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Thursday, July 7, 2022

Everything You Need to Know About Solar Power Generators For RV

Moving from traditional gas-powered generators to solar power generators for RVs is a huge step in making the RV ready for off-grid operations. Building a complete solar kit can end up being a daunting task, especially for new riders. You need to understand the various components and how they work together and connect the charge controllers in the right place to avoid complications like short circuits.

If you are looking toward making the upgrade, here is a brief guide on everything you need to know about solar power generators for RVs. At the end of this post, you should be able to make an informed purchase decision for your unit and buy one that suits your requirements.

Everything you need to know about solar generators for RV

1- Can you run an RV off of a solar generator?

Not only can you run an RV off of a solar power generator, but it is also an advantage in more ways than one. Solar generators are extremely versatile, environmentally friendly, and silent compared to traditional generators. That said, there are a few things you need to consider before making the purchase.

  • First and foremost, you will need an estimate of the amount of power your RV consumes. On average, an RV can consume about 20 kWh of power. This number depends substantially on the number and power appetite of the devices and appliances in your RV. During boondocking, i.e., when there is no electrical grid available), the power consumption will be lower. A smart idea here will be to list the appliances in your RV and estimate the individual power consumption and sum it to determine your requirement.
  • Next, you need a basic understanding of how your RV’s electrical system works. The electric system in an RV is either rated for 30 Amps or 50 Amps, the receptacles for which are easily available at campgrounds. As it suggests, the 30 Amps unit has lesser electrical demands compared to the 50 Amps unit. The power available in a 30 Amps unit is around 3600W, while that in a 50 Amps unit can go up to 12000W. However, solar generators usually cannot deliver that kind of power, so you will find power stations with 30 Amps outlets, and you will not be able to run 240V appliances.
  • A simple workaround in this situation can be directly plugging your appliances into the solar generator. Unlike fossil-fuel-powered power stations, solar generators do not produce toxic fumes and are silent, meaning you can run the generator inside the RV without worrying about health concerns. If you do not mind connecting the appliances directly to the solar station, consider this workaround.

2- What size generator will you need for your RV?

As discussed in the sections above, the ideal capacity of a solar generator that you will need is proportional to the energy demand of your RV. You can start by checking the power ratings of the appliances installed in your RV, the label for which you can find at the back or bottom of them. Else, you can get a power plug meter that displays how much power is consumed by the device at that moment.

Once you know the power consumption, multiply it by the duration for which it will be plugged into the generator. For instance, your fridge will need to run 24 hrs a day, so the energy demand can be calculated by multiplying the power (W) by the time (24 hrs).

Next, you will need to consider the depth of discharge and the efficiency of the inverter to determine the size of solar powered generator for RV.  For instance, suppose you have reached an energy demand of 3000 Wh. You will now need to find a power generator of a slightly higher capacity to power your RV. Accounting for efficiency losses ensures that you will not run into power shortage during a trip.

3- Benefits of using solar generator in an RV

One of the primary advantages of a solar generator for your RV is that it is a substantially eco-friendlier alternative to traditional generators. It uses a clean and renewable source of energy (i.e., solar power) to recharge your appliances. Since there are no fossil fuels consumed, solar generators do not contribute to carbon emissions and climate change. Therefore, you can run a wide range of appliances like refrigerators, air conditioners, etc., in your RV easily, without worrying about harming the environment.

Solar generators are also substantially “plug and play”, meaning you do not need to worry about tinkering with the electrical systems in your RV to install one. Moreover, you also do not have to fill up the generator with flammable fuels, which is a safety hazard. Solar generators are also cheaper than DIY kits as it comes as a package deal. You will also save a ton of money on fuel and campgrounds as you can avoid spending money on using shore power as much as possible.

In an already limited space in the RV, gas generators can end up taking a lot of space. Solar generators are compact and portable, which comes in extremely handy in several situations. For instance, you can park your RV in the shade and keep the power generator in the sun to recharge the unit. Moreover, they can be easily transferred to a new vehicle if you decide to upgrade.

Solar power generators for RVs are an excellent choice if you want to use an environmentally-friendly alternative to gas-powered generators. You can find a wide range of solar generators available on the market, meaning you can choose one that best suits your budget and power consumption. They are affordable and a more practical solution than DIY kits. Moreover, they are super easy to use and provide a wide range of benefits that can help you in the transition to moving off the grid. Make sure you study your energy requirements to purchase a generator that meets your energy requirements.

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