As energy prices continue to rise because of the cost of extracting coal, oil and other fossil fuels, RV solar panels are becoming more popular as a solution to reducing electric bills. RV owners are taking this advantage and installing solar panels on their recreational automobiles. It is imperative that you understand a few aspects before installing RV solar panels on your RV. The best solar panels for your recreational automobile is Gopower solar extreme 480W kit. This complete kit offers a durable and compprehensive solution that provides energy for the RV even in situations where there is inadequate sunlight and you will rely minimally on generators for power. When RV solar panels are combined with a quality battery bank, you will have enough energy to run all essentials in the automobile. When you have a 3000W invertor, things are even better. RV appliances such as fridge, microwave, laptop, lights, fans and TV will all run efficiently when combined with a quality battery bank.
Classification of RV Solar Panels
Solar panels capture energy from sunlight and passes it through a charge controller which in turn feeds the right current to batteries for storage. Photovoltaic technology continues to improve over time and currently most solar panels operate at 10-15% efficiency. The latest technologies can generate power up to 21% efficiency and this is a higher efficiency compared to other solar panels in the market. Monocystalline solar panels have a wafer look and uses silicon in the purest form which is trimmed into wafers to reduce cost and increase efficiency of the solar panels. These solar panels are known to have a higher efficiency than polycrystalline panel and can work even in low light conditions. It costs more to purify silicon and enhance efficiency of solar panels. In most cases, polycrystalline solar panels appear to have a blue look and are rectangular in appearance.
Thin film solar panel is a new technology where silicon components are applied to a substrate surface which in turn reduces costs by a large percentage. There is a trade-off when efficiency is reduced compared to a higher efficiency of 15-20% of crystalline panels. Thin films allow solar integration into many objects and this will lower the cost of making large installations. Copper indium gallium selenide is a concept where thin layer of solar cells are incorporated into materials and yield an efficiency of up to 10-12%. In addition, it contains less cadmium, a substance that is non-toxic. It makes it ideal for applications such as foldable arrays and portable solar panels.
Types of Charge Controllers
Energy produced by RV solar panels has peaks and lows. It is imperative that you consider a way to control the power that enters your batteries. This is essential because it ensures that you are optimally charging and protecting the battery from damage, thereby maximizing throughput. The controller works by handling different solar panels that are attached to one unit. A controller has other beneficial functions in protecting your battery. Using complex algorithms on a specific solar charge controller helps optimizes charging capacity of the batteries. Single-phase chargers have a single output and continually charge at a flat rate without considering the battery’s charge condition. This type of chargers is the best when you need a short burst of current to recharge a dead battery. Once you remove the charge, the battery does not charge fully and drops back to a static internal voltage.
Single-phase trickle is a type of charger that keeps charging at a lower voltage of about 13V. It keeps the batteries topped off because the lower voltage allows batteries to completely charge as they absorb full charge. This type of charger is not ideal for charging a dead battery. Multi-phase chargers are suitable as trickle and single-phase chargers because they bring a new complex mechanism into the battery system. A perfect multi-phase controller with solar logic will open current flow wide to allow the batteries to obtain peak charge and then switches mode to help the battery get all charge or at least maintain it. Solar multi-phase charger is unique because of its complexity in handling varying current from solar energy and it helps to maximize the charge potential of batteries. Batteries where you store energy in your RV is sporadic and they are designed to work in 12 V system. In most cases, most appliances and devices operate at this voltage without any need for additional components.
According to energy experts, the batteries used in RVs are usually 6V and you have to create a 12 V circuit. When you wire two 6V batteries properly, you will be able to create a 12V circuit. When looking out for a solar panel for your RV, an important aspect to consider is the battery. When two batteries are wired parallel to each other, it doubles the amperes. Batteries are rated in amperes per hour and when you double the ampere, it doubles the amount of service time that the battery will give you.
How to Measure Your RV Solar Panel System
Understanding your energy needs can be a little confusing at first. But once you understand it, it will be easy. Watts equals ampere multiplied by volts. Using the labels on appliances would be the easiest way to ascertain how much energy you will use when the appliances are in operation. In situations where you cannot find the label on the appliance, you can Google the serial number and you will have all the relevant information. It is critical to size up your energy needs on the RV because the batteries will be discharging and you could spend more money than needed in acquiring more batteries instead of using the available ones wisely. List down all the devices and appliances you use on your RV in amperes per hour and the total number of hours these appliances are used. Once you have summed up all your energy needs, you can then rate your batteries and understand the lowest wattage that you can allow them to go.
The battery bank should cover double the amount of amperes per hour you need. This assures you that when there is low solar energy or the batteries malfunction, you will have sufficient energy to run for a couple of days as you look for a solution.
Sizing Your RV Inverter
Your inverter will have to meet the maximum draw at a given period. In essence, this means adding up all current drawing from the appliances when powered simultaneously. If the invertor is small, then you will be forced to run less appliances or one at a time. Once you have sized your inverters, the next item on the list is the charge controller. You should have a charge controller that has an output rating about 25% of the ampere-hour of the battery bank. Many RV solar panels kits recommended usually come with smaller ampere charge controllers. If you are a heavy user, then you will a large array and a better charge controller.
Knowing Your RV Solar Panel Array
Sizing your panel size is an essential aspect that will determine whether you can meet your energy needs in your RV. For example, if you need 500-watt panels, you can use 800-watt panels and still have room for 300 watts before you push your current charge. As an owner of a RV, finding a perfect energy solution is key to solving most problems arising from low wattage. You can even run air conditioners without the fear of running out of power. Solar energy is a great investment although it requires planning and upfront expenses. It will eventually give you a perfect energy solution. If you are used to travelling and want to experience life without interruptions, then you need to get a good RV solar panel.
Installing solar panels for RV is not just for leisure purposes, it has its practical benefits too. You gain energy independence and you will not need any external power for your activities. RV solar panels are clean and silent. There is no noise generated. You are free to explore wherever you like when you have RV solar panels in place. They do not require any kind of maintenance and you do not need generators and petrol to run your appliances.