I have decided to equip solar panels on my RV to save my money and keep the environment clean during camping journeys. Before I knew the solar energy system, I had always used electric power at the RV parks and it had been totally inconvenient.
In this article, I’m happy to list out the advantages of solar energy and state why we should use this alternative power. Additionally, many campers have asked whether the solar panels are too heavy to be applied to the RV roof? The answer will be explained below.
Table of Contents
Advantages of Solar Panels
The solar energy system gives us many benefits, including:
- The solar panels help you cut the cost when running the propane for a long time.
- The solar panels can extend the battery life up to 6, 8 or maybe 10 years.
- The panels don’t need fuel to burn so they don’t release smells or waste.
- They save your time from assembling bulky items.
- Solar energy is hard to be inexhaustible.
- The solar system doesn’t need maintenance frequently. It guarantees over 20 years of producing clean energy.
- It is environmental-friendly.
- It produces more solar energy by expanding the panel system, effortlessly without a whole innovation of your formation.
Types of RV Solar Panels
Nowadays, it has offered three different types of RV solar panels, including monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and amorphous. Each type of panel will have a distinctive feature; hence, you should research carefully to choose the most suitable product for your RV:
Monocrystalline: This type of solar panel is made from a single crystal. On the surface of the panel, it contains square solar cells arranging as an array. It has the highest level of proficiency up to 15-20%. Moreover, the monocrystalline panels can perform well in low quantities of sunlight. Hence, this is the most expensive product among the three types of solar panels.
Polycrystalline: You can easily recognize the polycrystalline solar panel with the bluish hue on the surface of solar cells. The heat tolerance feature of this product is lower than the monocrystalline panel, so it costs cheaper than the other.
Amorphous: If you are seeking the thin and flexible solar panels to attach on RV, amorphous products designed with a sticky backing like a tape will be the most suitable selection. It is a new solar technology. Although this solar panel holds the lowest price among others, it has low efficiency in metabolizing electrical power.
Furthermore, depending on each brand that produces solar panels, its product will have different weights. Normally, a solar panel weighs from 4lbs to 20 lbs. Therefore, if you want to attach products on your RV roof, you should carefully consider their weight to prevent damages.
How Many RV Solar Panels do You Need?
The wattage of solar panels is usually between 100 and 400 Watts. If the solar system has been fully assembled, it can reach up to 800 Watts. Additionally, the solar panels can produce up to 4000 Watts if being placed in direct sunlight for 5 hours (800 x 5 = 4000). To help you determine how many panels you need in order to run electrical items, I will provide information about the power consumption of common appliances as below:
|Appliance||Daily hours of use||Power consumption (watt)||Daily power consumption (Wh)|
As you can see above, with 4000 Watts has been metabolized from solar panels, it is enough to power small appliances such as light bulbs, television. But you couldn’t run a mini-fridge for a whole day. Therefore, based on your demand for using electrical devices, you can assemble more solar energy panels.
What do We Need to Install the RV Solar Panels?
Although the solar panels are helpful for campers, they are quite difficult for newbies to design the entire system. To help you visualize the process of assembling this system, I will introduce the most important items and their uses.
Solar panels: They offer a wide range of sizes, weights, and structures nowadays. Before assembling the solar system, the first step is to estimate the total wattage of your electrical appliances; then, determine the number of panels you need by the formula above.
Charge controller: It regulates the flow of electrical power to your RV batteries so it is essential to have one.
Battery monitor: It helps you to observe the battery levels effortlessly.
Inverter: The energy-producing from the solar panels is DC. AC is used in electrical power appliances on RV. Hence, we need an inverter to convert power from DC to AC to operate.
Wire harness: It connects and carries the flow of electricity from the solar panels to the battery pack of RV.
If you want to assemble more solar panels on your RV, you should estimate the weight of all products to avoid damages for the RV roof. Hence, you ought to read the instructions above carefully to get the most effective work without spending too much.
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