Alternative energy has once again been relegated to the backburner of media coverage. Unless there is no world emergency or fossil fuel supply interruption. For some, continually relying on oil is not an option. Solar has emerged as a permanent solution to the world’s dependency on fossil fuels. Technology is catching up to the demand.
There is no better application for solar technology than Recreational Vehicles and camping. Driving down those bright sunny roads, while your roof panels collect all that great energy is a no-brainer. Powering your RV appliances should be decided by your needs. Solar panels, batteries and control devices can be cost prohibitive if you only camp every other month for maybe a weekend. The need to build your system piece by piece may be the way to go.
Consider how much power you will need in a day to determine your needs and cost. You will find a gradual conversion to solar will be the best road to take. The old adage, every system is different holds true. On your next camping trip, keep a record of how many appliances you comfortably use, and how long you use each in a single day.
Record every appliance you use TV, laptop, microwave. Your refrigerator will account for nearly seventy percent of power consumption. The typical watts usage per day is between 5000 and 7500.
Once you have a good idea of your needs, it is time to start researching the systems that will fit. It is always advisable to search out a single company for the major components with a single warranty. National Brand and good warranties are needed when you do a lot of camping.
Here Is What You Will Need to Consider:
Most panels will be standard sizes, how and where you collect will be a significant determinant. Will you unfold a suitcase of panels at the campsite or will panels be permanently attached to the top of your RV? The most efficient absorption power panel is a monocrystalline type. Monocrystalline is not the least expensive per watt of power, however.
Panel efficiency is steadily rising, and costs are heading down. Your next consideration is the shape. Standard will have aluminum frames and fixed sizes. Curved panels are newer technology and can work well with RVs. Right now, standard panels are more durable and less expensive.
Once you have decided on your rv solar panels, you need a few more items to start collecting energy. One of those items is a charge controller. A charge controller is a device that sits between your energy (panels) and the storage (batteries). The controller protects against overcharging and drainage. Pay the extra money and purchase a Maximum Power Point Tracking controller. The MPPT optimizes the conversion from your panels to the battery.
RVs will usually have at least one lead-acid battery. Depending on your system you may need to add one to three more to store all that energy. There will be a few more things you will need like an inverter, which converts the panels DC power to AC power your appliances run. Cables, connectors, and system enhancements should be looked at after the big stuff has been decided upon.