Are you in the market for the best Solar Powered Rv Price and the best rv for sale? If you live on the road and travel in an RV, you may have considered adding solar panels to your motorhome at one point or another. Although not always the best fit for every RV dweller, solar can be a great way to maintain a comfortable life on the road, even in the most remote areas.
What are the benefits for solar on an RV?
A solar installation on your RV can be a clean, reliable, and affordable way to ensure you’re comfortable on the road.
Solar panels for your RV can recharge your house batteries, allowing you to run appliances while on the road without needing to hook up to power. Maintaining a steady stream of power can also extend the life of the batteries in your RV since you’re not constantly drawing down power from them.
Contrary to noisy, dirty gas-powered generators, solar power is clean and virtually silent. Also because you’re harnessing the power of the sun, you don’t have to spend extra money on gas for your generator.
Having a solar installation can also expand your camping options. While you may have previously stayed in campgrounds with hook-ups or RV parks to ensure steady access to electricity, now you can take your RV off-grid into more remote areas without worrying about being left in the cold.
Solar panels are also virtually maintenance free, requiring only minimal cleaning over time. Maintenance is especially easy for portable RV solar kits and panels that aren’t mounted on the roof.
How is RV solar different than home solar?
It’s also important to clarify the main differences between how one approaches adding solar to their home and RV. Whereas home solar systems are typically designed to cover all of your home energy needs, RV solar systems are designed to maintain a steady bank of power in your batteries and provide enough power to charge a few appliances in your motorhome.
Who should invest in solar for RV?
Just like there is no one-size-fits-all-approach to living in a motorhome, not every RV dweller needs the same solar setup.
You’re a weekend warrior: If you only go out in your RV on the weekends or for short periods of time, a complete RV solar system probably doesn’t make the most financial sense. We’d recommend a smaller system, such as one of Renogy’s smaller RV kits, such as the 100 watt 12 volt solar RV kit.
You’re a boondocker: If you’re regularly camping or parking in areas without hookups for extended periods of time and don’t have access to constant electricity, a complete RV Solar system with solar panels, a batter, inverter, charge controller, and wiring can be a great investment that will pay for itself over time.
The Renogy RV solar kits, which come in varying sizes of 100 up to 400 watts, are the perfect addition to any boondocker’s rig and come equipped with key components, such as a flush mount charge controller and a cable entry housing unit.
You’re a full-timer who regularly stays at parks and campgrounds: If you live in your RV full-time and opt to stay at campgrounds or RV parks that have hook-ups, you probably don’t need a full solar installation.
We’d recommend one of Renogy’s solar power generators, such as the Lycan Powerbox generator. Durable and capable of handling up to 300 watts of solar, the Lycan can keep you going for up to 1075 watt-hours, providing support to you and your loved ones during emergencies.
How much solar will I need?
To determine what size system will best fit your needs, we recommend making a list of all the appliances and devices you plan on running.The main appliances to take into consider when addressing energy needs may include a TV, lighting, water pump, laptop, fans, microwave, and refrigerator.
We recommend using the Renogy solar panel calculator to help determine your specific needs. The Solar sizing calculator allows you to input information about your lifestyle to help you decide on your solar panel requirements. You’ll just need to know what total watts your electronics will consume, how long you plan on running the devices, your charge controller efficiency, and average sun hours per day. The solar panel calculator will then be able to tell you the minimum and recommended system size, as well as the recommended battery output.
Having an accurate understanding of your energy needs will give you a better idea of the costs and ensure you don’t under- or over-build a system.
Solar Powered Rv Price
Because of the variety of factors at play when it comes to system size and cost, complete RV solar systems can range from around $600 for the simplest, smallest set-up to upwards of $2,000 for larger installations. Adding additional panels and batteries will also increase that cost as well.
The key components of a solar RV installation are:
- Solar panels
- Charge Controllers
- Battery storage
There are a few different solar panel options available to choose from. Panels can be flexible and rigid, as well as monocrystalline or polycrystalline.
Polycrstalline vs. Monocrystalline
The process used to make polycrystalline silicon is simpler and therefore costs less. However, they are less efficient than monocrystalline panels. Monocrystalline solar panels have the highest efficiency rates and are more space-efficient than polycrystalline panels. However, they are more expensive.
Flexible vs. Rigid Panels
There are also various pros and cons to flexible and rigid solar panels. Flexible solar panels weigh less than the rigid solar panels and can be installed directly on the roof of your RV, in contrast to rigid solar panels which stick up above your roof somewhat and can be trickier to place between other components on your roof. Rigid panels, which are more durable, can also be mounted to tilt, which increases their energy production efficiency.
Rooftop-mounted vs. Folding Solar Panels
Having roof-mounted panels reduces the risk of theft when you are away from your RV. They also allow for quick and painless battery recharging, without having to fuss setting up your system every time.
Suitcase-style solar panels are incredibly convenient portable systems that allow for easy plug-and-play use without having to permanently roof-mount them onto your vehicle. Also, if you have multiple rigs, you can use those same solar panels in different applications.
Charge controllers sit between the energy source and storage and prevents overcharging of batteries by limiting the amount and rate of charge to your batteries. It also prevents battery drainage by shutting down the entire system if your stored power falls below 50 percent capacity.
