Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Strotty

Strotty

Recommended Posts

I just retired and bought a Class A RV.   I am tempted to install solar panels.  What are the pros and cons of Solar Panels on 28 ft RV. I will be traveling about 6 months out of the year.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome to the forum!

If you're going to stay in RV parks with hookups there's no reason to have solar.

If you're planning on national parks, national forest campgrounds or just out in the boonies on national forest or BLM lands, then solar is awesome.  You get a charge continuously with no noise.  You won't be running the AC though and although you can get some charge in shade it will be minimal so you'll need to find sunny spots.  We always stayed above 6500' elevation in the summer so it was fine with us.

For our 40' motorhome we had 300w of solar which was plenty for us because we're not energy hogs.  Some people would need more and if you have a residential refrigerator you'd need more.

Batteries are an important part of solar installation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are lots of pros for having some sort of solar system. I added a system last year, after 2 years of not having anything, and I’m very glad I did, it’s changed my preferred method of camping and opened up lots of opportunities I didn’t have otherwise.

Cons: it’s expensive and it’s a system so you need to consider batteries and what your power needs are going to be.

It’s unnecessary if you only stay in campgrounds with power, stay a long way from anyone else and don’t mind listening to your generator while your batteries charge.

A disadvantage for someone with a small trailer and a marginal TV is the added weight of any extra batteries and the panels themselves. I would guess that wouldn’t be an issue with a Class A, but don’t really know.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We put panels on two different 24' motorhomes. What you can do depends on what else is on the roof and where it is placed. No, it's not cheap so you need to know you will want to camp away from hookups for more than a night at a time to make it worth doing.

Linda Sand

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would ask yourself first of all, how much are you going to camp off the grid with no hookups?  Since you are only on the road 6 months a year the answer would probably have to be at least half that time off the grid to make it even worth the money or effort.  In other words, boondocking for 90 to 100 days a year it could be worth it.

Keep in mind, depending on how much solar you are installing you also will need a large enough battery bank, the correctly matched charging system, and the right inverter.  If you are throwing some panels up on the roof to charge two 12-volt house batteries then you probably are not gaining much.

If you already have a generator then the equation gets more complicated IMHO.  Basically you are installing solar to keep from using your generator to recharge the house bank.  With or without solar you will still have to run the generator to have a/c.  So now you have to ask yourself is it worth installing solar to keep from having to run my generator 2 or 3 hours a day while boondocking?   Plus, will I always want to boondock in sites where there is full sun during the summer months?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, FL-JOE said:

With or without solar you will still have to run the generator to have a/c. 

Plus you have to run the generator under full load for at least an hour a month just to keep it in shape.  In addition to having it serviced regularly. That's why my last van didn't have a generator. I did have the van built so one could be added later for resale purposes but I really don't like to own a generator. I also don't like propane so that van was all electric except the few things that ran off my diesel fuel tank. That meant installing as many solar panels as I could fit on the roof but I really like the sounds of silence.

Linda

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The peace and quiet is worth a lot to us as is not having to be around to run the generator or mess with it.  Solar has gone down a lot so we purchased a little more than we needed and don't worry about.  Our solar cost substantially less than a $1 a watt.  We already had enough batteries and an inverter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are just a lot of variables that have to be considered before going into the bank account for solar IMHO, as I have stated.

We have been in several State parks and County campgrounds where we had a hard time getting a small section of clear sky for our DirecTV satellite, let alone a site out from under the trees enough to charge a roof full of solar panels.  

Keep in mind as you travel and camp that there are States that have over 250 days of sunshine per year and then there are States that have less than 90 per year.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We spent a week in Glacier Nat'l Park in rain.  Still... our solar charged enough to keep us going.  Again... we're not energy hogs.  A reading light and the radio was just fine with us.  Even if you're in dappled sun you'll still get some charge.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I could leave 10 reading lights on and a radio blaring 24/7 and my battery bank would never go down enough to need any charge for a week.  Are you sure you couldn't have unplugged your solar completely and still had the same results for that cloudy week?  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One of the biggest advantages of solar is the final few hours needed to fully charge batteries. Running a generator for hours to fully charge lead acid batteries to keep from early demise has always seemed like a waste.  During this final phase very little power is needed and even the smallest of generators provide more power than necessary.  We are nearly always in states where sunlight is plentiful and usually can get enough to keep our batteries charged.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When our MH is in storage for the winter, we run the generator (every 6 weeks or so) for about an hour before the batteries go to float.   Never, ever had to run it for hours to get to float even when we had lead-acid batteries.   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The following is from Battery University.


During the constant-current charge, the battery charges to about 70 percent in 5–8 hours; the remaining 30 percent is filled with the slower topping charge that lasts another 7–10 hours. The topping charge is essential for the well-being of the battery and can be compared to a little rest after a good meal. If continually deprived, the battery will eventually lose the ability to accept a full charge and the performance will decrease due to sulfation

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My odd experience; it was night time and I was in a Walmart parking lot. My solar panels were charging my batteries; apparently, their lights are that strong

Linda Sand

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have 400 watts of Renogy solar panels charging a 690 ah house bank. That runs a 1000w microwave, Mr Coffee, toaster, refrigerator, and a couple of small fans. I don't over do the power and am recharged to 100% each day. If no sun, I can go 3 days. but it does take much longer to recover. Then I will find a main to plug in a 3 stage charger.

Battery bank in storage is Much Different than battery bank in use, if we are talking about re-charging.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While snow birding in SoCal we had transmission failure. While the MH was at the shop for 10 days our solar kept the batteries charged and the food in the refrigerator fresh. It was really nice not having to empty the refrigerator.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

RVers Online University

campgroundviews.com

Our program provides accurate individual wheel weights for your RV, toad, and tow vehicle, and will help you trim the pounds if you need to.

Rv Share

Rv Insurance Benefits.com Logo

Dish For My RV.

Find out more or sign up for Escapees RV'ers Bootcamp.

Advertise your product or service here.

AGS Now Hiring

RV Pet Safety

Cummins Home Generators

RVTravel.com Logo



×
×
  • Create New...