Solar Panels & other energy efficient strategies

Hello All--

DH and I are looking into installing Solar Panels on the coach. I have lots of questions and probably have questions I don't even know I need to ask.

1. Does anyone have any experience with running the coach (40' Bounder Turbo Diesel) almost exclusively on the solar power?

2. How much / many do we need?

3. How are they installed?

4. We have a 2000 watt Xantrex we need an additional one or a bigger one??

5. We have 6 6-volt we need more?

6. Can we run the AC on stored solar power?? Even we can only run 1 at a time...can it be done?

7. What about other energy efficient stratgies: can we add any/more insulation between the 'walls' of the coach?

8. What is the best way to add insulation in and around the coach?

9. Does anyone have any other ideas as to how to make the coach more energy efficient?

Thanks to all who have any ideas!!
Re: Solar Panels & other energy efficient strategies

Lots and Lots of questions.....Good!!!
First of all , let me say that I have no experience with running a 40'MH on solar....I do have extensive experience running regular homes on Solar.

You will need to make a good assessment of how much energy you are using on a daily basis....How long will you batteries last between recharges..??
That will give you a place to start.....Solar is used in 2 ways...Primarily to charge the batteries..(replace the used power).....and can be used as a direct power source....(not recommended) Solar is temperamental and unreliable (clouds etc.)...To get optimum performance you will have to adjust them like your SAT TV about every hour. Not good....If you just want to have them on top of your coach then you will need to over size the array to adjust for the lack of perpendicular solar radiation (the best)

Once you realize your needs then you can begin to determine how much solar you want.... If you want to be able to replace all of the energy used during the last 1 day (9AM to 4PM) then you will need a large array......If you can get by with 50% from solar or reduce your usage.....Smaller array could work...

You will need a voltage regulator and charge limiter on the solar array...but that's about all....All of the other things you have in the coach will work just as they have in the past.....If they are adequate now then they will be after the solar installation.

Good Luck and Go For It....You will be glad you did...!!!! :approve: :approve: :approve: ;) ;) :) :) :)
Re: Solar Panels & other energy efficient strategies

As for the AC Units.....You would probably need to increase the size of your inverter.....Be sure it is rated for continuous load and have at least 25% reserve in the capacity......Would recommend 5000Watt unit.... And then you will need moooore batteries and a larger array..!!!

To give you and idea....20Amp AC unit running at 115 volts takes about 191 AMPS of 12 volt power to run PER HOUR... :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek:
Re: Solar Panels & other energy efficient strategies

Sorry to be a party pooper. Save your money for fuel and campsites. Solar isn't an economically viable alternative resource yet.

It is fun to do if you like puttering and futsing with electronic stuff (and spending money.)

If you just want to watch TV off the grid, you won't be happy. :clown:
Re: Solar Panels & other energy efficient strategies

Tex......Nobody said anything about "Economically Viable" ........That wasn't one of the questions.... ;) ;) :eek: :eek: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:


Senior Member
Re: Solar Panels & other energy efficient strategies

I don't think you'll fiind it practical to run A/C off of solar and/or battery. A 'swamp cooler' perhaps. Fans, for sure.


Senior Member
Re: Solar Panels & other energy efficient strategies


There are a lot of people who do much of what you hope to do in the winter months, by dry camping on the desert, mostly on land owned by the Bureau of Land Management in areas that they call Long Term Visitor Areas or LTVA's. There are minimal services to no services at all, depending upon where you go. They haul their fresh and and waste water and make electricity with solar, wind generators and gas/diesel generators. Some stay in those locations for as long as 5 to 7 months.

The air conditioner is not at all realistic to consider operating from solar power. The secret to living with solar is to minimize the need for electricity. Most who successfully do this have solar panels that pretty much cover the roof and many have additional ones that are set up on the ground, and/or a wind generator or two. But even with this there is no air conditioner use. The cost to have enough solar power for your air conditioner (even just one) would far exceed the savings that you would see and your RV is not nearly large enough to carry that many solar panels or batteries to store that power.
Re: Solar Panels & other energy efficient strategies

Excellent Advice ALL!! Thank you all so much for the input! I will review all this with DH and see where we go from here.

BTW---this financial mess has made a TOTAL mess of our retirement plans.:angry: DH will now have to stay in Abu Dhabi at least 1 more year (he was supposed to come home and retire in Jan 2009), he may have to stay until Jan 2010 now! :angry: :angry: :angry: :angry: :( :( :( :(

How is everyone out there doing???


Senior Member
Re: Solar Panels & other energy efficient strategies

sorry to here your DH is hung out one more year, maybe ,just maybe a deal can be made and everyone is bettter off. I have to admit I am not in favor of the bail out ;) :) :)


Senior Member
Re: Solar Panels & other energy efficient strategies

I'm wondering how effective it will be to give a bunch of money to the people who got us into this mess to get us out of it. Won't they tend to pretty much do more of the same?
Re: Solar Panels & other energy efficient strategies

We are not supposed to be 'political' on this forum, but I can tell you, most everyone I speak with is AGAINST this 'bail out'....for all the same reasons!! Why are we REWARDING the people who caused this mess?? :angry: :question: :angry: