Do you dry camp? Do your batteries hold up? Can you watch
TV after 10 o’clock at night? Can you perk coffee early in the morning?
Do your neighbors complain about generator noise? Does your generator rule
your life? Would you like to be rid of the noise, fumes, curfew and
maintenance that generators impose? The answer is solar power. If solar
power can run a space station, it surely can run your RV.
Solar power is the easy, cost-effective way to live
comfortably while seeing the world from your RV. Whether you are a
full-timer, part-timer or weekend traveler, solar power will
enhance your experience.
For about the cost of a medium-sized generator, you can
install a basic solar system consisting of your house batteries, three
amps of solar power for each battery and a solar controller to
regulate the charge rate. Or to state it in 2003 dollar terms, with two
house batteries and $700 or less you can have four to five hours of TV or
computer time each night and a set of fully charged batteries by the
middle of the next day.
From this basic beginning, you can add more components as
your needs increase. Panels of any size wattage will blend together as
long as the voltage rating stays within a one-volt range. Voltage rating
under load should be about 16.9 volts DC to 17.8 volts DC. This enables
your solar array to build to the 14.7 volt set point needed for 6 volt
batteries ("golf cart" batteries). 12 volt (deep cycle)
batteries work also, but 6 volt batteries have more storage capacity and a
longer life cycle that translates to longer TV or computer time at a lower
A small inverter of 250 watts, priced from $50 up, will
operate a 19-inch TV, dish, VCR or computer. As wattage demand increases,
larger inverters become necessary.
With solar power, there is no gas, spark plugs,
noise, odor or maintenance. As long as the sun shines you are generating
power to your batteries. You have quiet clean power, and your generator
becomes a back up for rainy days. Boondocking or dry camping is no longer
a chore and the whole world becomes your personal campsite. This is truly
*Source: Personal living experiences of Pat McCarthy, SKP
For additional information on Solar go to www.solarbill.com