RV Solar Panels

Solar Energy Power For Your RV

Finding The Perfect RV Solar Panels – My Success Story

Hi there and thanks for visiting my Blog. My name is Jason Watts and I spend about 6 months of the year traveling around North America in my RV.

I’m from Seattle, Washington and I’m not an electrician or anything like that. I’m just guy who likes to travel a lot and who figured out the best a way to generate power in my RV was to use solar panels. Hopefully my story will help you to find the right solar panels for your RV.

Why Did I Need Solar Panels for My RV?

I love to travel. I love to see things that most people will never get a chance to in their lifetime.

In my youth, I used to backpack a lot through Europe. As much fun as that was, I’m a lot older now and don’t have the body to pull off that kind of adventure anymore. But traveling in an RV to new places all around the States and Canada for 6 months at a time gives me the same kind of thrill.

Now when I first started out, I had to stay in parks and campgrounds that could offer my RV hook ups. I needed the electricity to run all the electrical equipment I like to have. Stuff like a TV, DVD player, stereo, Satellite dish, computer, etc.

RV parks are nice but I quickly got tired of the noisy neighbors with all their music, parties, generators and late night talking. Not only that, over time it became expensive and limited what I would be able to experience.

I wanted more. I wanted to have the freedom all those RV brochures promised me I would have. That’s when I decided on boondocking full time.

By boondocking full time, the whole of North America suddenly opened up for me and I could go to places I only dreamed about – like the desert. There’s nothing quite like sitting outside in a quiet desert, watching the shadows lengthen and the sky redden as the sinking sun flames the eastern mountains.

But I had a slight problem – not having enough electricity.

I couldn’t run all the electrical stuff as long as I wanted without draining my battery to dangerously low levels or worse – dead.  I realized I had a choice to make. It came down to running a generator or using solar panels.

At first a generator seemed to make a lot a sense. But then I figured out what it would cost me in fuel over a six month period – not to mention environmental issues, the noise factor, limited generator life span and my restricted fuel storage capacity. It immediately became clear that solar panels were the logical choice.

Solar panels are a clean, environmental friendly technology that can produce all the power I wanted for free. All I had to do was find the right ones for my RV.

How I Found the Best Solar Panels For My RV

The first thing I had to do was figure out how much power I used in a day. I won’t bore you with all the details because I created an RV Solar Power Calculator to figure all that out for you (you can find it on this blog).

After I worked out how much power I used, all I had to do was find two things:

1.    A brand that I could trust
2.    A supplier that I trusted

After doing a lot of research I decided on the world’s leading manufacturer of solar panels: Sharp.

Sharp’s solar panels have been proven to work in all kinds of conditions – everywhere from rooftops to outer space. The ones they design for RV’s are totally weather proof and come with a 25 year warranty.

Finding a supplier was easy. Even though there are lots of companies on the Internet selling solar panels, I went straight to Amazon.com.

Why? Because I know they are going to be around a long time, they always have solar panels in stock, offer fast delivery, and most importantly – I know I can send it back without any hassle. I can’t say any of that about a company I never heard of before.

So there you have it. My quick story about why I love having solar panels on my RV and the freedom it offers me.

Be sure to check out the rest of my blog. It’s crammed with lots of great information to help you understand more about RV Solar Panels and all the stuff that goes with it!

Advertisements

May 21, 2009 Posted by | Solar Power Info | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Squeeze More AC Power from Solar Panels

When it comes to solar power, there’s more to it than just the shiny blue panels you see everywhere on roofs and RVs. You also have to consider the inverters which turn the electrical DC power into AC which makes it the second most important part of any solar panel system.

And now the new micro inverters created by a company called “Enphase Energy” of Petaluma CA can increase the efficiency of a solar panel system by 5% to 25%.

In a typical setup whether it’s on a roof or an RV, all the solar panels are connected together and the electricity generated is funneled into one inverter. The logic circuit in that inverter is designed to optimize the total current and voltage levels.

The problem in this kind of set up is if the current in one panel drops, it affects the output of the entire system. Something as simple as dust, debris or shade on one panel can make the whole connected array suffer and produce less than optimal results.

But micro inverters created by a company called Enphase Energy of Petaluma CA are set to change all that.

Micro-inverters optimize the voltage-current levels on each panel individually. This squeezes the most power from each panel and then adds it together, increasing the system’s efficiency. Any negative impact on a panel is limited to that module alone and no longer brings the entire system down.

Micro-inverters also have another advantage, flexibility.

You can simply plug in more panels to your array if you need more power. In a traditional solar panel system you can’t really do that because if you add more panels than the inverter can take, you’d have to go replace the second most expensive part of the system: your inverter.

May 19, 2009 Posted by | Solar Energy News | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Boondocking – RV Solar Panels vs Generators

When it comes to Boondocking, the question is going to come up about which is better to supply you with power when you’re not hooked up to shore power: solar panels or generators?

