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Solar panel RVs (Recreational Vehicle), campervans and travel trailers: Everything you need to know

By Energy Hamd - December 07, 2021

Solar panel RVs (Recreational Vehicle), campervans and travel trailers: Everything you need to know
Solar panel RVs (Recreational Vehicle), campervans and travel trailers: Everything you need to know


Solar panel RVs (Recreational Vehicle), campervans and travel trailers: Everything you need to know


        1. What are RV solar panels?

    RV solar panels work like residential and commercial solar panels, except on a smaller, more transportable scale. Once installed on your motorhome, motorhome or motorhome, solar panels capture sunlight and convert it into usable electricity for your vehicle. In turn, you can use this electricity to power the devices, lights, and outlets in your RV.

    Without solar panels, you will have to rely on another power source for electricity, such as a generator or a camping hookup. Solar panels for motor homes offer a practical and ecological alternative to these traditional sources, as they depend on renewable energies.


        2. How many RV solar panels do you need?

    Unlike residential and commercial solar power systems, which are designed to power an entire home or business, RV solar systems typically provide a more modest output. So how many solar panels will you need for a mobile home? It depends on several factors, including energy consumption habits, panel efficiency, and the amount of sunlight your home receives each day.

    Calculating your average daily energy consumption is the first step in determining what size RV solar system you need. To do this, you will need to make a list of the devices you want to use, how much power they need, and how many hours per day you will use them.

    For example, let's say you have a 500W microwave that you want to use for 15 minutes every day. By multiplying these numbers, you can determine that you will need to generate 125 watts of electricity just to use your microwave during that time. Repeat this process for each device or device.

    To determine how much electricity your system will generate per day, you must multiply the size of your system by the number of hours of direct sunlight the panels will receive per day.

    For example, let's say we have an RV solar system consisting of four individual solar panels that each generate 100 watts, giving us a total system size of 400 watts. We will also assume that we are in a reasonably sunny area that receives at least five hours of sunlight per day.

    By some quick calculations, we can see that this system will generate 4,000 watt-hours of electricity per day. You can use this output as a benchmark to compare your power needs (calculated above) and then adjust the number of plates and wattage accordingly.

    For reference, a 4000W system is usually enough to power small household appliances and turn on the lights, but it will not support the use of heavy-duty household appliances. In fact, even the largest RV solar panel systems are not designed for continuous or excessive energy consumption. So if you need a lot of energy, then solar panels will not be the best choice.



        3. Setting up an RV solar panel system

    There are three types of RV solar panels: monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and amorphous.

  • Monocrystalline panels are the most efficient (and expensive) of the three, so they will generate the most power in the least amount of time.
  • Polycrystalline panels are slightly less efficient, but they are a durable and reliable option.
  • Amorphous panels are more recent on the market. They aren't as efficient as their counterparts, but their slim, foldable construction makes them easy to set up.

    In addition to solar panels, you will need several other components to complete your RV solar system, including:

  • Solar inverter, which converts solar energy from direct current to alternating current
  • Charge controller, which protects the storage system against overload
  • Solar battery, which stores the energy generated

    These components are often bundled with solar panels, which is ideal for first-time solar installers. If you already have solar panels that you want to use, you can purchase these items separately.

    While it is possible to use residential solar panels on your RV, it is not an option that we recommend. This is because these types of panels are larger and take up more roof space than specific RV specific products, so you may not have enough room on top of your vehicle. Additionally, the voltage on residential panels may not be compatible with other components of your RV solar power system.

    Don't know where to shop? Online retailers like Amazon have a huge selection of solar panels and motorhome starter kits, along with customer reviews for each product. Stores like Camping World and Home Depot also have a decent range of options.


        4. Installation and maintenance

    Installing solar panels for mobile homes is very simple and should not require specialist intervention.

    If you purchased rooftop solar panels, they should come with installation instructions. This usually involves simple manual labor such as securing your panels to your RV using brackets. The amorphous solar panels are easy to install as they come with an adhesive backing that you can quickly stick to your roof.

    Once your system is up and running, maintenance should be minimal. When you use solar energy as a power source, you don't have to worry about buying fuel or making noise like you would with a generator. Additionally, many RV solar panels come with long-term performance warranties (usually 25 years) so you can be sure you're making a smart investment.



        5. Cost and discounts

    The total cost of your system will depend on factors such as the type of panels you choose and the amount of electricity you need to generate. If you need a lot of horsepower, you will have to buy more equipment, which leads to a higher price.

    You can find an RV solar system kit to fit any budget, with options starting at around $150. However, if you are looking for a plan that has everything you need to get started, you should expect to pay between $250 and $500. Renogy and Windy Nation are two of the most popular brands of solar RV systems, but there are plenty of quality options to be had. be observed.

    If your caravan is your primary or secondary residence, you can save money on your solar investment by claiming the Federal Residential Solar Credit, which provides a 26% tax credit on purchased and installed solar energy systems. Until 2022.


        6. Are RV Solar Panels Right for You?

    It's hard to argue with the benefits of solar energy, but RV solar panels may not be right for everyone. If you live in your mobile home and often take it off the grid (as there are no camping hookups), solar power can be a convenient and environmentally friendly alternative to gasoline generators. However, solar power may not be worth the investment if you use your motorhome once or twice a year or if you are only staying at campgrounds or theme parks.




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