Are you worried about drilling through your roof to install solar panels?

I’ve got some great news – you don’t have to! There are now systems that let you install solar panels without drilling.

Imagine generating all the energy you need for your home from the sun and never have to worry about a monthly electric bill again.

With a system that doesn’t require drilling, it’s easier than ever to make the switch to RV solar power.

What Kinds of Solar Panels Can You Install and Mount on an RV Roof?

When it comes to mounting solar panels on an RV roof it’s fairly straightforward. It really doesn’t matter which panel you opt for.

Now, before you try to mount anything to your RV roof, I recommend you know how much solar you need to install. I’ve written an in-depth article – How Easy Is It To Put Solar Panels on Your Campervan or RV? that takes you through the steps of sizing your solar system.

Related: Solar Panel Statistics

Is It Possible To Install Solar Panels On Any Type Of Rv Roof?

Pretty much. It doesn’t matter whether it’s an RV, trailer, motorhome or fifth wheel – if it has a roof, you can usually install solar panels on it.

The only exception might be if your RV has a curved or very textured roof.

In these cases, it’s still possible to install solar panels, but you might need to use special brackets, mounts or even go for flexible solar panels.

The ultra-curvy Airstream is an example of one such model that would use a flexible panel.

The Best Mounting Method for your RV Solar Panels

There are a few factors to consider when deciding how to mount your solar panels:

Type

There are basically two types of solar panel that you can mount on your RV. You can either mount a traditional rigid panel or a flexible one like I mentioned earlier.

Rigid panels are the most common type of panel used for residential and commercial solar installations. They’re made from a solid piece of material (usually glass or metal) and are quite heavy.

Flexible panels are made from a thin sheet of material (often plastic or metal) that’s laminated with a layer of photovoltaic cells.

These panels are much lighter than rigid panels and can be bent or curved to fit onto textured or curved surfaces.

Size and Weight

The size and weight of your solar panels will also affect how you mount them.

If you have a small, lightweight panel, you’ll be able to use lighter mounts and brackets. But if you have a large, heavy panel, you’ll need to use sturdier mounts that can support the weight on your rig.

Number of Panels

If you’re only installing one or two panels, you’ll have more options for mounting than if you’re installing an array of panels.

If you’re installing multiple panels, you’ll need to consider how to mount them so that they don’t block each other’s access to sunlight.

For example, you might want to install some panels on the roof and others on a rear ladder or rack. Or you might want to tilt some of the panels so that they catch more sunlight.

Location

There are quite a few different places where you can mount solar panels on an RV. The most common locations are on the roof or on a rear ladder or rack. But you can also install them on the front of the rig, on the sides, or even on the ground.

The best location for your solar panels will depend on a few factors, including:

  • How much sun they’ll get.
  • How much space do you have?
  • How easy they are to access.
  • Whether you need to tilt them to get more sun.

The ability to tilt

Tilting your panels will also help you to get more power from them, as the sun will hit them at a better angle.

You can tilt rigid panels by mounting them on adjustable brackets or rails. And you can tilt flexible panels by mounting them on curved surfaces.

You can also buy special tilt mounts that let you adjust the angle of your panels from the ground. These are handy if you need to park in the shade or if the sun changes position during the day.

If you’re not sure how to mount your panels, there are a few companies that sell RV solar kits.

These kits come with everything you need to install your panels, including mounts, rails, cables and wiring.

I’ve written a whole article that reviews the best RV solar kits, which you can read.

Ways to Mount

The tools you need:

  • Caulking gun
  • Adhesive (Sikaflex 252 recommended)
  • hand pads
  • Masking tape
  • Spirit level
  • Tape measure

Instructions:

Step 1: Planning

When you’ve decided where to place the panels, use masking tape to outline their positions on the roof.

This will give you a good idea of how they will fit and whether you need to trim them down to size.

Step 2: Apply Adhesive

Apply the adhesive to the top side of the corner bracket, where the solar panel will be installed. Repeat for all of the brackets.

There should be six brackets in your kit.

Step 3: Fit the brackets

Carefully lift the solar panel into place and fit the brackets over the adhesive. Use the hand pads to press down on the brackets and make sure that they’re secure.

