How Much Solar Power Do I Need For My RV?

Part of the appeal of camping with an RV is the ability to bring the comforts of home with you.

There will be enough space to have appliances, like a coffee maker or microwave. But this can pose a problem. How will you be getting the power needed to run these things?

Campers have been increasingly turning to solar power. This has led to plenty of innovation in this area, with a wide array of solar generators coming to the market.

Let’s look at how you can find the right size for you.

Why Choose Solar Power?

RV solar system

Solar power is one of the newest additions to this market. Before this, it was gasoline-powered generators.

These are relatively cheap and are highly dependable. So why should you make the switch to solar?

There are plenty of reasons why people have been using this technology. But here are some of the highlights:

  • Better for the environment. Solar panels won’t put out any emissions. Plus, you don’t need to worry about any exhaust fumes.
  • Cheaper to run. You won’t need to keep buying fuel.
  • Quiet. No one wants to go on an RV holiday, just to have to listen to the puttering motor of a generator.
  • Easy to maintain. A solar generator is easy to set up and use. If you maintain it properly, the system will work for years.

How Much Solar Power For An RV?

RV solar

Now that we know a little more about why you should get a solar power generator, let’s turn our attention to how to get everything set up.

The amount of power you need will depend on the way you plan to use it. Are you just going to use it for some minor tasks, like charging up phone and laptop batteries?

Or do you plan on using it for more intensive activities, like running appliances like a microwave or washing machine?

The best way to find the amount of power you need is by going camping.

As you are doing this, monitor the batteries on your RV and note how much power you are draining each day. It might help to have a couple of trips, so you can get a more accurate average.

In most cases, your RV will have two 100-amp batteries. It’s best to avoid draining them too much. Once you start to drain over 50 percent, it can start to shorten the lifespan.

When you hit this mark, take a note of how long it took you to reach this point. This will tell you how much power you consume each day.

For example, you might have two 100-amp batteries and it takes you four days to drain them to 50 percent. This means that you are using 25 amps of power each day.

A second option is to look at the type of appliances that you intend to use on your camping trip.

You can then estimate the amount of power that each one will require and add this up to get the number of amps required per day.

The next thing you need to consider is the number of watts your solar panels can provide. If you have a 100-watt panel, you can expect it to provide around 6 amps of power an hour.

You should look at the peak power in the product description, which tells you the amount of electricity it will provide.

This will often be measured in amps. If you plan for five hours of sunlight a day, this is 30 amps per day. In our example, this should be enough to cover electricity needs.

If you need more, you can add a second panel.

What Solar Batteries Will You Need?

If you are planning to power your RV with solar panels, you will need to get some excellent solar batteries.

This will allow you to store power, so you still have electricity on overcast days. The 100-amp battery is the most common and will be suitable for most camping trips.

But if you are planning on running a lot of appliances, you might want to get something that is more powerful.

Increasing The Amount Of Power You Are Generating

There are a few things you can do to make sure that you are getting the best performance out of your solar panels.

First, you will need to make sure that you are putting them in a good place. You will need to select an area where they will be able to get constant sunlight. Avoid any obstructions, like branches or shadowy areas.

You will also need to make sure that you are keeping your solar panels clean. This will often be fairly easy.

Often, you’ll just need to wipe them down with a damp cloth. This will remove any dust that has accumulated on the panel.

It’s best to do this early in the morning or at night, so the water evaporation doesn’t cause dirt to smear on the panel.

This video will talk you through the process.

Other Things To Look For When Choosing An RV Solar Generator

While the amount of power the panels can supply is important, it isn’t the only thing that you should be looking for. Some of the other elements to consider include:

  • The size and weight of the generator
  • Cost
  • Quality of the system. It’s best to choose something that comes with a strong warranty period.
  • What outlets it contains

The good news is that there are plenty of suitable options available. This list of portable solar generators should help you narrow down your options.

Conclusion

If you love taking an RV holiday, you will need to find a reliable way of powering your camp. A good solar generator is a great way of doing this.

You can get a larger set-up for your whole RV. Or you can get a more compact version, designed to charge phones and cameras.

So, pick the right solar generator and run your camp equipment using the power of the sun.

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