Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Do You Need A Generator If You Have Solar Panels

Do Rvs Come With Solar Pre

Do You REALLY need Solar, Lithium Batteries or a Generator?

Cheaper RVs will not have solar pre-installed in the vehicle. However, as you go up in price, you are more likely to find options that have solar panels included in the package price.

Although, do bear in mind, that often it is going to be far better to purchase the solar panels separately. This way you will be able to guarantee the quality that you have installed in your vehicle.

Types Of Generators For Off

There are two main types of generator, conventional generators and inverter generators.

Conventional generators are those used in workshops, on boats and anywhere that portable energy is required. They are relatively cheap, readily available and easy to maintain. The downside is that they supply dirty or fluctuating energy and can be noisy.

Inverter generators are more advanced generators that deliver refined energy better suited to home appliances and electronics. They are also quieter and very fuel efficient. The downside is that they are substantially more expensive than a conventional generator and have shorter run times due to smaller fuel tanks.

How Do I Know If I Need A Solar Generator

We actually cant tell you if you need a solar generator, but here are some things to consider that may help you decide whether or not to get one.

If you regularly experience:

  • Fear of the rapture
  • The need to be prepared for doomsday or the like

You may want to consider getting a solar generator. They can help combat power outages during those times of extreme weather, or they can give you peace of mind knowing you have some sort of defense against the difficult times if, and when, disaster strikes.

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What About Generators Are They Pre

Most RVs are not going to come with generators installed. Generally speaking, it will only be the highest end RVs that have any sort of generator installed.

However, even then, it is likely going to be a solar panel as opposed to your conventional generator. Basically, if you want a standard generator in your RV, it is likely that you are going to need to purchase one separately.

Can An Rv Run On Solar Only

Solar Generators vs. Fuel Generators: Which One Is Best ...

Solar power will charge your rigs batteries, but it wont power any device that requires a/c power. A workaround is to install an inverter that changes d/c power to a/c. However, inverters drain the batteries quickly. Depending upon the size of the inverter and the number of batteries you have in your battery bank, you can run your microwave, TV, and other a/c powered devices for a while. However, air conditioners draw a lot of power when starting and running so air conditioners wont run on solar alone.

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Sample Costs Of Rv Solar Power Kits And Parts

The Inverter Stores 1590 Watt Solar With 6000 Watt Pure Sine Power Inverter Charger 120/240VAC 24VDC $6,079.28

Renogy 300W 12V Solar Panel Polycrystalline Off Grid Starter Kit with Wanderer Charger Controller $463.00 from Walmart

Windy Nation 100-Watt Solar Panel $108.99 from Home Depot

Renogy 200 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Solar Starter Kit with Wanderer $349.99 from Amazon

Solarflexion 390 Watt 12Volt RV Solar Kit $599.00 from Solarflexion

Backup Power Options And Size Power Load

When choosing backup power options, consider what youll need to power your home when the grid is down. A battery will do just fine if you merely want to keep the lights on when an outage occurs. Most homeowners who pick the battery generally take solace in the fact that crucial loads will need power in case an outage occurs.

Not all batteries can produce adequate electricity to power energy-intensive equipment and appliances. Suppose you use a well pump, a sump pump, or similar equipment that consumes lots of power. In that case, its advisable to install a battery backup system (an example is the Pika Energy Harbor Battery it works excellently as backup power.

Installing a generator means you wont have to be anxious about things like critical loads. If you select a properly-sized generator, you will keep your home running without a hassle. Get an excellent installer to do the job. Moreover, you should have enough fuel on-site.

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Will A Solar Generator Increase The Value Of My Home

No, because it doesnt require installation, solar generators arent permanently affixed to your home. Think of it more like a BBQ grillsomething youll probably take with you when you move. However, home standby generators may increase the value of your home because they are installed directly into your electrical system and are thus a more permanent fixture.

Advantages Of Rv Solar Power

How to Build a DIY Portable Solar Power Generator | Glamping Solar Generator
  • Solar panels add little weight to the roof if panels contain no glass
  • Noiseless
  • No need for purchasing of fuel
  • Stationary RV solar power systems have lower theft rates.
  • Depending on the buyer, may increase the resale value of a camper or RV
  • Will save money on energy costs if you plan to use the RV for several years

Also Check: How Much Does It Cost To Go Solar In Illinois

Solar Generator Inverter Suggestions

When choosing the right inverter for your solar generator, you will need to determine which is best for the size of your solar array, or solar panel setup.

Your inverter will be converting all of the DC power supplied to it, so the inverter must be able to handle as much energy as your solar panels can supply.

In general, your inverter should be the same size as the DC rating of your solar panel setup. For example, if you have a 6 kilowatt system, you are going to want at least a 6,000 watt inverter.

