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Old 07-14-2017, 06:34 PM   #29
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Haven't done it yet but this is what we're planning to do.

1.How much solar power do you have and type? (on top, inverter, battery bank)
640w (4 panels @ 160w ea on top)
Magnum 3000w Hybrid Inverter
Victron MPPT 50A Charge Controller
600ah battery storage, 300ah usable (4 Lifeline AGM 300ah 6V)
Victron Battery Monitor

2.How much did it cost you?
$11k-ish, wasn't aware of a tax credit. Going to look into that to see if it's still applicable.

3.How much stuff will it power?
We'll find out soon enough. I know for sure the AC is not going to get run w/o the use of gennies.

4. Is it enough power for you?
Time will tell

5. Final question. Is the cost worth it?
To me it will be, just for the boondocking experiences alone. Brings back fond bivouac memories, this time with luxuries.
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Old 07-15-2017, 08:19 AM   #30
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600 watts and 600 amp/hrs of storage seems to be break-point for having an impact on RV life-style--more is better. We don't dry camp much with our 40ft DP--usually 8-10 days each year at Q-site. Added 600 watts last year--basically kept residential fridge running and bats charged all day. Still needed to top-off with genset in evenings and 2 hr run time in mornings to recover from overnight. Irony with panels on roof is you need to park in full sun to use them--yet, parking in the sun is the worst thing for moderating temps inside the rig.

Bottom-line: about $800 to DIY 600watts of panels and controller. Already had 660 amp/hrs of bat storage so no added cost. Reduces our genset run time some, provides back-up power if temporarily parked, though genset and AGS would work too. Was it worth it? Probably not for us because of the way we use it but it was a fun project to DIY.....
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Old 07-22-2017, 10:05 PM   #31
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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
1. System:
750 Watts solar (flexible panels mounted flush to roof, 7 x 100W & 1 x 50W, all wired in parallel for maximum output for partial shading)
Victron 100/50 solar charge controller
Victron Multiplus 3000 inverter/charger ("boosting" so it can combine generator/shore with battery/solar to support 120 VAC loads)
400 Amp-hrs of Lithium batteries (4 x 100 Ahr Battle Born batteries)
MicroAir Easy Start (soft start system for the air conditioner)
Honda 2000 inverter generator

2. Cost:
total cost of parts, supplies & tools ~$8k (solar/inverter/batteries installed myself, and already had the MicroAir and generator)

3. What will it power?
It will power anything in the travel trailer whether there is shore, generator, solar power available or just off of batteries.
*If we don't run/need the air conditioner, the solar provides all DC & AC power we need (don't have to run the generator at all)
* Off of just the batteries, I can run the air conditioner for 3-1/2 hours of compressor run time: 3.5 hours if the compressor runs continuously (has only happened in the desert at 100+), ~7 hours for 50% compressor duty cycle (for temp set to ~15* below outside temp.), or ~10 hrs for 33% duty cycle (temp set to ~10* below outside temp.)
* If we have decent solar exposure, we can get about 5 hours continuous compressor run time. For a 50% compressor duty cycle we draw ~-70 Amps while the compressor is on, and charge at ~+40 Amps when the compressor is off. So, if it is not too hot, with good solar we can go pretty much all day off of the batteries and solar, then run the generator for a few hours at night to recharge.

4. Is it enough power?
It is all that would fit on the roof , and once you start solar you just want more ... but to be honest, it is enough.

5. Is the cost worth it?
YES! Just to have the ability to run anything you want in the trailer without having to deal with a generator (carry it around, set it up, pour gasoline and spill it on your hands or shoes, then hear the constant drone noise in the background) is worth it. Makes for a much more enjoyable and relaxing experience!
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Old 09-11-2017, 07:13 PM   #32
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1.How much solar power do you have and type? (on top, inverter, battery bank)
600 watts of Poly panels 6x100 watts.
1 1500w inverter
1 transfer switch
4x208ah 6V GC2s

2.How much did it cost you?
$900 for solar (controller and all installed)
$550 for the inverter
$300 for batteries
$150 for transfer switch
So less then ~$2k. I'm a cheap bastard.

3.How much stuff will it power?
My inverter is too small to run the microwave and my coffee maker....1500watt inverter, coffee maker pulls 1575watts and microwave about the same. Get a 2000w inverter. Otherwise, It powers everything else just fine.

4. Is it enough power for you?

No. In full sun with no load, my battery bank will be charged by 1PM or so with a 2 hour generator run in the morning....now I want to do the same thing while using the inverter for my computer/TV/fridge all day, with no generator. Looking to add another 2-400 watts at least.

