YOU DON'T NEED IT – 7 RVer Types That Shouldn't Get Solar



I LOVE our RV solar system. However, even I must admit there are RVer types that shouldn’t invest in solar. Are you one of them?

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I am a huge proponent of solar energy since it is clean, silent, and zero maintenance. Our RV is powered by this incredible technology and we love it! However, even I must admit that solar is not for every RVer.

A full solar system complete with solar panes, an inverter, and battery bank can be a large up-front investment. And for many types of RVers solar would be a bad investment. Are you one of them? Check out the video to see if you shouldn’t get solar for your RV.

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43 thoughts on “YOU DON'T NEED IT – 7 RVer Types That Shouldn't Get Solar

  • October 26, 2020 at 11:08 am
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    My generator a 4000 Watt unit only requires two quarts of oil every year for the oil change and it literally takes less than 10 minutes. I Boondock a lot roughly 50% of my trips and I found solar panels to be completely useless not to mention extremely costly and the batteries you mention the lithium iron phosphate when I price them would cost nearly as much as an Onan 4000 generator. So I don't see how there's any cost savings and there is maintenance involved with solar panels mainly cleaning and I have found that they rarely continue to have full capacity after three years in the Sun. so good luck to you but I think your video is a bit misleading on the cost and downsides to generators.

    Reply
  • October 26, 2020 at 11:08 am
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    I really didn't need it, but have a strong interest in solar so I couldn't help myself to a small system. Mainly camp in the southeast where most campgrounds have power and the shaded sites are the most coveted.

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  • October 26, 2020 at 11:08 am
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    But solar is soo cool….I just want it to be a cool kid. Oh I need a trailer first. Lol

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  • October 26, 2020 at 11:08 am
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    What if you sweat excessively without AC? How fast do the AC unit drain the battery? Can you run the AC unit + other electronics on a generator? I am considering this life style, doing my research now.

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  • October 26, 2020 at 11:08 am
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    I only take mine out 4-5 x a year and in full hookup sites soooo I don’t need solar
    Thanks!!!

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  • October 26, 2020 at 11:08 am
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    It would be interesting to know about other forms of electric generation.

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  • October 26, 2020 at 11:08 am
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    I love your videos, but if you have deep cycle lead acid batteries, the charge while towing won’t be enough, solar will help.

    Reply
  • October 26, 2020 at 11:08 am
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    I watch A LOT of YouTube videos on Vanlife, RVing, overlanding, and living a more minimalist life. This is an excellent video!!! Lots of practical considerations and alternatives presented in a short video. I’m now a subscriber. Godspeed, namesake.

    Reply
  • October 26, 2020 at 11:08 am
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    In your final scenario, you mention low electrical use, but your examples neglected the refrigerator, which appliance draws quite a bit. I don't think it would do well on just the in-transit charging system, and you'd end up running the generator almost the whole time you were boondocking.
    When I get my rig, which will be purchased with cash from the sale of my sticks and bricks, I plan to have solar installed from the factory.

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  • October 26, 2020 at 11:08 am
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    Great video. I want to do some minimal boondocking and have a 4Patriot 2500W solar generator/inverter along with 4 100W solar suitcase panels. I have a solar plug in the side of my trailer but am not sure how to make it work together.

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  • October 26, 2020 at 11:08 am
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    Well built rv solar systems can run anything except ac or ceramic heaters. An easy on the microwave.

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  • October 26, 2020 at 11:08 am
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    Should have given me a little credit on this one. It hit every point that I posted to you last week.

    But it's ok… I have a lot more tips and hacks. Maybe next time.

    Reply
  • October 26, 2020 at 11:08 am
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    Thank you David. I always feel so guilty for not running solar. But being part-time and have a small trailer you make a good point. And I guess you still need to factor in the cost of a generator for the cloudy days.

    Reply
  • October 26, 2020 at 11:08 am
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    Nice video. I have used fully integrated solutions (Goal Zero) for years. Nat Forest and Parks are my main place to stay and I require a cpap every night for 8+ hours. I have never had an issue. Looking to upgrade this year so I can use a laptop / charge camera & drone batteries. But still will go with integrated system. This works for in home power outages also. Stay safe Be Happy!!

    Reply
  • October 26, 2020 at 11:08 am
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    Not everyone may want to do this, but I had to rewire my little 17ft 1998 Burro and I put almost everything on plywood that is screwed to the under side of my seats.  Solar controller, battery charger, wire connections, pretty much everything that can be mounted. Most of these items need very little attention and can still be gotten to if needed. This saved a lot of room and made it easy to still store day to day camping items on the floor under the seats. Just a thought.  Love your videos and ideas.

    Reply
  • October 26, 2020 at 11:08 am
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    I already have a 2k inverter generator and it's perfect for running the A/C and microwave in my small 13' trailer. A large enough setup would allow me to run the microwave off an inverter, but with only 600 lbs of cargo capacity, it would add way too much weight, especially considering that my fresh water tank and the water in my water heater take up 217 lbs of that 600 lbs. So I definitely fit in that category of solar not being for me.

