These days, it’s hard to ignore the fact that the world is a bit more environmentally friendly than it was years ago. As society turns more and more green, the motor home industry has begun to follow suit. It’s not uncommon any longer to see a brand new coach fully equipped with a state of the art solar panel kit, so we figure that it’s our duty to give our readers some information on how it all works.
There are quite a few benefits to installing solar panels on your motor home. For starters, you’ll rarely need to depend on potentially faulty or inadequate electric hookups at a site again (we’ve all been there, and it’s a major pain). Second, your coach will have a limitless power supply…that is, as long as it’s sunny out. Also, your solar panels can dramatically improve the life of your batteries. Most importantly, if you’re wise enough to claim your motor home as a second home (a vacation home perhaps) and it is recognized as such by the IRS, you’ll be eligible to receive a 30% federal tax credit. Here’s a good resource to learn more about the Renewable Energy Tax Credit and how it may apply to you.
Depending on how often and far you travel, you’ll need varying degrees of solar solutions (i.e. fulltimers will obviously need a much larger and sophisticated setup than the average Weekend Warrior). The first step you’ll need to take in assessing how much power you’ll require is figuring out the amp ratings of all your devices and appliances. Check your owner’s manual to find out that info, and then use this amp to watt calculator to start getting an idea of what type of system to invest in.
After you figure out how powerful of a solar energy system you need, it’ll be time to purchase a charge controller and a remote meter. The charge controller is super important because it will help limit the amount of charge going to the batteries of your coach. If you overcharge the batteries, you may end up damaging them or ruining them completely. Here’s a good place to check out charge controllers for sale. The remote meter works in conjunction with the charge controller, basically giving you an idea of the temperature level of your batteries, how much charge they have, if they need to be charged, etc. Keeping an eye on the remote meter will ensure that your batteries aren’t in danger of being critically damaged.
When installing the panels on the roof of your coach, you’ll want to make sure that you’re securing them with brackets that have the ability to rotate so you can position the panels in the best possible place to gather the most amount of sunlight. Try to avoid buying brackets that don’t give the solar panels the ability to angle to pickup more sun. You’ll also want to have the panels installed with a decent size gap between the base of the panel and the roof, maybe 6 inches or so. That will allow the panels to stay cooler and produce more energy (if they start to overheat, it could have a negative effect on the amount of power they put out). Make sure to keep the panels clean so they can operate at the highest level of efficiency. While you’re out on the road lots of dirt and dust can end up coating the panels so get up on the roof every now and again and wipe them off.
There are tons of resources out there about how solar works, all of the benefits, who is a good candidate, and so on, but this should be a good start to get you going. So get out on the road and help the environment at the same time!
Do you have questions about purchasing a new or pre-owned motorhome or just about the luxury motor home lifestyle in general? If so, please contact us so we can answer all of your questions and concerns!