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Old 07-08-2017, 04:04 PM   #1
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How much, how much, how much,is it enough?

What is your experience? I am learning about solar. So my question is not what I am doing or planning so much as what you have done.

1.How much solar power do you have and type? (on top, inverter, battery bank)

2.How much did it cost you?

3.How much stuff will it power?

4. Is it enough power for you?

5. Final question. Is the cost worth it?

Thanks
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Old 07-08-2017, 04:05 PM   #2
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1. 400 watts, 4-100 watt panels.
2. $5,875 factory option.
3. Everything but the heat pumps, heated floors, 240 volt dryer and both the AquaHot electric elements but can do one at a time, through the 3000 watt inverter
4. So far it is.
5. No idea, due to the late wife's poor health and death we never really got to try it.
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Old 07-08-2017, 04:15 PM   #3
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My rig came with a tiny panel on top of one of the AC units. No idea what it is hooked up to or what it does.

My question to you is, what are you trying to accomplish? Do you want to boondock and minimize generator useage? What kind of batteries do you have? Do you want to add battery capacity?

From the little I know about solar, a decent array and battery combination will keep you in TV and minimal 110 appliance use most of the time. Obviously you will not be able to run AC units. If you have a residential fridge instead of a 3-way propane unit, you'll be using more power.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rvethereyet View Post
What is your experience? I am learning about solar. So my question is not what I am doing or planning so much as what you have done.

1.How much solar power do you have and type? (on top, inverter, battery bank)

2.How much did it cost you?

3.How much stuff will it power?

4. Is it enough power for you?

5. Final question. Is the cost worth it?

Thanks
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Old 07-08-2017, 04:19 PM   #4
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I have 640 watts roof mounted serving a 520 amp bank of FLA batteries. This powers all my normal 12v loads (gas furnace and fridge, w/h, lights, water pump) and all 120v circuits (including microwave ) EXCEPT heat pump and block heater.

IIRC we have about $5500 in this system, not accounting for the $1500 tax credit.

We like it and feel it has been worthwhile for us because we boondocking a lot and only have to run the generator when we absolutely have to have A/C.
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Old 07-08-2017, 04:23 PM   #5
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After 14 years and 165k miles, I decided to "dabble" with some solar panels.....By no means an expert but matching consumption to panel output and available battery storage is the key. Things like residential fridges, plasma TVs, propane/hydro furnaces take a lot of power--couple high use appliances with a few cloudy days and you get upside down in a hurry. My best guess was a minimum of 600 watts of panels and 600 amp/hrs of storage before you make a big difference. 3-way fridges, LED bulbs, and limited use of appliances on the consumption side will help balance the equation. Figure $1.00-1.50 per panel watt plus installation--you will also need a good quality controller [$100 to 200]....
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Old 07-08-2017, 04:39 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jondrew View Post
My rig came with a tiny panel on top of one of the AC units. No idea what it is hooked up to or what it does.

My question to you is, what are you trying to accomplish? Do you want to boondock and minimize generator useage? What kind of batteries do you have? Do you want to add battery capacity?

From the little I know about solar, a decent array and battery combination will keep you in TV and minimal 110 appliance use most of the time. Obviously you will not be able to run AC units. If you have a residential fridge instead of a 3-way propane unit, you'll be using more power.
Just curious... did you read my post? My post states its not what I am doing but what you have done. From your experience.
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Old 07-08-2017, 05:12 PM   #7
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We dry camp typically a week at a time in the deserts if the southwest. Use electric pretty much as we would with hookups wife has sewing machine, I have ham radio. TV with satellite, etc.

Previous coach with RV refrigerator, LED lighting, 2300w inverter, and four 6v house batteries. I installed 600w of solar mounted flat with Morningstar PWM controller. It did pretty well, usually providing during the day and getting us to float by end of day, except in low winter sun months. I had two 100w panels made portable that would be set out at optimal angle as helpers.

Current coach is residential refrigerator, led lighting, 2800w inverter, and six 6v batteries. I installed 1500w solar mounted flat with Midnight Solar Classic controller. It amply gets the batteries to float early to mid-afternoon, even in January. I still have the two portable helper panels but have not needed them.

I am in the camp of go big when it comes to PV systems. This mitigates overcast days, shading, and low winter sun.

As for cost, it can vary widely​ depending on system design, DIY or professional install, components used, etc. My first 600w system I spent about $1500.00 iirc. Current system I have about $3500.00 invested iirc. Including hired labor to do the roof work in both, as I can no longer do the climbing.

