Some new RVs are sold as “solar ready” or “solar prepped.” You may be wondering, what does solar ready mean on an RV?
RV manufacturers are starting to become aware that more and more RV shoppers are wanting to camp offgrid and install solar.
Lucky for you, this means they’re beginning to install solar ports on their new RVs.
Unlucky for you, it doesn’t mean much because it’s usually not done the best way for a real solar installation. Let’s dive into it!
What does solar prepped really mean?
RVs selling as “solar ready” these days typically just mean that there’s a pre-installed plug that fits with a certain brand of solar panels (cough – typically Zamp), which will charge your batteries if you plug your solar panels to it.
BUT these plugs are often only compatible with certain brands, like Zamp which has reverse polarity plugs, and many roof-mounted serious solar setups end up bypassing them altogether to make sure all of the equipment that is used works well together, and for a more convenient mounting location.
So you may still have to modify your “solar ready” RV if you want to use panels of your own choosing, as they’re not really solar prepped across the board. It’s really just a fancy word for an installed plug!
Thankfully, modifying that plug usually just means switching the polarity, which with a little bit of wiring finesse, can be done quite easily. Then, you can install whichever portable solar panels you want easily into the RV’s exterior solar plug, without any further modifications.
Solar Ready RV Brands
Each year it seems like more and more manufacturers are making solar-prepped RVs. Here are some that we’re aware of as of the time of this writing:
- Forest River
- Pleasure Way
In conclusion, while it may be convenient for a part time camper to have a solar plug that matches the type of panels they already want to use, “solar prepped” can also mean you use the panels you desire.. if you’re willing to modify your plug. You will have to deal with less wiring overall, but this feature is typically intended for portable solar panels.
What do you think? Do you have a solar ready RV? Do you like it?