“How much solar power do I need for my RV?” It’s a logical question if you want to get a solar power system for your RV.
I love the idea of using a solar grid to power a home, especially an economic one like an RV. It’s fascinating how many people are using solar power for dry camping and several other activities as well as everyday living.
As we know, a solar grid charges certain batteries that are suitable for most electric needs. If you’re thinking about the solar power lifestyle as well, it’s best to stay informed.
However, solar power might require some effort. Ask yourself the question: “How much solar power do I need for my RV?” If you don’t know the answer, it’s time to start calculating. Sunlight only comes out for a certain period of time, so some proper planning is in order.
The answer here will motivate you to read up on the best angles and use the right items. You also need to choose the best seasons for the energy retention you need. The following discussion will be of help:
HOW MUCH SOLAR POWER DO I NEED FOR MY RV?
The answer to “How much solar power do I need for my RV?” depends on the size and weight capacity of the RV.
Too many panels can charge excessive batteries, which is more cost and effort than you need. You should keep it light on your pocket and invest in only the panels you need.
However, I don’t recommend underestimating the number of panels either. Falling back on the generator should only be for emergencies.
When you consider your setup and ask, “How much solar power do I need for my RV?” you should make a list. This list needs to include what you require for the setup and what might be superfluous.
WHY YOU SHOULD USE SOLAR
POWER TO CHARGE YOUR RV INSTEAD OF A GENERATOR
With modern-day problems ruining the ecosystem, living off the radar really appeals to me right now. RV living is one of the main ways to accomplish an eco-friendly lifestyle. Many people who live in RVs utilize solar energy, so it’s worth knowing how to harness this renewable resource.
Before you can answer the question, “How much solar power do I need for my RV?” you should check out the benefits. Below are five solid reasons why we RV aspirers need to consider solar power for everyday needs:
A QUIETER OPTION
When you’re in an RV, camping out, or just trying to get some work done, you want some peace. Generators, which are the conventional option for most campers and RV people, make an ear-splitting noise that’s certainly not peaceful.
Plus, generators need firing up whenever you need to do anything in your RV. I simply hate the sound of that shuddering motor, so it’s solar power for me anytime.
Your neighbors will probably thank you as well. Some RV communities and camping sites might not even allow generators, so you may not have a choice here. Whatever the case, it’s certainly solar power all the way.
Of course, there are some quieter models that are especially for RVs, but a certain amount of noise is unavoidable.
Solar panel grids, on the other hand, simply charge some batteries. Neither the panels nor the batteries make any noise at all. So whether it’s a personal choice or an ethical decision, I’d certainly go for solar power over generators every time.
LOWER EMISSION LEVEL
Those who live in RVs or are fond of camping usually care about the environment at some level. It’s another area where solar power takes the lead. It produces no noise pollution and certainly none of that nasty carbon monoxide emission.
There are some emission guidelines for most generators, but they’re still relatively bad for the environment. Even their carbon monoxide detectors could malfunction, resulting in some tragic cases of poisoning. You don’t face such risks with solar panels.
Yes, installing solar panels for your RV will require a lot of investment at first. However, from there on, your energy costs will go down drastically. The sun is free for everyone!
I also love the fact that there isn’t much maintenance involved here, nor do you have to pay for fuel every other day. With no moving parts, there aren’t likely to be any breakages.
Solar panel systems last for a decade quite easily, which makes it a bargain. Plus, even the initial cost has gone down as technology advances.
As mentioned above, generators might not even come within the regulations for certain communities or locations. Even if they’re allowed, they can only run within a specific time period.
Fire bans, protected birds, and several other factors might interfere with your power supply if you rely on a generator. Solar panels, on the other hand, usually get a green light in most areas.
FREEDOM AND VERSATILITY
There are portable solar panel systems now, which you don’t even have to attach to your RV. So if you’re asking “How much solar power do I need for my RV?” you should consider this additional option.
With a solar panel on that RV roof, you’ll be free to travel as and when you please. Granted, the technology for running air conditioners on solar power isn’t fully developed yet.
Research shows me that the Eco-Worthy 100-watt solar panel suitcase is one of the best options for such systems. It’s like a suitcase you can fold up and layout as required. I’ll hopefully be getting this one or something similar when I finally have my own RV!
HOW TO CHECK THE SOLAR POWER YOUR RV NEEDS
Photo by Hanson Lu on Unsplash
Below, we’ll look at the various ways in which you can calculate the solar power requirements of your RV.
CHECK THE SPECS OF YOUR RV
The specs for your RVs’ solar power consumption should include:
Watt rating: the wattage rating of your solar panels is important for calculating the size of your system
Peak power of amps: This is the maximum amp power that the panels can produce in full sunlight. A 5-amp peak power means a daily charging requirement of 30 hours if you want 6 hours of electricity.
Peak Power of volts: This means the maximum volt power the panel gets in full sunlight. A heated panel is less efficient, which decreases the charging rate. There’s also a lowered output when the daylight is faint.
Tolerance: The tolerance of a solar panel has an impact on the power supply it provides. A low tolerance percentage, around five percent, is ideal. That lets your panel get close to the rated wattage.
CALCULATE THE DAILY CONSUMPTION OF RV SOLAR POWER
Another way to answer the question, “How much solar power do I need for my RV?” is to calculate your usage. Be warned, this method is not preferred by most RV owners or campers. That is because it means you estimate the daily consumption, add the total over a number of days, and get the average.
This method requires quite a lot of painstaking measurements. You have to estimate the watts for your appliances as well as how many hours you use them for in a day. A stopwatch is the best method for this, but I personally wouldn’t be able to measure all my daily activities.
Plus, the numbers for power usage will vary from day today. You might watch several shows when it’s raining while a sunny day means you have no time for electronics. The hourly usage of your appliances will have to be an estimate unless you’re extremely conscientious about your routine.
GO CAMPING AND OBSERVE THE SOLAR POWER CONSUMED
You can calculate the answer to “How much solar power do I need for my RV?” by looking at the requirements of your vehicle.
The power requirements will become apparent when you boondock without the option of an AC generator. You should determine the length of time it takes for you to drain the solar-powered batteries.
If, for example, it takes three days to completely drain two 100 amp-hour batteries, you know that they’ve given you 200 amp-hours. Unfortunately, you can use only 75 percent of this energy, so the output is more like 150 amp-hours.
Divide these hours by the number of days, which results in 50 amp-hours. That is actually the amount of energy your RV needs every day. If you can’t go through one day without depleting your batteries, a battery bank is necessary.
GOING FURTHER WITH RV AND SOLAR POWER
Deciding on solar power for all your RV power needs is an ideal decision overall. You’re opting for a quiet, clean, and eco-friendly option. Its operation is free, and you’re not likely to have any maintenance issues to eat up your budget.
If you select your solar panels and batteries with care, you can even have a decent supply on cloudy days. It’s just as well that I asked myself the question, “How much solar power do I need for my RV?” The answers are useful in helping us determine just how much to install and what decisions to make.
You might be used to running generators for your RV, or are currently living in a permanent dwelling with conventional electricity. If this is the case, you just might find yourself confused or even afraid of making this leap.
However, I think you’ll be happy with this switch. I certainly haven’t come across any RV camper who regrets making the change to solar power.
Your RV lifestyle will take you all over the country, and solar panels will help you thrive in every part. Even if you go to a far-flung place with spotty electricity, you’ll still have some semblance of civilization. Have fun in your own little haven with the best solar power panels in just the right amount!
Are you considering taking the leap and going solar? Share your reasons in the comments below.