Our goal was to live as simply, as minimally, and as inexpensively as possible. Over the years we have winnowed down our needs to a level that we can comfortably sustain. Adding a solar panel was key to reaching this goal. It frees us from expensive electrical hook up campsites, making reservations, and gas generators. Solar opened the door to boondocking without sacrificing our basic electrical needs. In 2017, we were introduced to Renogy, an awesome solar company in Ontario, CA and have found that we absolutely love their products! Take a video tour of our solar powered life!
Hamlet's Solar Powered System
Our trailer has two electrical systems: 1) 12V DC and 2) 110V AC shore power. We run our lives on 95% solar. When we are parked near an 110V outlet, we can plug in directly using an extension cord, but that is relatively rare for us.
Each solar powered system consists of four components. We run our lives on the following Renogy equipment:
What we run with solar:
Making the Most of Living with Solar
The key to living with a small solar powered system is minimizing what needs electricity. We make great meals without the normal appliances you'd find in a traditional American kitchen! Believe it or not, we do not have a microwave, or a TV, and don't miss them at all. For coffee, we heat water and pour it into a French press, toast bread on a griddle, make waffles on an Amish waffle iron, and reheat food in a pot/pan on our 2-burner propane stove. The only electric kitchen appliance we have is an immersion blender, which we use to make smoothies, cocktails, pesto, sauces, and soups.
Adjusting your expectations and staying flexible will help you stay happy while living mobile with solar. What happens when we have low solar gain and run out of power for the night? We use battery operated "puck lights" strategically placed around the camper. Or, grab some candles and a good book, or just go outside and hang out around the campfire.
No matter what type of RV you have, living with solar is possible. If you are seeking a larger system, check out our article about these solar powered road warriors! If you are NEW to solar, these blogs will guide you: Going Solar: The Complete Guide for New RVer's and The Ultimate DIY Guide to Off-Grid Solar. If you still have questions, feel free to contact us; we'll walk you through it or put you in touch with an engineer.
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