On the one hand you have purists who only use solar. The thought of running generator and disturbing the tranquility of their natural surroundings is not one that sits well with them. Even though they have all the comforts of home, the reason for boondocking is about getting away from turbulent civilization and enjoying the peace only nature can provide.

Solar panels on the RV provide a clean and quiet way of generating electricity without disturbing the environment. If you have a large enough array of high efficiency solar panels and several batteries, you shouldn’t have to worry about running out of power.

Generators on the other hand tend to be more cost effective for those RVers who don’t boondock all that much.

Choosing clean solar panels over polluting generators is a personal choice based on several factors like:

•    Your feelings toward the environment
•    Convenience
•    Cost

But in my view, having both makes a lot of sense. Being able to boondock strictly on solar panels is easy enough to achieve. Although, there may be times where you run into extended rainy days which can cut the amount of light for your panels to produce electricity.

In this case having a backup generator is a smart move. You can get by with a small generator to power your toys while you’re stuck inside waiting for the weather to clear.
So, solar panels and generators can co-exist. The option you choose will depend on your finances and how often and where you plan to boondock.

To find the perfect solar panels for your RV, check out this handy RV Solar Panel Calculator.

April 22, 2009 Posted by | Solar Power Info | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Top 5 Reasons Why Your RV Should Have Solar Panels

Having Solar Panels on your RV give you a lot of advantages, but the top 5 reasons to install them are:

  1. They are a 100% Green technology. RV solar panels convert sunlight into electricity without ever consuming any fuel, creating waste or making any noise. They are, by definition,100% “Green.”
  2. They can double the life of your RV batteries. RV solar panels generate pure DC current which is exactly the kind of electricity your batteries need. By having a constant steady flow of electricity charging your batteries, you eliminate the life-shortening problem of repetitive deep discharges.
  3. They are maintenance free. With no moving parts, there isn’t anything to wear out. All you have to do is wipe the panels off every once in a while with a clean cloth.
  4. They provide you with energy independence. With the right size set of Solar Panels on your RV you can now go anywhere and never worry about having to find a hookup or run a generator.
  5. They are totally reliable. Today’s RV Solar Panels are so reliable they come with a 25 year warranty and you can expect them to last you over 35 years!

Click Here To find the perfect solar panels for your RV.

April 15, 2009 Posted by | Solar Power Info | , , , , , | 1 Comment

How To Figure Out the Amp Output Of Any Type Of RV Solar Panels

Solar Panels are great technology but for RV owners they can be a bit confusing.

The problem has to do with the terms Watts and Amps.

RV solar panels are generally rated in Watts while the electrical appliances they power are rated in Amps. So how can you as an RV owner know which is the right wattage solar panel for your RV?

There two simple ways to figure it out.

  1. Use the “Rule of Thumb” method
    It takes about a 15 watt solar panel exposed in bright sunlight for one hour to produce 1 (one) amp of power. So if you have a 80 watt solar panel it will create 80/15=5.33 Amps per hour in direct sunlight.
    ….
  2. Use the Amp rating on the solar panel itself
    Many high efficiency solar panels have their amp ratings listed on them. Basically that rating means how many amps that panel can create in one hour of direct sunlight. For example, the SHARP polycrystalline 123-watt RV solar panel kit has a rating of 7.16 amps. That means in 4 hours it can produce 28.64 amps which then gets stored into your batteries.

So when it comes determining the wattage of solar panels you need for your RV, the first step is figuring out how many amps of electrical power you usually consume in a day. The easiest way to do that is to use our handy RV Solar Panel Calculator as a guide. Once you have that figure, it’s really easy to know what size of solar panels your RV needs.

April 14, 2009 Posted by | Solar Power Info | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

123 Watt RV Solar Panels

123 Watt RV Solar Panel Kit

Harness the awesome power of the sun with this 123 watt solar panel to keep your RV batteries fully charged.

This SHARP polycrystalline 123-watt RV solar panel kit can produce 7.16 amps and comes complete with a male D/C plug, mounting bracket and screws, battery clamps, voltage tester, quick connectors, and extra wiring.

This panel is one of the best solar panel solutions for any RV owner with low electrical power requirements. But if later on down the road you find you need more juice hooking up a second or even a third panel anytime is a snap!

Here is a quick list of the features this 123 watt RV solar panel has for you:

  • Designed for RVs
  • High Efficiency Polycrystalline Cells
  • Easy to Install & Maintenance Free
  • Weatherproof
  • Connect Multiple Panels for More Power
  • 25 Year Warranty
  • Max Output 123 Watts 7.16 Amps

Click here for more details or to order this RV Solar Panel Kit now!

April 14, 2009 Posted by | Mid Power RV Solar Panels | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

How To Find The Perfect RV Solar Panels For Your RV

RV Solar Panels

Find the perfect Solar Panels for your RV In Just 3 Easy Steps

  1. Discover how much electricity you use in your RV on average a day (very easy to do)
    – Just use our handy RV Solar Panel Calculator to find the answer
  2. Find the perfect solar panels for your RV that matches your answer from step one
    – You’ll find it right at the bottom of the RV Solar Panel Calculator
  3. Order your RV Solar Panels and you’re done!

