The RVers Corner

JWW

Nov 29th 9:14 AM

My new Motor Home does not come equipped with any Solar Panels for charging, etc. How important are solar panels anyway?

Nov 29th 1:02 PM

JWW,

In my experience, very few MHs come with solar panels as standard equipment.

I've spent quite a bit of time studying RV solar charging systems and have come to the following conclusions; they are a pretty expensive luxury UNLESS you do a LOT of dry camping. If you do boondock for extended periods of time then they become a necessity but, still, quality solar charging systems, especially those large enough to make a significant contribution to your power needs, are quite expensive.

Others will have their own opinions.

If you'd like to study up on solar charging systems for RVs just let me know. I have a rather extensive website reference list that I'd be happy to send to you or post here if others are interested.

Personally, we don't have a solar charging system installed on our MH . . . yet. When/if we do add one it probably won't be REAL big, but just big enough to make a difference.

The smaller ones just don't put out enough power to make a real difference and the BIG ones are priced beyond what I ever want to spend on one, and I doubt that we'd ever see a return on that large of an investment.

Geary

Dec 3rd 6:08 PM
Our 1995 Class A has a small solar panel to provide a constant trickle charge to the 6-volt batteries. It works constantly and silently and in 5 years the batteries have never been less than fully charged, even when the coach is stored for more than a month. If we didn't have one, I'd get one. I can't address larger units which permit using appliances and lights.

Howard

Dec 7th 6:16 PM
Do solar panels help charge batteries when the battery disconnect switches are on while in storage? Also, will snow cover prevent them from working?
Thanks

Dec 7th 6:52 PM
Howard,

If the charging system from the solar array is connected directly to the batteries they should charge even if the battery disconnect switch is turned off.

Solar panels derive their collection capability from the sun. They will not charge in darkness or when covered by snow. Even in cloudy weather their collection capabilities are diminished.

For a good primer on solar energy you might want to read the information available at Northern Arizona Wind and Sun, http://www.solar-electric.com/ .

Luke

Dec 25th 11:49 PM
A good solar panel installation with one 50 watt panel will cost about $700 installed. I did it for one reason; so I could go out for the weekend and bring the motorhome back to storage and the next time I wanted to use it, it would be fully charged. That has been worth $700 over the last 5 years. A solar installation that will recharge your batteries during a single day, would take three or four 50 watt panels at about about $300 per panel plus installation. Only cost effective for full timers.

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