If You Decided To Invest In Solar For This
heres how much your cost will be
You will need to install a 1000 w * 4 = 4 kWh solar system.
On average, it costs about $1.5 per watt to install a solar system on an RV.
So, you will pay about $6000 for this.
Since you will need a battery, we will have to include that cost as well
For the system above, you will need about two 200 ah lithium-ion batteries. This will cost you roughly $1600.
If you add that to the above, you will be looking at an investment of $7,600.
But dont let this figure scare you.
It is a one-time investment.
You will be able to get a positive ROI within just eight years. And from then onwards, your system will be giving you free electricity for your needs.
Note: We didnt include labor cost because prices vary very wildly. Nevertheless, labor cost will not greatly impact the assumptions above. Also you will not have to worry about that if you do the installation yourself.
You should also remember that this cost is for running only your AC.
Some Tips For Using Rv Air Conditioner In Better Way
Air conditioner are the power drawing machines in your RV. If you are boondocking or dry camping then you need to be careful about this. Some of the tips that you can follow so as to make it easy for you during camping are as below,
1. Try cooking outside of the RV.
This will keep the temperatures inside rv to low and thus will need less of air conditioner for you, while you are inside. An outdoor cooking is not only fun but also keeps the RV out of all the cooking mess. For this, you need to shop for right groceries, grilling equipment etc. A is just the thing you need.
A cooking inside rv can heat up the entire area in rv and it takes a lot of time to cool it off.
2. Keep the AC running only when it is needed.
Generally, early dusk or the evenings tend to be cooler in almost all the seasons and running ACs at that time is not practically. Save the power during times when you dont really need the temperature cooling.
3. Buy an AC of BTU that best suits you.
That depends on the size of your RV, you generator power and number of rooms you have in your RV. Getting a big AC for a smaller RV will not make sense
4. Have good air circulation in RV before you actually start using AC.
5. Buy good rated Air condition from a good brand.
A low rated ac will only pull all the power and will need more maintenance. A saving done on initial cost may not always be good for you in the long run.
How Much Power Does A Solar Panel Produce
Solar panels are rated according to the peak power they can generate in ideal conditions. For example, a 100w solar panel should, at midday on a sunny day in summer while pointed directly at the sun, produce 100w.
And typically, that’s true.
But it’s not always midday, sunny and summer. From our experience and the data we’ve collected, we’ve found that a flat mounted solar panel will produce the equivalent of about 5 hours worth of peak output per day in summer, and about 2 hours in winter – both assuming sunny weather
In other words, a 100W solar panel would produce about 500Wh per day in summer and about 200Wh in winter.
You can significantly improve the output of your panels in winter by tilting them – orienting them to point directly at the sun can produce almost twice as much power as flat panels in some conditions.
Recommended Reading: How To Size A Residential Solar System
How Much Electricity Does An Rv Use
Average use for a typical RVer is around 20 kWh a day. This comes out to about 608 kWh a month or 7,300 kWh a year. Usage will be lower during fair weather and higher during heating and cooling seasons.
This being said, 20 kWh is just the average and your usage will vary based on many different factors. For example, an RV running off of electric heat will use more electricity than an RV running off of propane.
RVers parked in areas where they do not need air conditioning will use much less electricity than RVers who do need it.
In fact, the average amount of electricity used by people who are not running air conditioning is about 10 kWh a day.
Another factor is insulation. A heavily insulated RV will use less electricity than an RV with minimal insulation.
How Many Solar Panels To Run An Air Conditioner
Ok, heres a deal. You have to answer a few questions first, and we will try to answer your question, How many solar panels to run an air conditioner? The questions are following
- Your location? Where do you live? Weather, temperature, sunlight duration, and its intensity in your region?
- Your solar system typeon-grid? Self-reliant?
- Your AC star? Tonnage? Your demand from AC? Your AC power consumption?
Done? You might go like, Come on, man, I cant do this right now. How would I answer? Yes, we know that. The notion behind this deal thing was to tell you that NOBODY can answer this question without knowing these factors, not even experts. But you rummage no more through the internet, we understand your intent behind the question and have assumed everything on my own and have my research done, so you could sit back with a coffee in hand, scroll and figure out the number of solar panels need to run your AC. In the article, we have listed the estimated number of solar panels for the 1-ton AC and 1.5-ton AC on on-grid and off-grid systems. Plus, a solar-enthusiast friend telling us about his solar-powered AC.
