RV Solar VS Generator

Anthony Joseph Lalonde

Last updated on October 26th, 2022 at 09:42 pm

Table of Contents

    Trying to figure out what type of method to power your RV can be quite confusing, especially if you are new to the RVing world. Do you go with a generator or invest in solar panels? If you are trying to figure out which one is best for you and your family, this article will help break down the pros and cons of each, so you can make the best decision for your needs.

    RV Solar Power

    ECO-WORTHY 200 Watts Complete Solar Panel Kit for RV Off Grid Starter Kit with Battery and Inverter: 2pcs 100W 12V Solar Panel + 30A Charge Controller + 2pcs 20Ah Lithium Battery + 600W Solar Inverter

    Solar power uses the power of the sun to generate electricity. Solar panels, also known as photovoltaic cells, convert sunlight into direct current (DC) electricity. This DC electricity can then be used to power RV appliances and lights or it can be stored in batteries for later use.

    Advantages of RV Solar Power

    • Solar power is a renewable resource, so it’s environmentally friendly.
    • No noise during usage, unlike generators.
    • You can use as much or as little power as you want without worrying about running out of fuel with enough sunlight.
    • Panels are relatively easy to install and maintain.
    • Solar power can help you save money on your gasoline bill.
    • Solar power can provide backup power in case of a power outage when.
    • It can be used to charge batteries, so you can have power when you’re not hooked up to the grid.

    Disadvantages of RV Solar Power

    • They can be expensive and it will take many camping excursions for them to pay for themselves.
    • Panels take up space on your RV’s roof.
    • They require maintenance, such as cleaning and keeping them free of debris.
    • Solar power is not always reliable, as it depends on the weather.
    • A professional will need to be in charge of the RV solar power installation.

    Also Read: Best 100 Watt Solar Panel in 2022 (Reviews and Comparison)

    RV Generator Power

    Champion Power Equipment 200986 4500-Watt Portable Inverter Generator, RV Ready

    A generator is a machine that converts mechanical energy into electrical energy. Generators are usually powered by gasoline, diesel, or propane. RV generators are used to power RV appliances and lights when the RV is not hooked up to an outside power source like a campground electrical outlet.

    Advantages of RV Generator Power 

    • Generators can be used at any time of day or night. They can be operated 24 hours a day, seven days a week. However, generators are generally not allowed at night in campgrounds.
    • Fuel is readily available and can be stored for use. 
    • You can often install an RV generator yourself.
    • A camper or motorhome’s resale value may be increased by certain generators.
    • Diesel generators will run for a longer period of time and are more fuel-efficient than gasoline generators.
    • Generators can be used to charge batteries, so you can have power when you’re not hooked up to the grid.

    Disadvantages of RV Generator Power 

    • Gasoline is required for all RV generators. Diesel may be difficult to obtain in rural areas.
    • It’s not good for the environment to use gasoline as a source of power.
    • They make a lot of noise, which can irritate neighboring campers.
    • RV generator owners face the risk of theft.
    • To lift these generators, you might need assistance as they are usually very heavy.
    • RV generators must be properly vented to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
    • You will need to perform maintenance on your generators, such as changing the oil and filters. This can be messy and time-consuming.

    RV Solar vs Generator: An In-Depth Comparison

    ACOPOWER 200 watt Solar Panel,High Efficiency Black PV Module Power 200W Mono RV Solar Panel for 12 Volt System,RV Marine Boat Cabin and Other Off Grid System (1 Pack)

    BILT HARD 4500 Watt Quiet Inverter Generator, Fuel Shut Off, Gas Powered RV Ready Outdoor Portable Generator 4500W, Recoil Start, EPA & CARB


    Solar power is more expensive upfront, while generators are less expensive. However, over time solar power will save you money since you’ll need to purchase less fuel.


    Solar power is not as reliable as generators since it depends on the weather. However, you can get more power out of a solar panel than a generator given enough time.


    Generators are easier to install than solar panels. Solar panels require a professional for installation, while generators can often be installed by the RV owner.


    Solar power is more reliable than generators in the long run, but generators are more reliable in the short term. Solar panels will eventually pay for themselves, while generators might need to be replaced every few years depending on usage.


    Solar panels will last longer than generators, but both will eventually need to be replaced. Solar panels have an expected lifespan of 20 years, while generators have an expected lifespan of 10 years.


    Solar panels require less maintenance than generators. Solar panels must be cleaned occasionally and kept free of debris, while generators must have their oil changed and filters replaced regularly.


    RV solar power is more expensive up front, but it will save you money in the long run. Solar panels are more reliable than generators and require less maintenance. However, generators are easier to install and can be used at any time of day or night. It’s important to weigh the pros and cons of each option before deciding which is right for you.

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