Solar Kits for RVs
Renogy offers a range of RV solar kits specifically for motorhome dwellers. This is great for peace of mind and ensures you have all the right components to fit your energy needs. Options range from simple solar kits with folding suitcase panels and a charge controller to complete RV solar system kits with roof mounted panels, charge controller, cabling, cable entry housing, and a bluetooth module. These kits, which can supply between 100 and 400 watts of power, cost between $309.99 and $819.99 based on the size.
You’ll also need a way to store all the power you’re generating with your solar panels. This is where batteries come into play.
There’s a range of battery options that range in price from $100 to more than $1200, depending on the technology. Lead acid batteries are the most inexpensive option and are available at most big-box and auto stores. Absorbed glass mat batteries store 10 to 15 percent more energy than lead acid batteries and charge up to four times faster. Lithium ion batteries are the most expensive option, but also last four times longer than lead-acid batteries and weigh much less.
Inverters turn DC power produced from your solar panels and stored in your battery into AC power. An inverter is necessary to power the common appliances found in your RV, from TVs to microwaves. Inverters range from $150 to more than $350.
When you add it all up, you’re definitely looking at a decent investment. However, if installing solar on your RV or utilizing a kit means you won’t be spending money on gas for a generator or hook-up feels, the system can pay for itself over time. Plus, with decreasing costs, increased efficiency, and the ease of using RV solar kits, there’s never been a better time to add solar on your RV and go off-grid.
TIPS FOR BUYING YOUR SOLAR POWER SYSTEM.
Buying a home solar power system can be a very exciting experience, but don’t get too carried away by advertising. Be sure to focus on the important aspects of your purchase as it’s a substantial investment and one you’ll be living with for a long time. The following are some buying solar tips on what to look for when purchasing a system.
Ask friends, family neighbours or colleagues who have had solar PV systems installed. Often the best buying solar tips com from right in your neighbourhood. They’ll be able to tell you about their experiences and perhaps alert you to any problems they experienced. Problems that you’ll be able to avoid. Learn more about potential issues in our consumers guide to solar power – avoiding tricks and traps.
Length of manufacturer’s warranty
Take note of what guarantees the manufacturer offers. If the manufacturer is reputable and the warranty period on the panels is substantial (at least 25 years) you would naturally expect your solar system to last long for a long time, long enough to pay for itself and make you a profit. However, for a warranty to be honoured, the manufacturer needs to be still operating. So, be cautious of brands without a track record in Australia.
Have realistic price expectations
If you are paying substantially less than many other similar size systems quoted, you may find poor quality equipment and/or poor installation work. Quality equipment and installation isn’t cheap and, like all other purchases, you often get what you pay for.
Compare components and warranty periods and check into the company providing the installation. While large, well established companies can pass on substantial savings due to increased buying power, other companies often reduce costs by cutting important corners.
Solar panel certifications
This applies to all solar panel purchases, but especially to the purchases that could attract a government rebate. The certification on solar panels indicates the type of testing that they have undergone. For instance, TUV IEC 61215 confirms that the solar panels have gone through testing by an independent laboratory and have met their advertised specifications. Other certification types are often self-assessed. Therefore, they rely on the company being honest in what it claims.
Decide on the type of panels
It used to be the case that if you had limited roof space you would need highly efficient (and very expensive) mono-crystalline solar panels. This is rapidly changing with advances in polycrystalline panel technology and some thin film technologies. Still, even if you have ample roof space you may still want to consider panel sizes vs. output. Filling up your roof with inefficient panels will affect your ability to add more panels at a later date, and does not maximise the power output of the space.
It’s also important to bear in mind that regardless of claim, no solar panel technology will produce a significant amount of power in full shade. Learn more about monocrystalline vs. thin film panels.
Solar panel mounting
Make sure that the roof, ground mounting or tracking system is engineer certified for the area you are in. For example, if you live in a cyclone prone area make sure the mounting system and mounting brackets are also cyclone rated. Quality systems are wind certified. After all you do not want your system to take off during a wild storm . The mounting system is a very vital component and some suppliers skimp on this item. Make sure you ask about wind certification, warranty arrangements and get copies of relevant documents.
Solar inverter efficiency
A power inverter is the box between the panels and your appliances that converts DC electricity from solar panels to AC suitable for use in your home.
Not all solar inverters are equal and inverter efficiency will have a direct impact on the amount of time it takes for a system to pay for itself. Look at the inverter efficiency before purchasing a system. Obviously, the more efficient the inverter the better. Less electricity will be wasted as heat during the conversion from DC to AC. Industry leading solar inverters for grid connect systems in Australia include SMA, Sungrow and Fronius. Be cautious of generic type brands.
Get a few solar quotes
It always wise to gather a few solar quotes when making a major purchase as you will find that prices vary widely between providers. But don’t be just swayed by price as inferior components can reduce the up-front cost of the system. However, they may wind up costing you more in the long run in terms of reliability and efficiency.
Avoid high pressure sales people
High pressure sales tactics are unfortunately common in the solar industry. Try not to make decisions on the spot, just ask the person to let you consider the offer. If it’s as good as they claim, it will still be a good deal tomorrow. Pressured decisions on the spot often turn out to be less advantageous in reflection.
High pressure sales people are only one of the pitfalls that may await you when you shop for a solar power system. Learn more about the potential issues and how to avoid them in our consumers guide to solar power – avoiding tricks and traps.