Did you know that 86 million US households consider themselves to be campers as of 2021? RV ownership also hit a record high in 2021 of 11.2 million households.
Using solar energy has also grown substantially in recent years. So it makes total sense that people are going solar while camping. The combination of the great outdoors and solar power is a perfect fit.
Are you wondering how you can start using solar energy in your RV, but don’t know where to start? Have no fear! This brief guide will give 3 helpful tips to get you started.
1. Number of solar panels needed for RVs
The number of solar panels you need will depend on the size of your RV and how many appliances you need to run. Remember that the panels themselves will not run anything, but they’ll be charging your house battery that will.
It’s recommended that you have at least 120 watts to adequately power your RV for a 24 hour period. This would most likely require at least 2 panels.
Solar-powered homes can send excess power back to the grid, but that’s not the case when going solar outdoors. The panels on an RV will be charging a battery, so don’t get more panels than necessary for a full charge.
2. Types of solar panels for RVs
The three main types of solar panels for camping are mono-crystalline, poly-crystalline, and amorphous. Each has its advantages and disadvantages depending on your RV’s size and your intended use.
Mono-crystalline solar panels use cells made from a single silicon crystal. They are the most energy and space-efficient. These panels have a very long lifespan. However, they are also the most expensive.
Poly-crystalline solar cells are made from several combined silicon fragments. These panels are cheaper and more durable than mono-crystalline but are less energy and space-efficient.
Amorphous solar cells are made of a thin silicon layer and connected to a backing material. They are the cheapest option and have decent efficiency, but they take up twice the space of the other types mentioned.
3. Installation for going solar
There are several parts to a solar power RV system to install other than the panels. The full installation is easily done by a local solar company.
You will need a charge controller to regulate electrical flow to your batteries. This part is important because it helps to avoid overcharging.
A battery monitor will keep track of battery levels. Think of it as a fuel gauge. It will let you know how many amp-hours you have which is crucial when you’re off the grid.
You’ll need an inverter that converts DC power generated from the panels into AC power. This AC power is what will allow you to power appliances.
And lastly, you will need a wire harness that will carry the charge from your panels to your batteries.
Ready To Hit The Road?
Now you know that going solar in your RV can be easy. You know how many panels the average RV needs, what types are available, and all the necessary parts of the full system. All that’s left to do is hit the road and get outdoors!
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