Does your RV need Solar?
The best part of solar is that it continues to charge quietly when parked in the sun!
If your RV spends more than 3-5 days not plugged into power, you will benefit from some type of solar
It can be a constant battle to keep your deep cycle battery charged as every RV that I have seen has some type of constant loads on it. 24hr loads can consist of your refrigerator, propane sensor or a low voltage cut off switch. RV’s will have .5-2 Amp constant load. This equates to 12-48 Amp Hour-AH draw off your battery every day and this is without you using anything! You can find your actual load of your RV by using a clamp meter or a battery monitor. To make matters worse most converters are killing your batteries by not completely charging your battery. Many converter chargers only put out 13.6 volts and most batteries want around 14.4 volts to get charged. Interstate Golf Cart batteries want 15.3v to get full! More about the converter issues here. With enough solar and a good solar charger this can all be fixed.
Generator with Solar Charging
A generator is a great way to bulk charge batteries, most converter chargers can use up to 850 watts for this 1-3 hour stage. When it comes to the 2-6 hour absorption stage the generator is very inefficient. A 220AH battery may only accept 150 watts during the majority of the Absorption stage. Many boondockers will run the generator in the morning to bulk charge and then let their solar panels finish the charge process. More on battery charging here.
I live in my RV on BLM ground most of the time and only plug in to shore power less than 12 days a year. I have roof mounted and ground panels. My roof panels provide all of my power requirements most of the time. I believe the ground panels are helpful especially in the winter when the day is much shorter. Solar panels will pay for themselves by not needing to run the generator or staying at RV parks.
Continue reading –Is PWM or MPPT best for my RV?