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Old 10-17-2012, 10:48 AM   #1
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Solar ATS with Shore Power?

I don't know that I see serious boondocking as part of our future plans. We tend to see ourselves in full hookup situations much more often than not. So, the idea of adding significant solar capability seems to be at odds BUT...

Do solar systems have some kind of regulation capability to become the primary power source and kick out shore power. Can the solar power source be brought on line in a similar manner that an ATS kicks shore power out when the generator comes on?

I would assume that would be most helpful when running higher power devices on inverters. Perhaps what I am alluding to is similar to the auto generator start features we now have except to restore shore power instead of starting the generator.
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Old 10-17-2012, 11:00 AM   #2
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Sky Boss----most solar systems us a charge controller that charges the batterys till a set piont is met then they turn off just like the alt. in a car thus keeping the batterys charged. So if you were also on shore power both the solar and the unit charger would work till the charge points were net. I have had a 500 watt syst. for 10 yrs and have had no probles on or off line. Hope this helps.
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Old 10-17-2012, 11:04 AM   #3
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Thanks Autofish...

Let me add something that I forgot to add to the post...

My purpose of the question was to see if there was a real cost savings when on shore power, especially if I go "all electric".

Maybe I don't quite have a handle on the various configurations for solar power. I'm trying to fix that.
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Old 10-17-2012, 11:12 AM   #4
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Sky_boss if your going to go all solar, you would want a switch that you can switch between solar power and shore power. The biggest issue with doing this is you will want batteries to store up the solar panel power when the solar are not producing as much as your using. You would want to increase your battery bank which could cost a few hundred dollars. You will than spend a lot of money on solar panels. The pay off will be very long term however your RV will have higher resale.

Really I would not see the benefit cost wise to do the solar.
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Old 10-17-2012, 04:10 PM   #5
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I don't think an RV Solar system can pay for itself. It's justification should be the enhanced "energy independence" which seems to me a good enough reason.

But if you have a solar system (for whatever justification) on your RV, here's a simple and inexpensive trick to maximize the free solar power versus the shore power contribution. Just get an electronic timer switch (one that continues to keep time when power is out) and run the battery charger (only) on the timer. Set the timer to come on just after dusk and stay on long enough to top off the batteries if the day was a bit cloudy. That way the sun does as much as it can, and then shore power makes up any shortfall each day.
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Old 10-18-2012, 09:07 AM   #6
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Sky Boss==== the cost for a 500watt system was about $3000 just for part with me doing the install . During the summer it will make about 2.5 to 3.5 kw per day and not so much during the winter. If I am dry camping this helps keep the batteries up if I am using LP for heat, cooking, and hot water. In the winter (Reno Nv) on shore power I use about 30 -40 Kw per day and am all elect except for cooking. SO this being said the solar is for fun and will never pay for its self would be better to just pay the electric bill.
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Old 10-18-2012, 02:21 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by autofish
Sky Boss==== the cost for a 500watt system was about $3000 just for part with me doing the install . During the summer it will make about 2.5 to 3.5 kw per day and not so much during the winter. If I am dry camping this helps keep the batteries up if I am using LP for heat, cooking, and hot water. In the winter (Reno Nv) on shore power I use about 30 -40 Kw per day and am all elect except for cooking. SO this being said the solar is for fun and will never pay for its self would be better to just pay the electric bill.
Wow, in my s+b living I've never used even 35KW a day, even during fl. summer ac use. I'm looking at a 630watt system right now for less than $1600. Thanks to the incredibly helpful posters on this site, I am no longer nervous about attempting this install.
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