Solar power calculations are the first step on the road to an awesome RV solar system. Generating electricity from the sun can mean total freedom for RVers. No more generators or shore power: you can go as off-grid as you want while enjoying A/C, appliances, and electronics.
But this isn’t just the first step, it’s arguably the most important. If your calculations are off, you might end up with an underperforming solar system. In a worst-case scenario, it may not work at all.
We’ve discovered an online solar power calculator that’s easy to use and can help you figure out your electrical needs.
Let’s check it out!
Why Do You Need a Solar Calculator?
Scientists first discovered solar power in the 1800s by observing a phenomenon called the photovoltaic effect. This effect occurs when an object emits an electrical current during sun exposure.
Although early attempts to harness solar power didn’t work well, a breakthrough occurred in the 1950s. Scientists discovered that panels built with silicon were much more powerful.
Solar panels have become popular since then for both home and RV use. Just like on a house, panels are usually attached to the roof of a motorhome. Pointed directly at the sun, they absorb solar energy during the day. Panel circuits turn this energy into electricity, sending it to a charge controller, which then powers your house battery.
With sufficient solar power, you can park your RV almost anywhere and still meet all your electrical needs. But determining how much electricity you need can be tricky. Without the right balance of panels, batteries, and energy, your rig won’t get the right amount of juice. This is where a solar calculator comes in handy.
Can You Run an RV Completely on Solar Power?
Powering your RV purely through solar energy may sound intimidating. But it’s not impossible. With the right equipment and calculations, you can use solar panels to power pretty much anything.
Most panels and batteries produce direct current power, or DC power, at 12 volts. This is the type of current that usually powers your built-in electronics, appliances, and lights.
But with an inverter, you can convert DC power to 120-volt alternating current–or AC–power. This will allow you to use your vehicle’s electrical outlets even if you don’t have a generator or shore power access. A properly customized RV solar system truly allows you to camp anywhere.
With the right setup, an RVer could park in the middle of a desert and enjoy air conditioning, a cold fridge, and some TV time. What could be better than that?
Pro Tip: If you’re installing solar for the first time, buy from these 5 Best RV Solar Panel Brands.
Who Are The Mortons On The Move?
Tom and Caitlin Morton decided to give up their “stationary” life over six years ago. The couple found it difficult to return to wintery Michigan one year after a tropical vacation.
When one of them expressed a desire to work remotely and travel often, the couple decided to give it a shot. Mortons on the Move was born when they packed up their belongings and hit the road in their fifth-wheel RV.
The Mortons have been living in their DRV Mobile Suites 32TK3 since September 2015. They began documenting their adventures on their Mortons on the Move website and YouTube channel.
In 2019 they became co-hosts of The RVers, an educational reality TV show on the Discovery Channel and PBS. The couple also co-founded the RV Masterclass and wrote a guide for RV travelers.
Mortons on the Move initially planned to live in their fifth wheel for one or two years. But by the two-year mark, they decided to make the change permanent. The Mortons currently work remote jobs and travel where they please. As they say on their website, “Home is wherever we park it.”
Tell Me More About The Mortons On The Move RV Solar Calculator
Outfitting an RV with solar panels can seem like an overwhelming decision. Where do you even start to figure out the equipment your vehicle will need and how much will it cost?
Mortons on the Move decided to help their fellow RVers with this task. Tom Morton is an electrical engineer who’s installed countless solar systems over the years. Based on his experience, he and Caitlin created an online RV solar calculator to steer travelers in the right direction.
The Mortons on the Move RV solar calculator requires three pieces of info. Website visitors enter their rig’s type, size, and the various appliances they hope to run on solar power. Based on these answers, the calculator estimates power usage and suggests specific types of solar systems.
The Mortons didn’t stop there. They also created customized guides for each of the available solar systems. These guides provide step-by-step information on how to build your very own custom setup.
Pro-Tip: Check out the Mortons on the Move’s solar power calculator for an easy way to calculate your rig’s power needs.
Is The Mortons On The Move RV Solar Calculator Worth It?
A solar system is a great investment for a full-time RVer. But without the right information ahead of time, it can also turn into a money pit. Thankfully, the Mortons on the Move RV solar calculator is an excellent resource for starting this process.
The Mortons’ calculator and blog provide specialized information that’s difficult to find elsewhere. In addition, Tom’s work history and the Mortons’ experience with their RV give the duo a unique, expert perspective.
With the right tools and a can-do attitude, installing your own solar system is well within your reach. This calculator is perfect for folks looking to make their off-grid dreams come true.
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