October 24, 2020

Class C RV With 340 Watts Of Solar (DIY Spotlight)

Class C RV With 340 Watts Solar (DIY)

Meet Doug from Minnesota. He installed 340 watts of RV solar panels on his Class C motorhome plus a solar charge controller that leaves plenty of room for expansion.

Doug was kind enough to answer a few questions about his project and share some photos of his install. Here’s what he had to say.

What Kind of RV Do You Have?

I have a 2011 Sunseeker Class C Motorhome.

How Do You Travel In Your RV?

My wife and I like to take short local trips as well as long distances. We are not full-timers by any means. We’ve got to have our Minnesota base camp.

We’ve visited New York/New Jersey, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, South Dakota, Tacoma, Washington and Yellowstone. 

What Solar Panels Did You Choose and Why?

I decided to go with flexible SunPower panels because of some good reviews I’ve heard about them. The panels are light and use high quality cells with good specifications. 

Sunpower Semi Flexible RV Solar Panels
2 x 170 Watt Sunpower Semi-Flexible Solar Panels

When I saw Brian’s install using a non-penetrating method I knew I could do that. Brian’s discount code was icing on the cake.

What Did You Learn Installing Solar On Your RV Yourself?

There was no solar prep in the construction of my Sunseeker motorhome. I hope manufacturers will include some kind of prep in all new campers for customer modifications such as this.

What Was The Most Difficult Part Of The Project?

Feeding the solar cables through the antenna hole on the RV. I was lucky that the antenna hole already in the roof was large enough to snake through two 8 gauge wires along with the two RG-6 TV cables. 

Semi Flexible RV Solar Panels

It took a bit of poking and prodding just to get the red wire through but I needed to use some aluminum ground wire and tape the black wire to it to get it through the hole. Self leveling Dicor finished the job.

How Did You Run Cables Through Your RV?

Having existing holes to run cables made this part easy. I didn’t need to cut more holes through the roof and floor. 

The charge controller was installed inside a cabinet above the dinette and the wire dropped to the dinette seat framework. 

Victron RV Solar Charge Controller - DIY Installation
Victron Smart Solar Solar Charge Controller Connections

The wire drop was hidden with a wire track stuck to the wall.

I found there was an existing hole in the floor beneath the dinette seat. I was able to get the wires through that hole even though the RTV sealant was really tough. 

RV Solar Panel and Charge Controller Wiring
Cables running from Solar Charge Controller To Batteries

I used my utility knife to make a way through, then pulled the wires through with the aluminum ground wire again. The old sealant snugged up around them. I didn’t need to use any new sealant. 

RV Solar Panel connection to battery
Incoming Solar Charging Connection to Batteries

The wires exited through the floor. I ran them along the chassis along with other coach wires to the battery box located in my motorhome step. I also wrapped them in plastic wire loom for added insurance against shorting.

Parts List Inspired by Doug’s RV Solar Project

Here are the primary solar charging components of Doug’s RV solar system.

  • 2 x 170 Watt Sunpower Semi-Flexible Solar Panels
  • Victron 100/50 Smart Solar Solar Charge Controller
  • 8 AWG Solar Extension Cable
  • 2 x In-line Circuit Breakers

What Are Your Upcoming Travel Plans?

We would like to go to 1880s Town, the Wooly Mammoth in South Dakota, and possibly a visit with relatives in North Dakota. Also a trip to the Gulf Coast would be nice.

What Advice Do You Have For Others Considering Installing Solar on Their RV?

If you’re skittish about drilling holes in your roof for heavy glass solar panels give SunPower flexible panels a try. Install them using Brian’s video and you’ll be producing your own power in no time.

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