We started the solar mod incrementally to keep the cost low, and determine how many watts we really needed. We also already had a Honda 2000 generator, so if the single panel proved to not meet our needs we could always go back to running the generator and dealing with the noise and exhaust fumes.
We first tested our new solar system in big show in Quartzsite, basically over 500,000 RVers arrive and spend about a week in the middle of January to attend the show and boondock in the BLM deserts. Everything you want or need for RVs is for sale during the show. (I’ll explain our big find later)during the big show in January 2014. For those of you that do not know about the
When we first arrived, we pointed the rig to the East, with Southern exposure to our awning/solar side for maximum sun coverage. I raised our panel and check the, 5.6 amps.
With full batteries already from our travels, we made the first day no problem. We typically do not use a lot of electricity during the day, however, most evenings we like to check emails, internet and perhaps watch a DVD movie. Well, this exceeded our new solar systems capabilities by the second day. As the week went by, we lost 3-5% more each day making us run the generator more and more just to bring the batteries back above 80%. Time for more solar panels!
Next we purchased three more 100 watt panels fromfor right over $300, bringing our total to about $600 so far. We also purchased a motorized tilt solar mount at the big show – our big find! This was a big deal for me, because I do not like climbing on the roof every time we arrive or leave and really don’t want to if a rain or wind storm comes in quickly and you jump up on the roof and fight the wind or rain to lower the solar panels.
Direct link to Demo: Motorized Solar Tilt System
After the installation of the new panels and the motorized tilt system we returned to Quartzite to retest our solar system. We were able to stay several days, use all thewe wanted (no A/C of course), and each evening the batteries were back to 100%.
Some more picture of the installation: