Tired of running a noisy gas-powered generator to run your lights, fridge, and fan?
Then consider upgrading your power supply to a silent and efficient 400W solar panel kit like this one from Renogy.
Renogy solar kits are lightweight, durable, and energy-efficient, making them an ideal choice for your RV, motorhome, or van. While premium-priced, they remain the most proven products in the RV solar market.
The solar panels are contained in a corrosion-resistant aluminum frame that can endure harsh environmental conditions. The monocrystalline cells offer an energy efficiency of 21%.
To recharge your batteries, the kit comes with a 30A PWM charge controller that is 97% energy efficient. It is negatively grounded to prevent short-circuit and overload. Many other kits only provide 20A of current, which is not enough for some RV applications.
The junction box is weatherproof rated at IP65, ensuring outstanding protection from higher temperatures, snow, and harsh weather conditions.
The kit comes with a complete installation package, including bolts, solar panels, charge controller. Installation is quick and easy, making this solar kit an easy DIY project for anyone with common tools and a couple of hours.
Included are an adapter kit, solar cables, tray cables, and Z-shaped mounting brackets with other hardware components.
With its sleek and lightweight panels, the Renogy kit weighs around 88 pounds.
Finally, Renogy is one of the most trusted brands in the RV solar kit industry, and they back this kit with a 25-year power output warranty.
Pros and Cons
Designed specifically for RVs
The Renogy 400 watt solar kit is designed to serve off-grid applications for RVs. It ensures quiet power production while ensuring grid independence.
Designed with the latest technology, this solar kit is a safe and eco-friendly energy source for your RV. It's also weather resistant for the long haul.
400W of Power
This solar kit can generate 400 watts of power at 12 V, which provides over 2,000Wh of recharging capacity per day with strong sun, assuming a 50% battery discharge limit.
This is enough to run all of your LED lights, a few fans, WiFi, and 100V appliances in short bursts while keeping your electronics an onboard battery bank topped up.
This makes it an excellent choice for family-sized RVs and boats.
Even better - no fuel required. This kit will silently recharge the batteries so you can enjoy your outdoor adventure without any unwanted noise.
Depending on the battery type, it will take 4-5 hours to recharge a bank of 4 x 200Ah x 12V Lithium batteries from 50% discharge. Lead acid and AGM batteries will take longer due to the additional battery management required.
The kit includes four 100-watt solar panels that are sleek and lightweight. Each panel includes a monocrystalline solar cell that provide decent 21% solar energy efficiency.
The monocrystalline panels are built with extra thick anti-reflective and low-iron tempered glass. These feature high transparency and durability.
The aluminum frame is tough and corrosion-resistant, making it perfect for outdoor purposes. Each panel is 15-20% shorter and lighter than most other 100W standard panels.
The package includes a 2ft 8AWG fuse cable, 8ft 8AWG tray cable, and three pairs of branch connectors to allow easy installation. There is also an in-line fuse and ANL fuse to offer more protection to your charge controller and battery.
The Renogy solar kit uses a 30A PWM charge controller, which can charge even the latest Lithium batteries available on the market, although we prefer more modern MPPT charge controllers for this.
The Adventure Li- charge controller is negatively grounded for battery compatibility and prevents short circuits, overload, and reverse polarity.
It also doubles as a flush mount controller. It is specially designed to serve RV applications by allowing clean flush mounting. The controller ensures an aesthetically neat and integrated look on the RV walls.
With highly efficient PWM charging, the controller regulates the charge flow from solar panels to the battery bank.
The 4-stage charging process prevents the batteries from overcharging as well as over-discharging. This plays a significant role in increasing the battery's longevity to a great extent.
The solar kit uses 12V connections for the battery, charge controller, and solar panels. An adapter kit is included in the package that allows you to extend these connections.
Several hardware components are included in the package, such as solar cables, four washers, and four spring washers. Four Z-shaped solar panel brackets allow easy mounting.
The kit also has eight long cap bolts and four short bolts to make a secure installation. There is an added manual guide to help you set up the kit.
Issues & Concerns
We can’t provide you with an accurate Renogy 400 Watt Solar Kit review without going over certain concerns.
While this solar kit is a perfect choice for first-timers, no product is entirely flawless. Here are some issues reported by customers listed below.
Batteries not included
Renogy solar kit excludes crucial components in the package that you need to purchase separately. The batteries are not included, so it costs extra to buy them separately.