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Be Aware Of Voltage Fluctuations
It is important to note that campgrounds often have voltage fluctuations, power surges, and incorrectly wired electricity.
This will often cause problems for RVs. The systems can get severely damaged and it can be an expensive affair.
Thats why we need to insert a surge protector between your power cables and the power source at the campground.
We recommend the portable surge protector unit by Progressive Industries which you find at point #4 on our list here with recommended products for RVers.
Can I Run My Fridge On Solar Power
Yes, but check your fridge carefully to see how. Remember that an RV fridge that runs on propane still needs some electricity to power the pump and control board – but ours is only around 3W, so easily achieved with solar power.
Our fridge is a two-way fridge, so as well as propane it can run on AC power. However, as is common for RV fridges, it’s an absorption fridge – this means it’s really inefficient when running on AC and uses around 300W.
If your fridge can run on 12V DC power, then that’s a great option – check to see how much power it draws though so you can size your solar panels accordingly.
If your RV has a residential fridge , then you’ll need an inverter to run it when off-grid. Electrical consumption can vary widely on residential fridges from as little as 100w on very efficient models, to many times that on less efficient models with an ice maker and defrost mode.
Your manufacturer’s website or instruction manual should have the information you need to calculate how much power it draws, or better yet, use a device like a Kill-A-Watt to measure it.
Recommended Reading: How To Get The Best Solar Deal
Solar Power For Rv Air Conditioner: Is It Possible The Ultimate Guide
There are few better summer vacations than a great road trip in an RV. Hitting the open road in the peak of the season, however, it can also often lead to uncomfortable interior temperatures once you setup camp for the evening.
With so many adventurers turning to solar power for an affordable, portable way to generate electricity, many people are wondering if it is possible to get enough solar power for RV air conditioners.
Pure Sine Vs Modified Sine
Since we do run sensitive electronics and you likely will as well, dont consider an inverter that isnt a pure sine inverter. This technology allows for a cleaner, less choppy sine wave. Sensitive electronics can be damaged by a modified sine inverter.
Most large inverters are actually inverter/chargers as they also facilitate charging the batteries when on shorepower. Note that the inverter itself takes some 12 volts of power to come on and begin charging, so if you do run your batteries very low, you may not have enough power to start the inverters charging process when you plug into shorepower. We learned this the hard way while in the snow in the Yosemite Valley. If that happens, you will have to wait until you harvest enough sun energy so your batteries have enough voltage to power the charger enough so it can start its charge cycle.
Read Also: Where Are Eco Worthy Solar Panels Made
How To Choose The Best Solar Panels For Your Rv
Although there are many different solar panel systems for RVs, they all basically fall into two categories: portable and installed.
Portable solar panels are the most popular type because theyre easy to set up and remove. They usually consist of a few small panels that can be attached to your RVs roof or towed behind it.
Installed solar panels are more permanent, but they also take up more space and are usually only used by larger motorhomes.
Can solar panels run RV air conditioner? Heres the kicker: you cannot use an air conditioner with portable solar panels because they just dont generate enough electricity! The maximum output is closer to 100 watts per hour which means that it could take several hours of direct sunlight to power a small AC unit.
On the other hand, installed solar panels can generate enough electricity to run an RV air conditioner . They usually come in kits that include the panels, inverter, and mounting hardware.
So, can solar panels power an RV air conditioner? Yes, it can, but you will need a powerful solar system. For an RV solar system, you may need to replace the battery pack every few years, but thats nothing compared to the amount youll save on your utility bills.
Is It Worth It To Use Solar Power For My Rv Air Conditioner
While its certainly possible to use solar power for an RV air conditioner, we dont think that its really all that practical for the average RVer.
When you require air conditioning to be comfortable in your RV, using your generator or hooking up to shore power are the most practical ways to stay cool.
Unless you have a specific need to be able to do it, youll likely be better served by going to a full hook-up RV park or running your generator. The amount of money needed to size a solar & battery bank to be able to stay off the grid and run your air conditioner will pay for a lot of fuel for your generator.
Then theres the option that, for us and many other RVers, makes more sense: travel with the weather to areas that dont typically require extensive AC usage and visit campgrounds & RV parks with full hookups whenever AC is needed for comfort.
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Is It Worth The Investment
Be it big or small, you can power your RV air conditioner with solar.
All you have to do is make sure that you size your RV solar power system big enough.