Lift the solar panel onto the RV roof and press it down.

Step 4: Connect the wires

Connect the positive and negative wires from the solar panel to the corresponding wires from the charge controller.

If you’re not sure which is which, consult the documentation that came with your kit.

Step 5: Check the alignment

Use a spirit level to check that the solar panel is level. Adjust the brackets if necessary.

Step 6: Repeat for the other panels

Repeat steps 2-5 for the other panels in your kit. Once all of the panels are installed, you can connect them together using the provided cables.

And that’s it! You’ve successfully installed your RV solar panels without drilling any holes.

Some Tips on Installation

  • Read the instructions carefully. While the procedure is simple, there may be additional information relevant to the bracket you purchased.
  • You don’t have to use Sikaflex 252. Renogy advises you to use it, but you may try another adhesive if you like. Simply make sure it’s suitable with solar panel installation brackets from other manufacturers. If you’re going to utilize a different adhesive brand, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • You should repair the damaged window in bright light. The adhesive will require at least three days to fully dry if performed during sunny weather.
  • Mark the location of the solar panel on the roof. Once in place, the adhesive is extremely durable and will be very difficult to remove once it is in place.

Are These Drill-Free Solar Panels Secure?

Like anything you install, if they are installed properly, they are strong and secure. The main thing you have to worry about is wind damage as the panels are not bolted down.

To help prevent wind damage, make sure that you use the brackets that came with your kit and follow the installation instructions carefully. Also, check that all of the connections are tight and secure before you leave on your trip.

Can You Get Drill-Free Brackets for Flexible Solar Panels?

Unfortunately, not. Flexible solar panels bond directly to the roof using an adhesive, so you can’t use brackets with them.

Flex solar panels are best suited for RVs, but they are less durable than rigid PV modules. They don’t provide as much power, either, although they are more affordable. If you have a big battery bank or another form of electricity generation, flexible solar panels should be OK.

What Are The Benefits Of Drill-Free Solar Panels?

There are several benefits to using drill-free solar panel mounting brackets:

1. They’re easy to install. You don’t need any special tools or skills to install them, and the process is quick. You also don’t need to drill any holes, which means there’s less risk of damaging your RV.

2. They’re strong and secure. Once installed, the brackets will hold the panels in place even in strong winds.

3.They’re compatible with several different types of solar panels. You can attach them to wood, aluminium, or even glass.

4. Durable. RENOGY corner brackets are made of high-tensile-strength ABS and can endure all types of weather.

FAQs

Is 3m vhb tape good enough to attach solar panels to an RV roof?

3M VHB tape is a very strong adhesive, and it will work well for attaching solar panels to an RV roof. However, it’s important to follow the installation instructions carefully. Make sure that the surface is clean and dry before you apply the tape, and press the panel down firmly to ensure a good bond.

Do mounting rails need to be used with solar panel mounting brackets?

No, you don’t need to use mounting rails. Solar panels can be attached directly to the roof using brackets. However, if you have a metal roof, you may want to use rail mounts to provide additional support and protection.

Will a fiberglass roof support solar panels?

Yes, fiberglass roofs can support solar panels. However, you may want to use additional brackets or supports if the roof is very thin or soft.

Can you mount solar panels on an RV awning?

Yes, you can mount solar panels on an RV awning. However, you will likely have to buy this from a specialist retailer, as most RV awnings are not designed to support solar panels. Xponent Power offers a solar panel kit that can be mounted on an RV awning.

Can you get no drill solar fence lights?

Yes, you can get no drill solar fence lights. These are usually mounted on posts or walls using brackets or silicone adhesive. No drill solar lights are easy to install and don’t require any special tools or skills.

Can you get no drill solar decking lights?

Yes, no drill solar decking lights are available. These are generally put up on poles or walls utilizing brackets or silicone adhesive. Solar lights with no drill are simple to set up and don’t require any special equipment or expertise.

In Summary

The vast majority of people think that drilling holes in their RV roof is the only way to install solar panels. However, there are alternatives such as applying specialist adhesive.

About the Author

Passionate about helping households transition to sustainable energy with helpful information and resources.

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