People who vacation with their RV love the freedom they have traveling with their own lodging. They can stop when and where they want and usually do not have to make reservations ahead of time. This flexibility and independence is also one of the reasons for the growing popularity of RV solar panels. A RV solar panel charging system allows complete freedom for the RV life with no need to plug in to recharge batteries.
Solar panels are quiet, clean, and simple to use. They typically have few moving parts, so there is very little that can break or need repair or maintenance. The panels produce DC current by converting sunlight and some even work in shade and on cloudy days. Installing a solar panel system will maximize the life of an RV’s batteries.
Having an independent electrical system allows true freedom on the road. The RV can be parked anywhere with no worries about running a generator or needing to plug-in to a power source. Travel to the mountains, the beach, across the country or from Mexico to Alaska and never worry about power.
What to Consider Before Purchasing a RV Solar System
When purchasing an RV solar system, one important consideration is that these solar systems are different that those installed in traditional homes. This is mostly because RVs are different than traditional homes so weight, durability, and efficiency need to be factored in.
There are three primary types of solar panels for RVs. These are the poly-crystalline or multi-crystal, the amorphous or thin film, and the mono-crystalline or single crystal. Even though the technology behind each of these is much the same, the manufacturing processes can be quite different resulting in very different efficiency ratings.
Factors impacting the energy a solar panel can produce
• The amount of sunlight and how bright it is. The brighter the sunlight, the more power the solar panels will produce.
• Quality of the wiring. If the wiring is done correctly, the voltage will be high, but if the connections are poor or the wrong wire is used, the voltage will drop.
• The time of day. The solar panels will produce up to ninety percent of their power during the middle of the day, typically up to three hours before and after noon.
• The amount of shade. If there is a great deal of shade, it can impact the amount of voltage produced by the solar panels. This is not only trees. It can also be shadows cast by buildings, air conditioners, pop-outs, or anything that can cast shade on the panels.
• The angle of the sun. Ideally, the panels should be pointed directly at the sun. Some solar panels come with the ability to tilt in order to get a better angle toward the sun.
The most popular RV solar panels are 36 cells and are rated from 16.5 volts to 19.5 volts. The panels should be rated higher than the RV’s batteries because there will be times the voltage will drop and when this happens a higher voltage rating on the solar panels means there will still be enough electricity generated even during a voltage drop.
Installing an RV solar system can truly add an extra element of independence to the RVing experience. Easy to install and maintain, they more than pay for themselves.