Solar Panel Wiring Guide For RVs (With Setup Diagrams)

From your panels to your batteries, this step-by-step guide will teach you how to wire your own solar panel setup in your RV. Read to learn more.

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Solar Panel Wiring Diagram For RVs

Ok, so you’ve already bought  your solar panels, side components, and perhaps you’ve even already mounted solar panels on your roof. Now it’s time to wire everything together so that you can begin charging  your batteries from your panels. This post will guide you through the solar panel wiring process. We’ve also included helpful solar wiring diagrams to get you from start to finish as quickly as possible.

Lots Of Great Side Conent: It's complicated to try and fit the entire topic of "solar panel wiring" into one post. There's so much to learn! So whenever possible, we provide informative side posts that you can read to learn more.

So if you’re ready, let’s get to it!

But First...Our FREE Solar Panel Wiring eBook

We created a 100% FREE eBook to help you wire your entire RV electrical system (including solar wiring) from scratch. It’s completely free. Just click the button to download the PDF.


Ok, seriously now. Let’s get back to wiring your solar panel system.

Step 1:

Wiring Multiple Solar Panels Together

Series or Parallel?

Series vs. Parallel Solar Panel Connections
Series vs. Parallel Solar Panel Connections

If you have multiple solar panels on your RV’s roof, the first step of the solar panel wiring process is deciding whether to connect your solar panels together in “series” or in “parallel”.

Both types of connections have their pros and cons and which connection type you should choose is a sensitive topic for solar enthusiasts within the camping community.

Interested to learn more? Check out our post to learn the pros and cons of series and parallel connections for solar arrays.

Still Shopping For Solar Panels? Check out our best RV solar panels post to learn about the different types of solar panels and which we recommend.

Step 2:

Do You Need To Fuse Your Solar Array?

Safety First!

Solar In-Line Fuse For Solar Panel Wiring
Solar In-Line Fuse

Adding fuses to a solar array can be cumbersome and adds additional cost to your total system. But fuses are an important part of any electrical system to keep you, and your RV, safe.

Luckily, you DO NOT need to fuse your solar panel system if you satisfy any one of the three situations below.

  1. You only plan to have a single solar panel,
  2. Your solar panels are wired in series,
  3. You will only have maximum two strings of solar panels wired in parallel.
Otherwise, you’ll need to properly fuse your solar system.

Interested To Learn More? Check out our post regarding how to fuse a solar array.

Step 3:

Wiring Solar Panels To Solar Charge Controller

Also, How To Bring Outside Wires Into Your Vehicle

Wiring Solar Panels To Solar Charge Controller
Wiring Solar Panels To Solar Charge Controller

Regardless on if you have chosen a ‘series’ or ‘parallel’ connection, you should now have a single positive output line (RED WIRE) and a single negative output line (BLACK WIRE).

Now, you’ll need additional electrical wire to connect your solar panels to your charge controller. It’s a straightforward process, but it’s good to get in some additional reading to understand exactly what’s going on.

Step 3a: How To Crimp MC4 Connectors To Wire Ends

Materials You'll Need

Wire Stripper & Crimper

MC4 Assembly Tool

Red & Black 10awg Wire

MC4 Connectors

Learning how to crimp MC4 connectors onto your wire ends is an important first step here.

You’ll need a wire crimper and an MC4 assembly tool to complete this step.

Installation Tip #1: When connecting the MC4 connectors, it's important to get a good, solid crimp around your solar wires. Or else the wires might out of the connector due to the constant vibrations while driving. Happened to us...twice!

For an excellent video on how to crimp MC4 connectors onto your wire ends, see the below video from LDSreliance.

Once you’ve crimped MC4 connectors to one end of your RED and BLACK wire, go ahead and connect your MC4 connectors to the corresponding MC4 connectors from your solar panels.

Step 3b: Pass Red & Black Wires Through Roof Into Van

Now you have a single RED WIRE and a single BLACK WIRE on your vehicle’s roof.

For the vast majority, now is a good time to bring your two solar wires through your vehicle’s roof to the inside, where the rest of your camper’s electrical system is located.

