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Old 07-08-2014, 10:25 AM   #15
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My solar system is 100% quieter them my generator!!! Lol & I love it!!
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Old 07-08-2014, 11:04 AM   #16
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Almost two years ago, we got our coach ready to full-time after retiring. I installed two 250 watt panels on the roof. I got them from Amazon for a pretty good price and no labor costs. Seemed inexpensive.

Here I am, almost 2 years later, and we have hardly used them at all. We have not boon docked as much as we thought. It "feels" better having them, but I don't know if I would do it again. I know that is mixed message, but it has been our experience (so far).

Just evaluate what you want them for, and look at everyones calculations above. If you can do it "on the cheap" (all relative) then you may want to seriously consider it.
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Old 07-08-2014, 12:24 PM   #17
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If running the generator is annoying to you then yes do it. If you can install it yourself you will probably save a couple of thousand dollars. Not that hard, there's a lot of information out there on how to, plus you can ask questions if you run into something you don't understand.

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Old 07-09-2014, 08:00 AM   #18
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AM Solar

Look up AM Solar and you can start with say one 100 watt panel and a Blue Sky controller and then add panels as you need say up to 3 panels for 300 watts starting cost around 450, we camp all along CA 395 5 to 7 per night.
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Old 07-09-2014, 08:24 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Andyfarmer View Post
After 1 year of limited road time I am now wondering if solar panels would be worth the investment if the following is still true: Our 30' Newmar is stored under cover and we are getting out just several weeks a year. Worth it or not?
In your case probably not. For those of us that are fulltimers and avid boondockers its fantastic.
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Old 07-10-2014, 01:08 AM   #20
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i see the solar value. for me it's a peace of mind - i don't need to worry about battery charging. the only time i started genset was for a/c.

the materials are not expensive. if you are handy and like to venture with diy, $1500 could get you a decent system.
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Old 07-11-2014, 04:27 PM   #21
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We have 620 watts of solar on the roof. With our all electric coach, the solar will run everything during the day, however, the six batteries will be down to 12.2 volts by 10:00 pm without the generator. Don't like to listen to the 10 KW one run, so I set a 2 KW Honda 100' away with a gallon of gas. Eight hours later it runs out. Batteries are then good till the sun takes over the next day. Works for us. With a non-all electric MH, I wouldn't need the generator accept for AC.
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Old 07-13-2014, 02:48 AM   #22
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I had two (160 watts each) solar panels with a 1500w inverter, controller, etc. installed. My wife and I were preparing to camp in the infield of a NASCAR race for the first time. I had the system installed because I like the ideal of using solar instead of the generator. The labor was expensive to install the system. I don't regret having the system installed since I live in earthquake county (California), along with piece of mind, but I will probably never recoup my cost. In general, I would think most people would be able to manage with just a generator.
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Old 07-13-2014, 05:34 AM   #23
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I installed 4 100watt panels a 45 amp controller 1500watt inverter and trimetric batter meter for under $2000. We are full time and in vacation mode until August (work camping aug & Sept.) after a sever storm left a Ohio State Park without power for a day many left but we were fine. Ran off batteries for 2 days w/o using generator. I get peace of mind knowing I have power from the sun available. I payed way mor for warranties and insurance that I hope I never use with no ROI in sight from them.
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Old 07-13-2014, 06:21 AM   #24
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Peace of mind is the main reason for a solar system IMO.

You can get cheaper 100watt panels for $125 plus shipping but you do want a quality controller such as an Outback. Cost effective would be installing the system yourself & there are some good Youtube vids on how to do it. Your MH should already have house batteries & an inverter so only increase in cost there is if you want to add more batteries or increase the inverter size.
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Old 07-13-2014, 08:31 AM   #25
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There is also the "coolness" factor of conversations with others of having a rig that can allow to live off the grid in silence. I'm spoiled with panels and the charge controller already installed by the prior owner (no new expense for me) and like when I am prepping for camping and the rig is in the driveway I don't need to bother to plug it in when the fridge and such are running. We use our rig for a lot of day trips to areas where the genny would be unwelcome.

I camped several years ago in a tent near to a rig in that the family ran the granny to watch TV and such, running for hours. I would have paid them to keep it off and loved it when the pain went away. Of course I also enjoy hearing the sound of a nearby creek, birds, wind in the trees, and families having fun together camping vs rap music and technological noise in beautiful settings. The wildlife comes in closer too when it is quieter.
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Old 07-13-2014, 09:04 AM   #26
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Good investment, no. Same could be said about buying a rv, they are not good investments. A tent would be a much better investment.

I have 685 watts of solar. I have it because I boondock several times a year and I hate the sound and smell of generators. It's personal preference nothing more. Just like would you rather sleep in a tent or a rv.
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Old 07-13-2014, 10:00 AM   #27
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Ahhh, the cone of silence... in the woods!

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