backchannel: Drivin’ and Vibin’ 7 Reasons Your RV Doesn’t Need Solar Power

This wasn’t supposed to be backchannel, but since my comments on their post wasn’t published let’s do it this way.

First off:  no,  not everyone needs solar and I’ve said so.  My takeaway:  there should be a good reason why one would plan a build without some solar.

is this solar trend really going to benefit your RV travels?

Yes, by keeping your house batteries charged.   By always making silent, maintenance-free power.

More importantly, _**will solar power save you money**_?

Red herring.  Solar is not about saving money, unless one is making a case for boondocking over RV sites.  Solar is the most expensive option, $/w-wise.

f you like living the “[RV Park (or Resort) Life](“, solar power isn’t really needed. RV parks provide ample power for all your electric needs.

Agreed, assuming one has either:

  • a decent converter for charging lead chemistries; or

  • lithium or similar chemistry

Even though Class Bs are quickly jumping on the solar train, these RVs require it the least. Every time you turn on your engine, you’ll be recharging your battery system. A long travel day will easily fill you up to 100%.

I’d say they can use it the least (due to roof area limitations), not that they require it the least.  Long days traveling will only get the batts fully charged if they can hold battery manufacturer setpoints for the required amount of time.

You Don’t Mind The Hum of an Inverter Generator

Hopefully your neighbors don’t mind.  And the same requirement about setpoints still stands.

> > ## If You Need AC > >

Agreed.  A/C is possible on solar, but generally not practical.

**_if you’re wanting a real solar system, you need lithium batteries._**


Here’s the reason: lithium offers more usable power per battery and weighs less. A 100 amp hour lead acid battery can only provide you 50 amp hours of power before you begin to potentially damage the battery.

That has zero to do with solar.

> > ## If You’re Unsure, You Don’t Need It > >

Ignorance of need does not imply absence of need.

If camping to you means disconnecting from it all, solar won’t be a great addition.

Unless you want to keep your batteries charged.

If you enjoy the amenities of power and love camping off grid, solar can be the perfect compliment to your RV lifestyle.

Light and a charged cellphone are closer to necessities, in my book.  Most people get that (and a compressor fridge) done on 200w systems.

The D&V house battery bank cost $7,570.00 alone <– not a joke.  And 600w of panel.    Perhaps the article could be called “why you don’t need expensive solar”.

This system will allow us to operate off grid indefinitely (when is at least partially sunny).

My 570w system does fine in partial sun and costs 1/10th as much.  I don’t own a genny and the van hasn’t been hooked up to shore power since 2018 when I moved into it.