I’ve had solar on the brains for months. I’ve been RVing long enough now to know what I need in terms of a solar setup. Soon as I can free up the cash, I’ll be ready to spend!
My battery bank is comprised of two 6 volt golf cart batteries with a capacity of about 200 amp hours. I only really get 60% of that capacity, so I have 120 amp hours available to me. By being frugal and only using power for the fridge, propane detector, and furnace, I can spend two to three nights off shore power. I can do three to four nights if I don’t have to heat. The 15 watt panel on the roof gives me about 4 amps a day, enough to recharge my laptop once a day when it’s sunny, so I don’t factor that into the equation.
So, with strict energy consumption in mind, I average 40 amps per day at 12 volts. Having 60 amps available to me would mean not having to be so careful and give me a good buffer.
Also, I have very little use for 120 volt power, except for computer charging. I don’t miss the microwave or toaster when I’m not plugged in, so I was hit with the realisation that I don’t need a whole house inverter! My little 400 watt inverter is more than enough for my needs. If I absolutely needed to print while boondocking, it’d be cheaper to just go have it done at a copy store. So, all I need is a solar panel and a regulator.
I’d like to be able to boondock in the Yukon this summer for two weeks at a stretch, the length of time you can stay in a territorial park in a 28 day period. So, that meant I’d need a solar panel capable of providing me with 840 amps of power.
This is the point in my calculations where someone came up to see what I was scribbling about. Turns out he knows solar (too funny, what a coincidence). He looked at my numbers and said “That’s an easy one. 125 watt panel and a regulator. Add two to six more 6 volts if you have the space and weight for them and you’ll never have to worry about power again.” I got a second opinion on that, and got the same answer. So, now I know what I need and I’m starting to accumulate quotes.
I think I’ve given up on the generator. It’s surely a lost cause by now. I’d probably be better off having it removed and then using the extra carrying capacity for doubling, or even tripling, my battery bank. Three people also suggested that I might be able to get enough for the scrap generator to finance a good part of my solar investment. So, that’s another thing I’m going to be looking into.
Investing in solar has been a long time coming, but I’m glad I waited because now I really know what I need and I can spend my money well.Share on Facebook