set-up where the solar panels will be mounted close to a natural opening for wiring. The wires from the solar panels must make it into the trailer for the regulator and display panel. Many people take advantage of refrigerator or other vents to naturally run the wires into the trailer.

Set up the roof mountings, making sure to seal around the screws which must be fastened through the roof. Follow the instructions to connect the panels themselves to the mountings.

Pick a location inside the trailer for the regulator and display monitor. You may need to cut an opening to allow the wires in. Many people choose to use the area above the built-in fridge, as in most travel trailers this area is unused, but easy to spot.

Set up the regulator and battery according to the individual instructions. These will vary from one solar kit to another, so be sure to follow any instructions carefully.

Remove the cardboard from the solar panels and turn on the regulator. Check to make sure the solar panels are collecting energy and keeping the battery charged.

Items you will need

About the Author

Monty Dayton is a professional freelance writer who has worked for the ACLU, Touchstone Publishing LLC, the University of Alaska, Fairbanks and many other employers. He holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Alaska and loves writing about travel, the outdoors and health topics.

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