The popularity of solar energy is continuously growing in households and amongst the outdoor enthusiasts who would like to enjoy time spent in their RV wherever the adventure may take them. Whether you want to discover new places by yourself or spend some quality time with family and friends, staying in areas with no electrical hook-ups can be truly fun.
There are off-grid solar systems for mobile applications that can generate power on the go and make your stay at campgrounds or RV resorts more convenient and comfortable. A mobile power supply can be an excellent addition to your lifestyle and help you get the most of your journey. It provides silent power and minimises the need for a generator to recharge your batteries.
It’s a device that provides power to portable electronic units through a stored charge or wired connection and is used to extend the usefulness of an electronic item beyond the limits of its battery. It converts the electrical input from a wall or car lighter plug into a charge that’s compatible with the paired device.
There are many different types of RV solar panels that will allow you to power your electronic devices where no outlets are available. You can choose a mobile power supply solution that prefectly matches your needs and preferences. Some of the most popular types are flexible and fixed solar panels and here is what you need to know about the two.
Flexible vs. Fixed Solar Panels
To begin with, let’s make it clear how solar panels work. Solar power is a renewable source of energy, it’s clean, reliable and doesn’t damage the environment. To harness the power from the sun, you need a collection of photovoltaic cells (PV cells) bound together in order to increase their efficiency. And for that, you need solar panels, especially if you want to use appliances on an RV or camping trip.
Circuits within the panels’ cells take the energy from the sun and turn it into electrical current. It is then fed through wires to a charge controller, which controls the battery’s current and the energy becomes direct current (DC) and charges the RV’s battery and stores energy to power the devices and appliances you need.
Typically, the DC power is 12 volts and can power electronics, appliances and lights in your RV. You can convert the 12V DC to 120V AC (alternating current) electricity and power devices such as coffee makers, laptops and other things that usually stay on your caravan table. So, let’s go back to the two most common types of solar panels out there and see what are the main differences between them.
One of the best things about this type of solar panel is that they offer versatility. They can be assembled and charged up in one place and moved whenever needed. They are lightweight and transporting them is a simple task. Usually, a flexible solar panel comes with a carry case and can fit neatly into a bag or trunk.
They require a short installation time and are easy to manoeuvre, however, you need to make sure the solar panel is placed on a surface that can withstand its weight. As their name suggests, these panels are flexible, thanks to their bendable surface which can conform to different shapes. They can be installed temporarily, charged and moved elsewhere for use.
These are hard and firmly fixed solar panels, constructed using glass panes within an aluminium frame. They are the most durable panels on the market and can withstand harsh conditions. This type of solar panel is heat resistant and can be mounted with a space between the panel and the RV roof, allowing you to still take care of normal roof maintenance.
Keep in mind that installing a fixed solar panel or a full solar array is a time-consuming task that requires a lot of attention and proper knowledge and for that reason, it should be undertaken by professionals. That being said, the total cost of fixed solar panels may be higher than investing in flexible panels.
Benefits of Solar Panels for RVs
Campgrounds and RV resorts are ideal for spending some time in nature and meeting new people. Moreover, there you can power up your RV and all the devices and appliances you need on your journey. But sometimes, it can get overwhelming as and you may want to get your caravan privacy screen or annexes and enjoy your time there.
That’s a great solution to spend some time by yourself or have a great time with family and friends without being disturbed, but what if there is a noisy generator that doesn’t let you fall asleep at night?
To ensure a great stay in nature, when you think about boondocking next time, make sure to consider investing in a solar panel for your RV. Off grid solar systems are a remarkable development in renewable energy and as they are getting more and more common, they are becoming more and more affordable. However, the total cost of your RV solar system will depend on your needs.
However, the benefits of solar panels are numerous, beginning with the freedom they give you. Whether it’s a flexible or solar panel, it allows you to go anywhere you want and stay as long as you can use the free power of the sun to address all of your electrical needs, so you can explore remote locations and enjoy the beauty of nature.