Good Sam Club Open Roads Forum: Truck Campers: solar question
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daily double

ketchum ok.

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Posted: 07/29/21 09:38am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

How many of you who have solar panels have found that it's not a necessity. I'm in the market for a new unit and since I'll be boon docking spending a lot of time in the shade, Im on the fence about wether to get it.

n0arp

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Posted: 07/29/21 09:43am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

It really depends on your personal use and expectations.

For us, solar is necessary to facilitate our desired lifestyle. If you're just using your rig on weekends, and have minimal electrical requirements, then you may not need it.

Our solar panels are on a raised rack that shades our entire roof and our awnings shade our sides.


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Old Days

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Posted: 07/29/21 09:44am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I put solar on 3 campers would not go without it. Even in shade you get some power.

Lwiddis

Monterey, California

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Posted: 07/29/21 09:44am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Solar panels produce in the shade, just not as much. Anything I can do to cut down or eliminate generator use…noise, maintenance, lugging in and out of the truck bed etc…I’ve done and would do it again.


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HMS Beagle

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Posted: 07/29/21 10:05am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

10 years ago I'd have said you need to trade off the cost vs. benefit for your chosen mission. But solar is so inexpensive now, I can think of no good argument to leave it off. About one tank of fuel per 100 watts is the cost, and it is about as maintenance free as anything on an RV.


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mr_andyj

Georgia

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Posted: 07/29/21 04:47pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I can't live without it.
6 campers and 6 solar installs.
I can probably go a day and a night without it then drive and recharge batteries, but otherwise I wont have enough battery.
A lot depends on how much power you use. With normal use and boondocking you really can't go without a way to recharge the batteries.
Solar will work in the shade parked under a thick canopy of east coast mountain trees, though the charge will take longer, I still get all the charge I need during the day...

2oldman

NM

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Posted: 07/29/21 04:49pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Can't imagine camping without solar.

jimh425

Western MT

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Posted: 07/29/21 05:09pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I’ve never needed solar. I don’t think generators are interchangeable with solar for most people. Generators produce a lot of power quickly, solar can’t do that. I’ve thought about it to keep the batteries topped off in storage although I could simply hook up a Battery Tender for that.

What I did instead is reduce the amount of power that I use by going LED for all bulbs. I don’t spend a lot of time in one place and regularly drive with the TC on. I find that usually that means my batteries stay topped off.

I have camped a few places that are heavy with trees and solar won’t do hardly anything in those cases.

There is a lot of information out there on how to determine how much power you expect to use as well as adding batteries that can be drawn down more safely which is in affect adding capacity.


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3 tons

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Posted: 07/29/21 05:27pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

For those who camp with hook-ups, I can see little need for Solar…We camp 95% divorced from the grid so 440w of Solar (with 200a/hrs of Lithium) is nearly our exclusive power source…After being liberated by solar (meaning exploiting FREE Energy!!) I consider a generator akin to taxes, mostly a PITA and can only justify using ours during extended air conditioner usage, say of more than about 2hrs or so, otherwise we run the microwave, Keurig coffee pot, and conditioner (say for roadside stops) strictly via the battery concurrent with solar…VERY Glad I ‘cut the cord’!!

3 tons

jimh425

Western MT

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Posted: 07/29/21 05:39pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

3 tons wrote:

After being liberated by solar (meaning exploiting FREE Energy!!)


It’s not quite free if you had to pay to buy the system. [emoticon] But I agree it could be liberating if you are out in the wide open spaces with open skies and have a use for all of that power.

It’s probably years before a payoff for most people. Well, it’s years or decades for most solar systems.

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