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  • October 26, 2020 at 11:08 am
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    We use a portable solar panel because our roof really isn’t made for walking on and we wanted the capability to move the panel around to find the sun rather than move the trailer. We have a generator as well for the not so sunny days or for if we really need it.

    Reply
  • October 26, 2020 at 11:08 am
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    solar cost is not that bad i was able to get 2 solar panels 365watts each for $70each facebook used. charge controller $190 amazon with wifi new. it keeps the batteries 100 percent charged. 2 6volt L16 batteries i dont really add them into the solar cost. because you'll get get some kind of battery anyways solar or not. In a nut shell i got 700watts of solar and controller for under $400. But i have to look for deals and jump on it when i find it. i do like your videos not tring to hate at all. Just it does not have to break the bank to get some solar.

    Reply
  • October 26, 2020 at 11:08 am
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    This is the best discussion I have seen about when and when not to purchase a solar energy system. So many of the channels make is sound like your a dope if you don't spend thousands on a solar system for your RV…I mean the energy is free right? Thank you for sharing the very thought out insight. I went through the same thought process that you just discussed and I went the generator route. Paid cash for a Champion dual fuel on clearance at Gander Outdoors (they liquidated) and this fits our needs perfectly. I did look seriously at solar for my rig but the cost of it was just not something I wanted, or needed to spend. I think in your case it makes total sense, but for the non-full timer like me…not so much. Thank you again!

    Reply
  • October 26, 2020 at 11:08 am
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    Thanks for sharing your experiences – I as well love solar, but I fit into coupe of the groups you mentioned. Based on my observations, just would like to add the “where you camp” component – solar requires the ability to charge the batteries under the sun. If you mostly camp in shady areas, or where your panels would not be able to consistently face the sun in a way required to recharge your battery, it will not recharge properly. Also, “tilting the panels” on the roof to face the sun is needed from time to time unless you invest in auto tilting mechanism. Some folks out there may not be able to access the roof.

    Reply
  • October 26, 2020 at 11:08 am
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    We have a solar panel for trickle charging but to be honest, we never use it as the good camping in my area usually always have hookups. Very little boondocking in Illinois lol. We are looking at generators however for charging purposes and to run our cool cat

    Reply
  • October 26, 2020 at 11:08 am
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    I have solar on the house. It is nice to not be drawing from PG&E all the time. My system just feeds into the grid, because enough battery and inverter to back up a sticks and bricks house would make your system look cheap! But as a part time RVer and for household backup, we have some battery systems with inverters and nice 12v appliances, and a few lightweight solar panels. It is enough for a weekend, or household emergency.
    But I agree, if you go fulltime, then solar makes sense. I do like your system.

    Reply
  • October 26, 2020 at 11:08 am
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    If you think the incessant drone of your generator is wonderful than solar isn’t for you…

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  • October 26, 2020 at 11:08 am
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    Sign us up for Number 2 & 6 🙂 We did over 11,000 miles last year (part time travelers) and boon docked 90% of the time. Spent about $35 in gas for the EU2000i and an oil change takes less than 1 quart so maybe $7.50 (actually haven't run the genny long enough to warrant the oil change yet) 🙂

    Reply
  • October 26, 2020 at 11:08 am
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    Air conditioning. Your solar probably won't run it. If it does, it won't for long. If you get a generator to run your AC, make sure it has enough watts, like 3000. You spent more than a grand on your honda which isn't big enough to run the AC. Why do you have it?

    Reply
  • October 26, 2020 at 11:08 am
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    2 sets of harbor freight 100 watt solar panels, 2 deep cycle batteries, and a generator. Looking for a 200 watt or so wind turbine for night charging.

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  • October 26, 2020 at 11:08 am
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    Although not a full time RV; been doing it many years. The past few years we go out once every month for 4-7 days and one 6-8 week jaunt. About 70% off grid. We have a 30’ tt. Our power needs are pretty minimal. I use two 100W solar panels, a pwm controller & 2-6V golf cart batteries. Since we camp mostly in wooded areas my panels are portable. I also have a small Champion inverter generator for the occasional 110V and cloudy raining days. I use about 2-3gal of gas a year. I’m all in for under $1k. I have no need to spend $8-$12k for a system at this time or foreseeable future. I spent 40+ year career in finance so I am capable of working the numbers when needed.

    Reply
  • October 26, 2020 at 11:08 am
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    It couldn't hurt to add a little more Rottweiler to your videos. The weather looks so nice wherever you are

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  • October 26, 2020 at 11:08 am
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    I disagree with not having solar in an Rv park. This is why, I have solar power and I stay in a RV park ,but I go to work every day when I leave for work I cut the power to the pole and let solar run while I'm at work. This saves me alot of money every month. I've gone from having a 120$ a month bill down to like 30 to 35 dollar a month bill. That is a good savings to me. So I definitely think it has a place. I have 1 100 watt fold out with 2 batteries. I put my fold out on top of my RV tied down to maximize the sun all day.

    Reply

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