To achieve this, we first passed the red & black solar wires through a solar entry gland.

Materials You'll Need

Solar Entry Gland

Rubber Grommet

Lap Sealant

Steps To Complete

  1. Drill 3/4″ hole on your roof at the spot where you want to thread your wires through.
  2. Thread your red & black solar wires through the solar entry gland.
  3. Thread the wires through a 0.5″ rubber grommet.
  4. Bring the red & black solar wires through the 3/4″” hole
  5. Cover the sharp hole edges with the rubber grommet
  6. Adhere the solar entry gland on top of the hole with the provided sealant.
  7. Extrude Dicor lap sealant over entry gland edge.

Step 3c: Wire Solar Wires To Charge Controller

Now that the RED & BLACK are inside the vehicle you can now connect them to the solar charge controller.

Materials You'll Need

Solar Charge Controller

Simply connect your red and black wires directly into your solar charge controller.

In our Victron charge controller, the input values are labeled “PV +” and “PV – “.

PV = Photovoltaic, aka “solar panels”.

“What’s a solar charge controller?”

Check out this post to learn about what a solar charge controller does, and why you 100% need one.

Side Note: We really like our Victron Solar Charge Controller because it is Bluetooth enabled and you can download Victron's smartphone app to help keep you on top of your daily solar energy harvesting.

Victron Smartphone App For
Victron App To Monitor Solar Energy Harvesting Data

Step 4:

Wire Solar Charge Controller To House Batteries

Wiring Solar Charge Controller To Bus Bars
Wiring Solar Charge Controller To Batteries (aka Bus Bars)

Now you’re ready to connect your solar charge controller to your batteries.

This keeps our electrical wiring clean and tidy.

Installation Tip #2: If you've read our post "How To Build A 12v System", you'll know that we don't like to connect all our devices directly to our batteries. Instead, we connected our batteries to power distribution blocks ("bus bars") and connect all downstream devices to these bus bars instead.

Step 4a: Wire Charge Controller To Circuit Breaker

In order to protect your solar charge controller from unexpected surges from your batteries, it’s a good idea to include a circuit breaker on the battery side of the solar charge controller.

Simply put, the amp rating of the circuit breaker you need should match the amp rating of your charge controller. To figure out which amp rating you need for your solar charge controller, read our post: What is a solar charge controller and why you 100% need one.

In Our Case: Since our Victron solar charge controller has a max amp rating of 30 amp, we installed a 30amp Circuit Breaker in between our charge controller and batteries.

Materials You'll Need

30A Circuit Breaker

M6 Ring Connectors

To wire your solar charge controller to a circuit breaker, connect one end of your red and black solar wires into the output ports of your charge controller.

In our Victron controller, the output ports are labelled as “Battery (+)” and “Battery (-)”.

You will only need to connect the RED WIRE  to the circuit breaker. To do this, simply crimp an M6 ring connector to the other end of your red wire and attach the ring connector to one of the binding posts on the breaker.

Good To Know! The ring connector we recommend comes with heat shrink already attached. Simply use a heat gun to activate the shrink wrap to created a tight seal onto the wire.

Step 4b: Connecting To The Batteries

After the circuit breaker, you’re finally ready to connect the red & black solar wires to your batteries (your bus bars, actually).

Materials You'll Need

For your BLACK WIRE, simply take the wire coming from the negative output port on the charge controller and crimp a M10 ring connector on the other end. Then attach the ring connector to the binding post on the black bus bar.

For your RED WIRE, crimp another M6 ring connector on one end of the wire and attach it to the circuit breaker. Then crimp an M10 ring connector and attach it to the red bus bar.

And voilà!

There you have it, you’re solar panel wiring installation is complete!

Final Result: Complete Solar Panel Wiring Diagram

When you’re all finished, your camper van’s solar system should look something like the diagram below.

Solar Panel Wiring Diagram For RVs
Complete Solar Panel Wiring Diagram

To get more detail on our solar panel installation and with clickable pictures download our FREE Camper Van Electrical Installation PDF.

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