What is so appealing about going RVing.
The mystic of traveling around in a RV is the ability to go where you want to and when you want to.
Many times you will go “off the Grid”. This means you will not have the amenities such as electricity to reply on to power your RV.
When you go off the grid in a RV, you are relying on the generator to provide you with enough electricity to cook, cool, heat, or light your camp and RV. If you do not have a generator, then you rely on batteries.
Is there an alternative to producing electricity or charging your depleted batteries that is more “green” or environmentally friendly than running a generator of diesel or propane?
Yes, you can provide solar panels for your RV and recharge those batteries in an environmental friendly way.
After all, you are off grid to get away from the smell of diesel or propane and enjoy the smell of nature in the raw.
In this article we will discuss what to look for when choosing solar panels for RV, how expandable are they, and are they made to withstand the travels of a RV.
What To Look For In A Solar Panel System
Power is what you are looking for.
One of the most important things to look for when choosing solar panels is the power output.
Depending on what you want to power, you need to now how much output you will need from your unit.
Solar panels today are made from mono crystalline panels and are usually lightweight while taking up less space. This makes them perfect for the roofs of a RV or motor home.
Each panel will have a designated output and this will allow you to choose the number of panels you will need to power your RV.
For smaller RV’s, you can get portable panels that setup in minutes. For larger RV’s, multiply fixed panels are usually required.
If you are a full-timer in a RV, you solar panel requirements might be different that the weekend warrior.
When looking online for the right solar panel system, you will find starter kits that are attractive to buy because they are usually cheap. Don’t be fooled by these kits as they are only made to get you started. More components will be required to complete your system.
The best all around RV solar kits typically include solar panels, mounting brackets, cables, a charge controller. Other items that will be required for you to purchase separately are inverters and batteries (if required). The good portable units will hook up directly the RV batteries.
Can I Expand To More Units
The solar units that allow you to expand to more units in the future is what you want.
Your requirements might change over time and having units that expand will help save cost in the long run.
You will need to oversize your inverter and charge controller in order for them to handle the added units at later time. If you have undersized units, then they will be damaged as your increase the output to them when you add panels.
So when choosing your system, oversize your controller charge and inverter so they will be expandable as well.
How Tough Are The Solar Panels for RV
Solar panels like any other addition to your RV need to be able to take the beating of time and elements. If you frequently scrape tree branches, then you need solar units that can take that abuse.
The most durable are the fixed panel units as they are made of glass and frame with aluminum. These are the most traditional ones you see.
You can get flexible solar panel that will couture to the shape of your roof, but they are not as durable. These units can be scratched or gouged.
Flexible units have become popular because you can glue them to the roof and you do not require making penetrations through the roof of your RV to secure them.
When shopping for these units, look for the ones that are the most durable and resistant to scratching or gouging.
Protect Yourself, Warranty
When you buy solar panels for RV systems, make sure you get the best possible warranty.
Most reputable manufacturers of solar panels will offer up to a 25-year warranty. The charge controllers and inverters usually come with a 10-15 year warranty.
You must protect your investment as it will be a major addition to any RV or motor home from a cost perspective. This will give you the piece of mind that you are protected if your units fail within the first few years.
My Take On Solar Panels for RV
If you are predominately staying in RV parks where electricity is provided or you are fine with just firing up the generator, then solar panels may not be for you.
If you frequently “boondocking” off the grid and you want to be more environmentally friendly, then solar panels would be a great addition to your RV or motor home.
My take is everyone’s needs are different.
Some other items you may need to consider when building your solar system is:
- It will reduce your dependency on diesel or propane which will save you money.
- This will reduce your output of CO2 to the atmosphere making it more environmentally friendly.
- The solar panel system will give you the freedom to camp anywhere you want and you don’t have to worry about utility hookups.
- Solar panels are easy to install and very portable.
As long as the sun is out, you are providing energy to your RV or motor home in the most flexible and economical way.
I hope I have assisted you in your research of this topic of solar panels for RV or motor homes.
You can use the links I have provided to buy the best systems and components I have found at the best prices.
I hope you have enjoyed this article and I would love to see what you think about providing solar panels for RV.
If you have any question or comment, please leave that below and I will get back to you ASAP.