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Author Topic: Solar power co in the southeast?  (Read 387 times)

Eggbert

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Solar power co in the southeast?
« on: October 28, 2017, 06:43:18 PM »
Is there a company that specializes in solar power for RVs in the southeast or is that a DIY thing?    Solar confuses the mess out of me and my husband is not the most handy person - surprisingly, that's me, but I can build and fix anything, I just can't figure out solar. There's not enough wine for that.  :/

I'd like to be able to rely solely on solar power.  I sure hope it's possible b/c I was tossing around the idea of living on a 46' catamaran and some full timers were 100% solar and they were on cats much larger than 46'. 

We're not ready for full time RV'ing yet.  I don't even have an RV, just putting all of the info on a spreadsheet until it's time to buy in a few months to a year.   
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Solar power co in the southeast?
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2017, 10:13:02 AM »
The problem with solar is not installing it, or even choosing the components.  The Challenger is in determining your average daily power usage, plus an allowance for peak periods, and then guessing how much sunshine will be available at your location on any given day. Houses are fixed in place, and boats are nearly always in the open, but RVs are both mobile and often under trees.

Start out by determining how much battery energy (amp-hours) you will need to support your lifestyle in any given 24 hour period. That's what you live on. Then you arrange for enough solar, or solar plus occasional genset usage, to replace that daily consumption. Until you have the data to do that, trying to select solar components is pointless.

Solar Tech Energy is an Oregon company that installs solar in and around Naples, Fl during the winter months.
https://amsolar.com/rv-solar-installers/
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

Eggbert

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Re: Solar power co in the southeast?
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2017, 12:12:24 PM »
Thanks!  I'll check them out when we're closer to buying.  When you're checking out of a campground, do you typically receive a printout of your consumption during your stay?  I suppose it would be impossible for me to figure what our usage will be at this point... everything is so different compared to my house.
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Lou Schneider

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Re: Solar power co in the southeast?
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2017, 01:27:24 PM »
Daily site rentals usually include all utilities ... water, sewer, electric and trash.  Sites usually don't even have electric meters unless the park offers a monthly rate, in that case the park will read the meter once a month and charge you for your actual usage.

It's just too much hassle for them to send someone out to read a meter twice (when you check in, then when you leave) for a couple of dollars worth of power.  It's much easier to just include it as part of the daily package.

Note that not all campgrounds have full hookups.  Many campgrounds in places like state and national parks may not have hookups but may have centrally located water spigots and a dump station.  Or you may find an occasional park with water and/or electricity at the sites but no sewer hookup.  These are when you use the RV's self containment features (batteries, fresh and waste water tanks).

You can do a rough energy audit now but the easiest way is to wait until you have your RV and are settled in a full hookup park for a few days.  Fill your fresh water tank, then turn off the site water and turn on the onboard water pump.  Close the dump valves and unhook from electricity and go about your daily activities.  See how long your self containment lasts before you have to plug back in or dump.

If the self containment doesn't last as long as you like, you can decide whether to add capacity to whatever ran out first, or modify your behavior to use less of it.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2017, 01:55:41 PM by Lou Schneider »

Tom_M

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Re: Solar power co in the southeast?
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2017, 07:50:38 AM »
Here's a couple links to sites with info on solar:
http://www.jackdanmayer.com/rv_electrical_and_solar.htm
https://handybobsolar.wordpress.com/the-rv-battery-charging-puzzle-2/

If you are near Miami, Sun Electronics is the cheapest place to purchase panels:
http://sunelec.com/home/
Tom
2005 Born Free 24 Rear Bath
Towing 2013 Smart Car

AStravelers

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Re: Solar power co in the southeast?
« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2017, 01:26:32 PM »
Is there a company that specializes in solar power for RVs in the southeast or is that a DIY thing?    Solar confuses the mess out of me and my husband is not the most handy person - surprisingly, that's me, but I can build and fix anything, I just can't figure out solar. There's not enough wine for that.  :/

I'd like to be able to rely solely on solar power.  I sure hope it's possible b/c I was tossing around the idea of living on a 46' catamaran and some full timers were 100% solar and they were on cats much larger than 46'. 

