Average size and weight of RV/boat solar panels (with 51 examples)
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So, you established how much solar power you need for your RV/boat and now want to choose the solar panels that fit your space. As I said before, it is advisable to buy modules with the same nominal power and, possibly, from the same brand. This way, you overcome the compatibility issue and the possible loss of power because of mismatching effects in your system.
Choosing the right number of solar panels with the right nominal power and size for your RV/boat could be a little bit tricky. You should also consider the fact that you may want to expand your system in the future, so you might need some extra space. In that case, a module with a higher wattage, instead of several small ones, could be a better choice.
What is the most important size factor?
The size of the solar panels, having the same nominal power, changes slightly from one brand to another. The most important factor for the size, other than its nominal power, is the type of panel; by which I mean either rigid or flexible panels.
The rigid solar panels could be divided into:
- Polycrystalline (multicrystalline)
The monocrystalline panels are usually more efficient, which means they are slightly smaller in size, in comparison to their polycrystalline counterpart, for the same amount of nominal power. The better efficiency also makes the monocrystalline panels more expensive.
The performances of both types of solar panels are influenced by the operational temperature.
Flexible solar panels, also known as thin-film panels, are known to be very lightweight but come with some downsides that make them less appealing to buy – they cost much more compared to rigid panels, degrade faster and have a shorter warranty period.
There are, however, some notable advantages that could make them a better choice in some cases – they are lightweight, flexible and can be installed more easily. Also, their performance is not affected by the operational temperature.
Rigid solar panels size and weight (30 W to 90 W)
Even though for an RV or a boat solar power system you typically want to start to look from 100 W panels upward, but for those who really want to start small, I gathered a list (below) starting at 30 W panels.
50 W rigid solar panels are between 1.6 to 1.8 ft (49 – 55 cm) wide and 1.9 to 2.2 ft (58 – 67 cm ) tall.
The average weight is around 9.7 pounds (4.4 kg) for polycrystalline and 9 pounds (4 kg) for monocrystalline types.
I noticed that, for 50 W panels, there are lots more brands from which you can choose. So, you may get a better deal there. The sizes within each wattage rate are almost identical, but there are some exceptions, like number fifteen on this list, which has a long, narrow shape.
Rigid solar panels size and weight (100 W to 200 W)
Now, this is the range of solar panels that are often used to set-up an off-grid, solar powered system. 100W are the most common ones, with various brands and price ranges from which you can choose.
100 W rigid solar panels are between 1.7 to 2.2 ft (0.5 – 0.67 m) wide and 3.3 to 4.3 ft (1 – 1.3 m ) tall.
The average weight is around 18.2 pounds (8.2 kg) for polycrystalline and 15.7 pounds (7.1 kg) for monocrystalline types
Flexible solar panels size and weight
The most common choices that we have in this category are 50 W and 100 W panels. As you can see from the chart, below, there are also semi-flexible solar panels that are more robust and consequently weigh more. They are usually a better option for marine applications.
Keep in mind that choosing the most efficient solar panel, which obviously costs you more, is not as important as carefully selecting other system components. A smarter choice is to have an overall balanced system that pays for itself in the long run.
If you would like to know more about solar panels efficiency, and how to judge their performance before buying, read here.