Every day more and more motorhome owners are going solar. Solar is a clean and quiet option that allows you to travel off-grid for longer without sacrificing your power needs. A motorhome is a perfect canvas for solar, as the flat roof will catch more sun and give you unobstructed access to the full potential of solar energy.
The independence that solar power offers is liberating, and it can lift the value of your vehicle. Let’s take a deeper look at what an off-grid solar kit can do for you, and what you need to know to get set up.
What are the benefits of using solar power for your Motorhome/Campervan?
Solar panels give you access to alternative energy, and they are the perfect solution for campers who prefer more remote locations. You will be able to power small appliances, charge your devices, and use your lighting, all without needing access to grid power. You’ll have the freedom to camp outside of campgrounds, and stay away for longer. Solar panels provide your motorhome with power all year round, even on cloudy days!
Solar panels offer several benefits over other forms of power. They're incredibly quiet compared to generators, so you won't be disturbing your neighbours or drowning out the sounds of nature. They also generate clean and renewable energy, instead of using fuel, so they're kinder to the environment. You'll also be saving a lot of money on fuel, making solar for your motorhome extremely cost effective.
How much solar power do you need?
The amount of solar power you need depends on your power consumption. For a more in-depth guide to working out your exact solar needs, check out our Off-Grid Solar Basics article here.
As a quick guide, our Starter Kit uses a 320 watt solar panel that will produce enough energy for charging devices and powering lights, perfect for a campervan. Some of our customers choose to upgrade to our Weekend Warrior Kit, which comes with an extra panel and allows them to use more household appliances with ease. These smaller kits are perfect for motorhome used mostly in summer, when sunshine is plentiful.
For year-round living and a more homely feel, some customers upgrade to our Bach Kit, which comes with four panels. Read our interview with Rachel and Marius to learn about their life in a housebus running the Bach Kit.
How do I install solar power on my motorhome?
The most popular way to install your kit is to mount the solar panels on the roof of your RV - provided you have a flat roof, and enough space to fit a 1.65m by 1m panel. When we created our Starter Kit, we wanted it to be appropriate for as many different motorhomes as possible, so we chose the smallest solar panel with the highest conversion efficiency, and paired it with an easy-to-install mounting kit.
The housing unit allows you to run PV cables inside your RV, without any risk of leaks, and the charge controllers and inverters are reasonably sized and can be mounted inside your vehicle without taking up too much valuable space. Batteries will need to be stored in a dry, ventilated area (preferably away from your living space), as damp conditions and high temperatures could damage them. If you don’t have enough space on the roof of your RV, simply lay them on a flat surface or place them on a stand in the sunlight when you park.
If you're wanting to wire your kit into your motorhome to power built-in lights and plugs, you'll need to hire an electrician to handle the 240V connections. Otherwise, you can just plug a powerboard into your inverter. Everything else is fully DIY!
Getting your RV kitted out for solar power can be costly, especially if you’re new to off-grid solar and need to source all the different components from different suppliers. That’s why we created our kits - we’ve been through all the fuss of it, and understand how frustrating it is to try and find the right accessories that are compatible with the right components.
We’ve put a lot of thought into the Starter Kit to make it the ultimate DIY off-grid solar power kit for caravans and campers, at the most affordable price. You’ll find everything you need to get set up in the Starter Kit - from panel, charge controller, inverter and battery, to cables, breakers and mounts. The Starter Kit is priced at $2,050, and we guarantee that it’s the best value on the market.
So, should I get it?
Solar power is a great long term investment. It provides you with clean, green energy, and gives you the opportunity to enjoy off-grid living. You will occasionally be faced with the unique challenge of learning to conserve your energy, and putting your limited power where it’s most needed - a truly eye-opening experience. Most of all, you will be able to travel to the most remote places where you wouldn’t dare to go before, and our Starter Kit will help you stay out there longer.
Speak to one of our solar experts today and we'll be happy to answer any questions you have!