v3.3.1.900
Document and Entity Information - shares
3 Months Ended
Mar. 31, 2016
May. 09, 2016
Document And Entity Information [Abstract]    
Entity Registrant Name Real Goods Solar, Inc.  
Entity Central Index Key 0001425565  
Trading Symbol rgse  
Current Fiscal Year End Date --12-31  
Entity Filer Category Smaller Reporting Company  
Entity Common Stock, Shares Outstanding   12,561,943
Document Type 10-Q  
Document Period End Date Mar. 31, 2016  
Amendment Flag false  
Document Fiscal Year Focus 2016  
Document Fiscal Period Focus Q1