Whether you’re looking to save money on electricity and fuel, or simply hoping to reduce your carbon footprint, considering solar power is a smart choice for your RV. By harnessing free power from the sun, you can eliminate or reduce the amount of gas and electricity used by your camper whether you’re on the road or hooked up at a campsite. Let’s take a look at whether an RV solar panel system is right for your situation.
Solar Systems for RV
Modern technology has simplified and amplified solar technology, making it feasible at businesses, our homes and now our mobile homes. RV solar system kits have made this possible.
Like the systems you see on rooftops, solar systems for RVs work with large panels installed to the roof of the camper. These RV solar system kits come with the panels, a controller, an inverter and a storage system. Solar power is gathered through the panels, fed through a controller, which regulates the amount being brought in, converted to AC power through an inverter and then stored until it is ready to be used.
Solar power is stored in large batteries with your RV. Sometimes, you can buy large golf cart batteries to store this power in and then use those batteries to power your motorhome’s appliances. Battery types include lead-acid batteries, AGM or absorbed glass mat batteries, and lithium-ion batteries. Each comes in at a different price point and has its pros and cons.
Saving Money with RV Solar Systems
It’s possible to save money by converting your motorhome to solar power with a solar system for your RV. How quickly you save money, in the long run, depends on how frequently you use your RV now and how often you use your RV once it’s equipped with an RV solar panel system.
Typically, an investment in an RV solar panel kit costs a few thousand dollars. This price varies based on how many panels and batteries you get and the quality of the kit. If you’re the kind of family that only uses the camper on weekends, it’s going to take a while for the up-front cost of solar panels to make up for the cash you would have spent on fuel and campsite hookups.
But if you’re the type that goes on trips frequently, goes boondocking or lives out of your RV, investing in solar can save tons of dollars immediately.
Installing RV Solar Panels
Solar panel kits come with the four parts mentioned above and are easily installed yourself. It’s important to first read the manual in its entirety and to be safe when dealing with any types of power or electricity.
You’ll want to mount the panels to the roof so you still have space for your air conditioning unit, any antennas and any other features on top. You’ll want to also make sure you have room to walk around on the roof once the panels are installed to access everything up top.
A smart investment is a prop for each panel, so the panels can get the most sunlight when they are tilted toward the sun.
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