There’s little to no doubt that more and more homeowners have been going solar over the past few years. In fact, according to research, the number of residential solar installations will double by 2024. And while most US citizens are looking to upgrade their homes, others are setting their sight on their RVs. However, if you are new to the world of solar energy, you might be wondering, How do solar panels work on my RV? So, without further ado, let’s take a look at RV solar panels and their functionality.
The Basics of Solar Energy
Solar energy refers to all types of energy that we can harness from the sun using solar panels. It’s worth mentioning that solar energy can be converted into electricity or heat, depending on your needs.
But what are solar panels? To put it simply, solar panels are an assembly of photovoltaic cells that are mounted into a framework. Their purpose is to absorb sunlight during daylight hours and then convert it into electricity. They do that through the photovoltaic effect, which involves the movement of electrons from one layer to another.
How Do Solar Panels Work On My RV?
Generally speaking, RV solar panels work in the same way a residential solar installation works. And even though you can use normal panels, you can buy portable RV solar panels specially designed for easy setup.
The biggest difference between residential and RV panels is the size of the system. On the one hand, a residential solar installation is designed to cover most, if not all, of a property’s electrical needs. On the other hand, an RV system can provide power to recharge small devices or some bigger kitchen appliances. And while you can always add more solar panels, RV’s don’t have enough roof space for a big, houselike setup.
It’s important to mention that, similar to residential systems, you can store solar energy in special batteries for later use. As a result, you don’t have to worry about cloudy days, as you can use some of the stored energy.
Should I Install Solar Panels On My RV?
Depending on your routine, you can definitely get a variety of benefits from installing solar panels. For example, if you are the type of RV owner that travels to remote locations, solar energy may be the only way to generate electricity when needed. Additionally, while you could use a gas generator to power your appliances, solar energy is much cheaper and environmentally friendly.
Similarly, you can save a ton of money if you generate your own electricity instead of using the one provided by camping’s power hookups. In fact, considering that electricity is becoming more expensive each year, you may end up saving a fortune shortly after switching to solar.
What Do I Need to Know About Solar Panel Installation?
Generally speaking, you will need an inverter, solar batteries, a charge controller, and, of course, solar panels. Not only that, but you will need a few isolated wires and cables to hook everything together. And while you could purchase every item separately, there are different kits that bundle every piece of equipment together.
Keep in mind that although you can install solar panels by yourself, you need to be very careful when doing so. Actually, you may end up shorting your entire solar panel system if you miss connect the components. Therefore, you should always read the instructions or research online before trying to install any solar equipment.
Do solar panels work on my RV? — the answer is a strong and loud yes! As a matter of fact, RV solar panels work identically to their residential counterparts. Yet, they produce less energy due to the limited space that RV’s have. Nevertheless, investing in a few solar panels is a great way to save money and have your personal power plant wherever you go. And thanks to the worldwide push for renewable energy, solar panels will become more affordable in the near future.