Retractable 1.2 kW Solar PV Awning for Recreational Vehicles


  • California-based Xponent Power has won the German Innovation Award for its 1.2 kW solar awning for recreational vehicle (RVs).
  • The award was established in 1953 by the German Design Council.

The Xpanse awning is a retractable solar array that provides shade for relaxing outside of RVs. The 1.2 kW design packs a considerable amount of power into a small package attached to the exterior of the RV. Xponent Power said the awning can generate up to 6 kWh per day.

The awning can be integrated with existing rooftop solar. The company also designs 800 W and 1 kW models. Xponent Power said the awning is highly wind-tolerant, and under extreme weather conditions, the awning automatically retracts completely to protect itself. Small gaps between the modules allow wind to pass through, increasing the structure’s stability. 

The panels are bifacial, generating electricity both from sunlight above and reflective light from below. Bypass diodes are integrated with each module, meaning that if one module is shaded, it will not affect the performance of the rest. The company also includes a five-year warranty on the solar awning and one year warranty on labor.

Rather than covering the roof of the RV, which is limited in space, the awning folds out from the side of the vehicle. This prevents numerous roof penetrations and allows easy access to the roof for repairs and maintenance.

Rather than being closely ratcheted to the roof, which can cause heat management and performance problems, the array is exposed to open air for effective cooling and optimized power generation. Xponent Power tested the awning arm for 2,000 open and closed cycles with additional weight added to the array to confirm its durability.

Xponent performs the installation of the awning in-house, and the company said it has plans to have numerous installation locations across the United States. It said the design is compatible with most RV makes and models. The array can be installed on the opposite side of existing awnings, negating the need for removal.

The company said it expects to begin deliveries in 2023. The array may qualify for the 26% federal investment tax credit in 2022 and 22% in 2023.

Xponent said it is exploring modifications to adapt the Xpanse awning for residential, marine, and other applications.

Author: Ryan Kennedy

This article was originally published in pv magazine USA and is republished with permission.

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