Are Solar Panels Worth it on an RV?
Most of the time, we see solar panels installed for businesses and homes, but solar energy isn’t just for stationary buildings – it can also be used for mobile vehicles like RVs. In this post, we’ll discuss if solar panels are worth it on an RV, how RV solar panels work, RV solar panels options, and the benefits of RV solar panels. Ya ready? Buckle up and let’s go!
How Do RV Solar Panels Work for RVs/Motorhomes?
These bad boys work very similarly to the way residential and commercial solar panels work by capturing the sunlight and turning it into electricity for your home and business. You can purchase fancy, portable solar panels designed to be fairly easy to put up and take down for your RV, and they also make smaller panels that are mounted on the roof of an RV. Your decision depends on the size of your vehicle and how much energy you need.
It’s important to remember that while RV panels and residential solar panels are alike in how they operate, there’s also a significant difference considering the amount of energy they put out. RV panels put out less energy, mainly to charge smaller appliances and recharge your mobile devices than residential solar panels do. House solar systems typically put out enough energy to power your entire home. This is if you purchase your solar panels from a reputable company that does their due diligence ensuring that the installation will put out the adequate amount of energy that you and your family need. (Like, ahem, Sun Energy California!)
To generate solar electricity for your RV, you’ll need a system containing these particular “fixin’s”:
- Solar Panels (NO WAY! Who would have thunk it?)
- Solar Batteries, either lithium-ion or lead-acid.
- An inverter. This converts the electricity from direct currents (the kind on an electrical fence, or the kind you see in cartoons if you will) to alternate currents (the human-friendly kind).
- A charge controller – this prevents your storage system from overcharging.
- Wires and cables to hook components together
- Mounting equipment (sometimes this is included with the purchase of panels)
There are motorhome solar panels kits that have some, if not all, of these necessary parts. Just make sure you read the reviews and purchase from a reputable manufacturer that can back up their product with great customer service. It’s also worth mentioning that you can add additional panels to your existing RV system if the roof space on top allows it. The panels exclusively made for RV’s are typically much smaller than the ones you see on residential rooftops.
Benefits of Solar Panels on your RV
Local Regulations – When you’re camping in most U.S. National Parks, you can use your generator, but unfortunately it has to be at a certain decibel to be allowed and it can only be used during the regulated hours. Some parks don’t even allow generators. If you have solar, you can say goodbye to worrying about complying with these rules. High five!
Reduced Cost – Solar power is cheaper than a generator. Seriously, look it up. We’re not lyin’. Once you pay to install solar panels on your RV, that’s it. No more paying for gas over and over again! Score!
Less Noise – Do we have to tell you how annoying the sound of a generator is?
Fewer Emissions – Generators generate emissions and that’s not cool. Need we say more?
Freedom – With solar, you can take your land yacht anywhere you want! You’re not limited to camping in places where hookups are available. The ability to generate electricity no matter where you go is SUPER empowering! To nature and beyond!
Less Maintenance – Solar panels are stationary and there’s not a lot of moving parts so maintenance isn’t an ongoing issue.
Dependability – Did you know that solar panels can still generate electricity on cloudy days? This makes them a dependable source of power not only when the sun is shining.
Should I install solar panels on my RV?
Well, frankly, that depends on the kind of camper you are. Do you prefer to set up shop in remote areas and dry camp? Do you travel using your RV often? If the answer is yes to both of these questions, solar energy may be perfect for you and you’ll see significant savings when comparing your costs to that of a generator – especially when looking long-term.
With that being said, solar panels don’t always make sense for all RV owners. If you travel less than 4 times a year and prefer to spend your time at traditional camping sites that provide hookups, then solar panels on your RV might not be the best call. It all depends on the traveler and their preferences.
Regardless of your decision, solar power is a waste-free, quiet, low risk with little maintenance way to conquer the world on the go! Thanks for reading!
Did you know…
That the current ITC Federal Tax Credit for California homeowners using solar energy is 26%? Next year the credit will decrease to 22%! Only to disappear completely by 2022. (I know, sad face). If you’re thinking of going solar for your home, the time is now. Call Sun Energy California at 760.845.8466 and speak to one of our awesome solar advisors.
We offer free, no-pressure estimates and consultations. You’ve heard the bad, we’ve got the truth!
**Customer’s ability to monetize rebates, incentives and tax credits depends on several factors, including, without limitation, continued state subsidization of these policies, the applicable Sun Energy CA product type, and whether a customer purchases or leases a solar panel system from Sun Energy CA.**
Did you know?
One wind turbine can produce enough electricity to power up to 300 homes.
Renewable energy is a form of clean energy that is provided by natural sources present in nature.
Solar, wind, hydroelectric, biomass, and geothermal power can provide energy without the planet-warming effects of fossil fuels.