The popularity of solar energy in households is continuously growing, but did you know that there are off grid solar systems for mobile applications as well, so you can generate power on the go and enjoy time spent in your RV wherever your adventure takes you.
It was in the 1800s when scientists discovered the photovoltaic effect, where some materials produce an electric charge and current when exposed to the sun. But it wasn’t until the 1950s that scientists discovered that silicon, which can be found in sand, can create an efficient solar panel. It’s a panel filled with solar cells that capture the sun’s energy and turn it into usable electricity.
So, if you are tired of staying at campgrounds and RV resorts where you will be paying for electrical hook-ups to power your RV and your devices and appliances, you may consider off grid solar systems. It’s a worthwhile investment that can make your adventures more enjoyable and here is how.
No More Noisy Generators
Campgrounds and RV resorts are great for spending some time in nature, meeting new people and powering up your RV and all the devices and appliances you need on your trip, but sometimes these places can be overwhelming. People staying up until late at night or a noisy generator that doesn’t let you fall asleep can make you think about boondocking next time.
Staying in areas where there are no electrical hook-ups can be a lot of fun, whether you want to discover new areas by yourself or spend some quality time with family and friends. An off grid solar system can be an excellent addition to your RV lifestyle and help you get the most of your journey. It provides silent power and minimises the need for a noisy generator to recharge your batteries.
Freedom to Roam
Off the grid solar systems are a remarkable development in renewable energy and RVers appreciate them a lot and for a good reason. This type of solar system allows you to go anywhere you want and stay, using the free power of the sun to address all of your electrical needs. It frees you and allows you to explore remote, off-grid locations.
Simple and Easy to Use
If you have an off grid solar system installed on the roof of your RV, when sunlight hits the solar panels, the cells on the panels absorb energy from the sun. Circuits within the solar panels’ cells take that energy and turn it into electrical current, which is fed through wires to a charge controller and controls the battery’s current.
This energy becomes direct current or DC, the electricity that charges your RV’s battery and stores energy to be used to power the devices and appliances you use. The DC power is typically 12 volts and can power run lights, electronics and appliances in your RV. If needed, you can convert the 12-Volt DC to 120-Volt AC (alternating current) electricity to power devices, such as laptops, coffee makers and more.
How to Choose Your Off the Grid Solar System
To begin with, calculate how much energy you use in a day. The easiest way to do this is to estimate how much power you will consume while boondocking. Make sure to learn what each device or appliance you are going to use consumes and multiply it by the number of hours you will use it. Also, you will need to know how many batteries you will need to store that amount of power.
Keep in mind that your off grid solar system will give you the power you need only under perfect conditions, meaning direct sun pointing at the panels. On a rainy day, or if you parking in the shade, don’t expect to get 200 Watts from your 200-Watt solar panel.
Components of an Off Grid Solar System
Off the grid solar systems are typically built of solar panels smaller than the solar panels made for residential and commercial use. But they have similar components and work in the same way.
The battery bank is the essence of an RV solar power system. Without it, an RV can’t store power. However, not all battery banks are created equal and they are not all suited to the charge cycles of a solar system and lithium batteries are the best choice.
The RV solar panels are placed on the roof of the RV and collect energy from the sun in the solar cells and transfer it to the battery bank. You can opt for flat solar panels or choose solar panels with a mounting method that will allow you to angle your solar panels toward the sun and make the most of your solar system.
The charge controller transfers the energy from the collar cells to the battery bank and its purpose is to control the rate at which your batteries charge. It’s required to prevent overcharging and mounts inside the RV.
As abovementioned, the electricity from your batteries is 12-Volt DC electricity, but some devices require 120-Volt electricity and for these, you will need an inverter that transforms 12V DC power to 120 AC power. Make sure to mount the inverter inside your RV, close to the battery bank, so your AC devices and appliances can receive the transforming power (from DC to AC).