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Old 05-10-2018, 07:17 AM   #1
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Convert To Solar

Hey RV Friends!

So I've started researching what it would take to convert the Brave to solar. It's been a dream of mine to have her off the grid and im wondering how easy / difficult it is.

My Brave already has a small solar panel on the roof, does this make it any easier to setup more panels or no?

Does anyone have a solar setup? Do you mind sharing what it took to get setup and the relative cost?

I'm looking to satisfy 30amps of power and I can't seem to find a solid answer about how many watts I would need onna dailt basis, etc.

Any advice? Reference referrals? I'm hoping to commit and get it accomplished this summer 😃

Thank you for reading 🙏
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Old 05-10-2018, 07:28 AM   #2
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I can't help you with the solar installation but there is a major tax savings that you can accomplish with your solar conversion. Your solar conversion will qualify for the energy tax credit on your federal income tax. Keep track of your costs for tax time.
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Old 05-10-2018, 07:38 AM   #3
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So the tiny panel it has doesnít help any. Donít expect to run things like an electric heater or a roof air conditioner. You need to consider how much weight for cargo capacity you have as well. It is doable though! Are you willing to do the work yourself? Do you have an inverter already? If so itís probably only setup for a couple things in your coach. This is just a start lots of research and information needed to get there, but definitely possible!
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Old 05-10-2018, 08:55 AM   #4
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If you are looking for a quick answer you won't find it. The best options is to google "how to do rv solar". There you will find a plethora of information and is probably the best place to start. FYI I have 4 100 watt panels on our coach and I'm planing on having another 6 installed. But I recognize the depth of my ignorance and lack of skills so I'm having someone else do it.
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Old 05-10-2018, 09:11 AM   #5
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Hi ! Welcome to IRV2! We're sure glad you joined the gang!

I'm not the solar expert so I'll let others help you on this!

Good luck, happy trails, and God bless!
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Old 05-11-2018, 05:45 PM   #6
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I'm looking into this as well. I found this blog very informative. https://handybobsolar.wordpress.com There is a LOT of info in there and not terribly organized (it seems most blogs are like that) but I learned a lot from the content as well as links to others as well. Set aside some time, get comfortable, and take notes. That helped me to digest it all. It looks like it's quite a balancing act and it starts with how much power the things in your RV consume vs how much boondocking you plan on doing vs the size of your RV (roof real estate and weight capacity for things like batteries) I think we are going to start with 2 100 watt panels and a pair of 6 volt golf cart batteries. But set it up so if we decide to add on we won't have to redo anything to do that. Wow this is much longer than I expected.
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Old 05-11-2018, 05:55 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GypsySoul90 View Post
Hey RV Friends!

So I've started researching what it would take to convert the Brave to solar. It's been a dream of mine to have her off the grid and im wondering how easy / difficult it is.

My Brave already has a small solar panel on the roof, does this make it any easier to setup more panels or no?

Does anyone have a solar setup? Do you mind sharing what it took to get setup and the relative cost?

I'm looking to satisfy 30amps of power and I can't seem to find a solid answer about how many watts I would need onna dailt basis, etc.

Any advice? Reference referrals? I'm hoping to commit and get it accomplished this summer 😃

Thank you for reading 🙏
Ohm's Law: Watts = Volts x Amps.

Therefore 120V x 30A = 3600 watts of solar panels. They only work when the sun is shining.

Plus the proper equipment to invert it to 120V AC.

Many people are doing this in their homes with panels of anywhere from 6000 to 15000 watts, and never pay an electric bill.
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Old 05-11-2018, 06:49 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GypsySoul90 View Post
Hey RV Friends!

So I've started researching what it would take to convert the Brave to solar. It's been a dream of mine to have her off the grid and im wondering how easy / difficult it is.

My Brave already has a small solar panel on the roof, does this make it any easier to setup more panels or no?

Does anyone have a solar setup? Do you mind sharing what it took to get setup and the relative cost?

I'm looking to satisfy 30amps of power and I can't seem to find a solid answer about how many watts I would need onna dailt basis, etc.

