We design & install solar systems for RVs & campers for people looking to reduce or eliminate generator run time. With a properly sized and designed rv solar system you'll enjoy all that nature has to offer not just campgrounds with power pedestals.
Enjoy The Outdoors Unplugged!
Explore places without hookups in peace and quiet.
Looking to unplug?
Sure the thought of expanding your camping options outside of State Parks and Private Campgrounds? sounds great, but where do you start? We're here to help.
With careful planning, estimation of power needs and a realistic budget, you'll be confidently exploring forest roads and rustic campgrounds all across this great country. We're campers just like you, it's why we got into this business. To help share all that renewable energy and battery technology has to offer for all RVers.
Below we'll outline a few key steps to get started. Don't sorry though, if at any point it's all too much, give us a call or send a message.
How much solar do you need? How Much power do you use?
A good rule of thumb for us is about 3kw a day, or 3000 watt hours per day. That includes a morning pot of coffee, running an electric fridge all day, lights, phones, laptop and even some TV time in there. The truth is most modern electrics don't use much power. Most power draws come from things that either make heat or remove heat such as:
- Air Conditioners
- Water Heaters
- Coffee Pots
- Electric Cooking
- Hair Dryers
- Electric Heaters
You can adjust that up or down, as you see fit and most any system we design can be expanded easily for both solar collection and battery storage.
In recent years Lithium Ion battery technology for energy storage has become extremely affordable. We used to have to play mental gymnastics to make them seem affordable over lead acid or AGM batteries. Today they are nearly the same price when you compare rated capacities and even cheaper when you compare usable capacities. It's not uncommon to see 200ah @ 12v or 2400 watt hours for $700 or less! That's equal to 4 lead acid batteries and you never need to maintain them and you can boondock all weekend.
When selecting a battery for your RV take into account your lifestyle, risk tolerance and budget. Like many things there are higher end name brands you've heard of, then there are also up and coming brands or clones that are often times just as good for most people at a fraction of the price. Still yet you can get the best of both worlds by having us build your battery.
One final thing to consider when selecting how much battery capacity to purchase. You'll never go wrong adding just one more battery, or a little bit more. Batteries will age and capacity will decrease, just like it does with your phone or an electric vehicle. By not cycling a lithium ion battery 100% you'll further extend it's useful life to possibly as long as you'll own your RV, maybe more!
Sun Shines on RV
Solar panels are great, they can keep your generator quiet for days or make you leave it behind all together. The trick is how much? Well it really depends on a few things:
- How big is your battery bank?
- How Much Power Do you actually use?
- How Long do you want to be out?
- Do you plan on having a generator?
Worst case scenario you can expect to collect 10-20% of your rated solar collection capacity. That means if you have 1000 watts, even on a cloudy day, you'll get 100w-200w per hour the sun is up. Same with partial shade conditions, but it will vary more throughout the day as the sun moves. Even this will help extend a stay, by adding 500 to 1000 watt hours to your power budget over the 5 sun hours we get at this latitude.
In perfect conditions, which rarely happen, you might see close to 100% rated capacity, maybe even more if it's juuuuust right. For this reason we also recommend over paneling, the panels themselves are not that expensive. It's the batteries, the inverters and charge controllers that are expensive.
One thing you can do right away when you do camp in your RV is to use a Kil-A-Watt device that will measure all the power your RV uses while at home our at a campsite. Now if you run an Air Conditioner all the time, that will throw it off substantially. Even you had a 4 hour sample of time without AC, then multiply by 6 to get a rough estimate of watt hours used.
If you plan on being out longer, maybe a week or two, you;'ll definitely want plenty of batteries and plenty of solar panels, you may need to survive 2 or 3 cloudy days and then make up for all those days the next clear sunny day. Luckily Lithium batteries don't mind that at all. They are actually happiest bouncing between 80% and 20% State of Charge.
Lastly if you are willing to bring a generator along and don't mind firing it up for a few hours a day or even once every few days you can get most of the tranquility of mega solar system at a fraction of the price.
Upgrading your RV's power system is all about what works for your RV, your lifestyle and your budget. We're ready to help you start your journey, contact us today.