How Many Solar Panels Are Needed to Run an RV?

How Many Solar Panels Are Needed to Run an RV?

If you are a lover of an off-grid lifestyle, then we're sure that without any reservation, it is a must to have an easily accessible and dependable source of power required to run your gadgets. What if you could then produce some of your own power, courtesy of the sun, without the noise or expense? Enter solar panels for RVs. In this article, we’ll tell you how RV solar panels in Canada work, how many you need so that your 12V RV functions with them, what kind of batteries will you require, what factors to bear in mind when choosing an RV solar panel system, how much money is saved, thanks to solar power, and why BLUETTI solar panels are the best option for your RV.

How Do Solar Panels Work for RVs?

Just imagine using the power of the sun to power all your needs for the RV. That's where RV solar panels Canada comes in. These ingenious devices are made up of multiple solar cells, built with a layer of positive and negative materials creating an electric field. As sunlight bathes these cells, electrons are set free, flowing through a circuit to generate a current.

This current is then channeled into a watchful guardian, a charge controller who keeps a check on voltage and prevents your RV battery from being either overcharged or undercharged. The stored electricity in the battery acts as a reservoir for future usage in powering your 12-volt DC appliances like lights, fans, and radios.

But what about gadgets that require 120-Volt AC energy, which is standard household current? Here emerges an inverter, a tool to convert the 12V direct current energy from the battery into 120 volts alternating current electricity. Now, you can enjoy hot cups of coffee, heat up a diet, or work on your computer right in your RV.

The solar panels can cater to most of the power requirements of your RV. Of course, energy-hungry appliances like air conditioning might need a generator or a shore power connection.

How Many Solar Panels Are Needed to Run an RV?

So determining how many solar panels for your RV really is like this puzzle to solve with three key pieces: your usage in electrical, the peak sun hours in your area and lastly the wattage of the solar panels.

First, let's gauge your appetite for electricity. How many powers does my RV draw? This is dependent on the kind and number of appliances in use and how occasionally you will use them. You can get a rough figure by totaling the Wh of all the gadgets you may be utilizing within a day. Think about a Wh as the power used by a gadget in 60 minutes. E.g. a 60-watt bulb used for 120 minutes would demand 120-watt-hour.

Next is to consider the performance of the sun in your area. Peak Sun Hours are those golden hours when the sun is potent enough to produce solar power. This varies with the season, weather and location.

Then, check the wattage of the RV solar panels in Canada. Watts are a measure of the power that an hour's worth of sunlight can generate from a solar panel. High wattage means high power but also large heavy and costly panels. The workable scale for watts in RV sunshine panels is a hundred to two hundred wattages.

To calculate this, divide the total energy usage by the peak sun hours, and then by the watts of the sunlight panels.

Related artilces: What Size Solar Panel Do I Need to Keep RV Battery Charged?

What Size Generator Do I Need to Run My RV?

Do You Need Batteries for Your RV Solar Panels?

Cells form a key component of any RV solar panel system. They are instrumental in the storage of excess electricity that has been generated from the solar panels during the day and the provision of electricity or power supply when the sun is nowhere to be seen. You will have power only when the solar panels are facing the sunlight and this is not very workable without batteries.

However, all batteries are not the same. Your RV solar panels in Canada require deep-cycle batteries that are made expressly to be charged and discharged repeatedly. A battery that works well will outlay power for an extended period without wavering.

bluetti pv420

Of the different types of deep-cycle batteries, our recommendation is to use BLUETTI LiFePO₄ batteries which come with many advantages over conventional lead-acid ones. The lifetime of LiFePO₄ options is nearly 10 years and more against the setback of 2-5 years for lead-acid alternatives. In addition to this, LiFePO₄ choices are also more energy-efficient since they can utilize up to 90 percent of their capacity whereas in lead-acid cases, it is only 50%. Furthermore, LiFePO₄ cells are also safer hence friendlier to the environment since they do not contain dangerous chemicals that may spill or leak.

What to Weigh When Purchasing RV Solar Panels?

An investment in an RV solar-based panel is a big one, and you want to get the most bang for your buck. There are some indispensable facets you should keep in mind that will help direct your purchase:

  • Budget: First, determine what you’re willing to spend on your RV solar panel system. Compare the cost and features of various models and brands to find the best fit for your budget.
  • Power Needs: Determine the amount of electrical power used in your RV and what it would translate to in terms of potential solar power generation in that locality. Choose a solar system that will not just cater to, but surpass the needed amount of power.
  • Space: Evaluate your RV roof space before installing. Consider the size and weight of solar panels to be installed to ensure that they can fit without interfering with your RV aerodynamics or stability.
  • Quality: Look out for RV solar panels that are made from the best quality materials and have a good rate of efficiency. Look out for reviews and ratings by other users who own RV's, about the system used.
  • Service: Select a reliable and trustworthy vendor or installer that will back its product with a good warranty as well as render customer support and after-sales services.

Can You Save Cost with an RV Solar Panel System?

For Mother Nature, and for the pocketbook alike, embracing solar panels in your RV will be like hitting a jackpot. Generating your own power can only mean goodbye to the costliness and deafening noise of running generators or continually finding a place with a hookup. Not to mention you’ll also be reducing fuel costs as your engine will not have to overwork itself just to maintain battery charge. But the real cherry on top? Solar electricity is a renewable and boundless power source, creating the path for long-term savings on your electricity bills.

BLUETTI Solar Panels for RV

The BLUETTI solar panels cannot be a wrong decision if you are considering portable yet high-performance solar panels for use in your RV. BLUETTI is no doubt one of the top brands in off-grid solar power solutions, and its stock includes a myriad of RV solar panels Canadacompatible with most solar generators and power stations. Here are some of the features and benefits of three of their best-selling models:

PV200 Panel

bluetti pv200

BLUETTI PV200 is a foldable 200-watt solar panel, with monocrystalline solar cells panels having an efficiency of up to 23.4%, which thus can harvest more power from the same amount of sunlight than various types of solar panels. It is coated with ETFE which makes it quite durable and able to withstand all these scratches, dust, and water splashes. It can be easily connected through MC4 connectors to most solar generators.

PV350 Panel

bluetti pv350

With the spice of more power compared to the PV200, this module is most apt for bigger power stations and appliances. The PV350 is ruggedly designed with splatter-proof protection in place, and its kickstand can be adjusted to move it around for the perfect angle to maximize sunlight. It is further foldable and very portable as it features a handle. Also, it is compatible with the AC180 and more stations from BLUETTI.

PV420 Panel

bluetti pv420

BLUETTI PV420 is the most powerful and high-efficiency 420W folding solar panel model in the BLUETTI panel series. It can generate up to 420 watts of sunshine power and will be able to charge your power stations and devices faster, and longer. For one, the PV420's hard-wearing ETFE coating means it's scratch-, dust-, and water-splash-resistant. Further as well, there's a kickstand on the device that lets you easily modify your panel's angle and position in order to optimize throughout the day's light absorption. 

Final Thoughts

Green energy from solar panels can power your RV except for air conditioning. It can lower your fuel and hook-up costs, and let you camp anywhere with sun. But they are not cheap or easy to install. They need enough sunlight and space on your RV. You also might require a backup power and a warranty to consider the purchase. Research before making purchases for your requirements of power, your budget, and your space. Compare models, brands, and reviews. Opt for better quality and compatibility.

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