If you’re looking to DIY install your RV solar system, you’ll need to know how to mount solar panels to your RV roof.
The mounting hardware you’ll use for installing solar panels on your RV too depends on what type of panels you have (tempered glass or flexible), what type of roof you have (typically a rubber/TPO roof or fiberglass), and whether or not you need your panels to tilt.
Mounting Solar Panels to a Rubber RV Roof
The most common RV roof type is rubber, made out of a material known as EPDM or TPO.
The sheet of rubber lays over a layer of wood, so the best way to mount solar panels to this type of roof is to screw them in with stainless steel lag bolts or something like #14 stainless steel screws. Remember to choose the appropriate length of screw for your roof application!
#14 x 1" Pan Head Sheet Metal Screw, 304 Stainless Steel 18-8, Phillips Drive Self Tapping Screw, Round Head Wood Screw, Bright Finish, Full Thread, Pack of 50
You’ll need mounting brackets to attach to the glass solar panels, and then you will screw them directly into your roof, being careful to place them in a way that avoids shadows and doesn’t interfere with the use of your other roof accessories. Once they are screwed in, you’ll want to cover each hole with Dicor or another RV-safe self leveling lap-sealant. The most cost effective way to buy Dicor is by the case.
The simplest solar panel mounting hardware is known as a “Z” bracket. This is the most common type of mounting bracket that comes in RV solar kits.
Renogy Solar Panel Mounting Z Brackets Lightweight Aluminum Corrosion-Free Construction for RVs, Trailers, Boats, Yachts, Wall and Other Off Gird Roof Installation, one set of 4 Units
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You can also get tilting hardware, make custom brackets, or use brand-specific hardware like Renogy’s brackets.
Renogy 28in Adjustable Solar Panel Mount Brackets, with Foldable Tilt Legs on Any Flat Surface for RV, Roof, Boat, Any Off-Grid Systems
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One thing you want to avoid when mounting solar panels to a rubber roof is you do not want to use VHB tape as recommended by some RVers. This is because the top of your roof is simply a sheet that can peel off if the glue becomes detached enough. It would be like taping a picture frame to wrapping paper that has been stuck to your wall. If the wrapping paper can fly off, the photo will, too.
To install flexible solar panels on a rubber roof:
Simply use the adhesive recommended by the solar panel manufacturer to glue the panel to the roof. You don’t need holes for flexible solar panels! These Renogy flexible panels are a great option.
Renogy Flexible Solar Panel 100 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Semi-Flexible Bendable Mono Off-Grid Charger for Marine RV Cabin Van Car Uneven Surfaces
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Check out our article on Flexible RV Solar Panels here!
Fiberglass Roof Solar Panel Installation
If your RV roof is made of fiberglass, you luckily do not need to drill holes into your roof to mount your solar panels.
Simply apply VHB – Very High Bond – tape, which will be almost impossible to remove when applied correctly.
You’ll still want to install the appropriate mounting bracket to your solar panel. Then you will map out where the bracket feet will land, clean the roof and foot with alcohol, wait for it to try, and then install the VHB tape per the instructions.
Once everything is set, your panels will be unmovable – and the great news is you’ll have no additional holes in your roof to monitor for leaks.
This method works whether you have tilting or non tilting mounting hardware.
If you’re installing flexible solar panels, the same process applies in the section above – simply glue them to the RV roof using the adhesive recommended by the panel manufacturer.