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What Can You Run on Solar Power? Depends On Your Camping Style.

If you're considering installing solar panels on your RV or camper, the two big questions on your mind are probably "how many panels do I need, and what can I run on them?"There are a few different ways to estimate your power needs (most of which involve a little math). You can check out the specific steps for determining your energy needs in our help article, How Much Solar Power Do I Need For My RV?However, it helps to get a sense of what kind of camper you are and what kind of energy needs you might have. So below, we've laid out the three major types of camper, what kind of energy needs they typically have, and what the average solar setup is for each camper type.View our solar calculator here!
What Style Camper Are You?
Note: Keep in mind that many campers, no matter how much solar they have, do have to run the generator, if only occasionally during cloudy days.
Camper Type - Minimalist
Camper Type - Careful Consumer
Camper Type - Glamper
Small Camper

Type 1: The Minimalist

Who is the Minimalist?

As The Minimalist, you may very well be that person no one knows how to shop for during the holidays—not because you have everything, but because you want nothing.You more or less enjoy a simple lifestyle, particularly when camping. Some LED lights to see when the sun goes down. Maybe an hour or two of your favorite TV show at night (on an efficient LED screen, of course). You can get by with little or no use of the furnace. Though even you, Minimalist, can't deny that cell phones, laptops, and cameras are pretty handy inventions, so you'll probably want to keep these juiced up.Solar Needs: 200 Watts or LessOverall, you prefer to keep your environmental footprint and energy costs—well, minimal. Someone with the bare minimum power needs can get by on under 100w, but most will probably want to stick closer to 200w. As a Minimalist camper, you'll need to be conservative and not run energy-sucking appliances for too long, or use too many in a short period of time. But you'll reap the benefits of a low-cost setup and easily replenishable energy.
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Go Power Weekender ISW RV Solar Charging System
Go Power Weekender Solar Charging Kit - 190 Watt
  • Includes everything you need to charge batteries & AC-powered appliances
  • Ideal for weekend dry camping
  • Includes solar panel, inverter charger, digital regulator, and installation materials
RV Camper - Medium Size with Fire Pit

Type 2: The Careful Consumer

Who is the Careful Consumer?

As a "middle of the road" camper, you enjoy your creature comforts, but you don't expect your RV to provide all the luxuries of home. You are willing to downsize and make some minor sacrifices in order to conserve energy.That said, essentials, like coffee, are still part of the Careful Consumer's daily life (you're not a caveman, thank you very much). You probably enjoy a nightly double feature on your satellite LED TV, a hot crockpot meal, and modern conveniences like toasters and microwaves as much as anyone else. Like the Minimalist, you'll keep your electronics charged. Unlike the Minimalist, you have a bit more leeway and won't have to be quite as discliplined about your energy consumption.Solar Needs: 200-500 WattsYou capably balance your energy needs with convenience and comfort. The extra solar panel or two that separates you from the Minimalist graces you with the wiggle room to watch more television, run the furnace more often, and cook a few additional hot meals. A solar setup in this range will allow you to run the appliances you want for longer, and to use more of them in a shorter period of time, because the greater number of panels will charge your batteries faster.
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Go Power Solar Elite Charging System - 380 Watts

Go Power Elite Solar Charging Kit - 380 Watt

  • Includes everything you need to charge batteries & AC-powered appliances
  • Ideal for week-long dry camping
  • Includes 2 solar panels, inverter charger, digital regulator, and installation materials
Camper Type - Glamper - Luxurious RV

Type 3: The Power Hungry Glamper

Who is the Power Hungry Glamper?

Your camper puts most people's houses to shame. The roof is slathered with solar panels to fuel your giant residential fridge, electric cooktop, microwave oven, and caffeine addiction. You have plenty of solar panels to power your TVs (yes, plural) for nightly binge-watching of your favorite shows with satellite. You love the great outdoors, but you also love kicking back at the end of the day and enjoying some well-earned luxury.Solar Needs: 500+ WattsIf you have a large residential fridge or multiple entertainment centers, you might find you need around 500 watts of solar or more. For those with 30+ foot long behemoths, it's not unheard of for solar needs to exceed 1,000 watts. Of course, a solar setup of this caliber will pack a punch to the wallet, so it may be ideal to start with a smaller setup and gradually increase as power requirements demand.It's important to keep in mind that even with this much solar power, you still may need a generator if it's been cloudy for days, or if your RV is parked in shade. Your RV isn't a house, and it can still run out of juice. But overall, if your trailer (or family) is large, or you prefer to camp with most of the comforts of home, a grander solar setup is the way to go.
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Go Power Solar Extreme Charging System - 570 Watts
Go Power Extreme Solar Charging Kit - 570 Watt
  • Includes everything you need to charge batteries & AC-powered appliances
  • Ideal for full-time RV living
  • Includes 3 solar panels, inverter charger, digital regulator, and installation materials
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Related ProductsWritten by: Amber S.Updated on: 4/4/19



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