Can you power an RV with solar power? You bet you can, and there are many reasons you can do it does not cost a lot of money to do so. You can buy solar cells or panels and then connect them to the generator that is in your RV. You may also hook it up to your existing 120v AC system. Yes, it’s possible to power an RV with solar energy. Still, first, you must design your electrical installation to work with the size of your RV air conditioner and how much operating and starting wattage it needs.
Space Factor And Weight Of Your AC
The size of your RV conditioner will be dictated by the space available and by the weight of your AC system. Next, you need to consider the location of your RV since you will want to be able to charge your batteries as well. A deep cycle battery bank will hold enough wattage to operate most outdoor applications, including your RV air conditioner with a standard size RV. If you have a larger RV, you may need a separate battery bank for this purpose. Once you have your solar installation planned, you can then take it outdoors to where you will need it most.
The Number Of Batteries
A second consideration when designing your solar installation is how many batteries you want to use. This is critical because the number of usable watts produced by your panels will be limited by the number of batteries you use. You also must consider the number of hours your RV sits in a trailer before it must be charged. Remember that the amount of usable energy your air conditioner consumes is less than the amount of energy it pumps into the atmosphere. Your system uses DC power to move the refrigerant to the AC coils inside your air conditioner and the compressor in your RV.
Two Battery Types
There are two primary types of batteries to use with your solar installation. The first type is an alkaline cell. These cells use potassium hydroxide in a salt solution to create a battery that can power an air conditioner for more than one day. To store power, these cells must be kept in a low-oxygen condition. Because of this, a drain on the battery bank needs to be installed to allow the batteries to maintain their charge.
Deep Cycle Cell
The second type of battery for your solar installation is a deep cycle cell. These cells use sodium bicarbonate to create a battery that can power your air conditioner for three to four days. This type of battery requires special wiring and a protective casing around its wiring. The wiring and protective case must be in an inaccessible area to your regular household electrical personnel, and the wiring run between the solar panels and the batteries must be run underground to avoid damage to the roof space of your RV.
The Number Of Hours You Would Use It
When planning your RV solar power for a holiday, you should consider how many hours you will be using your air conditioner every day. This will help you determine the number of batteries you need to purchase and where you will locate your solar panels to keep them charged and ready to go. You can also research the number of watts that your solar energy system needs to supply to determine the wattage of solar panels you will need.
Take A Professional’s Help
If you have never built solar power for an RV air conditioner before, you may want to enlist the help of someone who has experience in this field. Most major manufacturers sell air conditioners that come with pre-assembled or pre-cut solar panels that are easy to install and connect to your existing RV battery bank. The pre-built panels are often sold in kit form and include all the necessary components for mounting your new battery bank. However, it is better to have the wiring done by a professional so that all the wires are connected correctly, which is especially important if you live in an area with high winds or any other weather conditions that could interfere with your operation air conditioner.
Some air conditioners come with a built-in lithium battery, which is not designed for cold weather climates. If you already have a backup battery for your air conditioner in your garage or shed, you can use that instead of a new lithium-ion battery. You should connect your new lithium-ion battery to your RV’s electric generator before installing it in the air conditioner’s roof. The electrical current should be routed to the battery’s inverter board and the battery’s negative. You should also avoid using the battery in the summertime as you may damage its chemistry.