This article is also available in French
You’ve probably heard it before – “You should look into solar power for your RV.” Sure it seems like a great solution. Free energy, right?
Jumping on the solar bandwagon definitely has it’s benefits but we always want to make sure our RV Care customers get the right information before making any big decisions. We talked with Rene Daoust of Ecosolplanet, our new solar energy partner about the benefits of using solar panels for your RV and a bit about Watt Mobile solar products in particular.
One of the largest points to note is that over the years solar panels have gotten more powerful, more efficient and less expensive, making them more attainable and more a worthwhile investment today than ever before.
Of course, one needs to assess their needs first. If you do 99% of your camping at a full-service site where access to power is always available, you’ll likely never need solar power. Rene says solar panels are great option for those who like to roam, boon-dock or spend significant time away from shore power.
The amount of solar power you’ll need depends on your active usage. Ecosolplanet has a great usage chart on their website. As common sense would dictate, the more power you use the more your batteries will need to regenerate. In the end it’s always a good idea to talk with your RV Care service department for the best advice.
Rene says that the most common set up includes one 170 watt solar panel, a charge controller, and an inverter plugged to your actual battery bank (some people will add to it, but not everyone). This set up, mounted to your roof, will run most of your power needs over a few days before needing a fresh, new charge. With a lifespan of 20-30 years (often longer than you’ll ever own your RV), and the green benefits of not using shore power, the investment is well worth it.
Another option is a portable kit. This kit you can set up outside your RV, move around as the sun moves, by tracking the sun you get more power outage than a same size mounted system. Rene says these portable kits are perfect for owners who may not want to mount panels or simply can’t because of roof space availability or other limitations of space.
Always ensure it’s installed by someone who knows your RV and the different types of RVs. An RV Care technician know where to drill the holes, install properly, and seal it all up. Plus it’s warranted in case there are issues down the road.
As for inverters, always make sure you’re using an inverter built specifically for use in RVs, and for travel along the road and will not be damaged over time due to road vibrations or movement, like the Tundra and Xantrex models available at your RV Care dealer.
Your RV Care dealer will help you determine which of the modified and pure sine wave inverter will best suit your needs ( 50% of the customers don’t need a pure sine inverter)
What is interesting to note is how solar panels are made! It’s a tedious process that begins in a sand pit of all places. Watch this short video to see how it’s all done and keep this in mind next time your go shopping for solar kits.
So there you have it. Solar has really come down in cost over the years, is simple to install with the help of your RV Care dealer, and is a great option for your camping adventures.
Need more info on solar panels, kits or fully integrated solar power systems for your RV? Talk with your nearest RV Care Dealer.