If you spend a lot of time RV boondocking, you’ve probably had your fair share of dead batteries, loud generators, and even endured extreme energy conservation methods. With the advent and increasing accessibility of solar panels, it’s easier than ever to improve your boondocking experience through the integration of solar power technology and your RV. As more and more RVers are turning to this natural resource, it seems to be on its way to being accepted as the new standard, especially for boondockers. Before making such an investment, it’s important to know both the pros and cons of the resource, so you know what to expect from it. We’ve collected the Top 3 Pros & Cons intended as introductory research for those who are just starting to look into how they can improve their RVing experience and are interested in what solar has to offer.
Top 3 Pros
1) Improves Battery Health
To get the most out of your batteries, you want to supply a slow and steady, pure DC current. Charging in quick bolts when you’re low puts additional strain on the battery, making it more susceptible to wear and tear and diminishing returns. Delivering a constant, slow and steady, pure DC current is precisely what RV solar panels are designed to do. They will help to extend the life and maintain the good health of your batteries, making them a logical powering option.
2) Safe & Environmentally Friendly
Along with being one of the most dependable resources, solar power is among the safest and cleanest renewable energy resources available on the market today. Solar technology produces zero pollution, so you can say goodbye to toxic waste, fumes, and even noise. For lovers of keeping the wilderness wild and pristine, it’s important to consider the environmental factors in what energy source we choose to utilize. Additionally, there are no fire hazards or risks of electric shock or carbon monoxide poisoning. There is no residual build up or waste disposal required, just free, clean, quiet energy. Enjoy the sounds of Nature undisturbed and allow others the opportunity for the same.
3) Power to Keep Going
Perhaps the best reason for going solar is the freedom it grants you. No longer are you restricted to campgrounds and RV parks. So many limitations are removed and, so long as the sun rises, your adventures never have to stop. Rv solar panels put the power back in your hands, quite literally, so you can decide when (or if) you return from your off-grid getaway.
Top 3 Cons
1) High Initial Cost
There’s no getting around it—solar technology requires a substantial chunk of change at first, so it’s a rather large investment. For more robust systems, the cost may be upwards from $3,700. Although there are less expensive systems that go as low as $1,000 or less, they won’t get you very far and you may still find yourself dependent upon amenities available at campgrounds and RV parks, at least to some extent. But like we said, it is an investment. You will end up saving money over time, but it may take a while before you see a recoup of expenses.
2) Energy Audits & Tech-Savviness Required
Before investing in RV solar panels, you will need to calculate your typical and expected energy consumption so you don’t buy something only to discover it falls short of meeting your needs. Auditing your RV’s energy use requires a bit of arithmetic and some understanding of energy consumption, wattage, and how your RV’s resources and appliances draw power. While there are professional services you can pay for to have someone else audit your usage, you will need to learn this stuff eventually if you are going to properly maintain and utilize the technology to its full advantage. Although it’s pretty stable in its reliability, solar technology isn’t perfect and will have its glitches from time to time, just like any tech. You need to be able to troubleshoot your own system, but it’s nothing that can’t be learned.
3) More Freedom & Comfort Requires More Advanced Systems
It would be nice to say that you can go anywhere with any solar system, but that’s just not the case. More advanced systems are required to maintain comfort consistently without supplementing your energy resource with a generator or other portable source. The more freedom and comfort you want while off-grid, the more your initial cost investment will be. And camping in extreme climates? You better be willing to “rough it” a bit if your solar system is on the lower end.
While we hope our Top 3 Pros & Cons given you some valuable information to think on, we encourage you to go beyond our article here and research the topic further. Solar power truly is a superb option, so if you think it might be right for you, it’s time to dig deeper by calculating your RV’s daily consumption, determining appropriate panel wattage, and checking specs on solar systems to find one that fits your needs. When you know what to expect, you can better prepare, ensuring you get the most out of your investment. May you see the light and let it fuel your adventures.