backchannel: 7 RVer types that shouldn’t get solar

My thoughts on this video:

00:40 - There are some situations where an RVer shouldn't get solar

Agreed.  RVwiki article:  is solar mandatory?

00:50 1.  RV parks only

Right.  If one has near-constant shore power then solar is not needed.  Well, assuming one has a “smartconverter that charges the house bank properly.

1:10 2.  Don't have the budget

While I agree debt is usually harmful, insufficient charging will quickly murder lead-chemistry batteries.   I’d cut expenses  elsewhere:  flatscreens, new phones/tablets/PCs, etc.

If one wants to boondock on a limited budget the cheapest solution is

  1. a set of flooded 6v golf cart batts in series

  2. an overpaneled MPPT controller like an A- or AN-series Chinese controller

  3. with as much panel as budget and roofspace allow.  Mono/Poly doesn’t matter in this scenario, so buy what’s cheapest/watt, probably hardframed poly.

I don’t want to hear anyone complain about expense if they are looking at $$$ AGM, lithium, flex panels, etc.  “Pound foolish.”

1:55 3.  You RV infrequently

A small amount of panel (like 100w) will keep the batteries happy in storage, extending their usable life.

2:25 4.  Uncomfortable drilling holes in roof

Mounting racks will minimize perforations, and a cable gland will waterproof cable entry.

I don’t advise it, but perforations could also be minimized by using industrial VHB tape or similar instead of screws.

Also not a big fan of portable panels, but as he says setting them out would keep them off the roof.

3:15 5.  Don't have the extra space/weight


If you have a monster road barge and don’t have the room for a controller then there are other issues going on.  Panels and controllers are quite light.

solar controller, inverter and extra batteries take up a large chunk of our passenger storage

/squinting again

Inverter is a red herring, not related to solar.

Having solar can/will decrease the amount of battery you have to lug around, since loads can be run off the panel.

4:15 6.  Don't mind generator

yeah, but do other campers mind your generator?

Generators work great with lithium banks.  Generators alone aren’t great for charging lead, although generator + solar works great and requires relatively tiny amounts of solar.

4:45 7.  Low electrical usage

True, if you are running lithium and alternator or generator-charging it.   But lead batteries are hurt by sitting at partial stage of charge need long duration and high voltage Absorption periods regularly to stay healthy.