As an RVer who loves to go boondocking or dry camping (camping without hookups), you’ve probably considered adding solar panels to help keep your rig charged up for full use, even when you’re out in the middle of nowhere! Solar power only seems to be getting better and can even let you live close to how you normally do in a stick and brick home! The secret to successfully using solar power while RVing? Conservation and know-how! Check out these helpful energy tips for boondocking on solar power!
Know How Much Energy You’ll Need
Before you even start shopping for solar panels, you’ll need to know how much electricity your RV and all its systems use, that way you’ll know how many panels of what voltages you’ll need! Familiarize yourself with wattage, DC and AC power, and how inverters work. Perform a full energy audit on your RV, or use this handy tool from Samlex Solar to get a general idea of which type of solar panel will work best for you!
Invest In a Battery Monitor
These handy monitors track the outflow of power from your battery, and will give you an accurate reading on how full your battery is! This is especially great for directly seeing the effect that your RV’s solar panels have on your RV’s battery. You may find that you are undercharging your battery and can make adjustments to get the most out of your energy!
Tilt Your Solar Panels
Solar panels perform the best when they are at a 90 degree angle from the sun. This works fine during the summer months if you have your panels installed flat, as the sun sits directly overhead for the most part, but the winter months cause a dramatic shift in the sun’s position, meaning you’re not getting full power from the sun! Invest in some tilting brackets or make your own for optimal solar power!
Rethink Your Energy Usage
Maybe you’re accustomed to a certain lifestyle and can't imagine living without your gadgets and other luxuries that use electricity, and there’s nothing wrong with that … unless you’re boondocking on solar power! Chances are, if you’re boondocking, you’re already used to the idea of less quantities being the new norm, but are you ok with using less energy too? If you’re finding it difficult to budget your energy and seem to be running out quickly, it could be time to start limiting yourself! Only charge your phone once a day, restrict computer usage if you can, and start air drying your hair if you haven’t already! Little changes can make a big difference!
Find Powerless Alternatives
Now that you’re thinking mindfully about your energy consumption, another great way to conserve more is to find powerless alternatives to your everyday electrical items! If you can’t live without your coffee, invest in a stovetop percolator. Use battery-powered LED lights and keep the house lights off. Buy a handy solar powered phone charger and use this instead of your everyday charger! Browse around and you may be surprised at how many powerless alternatives there are out there that can replace some of your favorite appliances!
Unplug Appliances When Not In Use
This is something you probably already do in your stick and brick home, but unplugging appliances when you don’t need them can help to save your precious power! Pull the plug on anything that can be unplugged, like TVs, toasters, microwaves, alarm clocks, and more!
Charge Gadgets In the Car
Save time and energy by charging your battery-operated gadgets like your phones and tablets in your car as you drive! This saves your RV’s battery power, and is super convenient since you’re in the car anyway!
Use a Catalytic Heater
To save your furnace, invest in a catalytic heater, which typically use gas or propane instead of electricity, to keep your RV warm in the winter months! Just be sure to use it according to its included instructions to keep yourself safe!
Hopefully you’ll make good use of your RV’s energy with these energy tips for boondocking on solar power! Just make smart decisions and live resourcefully and you’ll make the most out of your solar panels! What other solar power energy tips do you have for fellow boondockers? Comment to share!