Any advice? Reference referrals? I'm hoping to commit and get it accomplished this summer ��

Thank you for reading ��
on your profile, you stated you have a winne brave for 30in, that is too short .
on the other hand, you wanted to get 30a at 120v equivalent to 3600w. considering flat mount vs tilt, a factor comes to play; the inverter will have about 90% efficiency... you are looking at about 5500w to make it happen! that is too much!

i installed 2750w solar, but i was on a 40ft coach.

kidding aside, there are so much involved. it is probably unpractical to pour everything on one page to make you clear. as above suggested, google "RV solar" or read handybob's blog to gain some basic knowledge. when you feel you are familiar with the terms, the principles and ready to tackle it, come back we can go deeper with your questions in a targeted fashion. good luck and have fun!
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Old 05-12-2018, 03:01 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CountryFit View Post
on your profile, you stated you have a winne brave for 30in, that is too short .
on the other hand, you wanted to get 30a at 120v equivalent to 3600w. considering flat mount vs tilt, a factor comes to play; the inverter will have about 90% efficiency... you are looking at about 5500w to make it happen! that is too much!

i installed 2750w solar, but i was on a 40ft coach.

kidding aside, there are so much involved. it is probably unpractical to pour everything on one page to make you clear. as above suggested, google "RV solar" or read handybob's blog to gain some basic knowledge. when you feel you are familiar with the terms, the principles and ready to tackle it, come back we can go deeper with your questions in a targeted fashion. good luck and have fun!
30in!! LMAO... Oops... I really know how to live "tiny."

I will definitely do some more basic research and check out the blog posted above.

Do you mind if I ask how much it cost you to setup your solar?

Thanks for everything!
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Old 05-13-2018, 04:32 AM   #10
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Let me be the first to burst your bubble.

It's not practical/feasible/possible to collect (not enough real estate for all the panels that would be needed), store (not enough space and weight carrying capability for battery capacity) and then invert/ deliver 30amps of power for your coach.

Could you invest a lot of money to get partial power needs....yes! You'll have to back down your assumed power needs/wants, and start to be much more frugal with power consumption.

Do the math.....
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Old 05-13-2018, 05:37 AM   #11
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Clarify do you mean 30 amps a.c. or 30 amps D.C.? You can easily survive on solar, but you cannot install enough to run the air conditioning. It is practical to have enough solar, batteries, and an inverter to run just about everything else.
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Old 05-13-2018, 08:48 AM   #12
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op, a pv was sent to you
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Old 05-13-2018, 09:29 AM   #13
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I'm with the suggestion to research what's already out there and to really zero in on your power needs.

You mention 30 amps, which is pretty meaningless by itself. 30 amps at 12 volts is 360 watts which, at 2 - 3 12v panels, is definitely doable and affordable, while a system that's capable of 30 amps at 120v (using an inverter) would be 3,600 watts, which would be very expensive and take up more roof space than you have available. This is an impractical goal.

Additionally, a solar system needs a suitably sized battery bank to store the power it produces. Think of the battery bank as a reservoir that stores water from run-off from rain on a mountain. A battery bank capable of providing 3,600 watts of power for hours on end would be massive. 3,600 watts at 12v is 300 amps. Storing enough power to provide 300 amps for ten hours would require a capacity of 3,000 amp hours or fifteen 130 lb, 200 amp hour batteries (at about $350 each). Plus all this assumes 100% efficiency which isn't possible.

On the other hand, a two panel, 360 or 400 watt system with a controller can be put together for $600 - $1,000 (DIY installation) depending on what equipment you choose. This will keep you going if you're judicious with your power usage. It's not, however going to run your air conditioner all day.
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Old 05-13-2018, 07:32 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GypsySoul90 View Post
Hey RV Friends!

So I've started researching what it would take to convert the Brave to solar. It's been a dream of mine to have her off the grid and im wondering how easy / difficult it is.

My Brave already has a small solar panel on the roof, does this make it any easier to setup more panels or no?

Does anyone have a solar setup? Do you mind sharing what it took to get setup and the relative cost?

I'm looking to satisfy 30amps of power and I can't seem to find a solid answer about how many watts I would need onna dailt basis, etc.

Any advice? Reference referrals? I'm hoping to commit and get it accomplished this summer 😃

Thank you for reading 🙏
Solar is useful and it really helps put amp hours into your batteries when you are not generating electricity with the gen set or the engine (driving). I have 300watts on my roof and it makes a huge difference in how long I can go without burning fuel or hooking up, when boondocking. You need to calculate your load requirements for your basic needs (refrigerator, lights, water pump and tv, etc) Once you know the total watts you will need (load) you can figure the amps required (you need to know the voltage of each load and use ohms law formula amps x volts = watts). It really is all about the amp hours (stored amps in batteries). You can buy as many batteries as you want to try to carry to get a lot of amp hours stored up. But, like most of us, once you truly start to see what your amp requirements are (load) you will see that it is hard to get enough solar cells to actually keep up with the load. You can use the stored amp hours in your batteries and they can last for several days, and even longer depending on how many batteries and how many amp hours your solar is replacing during the sunlight hours. Big amp draw items like AC and microwave will really take some amps out of your batteries quickly so you need to really do the math as has been suggested. If you have a big enough inverter, you can run AC but you will discharge your batteries in no time, even with your roof covered with solar panels. It really is all math. Do the math. Happy to help!
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