Solar Power Systems For Recreational Use
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Many people who choose RV Solar Electric systems are looking for a way to have dependable electricity even when parked far from the closest plug-in. The reason people give for being happy with an RV solar system is because it is quiet, or because it is less expensive and less complicated than a generator.

Since batteries are charged when traveling, RV's normally depend mostly on the vehicle's alternator for the primary power source. Power to charge the battery bank is also provided through a converter when plugged into the utility. However, for those who like to spend days, weeks (or longer) not traveling and not plugged in, photovoltaics can mean freedom. And, because a PV array can put as much power into your batteries during an hour of bright sun as a small gasoline generator, it can also mean reclaiming peace and quiet. As well, the RV's existing battery bank and fuse box make the transition to solar a smooth and economical one.

While most of our RV systems utilize 1 to 3 modules, it is important to analyze your power needs. Just as with all PV systems, you need to consider the wattage of the appliances and lights you are powering as well as the average hours used each day. Average daily usage can be calculated on the worksheets in the appendix. Unlike most other systems, however, RV's travel through different regions of climate, park at varying angles to the sun, sometimes in shad e and sometimes not. People with similar vehicles can have very dissimilar power usage and patterns of travel. These factors should be considered. If you have any questions about how to go about this, please give us a call.

Most of our RV systems are sized to power average daily loads in average conditions. Determine where you will spend the most time "boon-docking" for three days or more and in what season. Find this on the map of sun-hours and make this your "available-sun-hours" entry on the worksheet. If the modules are mounted flat on the roof, they will put out about 70 percent as much as if aimed perfectly at the noon-day sun, so multiply sun hours by .7 for your worksheet entry.

RV Solar diagram Some of our customers have chosen to install an extension cord for their modules so that they can park in the shade while the array sits in the sun. For added durability and ease of handling, the "lite" modules on page 34 can be used. Ask us for tips on this type of arrangement.

Air conditioners require a very large array and are seldom powered by PV. Microwaves are okay, but require an inverter as do any other 110 volt AC appliances. When sizing, don't forget heater blower fans if you use them. Refrigerators that run on both propane and electric are very inefficient when run on electric. Any kind of electrical resistance heat is out, with the exception of occasional hair blowers or toasters.

3775 Encinal Cyn
Malibu, CA 90265
Phone # (310) 589-9544
Fax # (310) 589-9714

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