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Energy Audit for RV Solar

  • Energy Audit and Battery Monitors

    Who wants Solar on their RV ?

    Who doesn’t want Solar on their RV? It is on the mind of every RV’er new and old.
    Manufacturers are putting “Solar Ready” ports on campers as a selling point. More and more people are
    Boondocking, and no one wants to listen to a generator running all day long. Solar Power for RV’s is the way to go.

    So, how many panels do I need? 
    The answer seems to be very elusive. A salesman at the dealership will tell you that a couple of panels will run everything you need all weekend. The internet will tell you whatever you want to hear, and your brother-in-law will tell you that your wasting your money. The real answer can be found below!

    First, please understand that NOTHING runs on SOLAR! All you electrical needs are met by the battery bank either directly (12volt) or via and inverter (120volt). The solar is only a battery charger and only when the sun is shining. So the real question is how many batteries do I need?

    So glad you asked. Let’s figure that out. There ar two ways to determine your battery capacity needs. 1) measure your actual usage or 2) use an Energy Audit Form to estimate you usage.

    Number 1) requires an accurate battery monitor be installed in the RV to capture all the power being used by and /or replaced to the batteries. You really should have one of these anyway, as it is a gas gauge for your batteries. There are three that I recommend. Bogart Trimetric, Victron 712, and the IPN Pro that only works with BlueSky equipment. With one of these in place, you can see the effect of each load on consumption by simply switching on and off each appliance one at a time. This is the most accurate way to determine your needs, but you probably don’t have this vital equipment yet.

    Number 2) is our exercise for today. I have attached a link to the Audit Form that I use and find it incredibly easy to use as I have filled in the running watts for each item. You just need to determine which item you will use and for how many hours per day. Easy right. Then why doesn’t everyone do it before asking unanswerable questions.

    When you do a little arithmetic….voila…. your answer in AmpHours.
    Once you complete this exercise, you are ready to take the Solar Plunge, knowing that your system is built to your needs and camping style.

    Here is the link to the Energy Audit

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