Recreational Solar is a term used to describe the use of 12 volt solar panels for caravans, and outdoor leisure and recreation use. This typically covers caravanning, camping, four wheel driving and marine leisure activities.
RV Solar Supplies (RVSS) is a Brisbane based company that was established in 2012 by owner Spencer Smith. Spencer has a background in engineering and a passion for ‘powering freedom’ using solar energy.
Spencer says “solar energy provides outdoor enthusiasts with freedom, independence and peace of mind when in the great outdoors, allowing them to go wherever they want, whenever they want.”
Recreational solar panels for caravans, fall into three main categories – folding, fixed and flexible solar panels and typically range from 80W through to 180W in size.
Anyone considering investing in a solar system for their RV should first decide whether they want a portable solar panel or a permanently mounted fixed solar panel on the caravan roof. There are pros and cons of each.
A portable folding solar panel gives the user the flexibility to park their RV in the shade and put the solar panel out to work in the sun. Drawbacks include storage and potential theft if left unattended.
A solar panel that is permanently fixed to the roof of an RV will keep the battery charged whilst travelling around but means parking in the sun when pulling up at the camp site which leads to a hot caravan!
RVSS portable folding solar panels are packed full of useful features and are higher quality than most on the market. Spencer advises to compare apples with applies when looking for a folding solar panel as there is a wide range available. RVSS 120W folding kit retails for $480 and their 160W kit $599 and comes with solar panel, controller, 8m cable, carry case – everything you need for a walk away portable kit.
A permanent solar system can include either fixed or flexible solar panels mounted to the RV roof. Flexible solar panels are becoming more popular due to their light weight advantage (less than 2kg) when compared to normal solar panels. A solar panel(s), cable, plus a good quality charge controller can cost anywhere from $300 to $800 to purchase depending on how much solar power is required. Most people tend to install their own panels and wiring but factor in the cost of labour if using an installer to do it for you.
RV Solar Supplies is the only recreational solar company that has been endorsed by the CEO of the Australian Solar Council, John Grimes.
“The Australian Solar Council recognizes recreational solar as an emerging and valuable contributor to the Australian Solar Industry. We support the contribution that RV Solar Supplies continues to make in its mission to help outdoor enthusiasts understand the true value that solar energy plays in powering their recreational freedom.” John Grimes, CEO
RVSS has a special offer for readers on their 120W Folding Solar Panel kit which uses BOSCH solar cells amongst many other great features. They are offering a 20% discount off their normal retail price, down from $480 to $380 and is valid until 30th June 2015.