RV solar cannot be cost justified imho, unless a couple hundred watt system for battery maintance while in storage. For dry camping it's a want - to minimize generator usage. Unless maybe if you are full time and do primarily dry camping.

Good luck.
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Old 07-08-2017, 06:37 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vsheetz View Post
We dry camp typically a week at a time in the deserts if the southwest. Use electric pretty much as we would with hookups wife has sewing machine, I have ham radio. TV with satellite, etc.

Previous coach with RV refrigerator, LED lighting, 2300w inverter, and four 6v house batteries. I installed 600w of solar mounted flat with Morningstar PWM controller. It did pretty well, usually providing during the day and getting us to float by end of day, except in low winter sun months. I had two 100w panels made portable that would be set out at optimal angle as helpers.

Current coach is residential refrigerator, led lighting, 2800w inverter, and six 6v batteries. I installed 1500w solar mounted flat with Midnight Solar Classic controller. It amply gets the batteries to float early to mid-afternoon, even in January. I still have the two portable helper panels but have not needed them.

I am in the camp of go big when it comes to PV systems. This mitigates overcast days, shading, and low winter sun.

As for cost, it can vary widely​ depending on system design, DIY or professional install, components used, etc. My first 600w system I spent about $1500.00 iirc. Current system I have about $3500.00 invested iirc. Including hired labor to do the roof work in both, as I can no longer do the climbing.

RV solar cannot be cost justified imho, unless a couple hundred watt system for battery maintance while in storage. For dry camping it's a want - to minimize generator usage. Unless maybe if you are full time and do primarily dry camping.

Good luck.
Very nice reply. If I can get a solar set up like yours for $3500 I will have it coming my way tomorrow. Thanks
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Old 07-08-2017, 06:39 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr_D View Post
1. 400 watts, 4-100 watt panels.
2. $5,875 factory option.
3. Everything but the heat pumps, heated floors, 240 volt dryer and both the AquaHot electric elements but can do one at a time, through the 3000 watt inverter
4. So far it is.
5. No idea, due to the late wife's poor health and death we never really got to try it.
Thanks Mr D for the info.
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Old 07-08-2017, 06:41 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sneelock View Post
I have 640 watts roof mounted serving a 520 amp bank of FLA batteries. This powers all my normal 12v loads (gas furnace and fridge, w/h, lights, water pump) and all 120v circuits (including microwave ) EXCEPT heat pump and block heater.

IIRC we have about $5500 in this system, not accounting for the $1500 tax credit.

We like it and feel it has been worthwhile for us because we boondocking a lot and only have to run the generator when we absolutely have to have A/C.
Sounds like a nice setup. How difficult was it to get the $1500 tax credit on an RV? Thanks for the reply
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Old 07-08-2017, 06:47 PM   #11
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It's a Federal tax credit for installing alternative energy on your home. You need to check the IRS website for details but I think it was 30% of the total cost and to have your RV qualify as a second home you need to use it 6 weeks a year or more.
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Old 07-08-2017, 07:47 PM   #12
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Thanks for the info
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Old 07-08-2017, 08:11 PM   #13
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960 Watt solar on the roof, six 6 Volt AGM batteries, 1000 Watt inverter and 3000 Watt pure sinewave inverter (small inv. came factory inst. for the res. fridge, decided to keep it and be able to switch), powers everything incl. w/d and water heater on a good day but not the AC's.
Cost: Nearly $8,000 cdn. when solar was still very expensive.
System is being transferred to our new RV, Riverstone Legacy 38RE, as we speak (well, they're probably taking the weekend off).
We're skipping the Onan 5500 this time and probably buy a Honda or Yamaha for the few times we have to run the AC's, much more economical to operate on gasoline than on propane.
With solar it only hurts once.
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Old 07-08-2017, 09:09 PM   #14
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I added 275 watt panel mounted flat on the roof which keeps the four 12 volt just over 400 (total) amp hour batteries charged when we have sun. Cost for the panel, charge controller and installation was $800 but that was a mistake and should have cost twice that. When we dry camp we run the refrigerator and hot water on propane. We charge our iPads and phones off of the inverter during the day. I'll be adding another panel or two shortly and more amp hours when I need to replace the batteries.
Don't like the noise of a generator so to me solar is the was to go. A side benefit is not needing to plug in when it's in storage. If we need the microwave or A/C the generator is started.
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