5. Final question. Is the cost worth it?

Self installed, and absolutely. I'm half tempted to sell the generator to pay for more panels.
We've dry camped for like 24 of the last 30 days. This wouldn't be possible without Solar. You just have to run the generator too much. Also - dry camp sites are at least $10-15/night cheaper, so the system has already paid for itself in the last several months.
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Old 09-12-2017, 07:29 PM   #33
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Thanks for all of you replies. This is very helpful in understanding what I will need.
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Old 09-13-2017, 09:22 AM   #34
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Solar power and LFP battery suite is like the old Crackerack slogan ""The More You Eat The More You Want"
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Old 10-12-2017, 06:42 PM   #35
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960W (6X160 panels) roof mounted solar. 2000W Xentrex Inverter. 4-6V Crown CR260 (260amp/hr) golf cart batteries. Trimetric TM2030RV battery meter and two 30amp SC2030 PWM charge controllers that communicate and work together with the trimetric adding a 4th charging dimension that helps the batteries to top off more quickly and completely. This is crucial when the solar days are short in the winter time. This system is split where each controller runs 3 panels, if one controller fails or a panel shorts out, the other half of the system is fully functional. "Redundancy"

The system can and does run everything we need, except for a/c. It has no issues supplying enough power to run a hair dryer, coffee maker, instapot, induction hot plate, lights and even charging my mobility scooter. The scooter is the most taxing on the system because it has to charge overnight. When its cloudy, or in shade, I have to throttle my usage a bit (common sense goes a long way). That said, since the solar was installed, I have not had to run the generator at all and even when it's cloudy, the system usually charges to 100%. Once in a while when there is heavy usage during cloudy days the batteries won't reach 100%, but they come close. A few have posted stating they have 600+ Watt systems but still have to supplement with a generator. This is likely an indicator that either the settings on the charge controller aren't right or there are efficiency issues limiting the ability to top the batteries off.
Is it enough power, yes. Now day, even if I'm at a campgrounds that have power, I don't bother plugging in, the only exception to that if it is too hot and we need a/c. This year there was only one day that I had to plug in, because my dear wife asked for a/c. Because of the heavy power demand of the scooter, a bit more power would be better for those cloudy/shady days, but I manage with out it, I just have to be more careful. If I didn't need my scooter charged, I would have plenty of power every day out of the year.

Cost? $2300

Is it worth it??? YES! Not having to run the generator while boondocking in the wilderness, is priceless.

I can't suggest strongly enough to read and understand Handy Bob's Solar blog. www.handybobsolar.com
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Old 11-19-2017, 07:56 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sneelock View Post
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.
An RV is a "dwelling unit" and qualifies for the ITC tax credit whether you use the RV or not. We have had hundreds of customers get the credit.

Larry
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Old 11-22-2017, 09:07 AM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vsheetz View Post
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.
This is probably one of the most profound statements I have seen. Yet I still WANT it.
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Old 11-22-2017, 09:14 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by RAM 6.7 4x4 View Post
2.How much did it cost you?
$11k-ish, wasn't aware of a tax credit. Going to look into that to see if it's still applicable.
I just read in an add from GoGreenSolar.com that you have up to 5 years to use the credit. That would be a pretty nice write off.
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Old 11-22-2017, 10:48 PM   #39
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1.How much solar power do you have and type? (on top, inverter, battery bank) 900 watts of panels: Professionally installed in Series/Parallel so that I am actually bringing down 24 volts to the controller. I was told 24 volts uses a smaller wire than 12 volts. Of course this is DC current. Inverter: Magnum 2000watt Pure Sine. I use the AC to charge: computers, razor, tooth brushes, tools, etc. We also use this for MicroWave, appliances, hair dryer, curling iron, TV, TV accessories, refrigerator, crock pot, freezer, laser printer etc.
Batteries: 6-6v AGM FullRiver Batteries. Connected Series/Parallel and yield 672amps. My batteries are used to start the rig and for living. I have no other starting batteries, all are constantly charged via the solar system.
Plus: Magnum Monitor ME-RC: This is used to monitor my batteries. With this monitor I can adjust the amount of charge going to the batteries. Individual setting are available for flood, gel, and agm batteries and each type can be set using this monitor. Once all is set, it tells me the state of charge of the batteries, and amps in/out.
MidNite Classic Controller: which is capable of handling 1400 watts of solar panels, and can be updated with the latest technology with a computer. If I wanted to add more than 1400 watts, I would simply add another MidNite Classic to the mix, using both at the same time.
The Classic has a temp sensor that monitors the temp of the batteries and cuts back the charge if the batteries become too hot. There are 4 levels of charging batteries: Bulk > Where the batteries absorb all the charge that is available, Absorb, which usually kicks in at about 92% then Float which handles the last 4-5% to 100%. During float my monitor will show only 2-4amps going into the battery bank. Equalization is available, but not normally used. Normally I start the inverter at the end of bulk charge. This allows me to continue charging my batteries and charge the electric appliances as well, plus run the fridge on AC. I do not have a residential fridge.

2.How much did it cost you? I would have to guess at $4,000. to $6,000

3.How much stuff will it power? The DC phantom load plus I use the AC to charge: computers, razor, tooth brushes, tools, etc. We also use this for MicroWave, appliances, hair dryer, curling iron, TV, TV accessories, DVR, refrigerator, crock pot, freezer, etc. Crock pot and Fridge during sunlight only. I have never been below 70% State of Charge which is 30% used.

4. Is it enough power for you? Yes. And I never tilt panels. I bought enough that, it is not needed.

5. Final question. Is the cost worth it? Yes, but don't expect to recoup the cost. I'm allergic to generator noise.
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