Of course, this is a general suggestion and your application may vary.

Will You Benefit From Solar

The only time you will benefit from solar is when your RV is disconnected from shore power. There is no reason to have solar on your RV if you primarily stay in full-hookup RV parks.

If you enjoy boondocking for days at a time in sunny locations , a permanently installed RV solar system could provide the energy independence youre looking for.

If occaisional boondocking is your thing, then a portable solar panel kit may be all you need to benefit from solar and avoid a potentially costly permanent installation.

Making your own portable solar panel charger is a great way to learn the basics of solar. Ill show you how in . Would you rather buy a pre-assembled kit like the one shown above? If so, there are several .

Also Check: How To Dispose Of Old Solar Panels

Calculate The Cost Of Acquiring A Generator Or Battery Backup

How does installing battery backup compare to installing a generator? Put simply, the cost of installing backup power at home largely depends on the amount ofpower needed and the equipment chosen.

You can get a standby generator for around $3,000 and $5,000. This can power a typical home. In comparison, you can get a home backup battery starting from $6,000 . In most cases, youll need multiple batteries to provide enough power to run your home.

Overall, it costs around $10,000- 20,000 to install a battery backup system. In case your energy needs exceed that of your neighbors, you might need more batteries or a bigger generator. However, the installation costs will be a few thousand dollars over the initial price.

You can make some savings if you choose battery backup power. Do not consider the upfront price as the only cost youll incur. No. If you install a generator, keep in mind that youll buy some fuel to run the machine. If you frequently use your generator, the fuel costs will shoot up. Expect to incur even more costs if you want the fuel directly delivered to your home.

Backup Generators Aren’t Reliable

Before you dive into the world of RV solar power, it helps ...

Yes, a generator will keep your appliances running in the event of an outage. But that comes at a cost, including the cost of maintenance and fuel.

You have to continually maintain your generator to keep its warranty valid, which normally lasts for five to ten years. Generators often require yearly maintenance and regular testing to ensure they are in good working order and ready to produce electricity when the need arises. If you dont maintain them properly, they might not work when you need them most.

Even if you do everything possible to take care of your generator, sometimes you may not have access to fuel if an unexpected event occurs. For example, in 2012, New Jersey Natural Gas turned off the natural gas supply after Hurricane Sandy. Tens of thousands of people were left in the dark at this time, including those who needed natural gas for their backup generators.

Diesel generators have similar issues, as severe weather conditions may also make it difficult for you to leave your home to get fuel for the tank if you run out.

In addition, generators may not be as effective during winter, especially when they are likely to be impacted by low temperatures. Many generators lose their ability to start and operate properly when temperatures drop below freezing. Thus, generators might not be the best solution to power outages if your area regularly sees extremely low temperatures.

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Solar Is More Sustainable And Better For The Environment

We all know that burning fossil fuels is bad for the environment. But even though most of us need to use them to drive around the country in our RVs why not cut out any extra use?

Use solar power and help protect nature while enjoying it

One easy way to do that is by using a solar setup to satisfy your power needs instead of a generator. The sunlight is there and using it does absolutely no damage to the environment, so why not take advantage?!

It is an amazing and rewarding feeling to go about your everyday activities knowing that all your power is coming from the sun. And the longer you stay unplugged or without running a generator, the more empowered you feel.

The Cons Of Traditional Generators

Despite their popularity over the years, traditional generators have their shortcomings. Here are some of the reasons why people are ditching them:

Fuel Costs

Traditional generators rely on costly fossil fuels to run, which increases their long-term costs over the initial purchase price. You may also have to pay more to access that fuel if you aren’t near a gas station or other fuel source.

Toxic Gases

Traditional generators are notorious polluters. Each gallon of gasoline contains about 20.35lbs of carbon dioxide, and the average camping generator emits around 1-2 lbs of carbon dioxide per hour, even when running at 1/4 of the max rated load.

In addition to carbon dioxide, gas-powered generators can also release other harmful gases into the atmosphere, including carbon monoxide, nitrous oxides, and sulfur oxides.

Noisy Operation

Because of all the moving parts that make up a traditional gas-powered generator, they produce a lot of noise when operating. This is especially true for smaller portable generators, which are designed to prioritize size and weight over noise prevention.

Ongoing Maintenance

Also Check: Does Going Solar Really Save Money

Do You Still Need A Generator If You Have Solar Power In Your Rv

We would suggest that you do. Although, if you have a solar system in place, then having a small generator is going to be sufficient. This is because there may be some times that the solar panel system is not pulling in all of the energy that you need.

This means that you may want a small generator to keep certain appliances up and running.

That being said, you probably wont need to use it all that much. However, it is nice to have it there if you do.

Always opt for something small.

