Solar panels can provide electricity when you camp in places without electricity. They can, theoretically, give you free power. But, are they worth it?
Nothing in life is one-size-fits-all. Solar power may be perfect for one person, and a horrendous mistake for the next. Here are some of the pros and cons to consider before jumping into solar power.
- Free power- The sun keeps your batteries charged.
- Solar power saves money- Solar power can help you save money by avoiding camping fees.
- Solar power gives you freedom- With solar power, you aren’t tied down to the grid, and can camp in more places.
- Solar power can be low-maintenance- Solar power has no moving parts to wear out.
- Solar power is quiet- Forget that noisy generator.
- Solar panels can be very expensive- And, if you add the more expensive Lithium batteries, the price for solar can be horrendous.
- The payback is small- It can take a long time to recoup the investment of a solar system.
- Installation of solar panels can be time consuming and expensive- You either have the headache of figuring out everything by yourself, or pay someone else big bucks to do it for you.
- Solar may be unnecessary- If you generally camp in a park, with shore power, you will rarely have use of solar power.
- You could just use a generator- There’s a reason many RVs come with generators, but not solar panels. Generators can be cheaper, and more reliable.
- The solar panels have to be in the sun- If your panels are roof-mounted, you can’t park in the shade.
- Solar panels rely on weather conditions- Solar panels must have sunlight to create power.
- Solar panels won’t power your AC- You could technically add enough solar panels and batteries to run an AC, but it would be a very inefficient use of power.
- Solar panels make your RV hotter- Your white RV roof reflects sunlight, but solar panels absorb the sun and heat, particularly if they are the flexible panels attached directly to your roof.
- Solar panels can decrease mpg- If the solar panels are mounted on legs, they will catch the wind.
Not sure whether to go solar or not? Start small. You can begin with a suitcase panel. Simply unfold it in the sun, and clip the wires to your battery. These suitcase panels are usually relatively cheap, and it would give you an idea of how beneficial solar would be for you.