Solar technology is constantly improving. It’s no surprise that solar power for RVs continues to grow in popularity. But many RV owners are left wondering: is solar power right for my RV? That answer depends. It’s often easier for you to make that decision when you know more about what solar power can do for you and what it can’t.
What Are the Benefits of Solar Power for RVs?
Another Power Source for Your RV
The most obvious benefit of solar power is that it adds a new source of power for your RV. That means when you’re on the road, you can generate power from an effectively infinite source that’s free. Over the course of a sunny day, solar panels can collect enough energy to power some of your favorite appliances all day long.
Silent & Clean
Do you use a generator with your RV? Then you can appreciate the subtlety of a solar power setup. Absorbing the sun and converting it into electricity is silent and produces no gaseous byproduct. Camping is supposed to be a return to nature. Nobody enjoys listening to loud, gasoline-powered generators or smell the smoke they produce.
You can enjoy the benefits of solar power in the middle of a campground without disturbing your own relaxation or the peace and quiet that others are enjoying!
Freedom to Travel
Popular for full-time RVers, solar power for their RVs means the freedom to travel anywhere they want. If your RV has enough solar panels to power its primary appliances, it means you aren’t tied to campsites with power hook-ups.
Whether that means you can park at quieter campsites with fewer amenities or take your travels to the farthest reaches of a national park is up to you! Either way, you’ll still be able to enjoy the luxuries of your RVs even if you’re away from a plug – without always starting up a noisy generator.
Longer Dry Camping Trips
Persistent, passive power means your battery can stay charged even when you aren’t driving around or hooked-up. For travelers that love dry camping, this lets you extend your trips without having to sacrifice all your appliances and comforts.
With enough solar power, the only limitation on your trip becomes your other resources. As long as you have food, water and fuel, you can keep enjoying the peace and quiet of the wilderness!
Can Any RV Use Solar Power?
Yes. Solar panels come in all types of sizes, as well as in flexible or rigid forms. Depending on how many panels you can fit to your RV, you can increase your potential for generating power. Smaller RVs may only be able to fit so many panels, but they should also use less power as a whole.
Certain solar kits also don’t require being mounted to your vehicle. These portable solar kits can be connected to your power and collect sun from a self-standing mount or platform. These can be easier to setup but require manually connecting and positioning for each use.
Ultimately, there are solar options available for any RV owner. If you’re looking to mount them to your RV, a larger RV will allow for more panels – especially as the prime location for them is your roof.
Is It Expensive to Setup Solar Power for RVs?
Solar power is free to collect, but it’s not free to setup your panels for collection. The upfront costs for solar panels or even portable solar collectors are high. A basic setup that can produce enough power to be useful will still be around 500 dollars or more. The average solar kit can be closer to 1,000 dollars.
In addition to the cost for the solar panels, you also need to consider installation. Many may be able to install their solar panels themselves, but it’s important not to do this if you’re not sure what you’re doing. RV solar kits can be relatively easy to install, but there’s always inherent risk to yourself and your RV when you make DIY modifications.
Some online communities can help you with planning or installation, but don’t do anything that may seem risky, even if you’re following an online guide.
Fortunately, when your solar panels are installed, there aren’t really any maintenance costs. As long as you’re careful to avoid doing direct damage to them, you shouldn’t need to do anything to them at all. This low or no maintenance cost is one of the primary reasons solar panels are so efficient. The longer and more often you use them, the more cost-efficient they’ll be!
Tips for Your RV Solar Power Kit
Any Sun is Enough Sun
If you can cast a shadow, your solar panels will be generating power. Don’t worry about slightly overcast days. You won’t always get the most sunlight possible, but as long as you keep your vehicle away from direct shade, you can generate some power.
Even if you travel through rainy or cloudy regions, you can still benefit from solar panels. So don’t let that stop you from investing in solar!
Keep Your Solar Panels Clean
Your solar panels don’t need expensive maintenance to keep working, that’s true. But your travels through nature and on the road will expose the panels to all kinds of dirt, dust and more. As more surface area of the panels becomes coated with grime, the less sunlight they’ll be able to absorb.
Keeping your solar panels clean isn’t difficult. Follow any guidelines included with your panels from the manufacturer. This lets you keep them clean without worrying about doing any long-term damage to your investment.
Solar Power Has Its Limits
Like your generator or even the power hook-ups at a campground, there are limits to the energy your solar panels can produce. While solar efficiency is always improving, it doesn’t mean you can leave all of your appliances on in your RV all day.
Take note of your power consumption before using solar. This will help you understand how many solar panels you’ll need for your RV, as well as what type of activity you can use them for. Many appliances in your RV use a lot of power at once, like microwaves. Others steadily use power all day, like your fridge.
Don’t think of solar power as a limitless source of electricity! Its benefits are in sustainability, eco-friendliness and the mobility you gain by having access to electricity out in the wilderness. But you should still take advantage of the peace and quiet out in nature. Even with your solar panels, there’s no reason not to enjoy delicious campfire meals or simply look up at the stars.
Start Your RV Life Today – Contact RV Wholesale Superstore
The professionals at RV Wholesale Superstore are ready to help you! We can answer your questions and help you choose the perfect RV for you! Visit us in-person at 5080 W. Alexis Road, in Sylvania, OH or call us at (866) 596-7767.
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