The average solar battery is 10kWh in size. You can use a 400-watt solar system to charge a 200Ah battery, 2 x 100Ah batteries, or 4 x 50Ah batteries.
High-maintenance charge controllers
The charge controller for this solar kit is not waterproof. This means you need to be careful while using them, and it's suggested to keep them in a well-ventilated dry space only.
There's more. These controllers can operate within a limited temperature range, i.e., from -35°C to 55°C (-31°F to 131°F). They may not perform in extreme conditions.
You will need to purchase an inverter separately, although most RVs either come with one already or owners prefer to size one themselves.
Depending on the number of appliances you need to run, you can calculate the size of the inverter to integrate with the solar kit. As a rule of thumb, the size of the inverter should be close to the actual power rating of the solar system.
To determine the size of the inverter, you need to sum up the wattage of all appliances you need to run and then pick an inverter providing at least 20% more wattage than you expect to need at peak.
How Does the Renogy 400W RV Solar Kit Differ From The Competition?
Both Renogy and ECO-WORTHY make similar 400W solar kits for RV applications.
The closest ECO-WORTHY 400W RV kit is a 24V x 60A setup, which provides significantly more power than the Renogy for about the same price.
Both solar kits feature corrosion-resistant aluminum frames for durability and are suitable for outdoor off-grid installations.
Both kits come with four slim monocrystalline solar panels with 21% energy efficiency. While the Renogy solar kit comes with a maximum voltage of 12V, the kit from ECO-WORTHY has a maximum voltage of 24 volts.
Another difference between these solar kits is the amperage of the charge controller. The Renogy solar kit includes a 30A PWM charge controller suitable for up to 1,024 Watters, while the ECO-WORTHY solar kit has a 60A charge controller that can deliver up to 2,048 of Watts of solar power with additional panels.
One major difference between Renogy and ECO-WORTHY is in their warranty. Renogy offers a 25/5 warranty on power supply, whereas ECO-WORTHY's guarantee is for just one year.
Renogy 400W RV solar kit comes with a manual to help you install it. It is essential to carefully read it to prevent personal injury or damage.
The following will give you an idea of what's involved in installing this kit - it's quite easy, as long as you take care with your measurements before you start drilling.
- Firstly, you need to install the charge controller. Ensure the solar panels and batteries are disconnected from the charge controller prior to mounting.
- Find the right mounting location for the charge controller. It should be near the battery and have unrestricted airflow. The place should be protected from direct sunlight and water and has enough room to run wires.
- Place the controller and mark four holes on the mounting surface. Then drill holes in the marked locations and align them with the mounting holes. Now, secure the charge controllers using the mounting screws.
- The next step is connecting the battery to the charge controller. Connect the negative and positive cables to the respective battery posts using a ring terminal. You can use a fuse holder to make a safe in-line fuse. Now, connect the bare stranded part of the cable to the positive battery terminal on the charge controller.
- Once the fuse is in place, make sure there are no loose connections. Now insert the fuse into the fuse holder to power on the charge controller.
- Usually, Z-brackets are used to mount the panels on RVs' roofs. Locate the mounting holes on the Renogy solar panels and attach the frame to the Z-brackets using bracket bolts included in the package.
- Firstly, to attach the panel to the roof's surface, mark the holes for the well-nut insertion. Now, carefully drill holes at the marked locations and check if the well-nuts fit correctly.
- Align the Z-brackets with the well-nut holes and secure them in place using screws. Make sure not to over-tighten the screw. You can also use a sealant with the well-nut for a watertight bond.
- Once all screws are properly tightened, it is recommended to check that all panels are secured before driving the RV. Cover the Z-brackets and head screws with the sealant for extra assurance.
Care and Maintenance
Routine maintenance is necessary to keep the Renogy solar kit in good condition for a long time.
There's really not much to do, but you do need to watch your batteries for too much discharge, keep your panels clean, and watch your charge controller from time to time.
Renogy offers a 25-year warranty on the power output, making this kit a safe purchase. There is also a five-year warranty on the material and workmanship. The accessories also hold a 1-year material warranty.
Where to Buy
We hope our Renogy 400 Watt RV Solar Kit Review for RV owners helped you sort out your short list.
If you are interested in buying this solar panel for your RV, you can get a great deal from Amazon or purchase it from Renogy's site directly.
And you can learn more about the Renogy 400 Watt Solar RV Kit by visiting the product page.