RV Solar Panels (Alternative Energy On the Road)

If you love the outdoors, an RV is perhaps one of the investments that you have. For those who already have an RV, chances are, they also have an AC generator. This is going to provide the electricity that you need on the road or while in the campsite. The problem, however, is that generators can be noisy and they have negative environmental impacts as well. In this case, if you are looking for an alternative source of energy on the road, why not consider harnessing the power of the sun? This is possible through installing RV solar panels. Keep on reading and learn more about its different components. Or Find out solar panel for your RV

rv solar panels

Solar Panels

This is perhaps the most important part of the entire system. It is composed of photovoltaic cells, which are the ones that attract energy from the sun. The electrons pass through the cells and from there, it is converted into electricity. In order to choose which one is the best, you need to take a look at their technical specifications, such as the watts output and watts rating. Larger wattage can mean that the solar panels are more powerful, but such would also mean that they are more expensive.

When looking for the best solar panels, you will generally be confronted with three possible choices: Amorphous Silicone, Monocrystalline Silicone, and Polycrystalline Silicone. The last two are the most common.

The cells in the solar panels are made from two sides: positive and negative. The middle part is known as the P-N junction, which is where the electrons can be found. When the light coming from the sun hits the cells, the electrons are activated and direct current is activated. To be able to generate more energy and produce more electricity, a higher number of cells will be required.

Charge Controllers

The main purpose of having charge controller is to prevent the batteries from being overcharged, and hence, being able to prolong their functional life. They can be classified into two categories, which will depend on their manner of regulation. The first one is shunt regulation. With a shunt charge controller, the batteries are regulated through the short circuiting of the solar panels. This is also commonly known as On/Off Controller.

The second type of charge controller is known as series regulation. In this case, pulse-width modulation is being utilized. It means that the batteries will be charged based on a predetermined voltage regulation. The charging current is then tapered instead of having it completely turned off. This is a better option because it can lead into higher charge in the absence of requiring too much water.

Batteries

When it comes to RV solar panels, batteries will also be indispensable. They assume a critical role, which is why it is important for buyers to be careful in the selection of which batteries to use for their solar panel systems. More often than not, many RVs have more than one batteries in their units. This is going to provide more reserved energy, which can be used on the road. The main purpose of battery is to be able to store energy, which will be available even if there is no sun or at night.

If you are looking for batteries for RV solar panels, the following are some of the options that can be taken into consideration:

  • Flooded Cell Batteries: One of the most distinct characteristics of this type of battery is that it uses water, which functions as an electrolyte. It is the most popular choice for solar panel batteries because it comes with a practical price. It is a good thing as well that they can have long functional life, but such is only the case if it is going to be well-maintained.
  • Gel-Cell Batteries: This is also a kind of flooded cell battery, but the main difference is that silicates are combined with the electrolyte, which creates a gel-like structure. They are also known as sealed-lead acid and one of their biggest advantages is that they require no maintenance, yet you can be assured of their long lifespan.
  • AGM Battery: AGM stands for Absorbed Glass Mat. This is an advanced form of battery for RV solar panels. It comes with a fiberglass mat, which is the one that is responsible for being able to absorb electrolyte. This is internally dry, which is one of its best advantages. It is also leak-proof. In addition, it is known for being able to resist shock and vibration, which is another thing that makes it better compared to flooded batteries. They may be more expensive compared to the two types of batteries that are earlier mentioned. When you consider their benefits, on the other hand, you will surely not mind spending more for this type of battery for RV solar panels.

Choosing the Right RV Solar Panels

In order to find which one is right for your RV, the following are some of the factors that should be taken into consideration:

  • System Sizing: One of the first things that you should do is to consider the right size of the solar panel that you will need. This will depend on the size of the RV and more importantly, on the specific energy requirements in your RV. If you consume 75 to 150 amps of energy daily, you should consider having 3 to 5 100-watt RV solar panels.
  • Positioning: Another important factor that should be taken into account would be the specific position of the RV solar panels. You should have them placed in an area where it is going to achieve maximum amount of sunlight, which also means that they will be able to attract more energy for your needs on the road.
  • Reputation of the Manufacturer: You should also consider the reputation of the manufacturer of the RV solar panels. You can read reviews online or ask around form people you know to be able to narrow down the possibilities. This will help you to differentiate one from the other.
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