Last week I told you about the downside of RV solar, but this week I’ll share the benefits of a solar-powered lifestyle. My RV has had solar since our maiden voyage into the full-timing life back in 2008, and we have thoroughly appreciated every minute of the sun’s awesome ability to power our lifestyle. Today I’m happy to share what I’ve come to appreciate.
Three Big Benefits of RV Solar
As I mentioned last week, RV solar cons exist, but if you read my post and you’re still considering getting your power from the sun, you’ll want to read on for the three biggest reasons why I think you’ll be happy with this substantial investment in your full-timing lifestyle.
RV solar means freedom.
RV vacations are the first step toward experiencing the freedom that life on the road offers, while full-time RVing is a huge leap forward into total independence. Does life get any more freeing than that? Why, yes it does, with solar power!
RV solar gives you the ability to camp anywhere you’d like, whether that means overnighting in a big box parking lot (with management’s permission, of course), or hauling your rig 20 miles into the wilderness on a bumpy dirt road. In other words, you aren’t forced to rent a campsite, you can declare it wherever you need to as long as it’s legal.
Having our RV solar system means that we can pull into a parking lot after a long, hard day on the road, without needing to find a power source or run our generator (which is a big no-no in any “asphalt camping” situation). When you work online like we do, it’s critical to check in with business matters during the evening, so we’re often working well into darkness. Our robust RV solar power system means we can do this anywhere we want.
RV solar saves money.
The old saying “it takes money to make money,” is applicable here. By investing a few thousand dollars into a system that’s powerful enough to comfortably sustain your lifestyle, you can recoup your investment in as little as one RVing season – if you commit to staying off-grid.
For example, we are avid dry campers and enjoy the challenge of seeing how long we can go without paying for campsites. When we bought our current system we realized that with an average RV park nightly rent of $28, it would take 130 days of dry camping in order to pay for the investment. We need 70 more days to pay for it, which we expect to do in January. If your energy audit shows that you don’t need as much power as we do and your system costs less, it will take you even less time! As an added bonus, you’ll use less fuel in your generator, which is another substantial savings. Once RV solar is paid for, every dollar you don’t spend on rent is money in the bank.
RV solar is reliable.
In our eight years of full-time RVing, we’ve endured power outages in a few different campgrounds, usually because of harsh weather conditions. And while our RV park neighbors started running their generators as soon as the grid went down, we hardly felt the inconvenience because all we had to do was push the “Power” button on the inverter and get back to living. Sure, we experience cloudy days that require us to rely on our Honda super quiet generator, but those days are rare. With juice from the sun, we know we can complete whatever task we are working on and then get back to the real business of full-time RVing – having fun!
As you can tell, I’m a shameless promoter of going off-grid and eliminating generator noise and exhaust whenever possible. Earlier this year I wrote about it in my monthly RV Life Magazine column, On the Road for Good. Once you have power from the sun, you can go anywhere you’d like and live as inexpensively as you want. To me, this lifestyle and solar power fit together like a hand-in-glove — nothing says true freedom more than that!
Rene Agredano and her husband, Jim Nelson, became full-time RVers in 2007 and have been touring the country ever since. In her blog, Rene chronicles the ins and outs of the full-timing life and brings readers along to meet the fascinating people and amazing places they visit on the road. Her road trip adventures are chronicled in her blog at LiveWorkDream.com.