How to Run Your RV with Clean Solar Energy

Switching to solar energy to run your RV is easy - plenty of people have already done so. It’s not a secret within the RV community that solar panels are a quick, relatively cheap, and sustainable way to create the energy you need. 

Solar energy is a well-known and reliable source of power for RVs due to the nature of owning one. Out on the road, your RV is often subject to a ton of sunlight - why not use these rays to power your lifestyle?

How does solar power work?

Solar power, unlike fossil fuels, is a renewable source of energy. That’s because it gets its power from the sun rather than a quickly depleted natural resource. Solar power works by converting the energy we get from the sun into power - which you can then use in place of electricity or heat. 

Frequent RV users have a desire to get off the grid - so using renewable energy to get off the grid even more so just makes sense. Without the need for the loud, stinking propane generator, your can be all the more pleasant and rural.
solar panels with clouds and blue sky in the background.

Photo by Andreas160578 on Pixabay

Typically, solar power is harnessed through the use of solar panels. For an RV, the power is created in the solar panels, then is run down a series of wires, making a few stops at specific pieces of technology, then to your RV.  

How can RVs use solar power?

There are several options available to RVs looking to harness solar power. Each will range in terms of accessibility and price, but all should reduce negative impacts upon the planet. 

The first thing you’ll need is a pack of RV solar panels. You’ll need a few, and they might appear expensive at first. Despite this high upfront cost, the money you’ll save over time will more than make up for it. Choosing a company with experience in the area and with the product is your first step. It’s wise to do your homework and work with a company that uses some of the Best Solar Panels out there. You need someone that can offer you the highest quality installation and equipment to ensure a successful and smooth outcome. It’s a long-term investment and can be a complicated process upfront, so you need to make sure you’re working with a company you can trust. Qualities to look for in your supplier include experience, a track record of happy customers, and reliable and helpful service.

These panels are often mounted on the roof of your RV, as this is the place that gets the most sunlight. However, while your RV is parked, running them along the side of the rig is often more effective. When you know which side will be facing the sun, you know where to put them. 

As previously mentioned, the solar panels’ power has to stop at specific pieces of technology. One of these stops is at a solar charge controller. This piece of technology takes the energy made in the solar panels and sends it to your RV’s battery.

This piece of equipment is so crucial because it judges how much power to send to your battery. Without it, your RV’s battery could get overcharged, leading to several issues. Without it, your RV’s battery could lose its longevity.   

The next thing you’ll need is an inverter. This is because the energy the solar panels have sent to your battery is in DC form - you need it to be in AC. That’s what the inverter does. AC power is the typical type of energy traditional electric outlets use. 

Once you’ve got this, you’re good to go. Plug in your hair dryer or your phone charger, and - voila! You’ve got power, and it all came from the sun. 

How do you maintain solar power in an RV?

As with all equipment, solar panels need maintenance. Depending on the type of solar panel you go for, the maintenance required will change. On the whole, though, solar panels need light cleaning - brushing off of any leaves or dirt that may have collected. 

and rv on a road with fall trees alongside.

Photo by 12019 on Pixabay

It can be a good idea to keep solar panels out of the shade. When they are left in the shade, solar panels can become inefficient at producing energy. 

How else can you implement solar power into your life?

Those who still live in a traditional home and own an RV may be wondering how you can use solar power outside of your RV. 

A more recent development in solar power technology is community solar projects. Community solar projects, like choosesolar, create a solar panel farm in a rural area that can then provide energy to homes that join the plan. Usefully, these projects use pre-existing infrastructure, so no extra costs are required. 

While community solar projects won’t provide energy directly to your RV while on the road, you can feel assured that your RV isn’t using non-renewable energy while you are at home. Plus, by removing your non-renewable energy use at home, you are making a more significant difference than if you simply changed the energy use of your RV. 

You can also think about switching to an energy provider like Gexa Energy that does user renewable power supplies. That way, you can make sure, even if you are still living partly off the grid your energy is still green and most likely solar powered.

Solar power can make your RV lifestyle more sustainable.

Frequent RV users have a desire to get off the grid - so using renewable energy to get off the grid even more so just makes sense. Without the need for the loud, stinking propane generator, your RV lifestyle can be all the more pleasant and rural. 

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