I Continue To Get Green

I bought 4, 5 watt solar panels today. I have always wanted a solar panel and now I own 4! I got all four for $60, which is a deal.

What will I do with the panels you ask? One may be used to trickle charge my jeep’s battery if I ever take it to the island and leave it unattended for long periods of time. That way I can go directly from the plane to my jeep, and the engine will rollover like I drove it yesterday. (hopefully)

Second, we may want to leave the RV in storage for extended periods. Without a charge, the onboard battery will run down in two days. The battery runs some onboard systems like the propane refrigerator, carbon dioxide and smoke detectors, and a clock or two.

If we left the RV for extended periods then we would shut down the system completely. We usually like to have the fridge and freezer stocked with food and cold drinks.

It’s funny; the guy I bought the panels from drove up in a grease burning diesel Mercedes. I told him about Terri and Michael’s diesel Land Rovers that they are converting to biodiesel. He was about to drool listening to the story.

So, I’m going to read up on these panels. I may have to buy a regulator so I don’t overcharge my batteries.


MELackey said...


This guy is a wealth of knowledge about solar electric and RV's. Quite a bit larger capacity than what you are looking at, but I would imagine the general idea is the same. Send him an e-mail if you have any questions - he get's a kick out of sharing his knowledge and tips (and mistakes) with others. He dumped his Onan and is now completely solar. There is also a link at the bottom for his blog.

Michael said...

Welcome to the world of alternative energy Reggie!

Uhhh... I don't mean to rain on your parade or err... cloud over your PV panels, but I'm not sure 5 watts is going to help you much. It would probably be fine for the trickle charge idea for the jeep, just to keep the charge from dissipating. But if the on-board electronics in your RV would drain the battery in two days, I don't think 5 watts is going to put a dent in that. A five watt panel is going to give you 5 watts per hour (in 100% sunlight and ideal conditions). So, even in perfect conditions with no line loss (which doesn't happen in real life, there is always some loss) 8 hours of direct sunlight would give you enough power to burn a 40 watt bulb for one hour :( probably not enough to keep your beer cold.

Now the system melackey linked to above looks really good. I'm sure there's tons of space on your RV roof. You can put it to work, but its going to require a couple 75, 115, or 175 watt panels and a bank of batteries. But it'll meet all of your electric needs for extended storage and reduce your generator needs when you're RVing!