Solar Panels and Solar Generator Next to RV and Fishing Equipment

Solar Generators For RV And Camping

If you truly like to get off the grid but don’t want to compromise your small luxuries, you probably have access to a generator. Traditional generators are powered by fuel and can be costly, damaging to the environment, and emit a lot of noise and pollution, often taking away from the ambience and comfort of camping.

Solar generators for RV and camping are the latest trend to come from this renewable energy source, and an exciting way to add new meaning to getting off the grid. With a solar generator powering your campsite and RV, you’re able to use green energy to stay connected when you need it most, with a whole range of other benefits too.

Each individual’s use will determine how much power they require from their generator, so you’ll have to calculate the amount of energy you plan to use first. Bigger is usually better in the case of generators, as you might find your energy output increases over time.

PowerOak Portable Inverter Generator 110V Usage For Camping

As solar energy replaces many of our traditional power sources from home to the outdoors, it’s exciting to now be able to harness this energy for our weekend getaways. Whether you want to keep your cell phone charged or power bigger appliances in your RV, there’s a solar powered generator to suit your needs.

What do You Need to Camp With Solar Power?

A solar generator for camping is a little more complex than just a standard generator, as there are a few parts required to make it work. As solar energy works by harnessing heat from the sun and transferring this into electricity, you’ll need to have all the bits working harmoniously to use this power effectively.

The main system for your power supply, the generator will take the energy from the panels and convert it to electricity which powers the built-in battery. This battery is then used to power other items such as chargers, lights, and small appliances directly from the generator. Included in a generator is usually a battery, inverter, and charge controller for all of your solar needs.

Camper With Solar Panels on Roof

Some generators don’t come with solar panels included, so you may need to purchase these separately. There are a few different styles of panels, including those which can be placed on the roof of your RV specifically for camping needs. These plug into the generator and help to draw energy from the sun.

Finally, you’ll need a proper setup to ensure you’re getting the most from the sun. Always avoid shaded areas where possible as this will mean a longer charge time for the battery. When you’re not using the panels at night, pack them away to deter opportunistic thieves.

Solar Generator For RV

Using solar generator for RV will generally require a little more power than just a campsite, due to the electronics within the vehicle. Depending on how much energy you plan to use, your needs will differ, so you need to decide whether you want a basic supply, something mid-range, or a lot of power.

To power an RV at a basic level, including your lights, a fan, and to keep the batteries charged within the home, you’ll need around 220 watts of power per day. This is ideal for those who like to keep it minimalistic or perhaps plan on getting power elsewhere on their travels.

RV with GoPower Solar Power Kit on a Driveway

For something mid-level, including a few hours of TV time and keeping all of your electronics charged, this jumps up to just over 1,000 watts per day. This is a fairly standard amount for RV owners and allows you to live quite comfortably.

Finally, a heavy use of solar energy which includes using your toaster, kettle, and other kitchen appliances throughout the day can increase to over 3,500 watts. While not a necessity to use all of these appliances, there are some that prefer a luxurious adventure which is completely fine, so you’ll need to strongest generator you can find.

Solar Generator For Camping

If you’re planning on camping in the wilderness, perhaps in a tent or under the stars, your power needs will likely be a little less than those on an RV adventure.

For the campers who only want an emergency supply of power to keep their cell phone or radio charged, you can opt for a basic 200-watt solar generator which will last more than a few days off one charge. These are more like power packs, and extremely compact and efficient to travel with.

To run a few more things such as a refrigeration system, a small TV, and some basic lighting you’re looking at around 130 watts per day. Keep in mind that your solar generator will continue to produce energy as long as it’s in the sun, so there’s no need to worry about recharging.

Enerplex Generatr 1200E Portable Generator in Use for Laptop

The Benefits of Solar Generators

For the camping and RV enthusiast, there are so many benefits to be found with using a portable solar generator. While there will be an initial investment when you buy your solar generator, the system will pay for itself eventually with all of these great advantages.

  • Save money - There are a few ways your solar generator for camping can save money, after you’ve made the initial investment and set up your system. When camping, there’ll no longer be a need to pay for powered sites as you can power your own devices. You won’t need to fuel up your generator any longer as your energy comes free from the sun, so there’s another cost saver to consider.
  • Noise free - One of the best things about camping and getting away from it all is the serenity and calm we experience. When using a portable solar generator you’re ensuring this peace is kept, as they require no moving parts or engines to operate.
  • No emissions - If you’ve ever used a fuel generator at a campsite or anywhere remotely closed off, you’ll realize just how potent the carbon monoxide fumes can be. Since there are no emissions, you can even use your solar generator right inside your RV without any concerns for your family’s safety.
  • Friendly for the environment - Considering carbon monoxide makes up to 65% of the total greenhouse gases, it’s never been more important to put solar energy to use in any way we can. A solar generator for camping reduces your carbon footprint by using clean and renewable energy straight from the sun.
  • Low maintenance - For those longer camping trips, it’s never been easier to have a constant supply of power. Once you arrive, simply set up your panels and generator in a sunny area or on top of your RV and let the sun do the rest of the work. There’s no need to refuel or give it a second thought.
  • Portable - Thanks to their light weight, solar generators are far more portable than their fuel counterparts. They won’t take up space at your campsite or in the car, and leave you with more room for important supplies.
Renogy KIT-FIREFLY 20W All-in-One Generator Kit In Use Connected to Smartphones and Tablet

Possible Disadvantages With Solar Generators For Camping

With all of these benefits, there’s bound to be a few areas of concern for solar generators. While it’s true they have some disadvantages, the pros definitely outweigh the cons for these amazing sources of renewable energy.

  • Not as powerful - Depending on your energy needs, you might find that a solar generator just can’t keep you comfortably powered. However, when considering camping or exploring in your RV the main purpose is to disconnect from the world and live an existence that doesn’t rely so heavily on electronics.
  • Unreliable at times - The major downfall with solar generators is their reliance on the sun, which may choose at times not to present itself. Because you need the heat from the sun to convert energy, you should always choose a generator with at least one other option for charging the batteries, such as a wall outlet.
  • Expensive - Solar generators are normally more expensive than their fuel powered counterparts, even when they offer less wattage. These extra costs generally cover things such as efficiency, renewable energy, and the benefit of no noise or sound, so it’s worth the larger price tag.

If it’s truly important to you to have a lot of power for your RV or campsite, you may need to consider a fuel powered system instead. Each camper’s needs are going to be unique, so there’s no one product that can cater to every individual.

How to Find The Best Solar Generator For Your Camping Needs

Before purchasing a solar generator, you’ll need to know exactly how much power you intend to use. This will take a bit of calculating as you don’t want to be left short, so ensure you put a lot of thought into the planning stages of your purchase.

It’s always best to choose a solar generator that has backup options for power supply, just in case the weather isn’t in your favor. Most generators can be powered by a wall outlet or even with your car battery, and having these options can give great peace of mind especially when you’re camping.

Some generators come with extra features, so you should consider which ones are important for your circumstances. Whether you want a LED display that highlights battery use, an all-inclusive product which has panels and an inverter, or something with wheels and handles to assist in transportation, there are plenty of features that can make life easier.

Solar Powered RV Parked in the Middle of Nowhere

Since you’ll be relying on your solar generator to be your sole power provider while living off the grid, reliability and a good brand are essential. While you may be tempted to skimp for a cheaper model, this is not an investment that should be done on the cheap. You should expect to pay upwards of $1,000 for a quality generator for camping so budget accordingly.

Getting The Best Use Out of Your Solar Generator When Camping

To get the very best performance from your solar generator while camping, there are a few simple tips you can follow. These will give you optimum power supply while you’re away and also ensure a longer life for your generator and panels.

  • Keep them clean - Considering how much exposure our solar panels have to the outdoors, it’s crucial to keep them clean. Keep the glass of your panels clean with some simple water and a soft rag, being careful not to scratch or damage the glass.
  • Monitor the generator - Keep an eye on how your solar generator is performing so you can understand how much energy you’re actually using. If you find that your power output is too high, it may be time to upgrade or consider cutting down on the electronics you’re using.
  • Avoid the shade - While many modern solar generators still work in the shade, to get the very best use and a faster charge time you should place the panels in direct sunlight. Avoid any areas with trees or obstructions that could potentially block the heat and light from reaching the panels.

Why Solar is Best

For the camping and RV enthusiast who doesn’t need to travel with their whole home powered up, solar generators really are the best option. Not only are you being kind to the earth and reducing your carbon footprint, but there are so many benefits to the camper as well.

Briggs & Stratton Portable 2200-Watt Inverter Generator in Use while Camping

Investing in a generator can be a costly process, no matter which mode of power you choose, but with a solar generator you’re ensuring that ongoing costs are kept low and choosing a product with a long life.

Solar generators are best designed for longer trips, so if you regularly go away for three or more days it’s definitely time to invest in a solar device. To truly stay off the grid and live a peaceful but comfortable existence at your campsite, the only option is to get your power straight from the sun with a quality solar generator.

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