You’ve found the perfect getaway. It’s remote and quiet, your own little slice of heaven. You wake to a beautiful sunny day and start to make some coffee when you realize that since you’ve been running the air conditioner more than expected, your RV batteries are low and you’ll have to cut your trip short. You forgo the coffee and start packing up, all the while thinking that you could simply recharge your batteries and probably stay another few days if you’d just installed the RV solar power you’d been thinking about.
How Do RVs Use Solar Power?
Solar power works similarly whether you’re in your RV or at home. The basic idea is that solar panels capture the sunlight’s energy and convert it into the electrical energy needed to power your RV’s appliances and accessories. Sounds simple enough, right? Before you start planning your next remote RV solar-powered extended excursion, let’s look at some of the details.
Compared to solar power for a home, an RV’s size – which is great for camping – often hinders its solar capacity. In other words, there is often not enough space to fit the necessary solar panels required to generate the electricity needed for all your RV’s appliances and amenities to function with solar power alone. It’s good to maximize your energy efficiency in any situation. RV solar power and direct sunlight work well for recharging devices or even for running small kitchen appliances (coffee anyone?) even if you are far from the nearest electrical hook up.
Types of RV Solar Power Panels
Solar panels are available in three main categories. The type of panels you add is the biggest consideration when it comes to RV solar power. Let’s look at the pros and cons of each category.
Monocrystalline Solar Panels
Thin as a wafer, these panels use single-crystal silicon which makes them very lightweight. They are also extremely efficient and able to generate power even conditions with lower light. But super efficiency comes with a price and these panels are no exception; premium power means premium price.
Polycrystalline Solar Panels
Many silicone crystals are melted together to create the Polycrystalline solar panels. They are more affordable than their single-crystal alternatives, which is one of the main benefits. However, due to their less efficient nature, more space would need to be covered in panels to get the same power. They may cost less per panel, but you would need to factor how many more panels would be needed and whether you have the space for them.
Amorphous Solar Panels
These are far less expensive than the other two RV solar panel options and are created with a “spray on” method. These panels provide an option which is much more economical and simpler to mount on your RV’s roof. However, the loss in efficiency over time with this type of panel is significant, as much as 30 percent. They also take up nearly twice the space as the Polycrystalline panels, so there is a downside.
You’ll need to decide what kind of investment you want to make in your RV solar power as well as how much room you have for panels when making this upgrade decision.
Do I Need to Buy an RV with Solar Panels?
If you are considering a new RV it isn’t necessary to purchase one with solar panels. But if you are interested in having solar power with minimal effort, there are several models that come pre-equipped with solar power in mind.
If you are a DIY enthusiast you’ll be happy to find the industry for aftermarket upgrades is alive and well. So if you are looking to add RV solar power to your existing RV, you should have no problem finding everything you need from solar panels to converters to controllers (which are important because they prevent overcharging of your battery).
Why Would I Need RV Solar Power?
One of RV solar power’s biggest advantages is providing the option of extended camping off-the-grid. If you are boondocking or dry camping, having solar power can give you the electricity you need for all your appliances without depleting your battery power or running a generator.
Solar isn’t needed by all campers. Those who always choose campsites where power hookups are provided may not see the benefit of RV solar power. However, even if you camp in full hookup campgrounds you may like the idea of having solar power as a back-up in an emergency situation.
Shopping for an RV with Solar Power Features
Are you ready for an RV that’s all set to go with solar power? Some of our popular models have solar panels pre-equipped and wired so you can drive off the lot with a solar-powered RV. One of the top models available is the 2020 Cherokee RV which features the Juice Pack.
You can find these options on other models, as well as models that are prepped for solar making the transition easy if you wish to upgrade in the future. RV solar power that is pre-equipped on models with the Juice Pack means they come with a solar panel and deep cycle batteries. It’s a great way to ensure you’ll get the most out of the renewable power source on your new RV.
The professionals at RV Wholesale Superstore are ready to help you find the perfect RV for you and your family. Visit us in-person at 5080 W. Alexis Road, in Sylvania, OH or call us at (866) 640-9871
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