Solar RV is now a common sight in campsites, which is expected. The energy from the sun is free, it can let you live away from the grid. But to get the most out of your system, you should learn to use solar energy effectively in your RV. If you think that using solar energy can save money, you will save more money when you use energy efficiently.
Only use necessary electrical appliances and energy-saving products to maximize the energy of solar panels. Many of the methods used to reduce the power consumption of RV and home are also applicable to RV and campers. Here are some tips to save solar energy for your RV.
- Switch To LED. LED lights have become the standard for a good reason: they last a long time and use much less power than older light bulbs. Just to give you an example, a 5 watt LED light is equal to a 100+ watt regular bulb. You can reduce the number of lights you use without sacrificing efficiency. If you haven't already, replace all the lights in your RV with LED.
- Add a Central Inverter Switch. A central switch makes it easy to turn off the inverter when you're not using it. Like chargers, an inverter uses up power as long as it is turned on. A solution to this is the power saving mode built into modern inverters. If yours doesn't have one, add a central switch or manually turn it off. You'll save even more power if you use the power saving mode and turn the inverter off after usage.
- Invest In Lithium-ion Battery. Lithium ion batteries are considered premium compared to lead acid, but they are more efficient in storing energy. They need little maintenance and charging power is better too. Lithium batteries are lighter than lead acid and they're safer to use as well. If you spend lots of time in your RV, it's better to invest in lithium ion now as it will pay for itself in the future. With superior storage capacity, it is a more cost effective solution.
- Take Advantage Of the Sun. Park your RV so the solar panels receive the maximum amount of sunlight. In the northern hemisphere that means facing north, while in the southern hemisphere that means face south. Do not place your camper near shade as that obstructs light. By parking your RV for optimum sun exposure, you also maximize the amount of light that gets inside. You can use natural light instead of sunlight to save on light bulbs during the morning and early afternoon. During the cold season and cloudy days, the right RV solar panel positioning is important. During hot summer days it's the opposite. Once the panels have stored enough energy, look for some shade to park. This cools down your RV and lessens usage of fans or AC systems.