I have had a number of interesting conversations with RV owners who would like to add solar power to their roving homes. In many ways a solar powered RV is like an off-grid cabin or home. The owner would like to be able to recharge batteries when the sun is shining and probably has a secondary or alternative power source for multiple cloudy days in a row or when they want to use a more significant source of power.
For an RV owner, the alternative can be a small mobile generator, or they can find a camp ground with power hook-up. If they want to cook or microwave the dinner while watching the game on TV or power wash the van, they will find an additional source of power to supplement their batteries. Most of the time they can live with the power that the sun can provide in a day.
For off-grid home owners, they often have a generator to provide this supplemental power and may choose to do their vacuuming and wash while the generator is going.
A neighbor came by my store the other day to talk about RV solar power. He pointed me to this great website for ideas and good advice on products, wiring tips, and installation of solar PV for RVs. The website is: Living the Fulltime RV Lifestyle, by Jack and Danielle Mayer. I especially recommend downloading the presentation called “RV Solar and Electrical from the 2011 HDT Rally” — lots of good information!
Here is another site on solar panels for RVs — “How to make solar panels“. The van with solar panels pictured in this blog are from this webiste.
One more interesting site is: Handy Bob’s Blog. He has lots to say on adding solar to your RV. Good tips; good information and things to avoid.
I really like Carmanah’s “Go-Power” line of products for powering the mobile life. I have a number of their products in my store and have put together small solar powered systems based on these products for both RVs and for small cabins.