However, whether or not investing in such a big solar system makes sense will depend on the type of boondocker you are.
You boondock occasionally: If you go boondocking a few times a year, then investing in such a big system will not be worth it. A portable generator will be an ideal option to power your RV AC. For other things, you can invest in a portable solar system or solar generator.
Youre a proper boondocker: If youre regularly camping off the grid and/or are a full-time boondocker, investing in such a solar power setup is ideal. Dry camping for extended periods requires a lot of power and using a generator means carrying and burning through gallons of fuel. You should consider investing in a complete solar setup.
Therefore, evaluate your needs accurately before diving into the solar route.
Air Conditioners Designed For Rv Use
When looking at air conditioning in an RV it is important to first determine what type of RV you have. Air conditioners in RVs can range from 5000 BTU window units to 3 or 4 15000 BTU roof-mounted units.
Learn more about RV types here:
For a basic example, let us assume you only have one 13,500 BTU roof-mounted AC that you want to run using solar power, batteries, and an inverter. The blog article lists a 13,500 BTU roof air at a 79 amp load. I do think this load can vary a bit depending on the manufacturer. That is a good real-world number to work with. He also lists that he has installed a soft start on the air conditioner to reduce startup draw.
We too will also make the assumption that you have a soft start installed on your air conditioner and that your installed power inverter will handle the load.
We will mainly discuss the power from required from your batteries and solar charging from your rv panels.
Read Also: How Much Sunlight Do Solar Panels Need
How Many Solar Panels To Run An Rv Ac
To determine the number of solar panels to run an AC in a recreational vehicle, lets make the following assumptions
Heres how to calculate the number of solar modules you will need:
1. Multiply your AC wattage by the number of hours you plan to use it to get its daily electricity consumption:
1563 W * 4 = 6250 wh.
2. Divide the resulting figure by the peak sun hours of your locality:
6250 Wh / 5 hours = 1250 W.
Therefore, the total wattage of your solar panels should be 1.25 kW.
In this case
You either get four 300 watt panels, 4.54 five 275 watt modules, or even 6.25 7 200 watt solar panels to power that air conditioner for four hours a day.
Is The Hassle Worth It
Only you can answer this question. The answer is unique to every RVer. It depends on the size of your RV. If your RV is not large enough to accommodate an RV solar power system so large, then running air conditioning with RV solar power is probably not an option for you. Again, thats unless you want to try an A/C Soft Start system.
Stress Testing My Portable Ac Unit And Solar Panel Power System
I decided to stress test my solar panel system by turning the portable AC unit on high and setting the thermostat to 60 degrees. I wanted to see how long it would take for my solar panel system batteries to bottom out . The charge controller on my solar panel system automatically turns off the power to my house if the batteries power discharges down to 50%. This automatic shut off on the solar panel system prevents damage to the batteries by discharging too deep.
As you see by the chart above, keeping battery discharge at 50% or above gives me a little shy of 2,000 cycles or 5.4 years for the life of my batteries. I plan to add another set of four batteries to the solar panel system pretty soon, which will give me improved capacity and keep my discharge rate much higher than 50% . In about 5 more years we should start seeing really interesting battery technologies hit the market. This should coincide with the life of my current batteries, so I plan to hop on these new technologies as soon as my batteries begin to fade.
Can I Run My Microwave On Solar Power
Yes, you can. Typical RV microwaves use up to about 1,500W of power so you’ll need an inverter and batteries capable of providing that amount of continuous power.
Microwaves are typically used for short bursts – rarely more than 10 minutes. So while the power draw may be quite high, once the microwave turns off, the solar panels will get back to recharging the batteries pretty quickly.
We use our microwave fairly rarely, but particularly in summer, we don’t have any concerns about using it.
How Many Solar Panels To Run Air Conditioner
An air conditioner would need 1200 watts of solar panels for each Ton of cooling capacity, assuming irradiance of 4 Peak-sun-hours/day. A 100Ah battery is recommended per Ton for each hour anticipated running time. This will allow running when irradiance is low and also provide a reservoir to supply motor surge current.
These are the things we need to know before building a solar system to run an air conditioner:
- Why air conditioners are rated in tons
- AC power rating
- What is surge current and power factor?
- How long will the air conditioner be running?
- Are batteries needed to run your air conditioner?
- What typeof batteries are best suited for solar energy storage?
- How much energy do solar panels generate?
- Solar panel sizes youre going to use
- Inverter sizing