More and more consumers are concerned about integrating sustainability into their lifestyles to help the environment. This has spread to the RV community as well, in the form of alternative energy sources.
A great way to power your RV that will save you money in the long-term while providing renewable energy is to install solar panels on your rig.
Solar panels have been proliferating in homes and businesses for years now, and RV manufacturers have joined in by making vehicles that are capable of handling them. They’re particularly useful for boondockers who don’t want to rely solely on propane while camping out in the wilderness.
Here at Athens RV, we value the environment and want to help our customers save money, too. This guide to the ins and outs of RV solar panels will let you determine whether this energy solution is right for you.
While they are popular and useful, solar panels have not quite become completely reliable in all aspects. This means that some campers may not derive as much benefit from installing them. Your primary concern is whether or not you’ll be under enough sunlight to generate power. If you’re camping in inclement weather or cloudy conditions, your panels won’t be able to charge up.
Another concern is the amount of energy provided, since this energy source may not give you enough power to get you through the night. Having a secondary source of power, whether it’s a hook-up at a campsite or a propane generator, may be necessary to supplement the output.
Another essential consideration is whether you can afford the initial investment required for this sustainable solution. While the energy provided is freely sourced from sunlight, the purchase and installation of solar panels isn’t cheap. You’ll need to budget for them.
Consider how often you would make use of solar energy as well. If you’re often at campsites that provide power hook-ups or you use a generator, you may not derive as much benefit from solar panels. However, if you boondock or dry camp far away from hook-ups, you may see much more reason to install them. Fueling a rig with propane can be tedious if you’re always having to drive into town to source more of it, so for those intrepid campers who stay off the grid on a regular basis, supplementing their use of propane with solar panels makes perfect financial sense.
Making Good Choices
When you’re thinking about whether you should install solar panels, you’ll want to take stock of everything on your RV that requires power, whether it’s an electronic device or an appliance. You should take the time to determine how much energy your rig needs so you can power it without blowing a fuse. Go around your RV and take notes on how much wattage each electrical appliance or device uses and think about how often you use each one to get an idea of your baseline power needs. This will help you in the purchasing process to find the correct panels and amps for your particular RV.
Storing enough energy is one of the difficulties of using renewable power sources. If you’re frequently camping in rainy, cloudy or snowy weather, generating enough power via sunlight can be nearly impossible. However, you can take advantage of those warm, sunny days by storing energy in a battery to use later. You’ll want to find the right battery for your rig and it should be a higher quality to ensure it lasts as long as you need it to. Try an AGM or lithium-ion battery that will efficiently store energy without needing to be replaced every few years.
Whenever you’re making a big decision about your RV, it’s important to consider all your options. If you still have questions about renewable energy sources, pay us a visit! Our staff will be happy to answer all your inquiries. You can also see our full selection of new and used RVs, including KZ RVs. Athens RV proudly serves the Houston and Dallas metro areas as well as the cities of Tyler, Longview, Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas.