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How Much Do Solar Panels Weigh?

Solar panels can be a fantastic addition to your electrical system, allowing you to enjoy the comforts of your RV without the need for shore power. But you may have one hefty concern before forking over the cash for your new system–how much do solar panels weigh? Let’s take a look at the answer and what it means for your RV.

How Much Do Solar Panels Weigh? 

How much solar panels weigh varies depending on your use and the type of panel. In general, it’s around 30-50 pounds for a standard rigid board. However, lightweight, flexible models are also available, some of which weigh less than 10 pounds per panel.   

Residential Solar Panels vs. RV Solar Panels

When considering how much solar panels weigh, you must understand that the panels you’ll be using for your RV system may not be the same as you’d see on a house. Because RVs move around, these systems also have different installation processes and are often portable. 

residential solar panels

Residential solar panels also have the strength of an entire roof supporting them, compared with your much smaller and less rugged RV roof. For this reason weight is not usually an issue for residential installations. However RVs are always weight constrained.

How Much Do RV Solar Panels Weigh? 

Because of these fundamental differences, RV solar panels can weigh significantly less than residential solar panels. Most top choices come in under 20 pounds per panel, and some lightweight models are less than 5 pounds each.

Keep in mind that even though these panels weigh less, they also make less energy because they are smaller. The benefit to these smaller panels is that smaller installations can be made as well as the flexibility of where they can be mounted on the roof.

Types of Solar Panels and Average Weights

Solar panels come in various styles that can significantly impact how much they weigh. Here are the three types you’ll run into. 


Polycrystalline solar panels are a more affordable option that you may recognize from their bluish hue. They’re made of multiple crystals that form when molten silicon cools. 

polycrystalline panels on rv roof
These are actually residential panels used on an RV, each weighing around 50 lbs. That’s 200lbs added to this RV’s roof.

Because this is a more straightforward manufacturing process than other types, it’s cheaper, but the panels are less efficient. In pounds, they range between the mid-30s and low-50s per panel. Because they are less efficient they tend to weigh the most per the amount of energy they produce.


Monocrystalline solar panels form through a similar but more refined process. These single-crystal panels are more expensive to purchase but are more efficient over their lifetimes. Monocrystalline solar panels generally weigh 30-50 pounds per panel for a residential panel that puts out 350-400 watts.

RV Monocrystalline solar panels in the 200 watt range weigh around 20 pounds each for glass versions.

Monocrystalline solar panels can be made in a semi flexible form factor. These panels reduce weight by eliminating the glass and frame. This type can weigh up to 80 percent less than rigid glass panels. While the weight savings is a great benefit these flexible panels do have some drawbacks.

Pro Tip: Learn more about flexible solar panels in our What You Should Know About Flexible Solar Panels Performance post.

flexible monocrystalline solar panels on rv


Amorphous panels are an innovative, newer type of solar panel. They generate power through a photovoltaic film, allowing them to be much more flexible. These also weigh significantly less than monocrystalline or polycrystalline panels.

Amorphous solar panels usually weigh under 15 pounds per panel, with some models under 10 pounds.

This type of solar panel tends to have lower efficiency and shorter lifespans than the other types. If extreme flexibility and weight are important to you, this option may be ideal, although they typically come with a higher price tag. 

How Many Solar Panels Do You Need to Power Your RV? 

The number of panels you’ll need varies depending on each panel’s wattage and your overall power needs. Before investing in a solar system, consider your daily electric needs–your lights, air conditioner, appliances, etc. Find out how many watts each uses and multiply this by the number of hours you use each device or system. 

Once you know your total watt-hours, you can figure out how many panels you need. Multiply the wattage of each panel by the number of hours each day you expect to use them. The resulting number is the total watt-hours generated, which should match or exceed your daily watt-hours usage. 

We wrote an extensive article, walking you step-by-step through the process of calculating your solar power needs. If you need additional guidance, you’ll find it here: How Much Solar Power Do You Need for Your RV?

how much solar panels weigh needs to be considered for rvs

If you’re relying on your solar panels as your primary or only power system, err on the side of extra power generation if you can fit it in your budget. After all, you might not get as much sun as anticipated or consume more than expected. 

Benefits of Solar Power on RVs

There are many benefits to using solar panels for power, so be sure to weigh them against all of your power options.

The biggest benefit is freedom. If you have a self-sufficient system, you’re no longer tethered to the grid! It will also dramatically expand your boondocking potential without the need for a gas-guzzling generator. 

Let's Talk RV Solar: Sizing, Investment, Installation, and Batteries

Solar panels are an immaculate energy source compared to generator power or many types of fossil-fuel shore power sources. If you’re looking to lessen your impact on the environment, this is a great option. 

Generator power is also noisy. If that roar bothers you, solar panels present a completely silent option to preserve your peace and quiet. 

Are RV Solar Panels Worth It? 

The answer depends on several things – including your camping style, type of RV, the vehicle’s age, and your budget. As we mentioned, frequent boondockers looking to eliminate generator dependence can benefit from the clean, quiet, portable power of an RV solar system. 

Your budget also plays a significant role here. Solar panels can be pricey upfront to buy and install. Plus, you may have to retrofit the rest of your RV electrical system to accommodate this newer technology. 

portable solar panels hooked up to rv

If you’re trying to live the RV lifestyle without spending a lot of money, solar panels might not be worth it, regardless of how much they weigh. 

Know Your Weight Limits

To sum up, let’s revisit the question of the day: how much do solar panels weigh? 

As you can see, the answer isn’t simple, but it varies depending on your situation and electric needs. While weight is a pressing issue for RVers, newer, lightweight, flexible panels expand the possibilities beyond traditional, heavier polycrystalline panels.

As always, make sure you know your rig’s weight limits before investing in any significant solar panel system. Solar panel manufacturers always should list the panel weights so you can calculate how much weight you will be adding before placing your order.  

TOM Morton and rv solar panel

Here’s to enjoying many sunny days ahead!

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About Tom Morton

Tom, a Pacific Northwest native, is our technical genius. Born in Washington and raised in Alaska before settling in Michigan. He's the man who keeps our operation running, both figuratively and literally.

With a background in Electrical Engineering, Tom specializes in RV solar systems and lithium batteries. He made history as the first documented individual to use a Tesla battery module as an RV battery. Tom has personally assisted countless RVers with system installations and has educated thousands more through his videos and articles.

Cinematography is another of Tom's passions, showcased in his work on the Go North series. You can see his camera skills on display in The RVers TV show on Discovery Channel and PBS where he also stars as a co-host.

Tom's mechanical expertise extends beyond RVs to boats, planes, and all things mechanical. He's renowned for taking on maintenance and repair projects single-handedly and is often spotted underneath RVs, making him the technical backbone of our endeavors.

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