Since you already have a set-up in place, you probably do not want to have a massive generator taking up a ton of space in your RV if you are barely ever going to be using it, right?

Rv Solar Power Systems Use Three Types Of Batteries

DIY Solar Generator | Infinite Cheap Renewable Energy
  • Lithium
  • Flooded
  • Absorbed glass mat
  • Flooded batteries require maintenance with distilled water. Absorbed glass mat batteries do not and are safer in an enclosed area.

    If money is not a concern, lithium batteries are the best of the three. Lithium batteries will last up to three times longer than either flooded or absorbed glass mat batteries. Most RV solar panel power kits include them.

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    How Can Prospect Solar Help

    The experts at Prospect Solar are adept at solar panel installation in Northern VA, DC and Maryland. We provide solar energy installation for homes, businesses and farms. Additionally, we provide services like Green Roof Integrated Photovoltaic and information on Community Solar.

    As leading solar providers in Northern VA, DC and Maryland, we take pride in our residential solar energy installation services. We aim to install a solar energy system that provides both clean energy and a decreased cost. Prospect Solars solar panel installation for Northern VA and beyond is engineered to be less expensive over the course of 25 years than conventional energy would be in that 25-year span.

    Additionally, our solar energy services give homeowners access to net metering. Net metering makes it possible to credit power and reduce monthly electrical costs.

    Although your solar panel system will not function during the rare power outage, solar panel installation is overall a lucrative investment that not only helps cut down your energy costs but helps promote a greener planet.

    What About Lithium

    Gall said the way you generate and store power is an issue of utmost importance to all vanners, particularly remote travellers.

    With this in mind, its very important to take into consideration both how the vans appliances and inclusions will draw upon this, and then where you plan on travelling, Gall said.

    When heading north into a hotter climate, even with plenty of sunshine to recharge, a generator is still one of the first options opted for by most buyers, generally to run an air-conditioner in the heat.

    And as the power systems have diversified lately into lithium power packs, large inverters can also be installed to run air-conditioners.

    One positive here is that it can allow a smaller 1kVA, generator to be used to run a 240V charger to top up, while the lithium is running the inverter for the output.

    To explain, common lead acid batteries cant run a heavy load, such as air-conditioners, for two reasons. Firstly, under heavy load, the voltage of a lead acid battery will drop significantly. The battery protection device will cut the air-con off soon after its started because it detects voltage on the battery terminal that is lower than the low cut-off voltage. Secondly, the total capacity of a lead acid battery is related to the number of amps we draw the larger the amps we draw from the battery, the less total available capacity it will have.

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    How To Use Solar

    For most people, solar should be thought of as one part of a vans power supply system, so the question becomes how solar fits into your overall energy management system. The central element of any energy system is the battery and all other energy management equipment, such as inverters and battery chargers, should work closely with the battery. Thus, a solar system is an energy source used as an alternative to traditional energy sources such as alternators and generators.

    Because it is an alternative, almost every caravan will have a battery/battery charger installed, but there are many out there that dont have a solar system and just charge the battery off a generator when they are off-grid.

    So does this mean that, if I need a generator anyway, I shouldnt bother with a solar system at all?

    Not at all, Ding said. A solar system that keeps topping up your battery will significantly reduce your generators run time, saving you and your campsite neighbours from the noises and fumes.

    Reed said combining free solar power with a vehicle charging system makes a virtually self-sufficient auxiliary battery power system possible.

    No matter what the requirements are of your electrical system, solar is a great way to supplement your battery charging when camping, she said. This does not discount the value of charging batteries to 100 per cent whilst driving to your destination.

    Rv Solar Panel Power Systems Need The Right Wire Gauge Too

    5 Things You Need for Solar Energy

    Professionals say this is the area in which they see the most errors made by DIY folks.

    You must have at least 10 gauge wire. This is to connect the solar panels to the combiner. Heavier wire is also necessary to connect the controller and batteries. Gauges for wires connecting to the batteries should be anywhere from 8- to 2- gauge.

    If you purchase a camper or RV already prewired, have a professional check your wiring before installing RV solar panels. Oftentimes the gauge for your needs should be heavier. If so, the wiring will need replaced before beginning.

    A professional electrician will be able to tell you the costs of the different wire gauges. The size of your RV also influences total cost and wiring needs.

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    Do You Need A Generator Backup For Your Solar System

    A generator is your backup plan for those days when there isnt enough natural light around to generate enough solar energy for your needs.

    Not every solar power system will need a generator. They are mainly for situations where energy is required regardless of the conditions. If youre living or working in the property and absolutely must have power, a generator is a viable backup solution to keep batteries charged.

    You could use a wind turbine as a secondary power source but in situations where that isnt practical or possible, a generator is the next best option.

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