We're not ready for full time RV'ing yet.  I don't even have an RV, just putting all of the info on a spreadsheet until it's time to buy in a few months to a year.
Yes you can RV continuously for weeks at a time with a properly configured and sized Solar and battery setup. There are hundreds of RV'er who have setup their RV's to do just that.  For full time you are looking at running a microwave to heat things up (not cooking for 30 minutes or an hour), coffee pot, toaster, running a TV with satellite dish, computers lights, fans, gas furnace(the fan uses lots of power), etc.  So you are looking at a large system with large solar panels covering most all of the roof of the RV. Expect to spend $5000 to over $10,000 for a very large system. 
I don't know anything about installers in the SE.  In the west there are at least two well regarded installers.  https://amsolar.com/  http://www.starlightsolar.com/starlight_solar/index.html

Before you start looking at installers, read and understand the info in the following links about RV electrical and solar. It is important to understand what you are buying.

Some of the info is pretty technical.  The first 2-3 links are pretty basic.
http://www.marxrv.com/12volt/12volt.htm
http://www.marxrv.com/12volt/12volta.htm
http://www.rv-dreams.com/rv-electrical.html
http://www.rv-dreams.com/our-rv-electrical.html
http://www.jackdanmayer.com/rv_electrical_and_solar.htm
http://handybobsolar.wordpress.com/the-rv-battery-charging-puzzle-2/
Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Sightseer 29R
2009 Chevy Colorado 4X4

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

Eggbert

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Re: Solar power co in the southeast?
« Reply #6 on: December 07, 2017, 07:30:53 PM »
Yes you can RV continuously for weeks at a time with a properly configured and sized Solar and battery setup. There are hundreds of RV'er who have setup their RV's to do just that.  For full time you are looking at running a microwave to heat things up (not cooking for 30 minutes or an hour), coffee pot, toaster, running a TV with satellite dish, computers lights, fans, gas furnace(the fan uses lots of power), etc.  So you are looking at a large system with large solar panels covering most all of the roof of the RV. Expect to spend $5000 to over $10,000 for a very large system. 
I don't know anything about installers in the SE.  In the west there are at least two well regarded installers.  https://amsolar.com/  http://www.starlightsolar.com/starlight_solar/index.html

Before you start looking at installers, read and understand the info in the following links about RV electrical and solar. It is important to understand what you are buying.

Some of the info is pretty technical.  The first 2-3 links are pretty basic.
http://www.marxrv.com/12volt/12volt.htm
http://www.marxrv.com/12volt/12volta.htm
http://www.rv-dreams.com/rv-electrical.html
http://www.rv-dreams.com/our-rv-electrical.html
http://www.jackdanmayer.com/rv_electrical_and_solar.htm
http://handybobsolar.wordpress.com/the-rv-battery-charging-puzzle-2/

Thank you so much!  I have a ton of reading to do!  I'm also considering installing a small wood stove - I know - fire hazard, but with the proper precautions and the proper installation, it will be safe.  That will cut back on using propane for heat or a good chunk of my solar power on an electric heater.
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AStravelers

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Re: Solar power co in the southeast?
« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2017, 06:38:08 AM »
Thank you so much!  I have a ton of reading to do!  I'm also considering installing a small wood stove - I know - fire hazard, but with the proper precautions and the proper installation, it will be safe.  That will cut back on using propane for heat or a good chunk of my solar power on an electric heater.
Before you consider installing a wood stove in a RV, think about installing a catalytic heater, such as an Olympian Wave 3, 6, or 8 (that is a 3000BTU, 6000BTU or 8000BTU size).  https://www.amazon.com/Camco-57351-Olympian-Wave-8-Catalytic/dp/B000EDQR8M/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1512736359&sr=8-1&keywords=olympian+heaters+wave+8

Or a Kozy World Vent Free heater like the one we use (only ours is the 15,000BTU model selectable to 5000BTU, 10,000BTU or 15,000BTU): https://www.amazon.com/Kozy-World-KWP112-Vent-Free-Infrared/dp/B000KKO4PW/ref=sr_1_6?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1512736200&sr=1-6&keywords=kozy+world+propane+heater

There are serious cautions with these heaters.  First you MUST open a window an inch or two and the ceiling vent 2-3 inches for ventilation.  The heaters give off a lot of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) the same gas we give off when we exhale when breathing, also they give off quite a bit of water vapor.  We also don't run the vent free heater while we are sleeping, just as a precaution.  We use lots of blankets and/or electric blankets.

The good side is they are about 99% efficient.   
Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Sightseer 29R
2009 Chevy Colorado 4X4

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

 

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