Dear RV Shrink:
We just bought two solar panels for our motorhome. My husband said it would eliminate the need for hookups. We spent almost $2,000, and now two weeks later he wants electricity.
We have been parked in Montana for two weeks in a national forest campground. Mostly it has been cloudy and rainy. I guess he didn’t plan thoroughly enough. Our batteries have slowly died until last night everything shut down. So much for solar.
Am I being too hard on him? Do most people find these sun catchers sometimes helpful? —Mostly upset with a slight chance of forgiveness in Lincoln
It would be my guess that your stormy disposition has been brought on by bad timing. They are solar panels, which is pretty self-explanatory. “That lucky old sun has nothin’ to do, but roll around heaven all day.” It is true that the sun shines every day at 72,000 feet, depending on high cumulus clouds, but that is not always helpful to solar panels.
You don’t say what your battery bank is made up of, but for two grand I’m going to guess you bought some good batteries to enhance your system.
Go find some sunshine. You will feel a lot better.
We run 300 watts of solar into four 6v golf cart batteries from Sam’s Club. It is budgeted with a real good controller. In five years I can only think of a half dozen times that it was dreary long enough to put a big dent in our solar savings account. In those same five years it has paid for itself more than once in electricity and convenience.
If you travel often you will become an appreciator of the magic of the sun to continually top off your batteries.
I am sitting in a National Park right now listening to several generators around me sucking fuel, making noise and pollution to accomplish the same thing my quiet panels are doing.
Hang in there. I see sunny days in your future. —Keep Smilin’, Richard E. Mallery a.k.a Dr. R.V. Shrink