Motorhome/solar panels

phrigeMay 12, 2005

Im looking to get a motorhome and i would like to power it with solar panels. I expect it to have a bathroom,kitchen with a fridge oven and microwave, and interior lighting. I was wondering approxiately how many solar panels / the voltage i should be looking for. Im new to solar power so any info would be greatly appreciated.

thanks

~Pete

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huisjen(z5 ME)

You need to do the same thing that people contemplating a fixed solar installation do: add up all your loads. I don't know if modern motor homes run off of 12 Vdc (which would make your life easy, as that is one of the ways solar systems may be easily configured) or if they use an inverter to convert to 120V ac (thereby enabling the use of conventional household appliances.

The two things that use the most electricity in a typical set-up are heating and motors. In a house powered by solar, hot water will be provided by a propane or gas hot water heater (or, possibly, solar hot water panels, which are NOT the same thing as the photoelectric panels that provide electricity) and the stove will be propane/gas, not electric.

You can forget about using the following things: hair dryer, toaster, microwave. They just use too much juice. If you use a pump much (sewage disposal?) that will draw down your batteries too. Regular lighting is too inefficient; you'll want to change to fluorescent or LED lamps.

You'll need to think about where your storage batteries will be located. They are heavy, and need to be vented to the outside. They also must be protected from extreme cold.

Unless the panels are flat to the roof (less than ideal in any location off the equator) you'll need to think about how much they will pull on the skin and frame of the vehicle when you are underway at 65 mph.

Probably you should talk to your friendly neighborhood solar installer about whether such a thing is feasible. Take with you any information about the electricity usage of an RV equipped similarly to the one you're envisioning. He or she will help you sort it through.

Best of luck,

Katey

    Bookmark   May 12, 2005 at 4:02PM
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kokosnood(z9 CA)

You are going to have to get a propane powered refrigerator. Also a generator would be nice to charge the batteries when the sun is unavailable, and to run the heavy appliances like the microwave.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2005 at 1:38PM
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lesli8(8TX)

ok, if a person just has the minimum of stuff like no toaster no microwave, propane fridge & stove what would a system like that usually cost for a travel trailer I would like something that I could hook up to the grid later to catch the over flow as we will use it like a weekend house on the farm.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2005 at 3:05PM
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tedp2(7Al)

Why? You'll be paying many dollars to get the solar system components and many more to get them installed by an expert for pennies in savings. Most of the places where you can park a motor home big enough to accomodate all the amenities you want already have 110 volt hook-ups and you can run 110 volt from your house or barn on the farm.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2005 at 8:23AM
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