As your go-to for solar information, we want to first and foremost make it clear that Go Solar Group does not put panels on RVs. We do, however, want to help you out.
RV Solar Power Installation – What Utahans and Nevadans Should Know
Getting solar for your RV isn’t the best option for everyone. Since RVs have limited roof space, solar panels don’t completely offset your power needs. On top of this, you will still need a generator for when the weather isn’t conducive to generating solar power.
Who is a Good Fit for RV Solar
Because of the cost, solar is not for the occasional camper. If you, however, are a boon-docker (someone who enjoys remote camping without hookups), solar panels may be the way to go. Either way, solar takes time to make a return on; you need to ask yourself if your motives are monetary or if your lifestyle needs it.
RV Solar Systems for Sale
Getting solar for your RV is a job that you might want to have someone with more expertise install. AM Solar specializes in RV solar installations. They also provide solar kits and DIY instructions for the those who are so inclined.
If you would like AM Solar to install your solar panels for your RV you have two options. You can need to drive your RV to Springfield, Oregon. Or, you can contact one of AM Solar’s traveling installers.
Solar Power for Campers: DIY Basics
If you are the do-it-yourself type, getting a solar kit will save you between a couple hundred bucks to a thousand dollars. You will want to make sure that you do it right, though. Here are 7 basic steps to help you decide what you will need.
1. Getting a Load List
Before you start buying anything, you will want to find out how much energy your RV uses. This is a bit more complicated than finding home usage because your motorhome isn’t connected to the grid – you can’t just call the utility company.
The most accurate way to find your RV usage is to plug all the AC devices in your RV into a power meter. If you don’t have access to a power meter, you can use an online typical wattage list for RV appliances.
2. Sizing Your RV Solar System
Now that you have your loads list, you will need to plug in these numbers to an off-grid solar calculator. This will tell you the size of the battery bank and solar panel(s) you will need.
3. A Deep Cycle Battery Bank
Getting a battery bank will ensure that you have power at night or when the weather isn’t cooperating. There are several batteries that you can choose from. The best one for you will depend on the space you have available.
4. The Actual Solar Panels
To find out how many panels you need, you have to find the average sun-hours for your area. This is not the time that the sun is in the sky, but rather the time that the sun gives the most energy. Once you have determined how many watts of solar you need, you will have to measure your roof. If you don’t have space for larger panels, you may have to use multiple smaller panels.
5. RV Solar Charge Controller
The primary task for a charge controller is to manage the charging of your battery bank. The controller lets power from your solar panels charge the battery during the day and stops power from going back at night.
To find the right PWM for your controller, you need to find the short circuit current (Isc) of your solar panels. Multiply the Isc by the number of panels and a safety margin of 1.25 in order to find the PWM.
If you get an MPPT solar controller, you will need to find the wattage of your panels and the voltage of your battery. Take the wattage of the panels multiplied by the number of panels and divide it by the voltage of the battery. This will produce the figure you need.
6. DC/AC Inverter For RV Use
If you don’t have AC appliances that you are plugging in, you don’t need to worry about getting an inverter. An inverter converts the DC (direct current) power from the battery to AC (alternating current). If you aren’t sure, it is best to be safe and get an inverter since most appliances in RVs use alternating current (AC).
7. RV Solar Generator Kits
Getting a solar generator for your RV is good to have, even if you don’t get solar for your motorhome. Your camping needs will determine the type of generator that is best for you. The Solar Generator Guide reviews solar generator costs and applications.
Go Solar Group uses Goal Zero solar backup and can get you set up with a Goal Zero solar generator. If you decide that you would like solar for your home, we also offer home integration kits. These allow you to have emergency power when the grid goes down.