DIY Instructions

Electrical Code

The first thing you need to realize is that solar power for use on RVs is a minuscule portion of the world market for solar applications and the manufacturers of solar products are primarily focused on the larger, more lucrative markets. This means most “standard” equipment is not built with RVers in mind.

Another thing to bear in mind is that at the time this was written there was no article in the National Electric Code (NEC) that specifically applies to installing solar systems on RVs. There is article 551 that is mainly concerned with RV parks and article 552 that vaguely covers camping trailers for seasonal use, but there is nothing specific to using solar equipment on RVs.

This is not to say that the common sense portions of the NEC, as they pertain to solar systems for use on residential homes, cannot be used for RVs. However, there are some major differences between homes and RVs. For example: The NEC has requirements for grounding rods. Obviously, this isn’t possible with an RV that drives down the road on rubber tires. For the time being, RV solar seems to be a topic that hasn’t yet reached the attention of regulators.

To further my point, look at the RVIA emblem that is attached to the side of your RV near the entry door. It states “MANUFACTURER CERTIFIES COMPLIANCE WITH STANDARD FOR RECREATION VEHICLES NFPA 1192”. This sounds like the old adage “The fox is guarding the hen house” may apply here. Electrically speaking, RVs are still part of the “Wild West” when it comes to installation practices, regulation and enforcement. In other words, Buyer Beware!

That being said, in the absence of regulation, we rely on our 25+ years of installing and living with solar systems on RVs. Over the years our customers have given us feedback, both good and bad. Our product lines are constantly evolving to keep up with technology and customer preferences. If we haven’t used it ourselves (and liked it) we won’t sell it.