April 9, 2009 Posted by | RV Solar Power Calculator | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

246 Watt RV Solar Panels

246 Watt RV Solar Panel Kit

With two high efficiency 123W polycrystalline solar panels this RV solar panel kit will convert a tremendous amount of the sun’s power into electricity for you to use when you’re camping.

The two panels are completely weatherproof,  maintenance free and easy to install.  Along with your RV Solar Panels you also get mounting brackets, a voltage tester and extra wiring (brackets and screws also included). You can connect additional panels to these ones which will charge your batteries even faster.

Included with your RV Solar Panel kit is a 30 Amp digital charge controller which helps to maintain 12V batteries in a fully charged state and preventing it from being  overcharged. This controller can handle up to 30 Amps of array current and 500 Watts of solar power.

Everything you need to get set up comes with this kit and even includes a digital 30 amp charge controller, an 175W inverter, screws, mounting brackets, voltage tester, and extra wiring.

Here is a quick list of all the features this 160 watt RV solar panel kit has for you:

  • Designed for RVs
  • High Efficiency Polycrystalline Cells
  • Easy to Install & Maintenance Free
  • Weatherproof
  • Connect Multiple Panels for More Power
  • 25 Year Warranty
  • Each Panel = Max Output 123 Watts 7.16 Amps
  • Digital 30 amp charge controller
  • 175-watt inverter
  • screws, mounting brackets, voltage tester, and extra wiring

Click here for more details or to order this 246 Watt RV Solar Panel Kit now!

April 3, 2009 Posted by | High Power RV Solar Panels | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

RV Solar Panel Calculator

Step 1 – Calculate your RV electrical power requirements

12V Appliances

Amps

x Quantity

x Hrs. run/day

=Total amps/day

10 watt lights 0.8
15 watt lights 1
Water pump 4
12 volt TV 3
Automatic Fan 2
Furnace 8
12 Volt Stereo 0.8
Propane Alarm (usually 24hrs/ day) 0.21 1 24 5

120 VAC Appliances – Using DC to AC Inverters

TV 4
DVD Player 3
Satellite 4
Microwave (average 0.15 day) 100
Toaster 65
Coffee Maker 60
Blender 12
Laptop 5
Coffeemaker (average 0.15 day) 50
Blender (average 0.15 day) 12
Toaster (average 0.15 day) 60
Vacuum (average 0.15 day) 35
Curling Iron (average 0.15 day) 3
Blow Dryer (average 0.15 day) 125
Total amp hours per day


Step 2
– Calculate your total weekly amps

Multiply total amps hours per day by the number of days per week (i.e. weekend camping: multiply
total amp hours x 2 days, full-time camping: multiply total amps per day x 7 days).
_____________ amps per x ______________# of days of use per week = ________________ total amps


Step 3 – Find the perfect solar panels for your RV

Estimated Weekly Output

RV Solar Panels

112 Amps 60 Watt RV Solar Panel Kit
149 Amps 80 Watt RV Solar Panel Kit
200 Amps 123 Watt RV Solar Panel Kit
260 Amps 160 Watt RV Solar Panel Kit
400 Amps 246 Watt RV Solar Panel Kit

Rates are based on a 12V system with 4 hour charging times. Actual charging times will vary depending
on time of year, angle of the sun relative to the RV solar panel and, of course, weather conditions.

April 2, 2009 Posted by | RV Solar Power Calculator | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

160 Watt RV Solar Panels

160 Watt RV Solar Panel Kit

Harness the free power of the sun with this 160 watt solar panel to keep your RV batteries fully charged.

This 160 watt RV Solar Panel Kit contains two of Sharp’s 80 watt solar module panels.

These high efficiency Polycrystalline solar cells have an anti-reflective coating allowing it to absorb more light in absolutely all weather conditions. This 160 watt RV Solar Panel Kit can even let you easily be connect more panels to it to generate more power.  The panels textured cell surface to reduces reflection of sunlight and is completely weatherproof which makes it perfect for mounting it on the roof of an RV.

These panels come with an aluminum frame for extended outdoor use. This kit is extremely easy to install and best of all – maintenance free!

Everything you need to get set up comes with this kit and even includes a digital 30 amp charge controller, an 175W inverter, screws, mounting brackets, voltage tester, and extra wiring.

Here is a quick list of all the features this 160 watt RV solar panel kit has for you:

  • Designed for RVs
  • High Efficiency Polycrystalline Cells
  • Easy to Install & Maintenance Free
  • Weatherproof
  • Connect Multiple Panels for More Power
  • 25 Year Warranty
  • Each Panel = Max Output 80 Watts 4.67 Amps
  • Digital 30 amp charge controller
  • 175-watt inverter
  • screws, mounting brackets, voltage tester, and extra wiring

Click here for more details or to order this RV Solar Panel Kit now!

April 2, 2009 Posted by | Mid Power RV Solar Panels | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment