Many RVers hit the road without solar power, especially those that are new to the lifestyle. This is because many new RV full-timers don’t know if they will enjoy the lifestyle enough to commit to investing more money into it, and others don’t have to experience dry camping and aren’t even sure if they’ll like it.
Investing in RV solar power seems like a smart move if you fall into either of those two categories. But if you already know that you enjoy getting off the beaten path, paying for a sound RV solar power system before you hit the road is a better idea. If you are undecided about whether to get RV Solar Power, here are some pros and cons to help with your decision.
RV Solar Power Cons
1. RV Solar Power Can Be Expensive
A cheap system that can cost you less than $1000 is helpful but will probably not power everything you need to be comfortable. More affordable systems are often smaller and not as powerful even when you make upgrades. You need to invest in a system with enough power for all of the items we feel make your lives comfortable and productive.
More robust systems can cost between $3000 and $4000.
2. RV Solar Power Can Be Complicated
You will need to know a little about electricity and the things you must do to plan for the right RV solar system, like performing an energy audit. You can pay a solar consultant to guide you through the process if you are interested in your DIY project, or pay way more to a solar installer for a complete installation. Another option is to try to figure it out yourself learning from YouTube videos.
Once the system is installed, it’s pretty self-managing, but occasional glitches do happen, so you need to stay on top of maintenance. You also have to make sure you park where the sun can reach your panels. But, even in shady areas, your panels can still absorb the rays as you drive and have power ready for when you are parked.
3. Requires Time to Recoup the Investment
One of the reasons RV solar is so popular is its ability to reduce your camping fees, if not eliminate them altogether. You can enjoy free camping on public lands while living off-grid, and solar power ends up paying for itself in just a few years. You practically eliminate RV camping fees, so depending on the complexity of your RV solar system and how often you dry camp without hookups, you’ll enjoy recouping the investment, so long as you have patience.
Significant Benefits of RV Solar
You know the cons, let’s see the three main reasons you’ll end up happy with RV solar power investment.
1. RV Solar Gives Freedom
RV vacations are the first step toward experiencing the freedom of the open road. Full-time RVing is a giant leap forward to total independence, and solar power makes it even better. You get the ability to camp anywhere you’d like, whether that means overnighting in a big box parking lot or hauling your rig 20 miles into the wilderness. You no longer have to pay for a campsite which can be limited with space. Having solar power also lets you work while you are on the road. Check-in with business matters when needed and work anywhere you want.
2. RV Solar Saves Money
By investing a few thousand dollars into a system that’s powerful enough to sustain your lifestyle comfortably, you can recoup your investment in as little as one RVing season. You save on rent and fees for avid campers that enjoy living off the grid and away from campsites. If your energy audit shows that you don’t need much power and use a smaller system, you can recoup the investment even faster. As a bonus, you’ll use less fuel in your generator, which is another substantial savings. Once RV solar is paid for, every dollar you don’t spend on rent is money in the bank.
3. RV Solar is Reliable
Camping and RVing come with the risk of power outages in campgrounds, usually because of harsh weather. While most people will switch on the generators, you only need to push the “power” button on the inverter and get back to living with solar power. You will need to rely on your generator on cloudy days, but depending on where you go, these days can be rare.
Once you have power from the sun, you can go anywhere you’d like and live as inexpensively as you want. Nothing gets you closer to real freedom than that. Suppose you have an RV solar electric system. In that case, it is worth considering switching to solar to save money, and in no time, you will see that having the sun’s incredible ability to power your lifestyle will be the only way to RV.