Stop worrying about running down the battery or battery bank in your RV! With a professionally specified and installed solar electric system you can sustainably power your RV or camper van. You can stop burning your fuel and making (annoying) noise. If your RV is a trailer, you’ll have the freedom to disconnect it from your vehicle for extended periods, and never use an external generator.
Parts of a Solar Electric System to Sustainably Power Your RV
A solar electric system consists of one or more solar panels, an electronic charge controller, a charging monitor which may be optional, and usually a mechanism for tilting the panel into the sun. You’ll also likely need a battery or battery bank to store the electrical charge. If your dwelling is only used in summer or your electrical load is low compared to the panel’s power output, then a simple, stationary panel mounted flat on the roof may provide adequate power.
Choosing the Solar Electric System’s Components
There are many things to consider while properly choosing and installing these systems.
- What is the likely average load, in amps? A lot is involved here including learning the load current of every electrical device and the duty cycle (% ON time) of each.
- Where will you travel? If far north, the panels must be larger than if you are in the sunny south.
- When will you travel? If in the winter, the panels must be larger and the likelihood of needing a tilting mechanism is greater.
- How is your roof constructed? The materials and design must be known in detail, so the installation has adequate strength for vibration, high wind gusts, and to ensure you don’t end up with a leak caused during installation.
How can I make sure my RV doesn’t waste power?
Prior to selection of the solar electric system, it is advisable to check on a few things, so you won’t pay for a larger system than you need.
- Have all incandescent bulbs been replaced with LEDs? If not, prepare to make your battery very happy and get those replaced.
- Does your refrigerator and/or freezer use propane? If so, it is much easier on the battery. A new refrigerator can be expensive, and the solar system can work with either type, but the panels can probably be smaller if you have a propane-cooled unit.
- If you have an inverter for converting battery voltage to 120 VAC, is it a “true sine” or “pure sine” unit? It should also have an efficiency rating of at least 85%. You should be able to find this number in the manufacturer’s specifications.
- Is anyone leaving “wall warts” or “brick” power supplies plugged in that aren’t needed? If your phones and laptops are charged, you should unplug them.
- Do you really need that electric can opener? Do you really need two TVs? The sacrifices don’t need to be big ones but are worth considering.
How to Maintain Your Solar Electric System
The maintenance needed is…NOT MUCH! All you need to do is keep the panel free of heavy dust, dirt and leaves.
Renewable energy is our core passion here at OHM Electrical Contracting. Trust us to safely install a robust solar electric system for you. Contact us to start the process.