A great post from TechnoMadia comparing the cost of solar and a generator and the time it takes to get break-even. Also another post I found that talks about the savings Lyn and Clark made when boondocking and the need for solar power.. (scroll down for each of the stories)
A lot of RVers seem to think that a few hundred watts of solar will magically give them absolute electrical independence (even running air conditioners!) with an investment that will pay for itself in no time at all. And we’ve run across others who regard solar with distrust – just a way for “environmentalists” to throw money down the drain while acting smug about it.
But the truth is – both extremes can be deluded about the realities of solar.
We find relatively few RVers have actually taken the time to think through the real benefits, costs, and cost savings associated with going solar to decide if investing in a solar system actually makes sense.
There is no one right answer for everyone.
But hopefully this guide can help you decide – what is right for you?
So, about a year and a half into our adventure, while camping at Glacier National Park with Jen and Deas from Nealy’s On Wheels, that we found out the Mutiny wasn’t equipped with an inverter (shoot, for 8 months we didn’t know we had Sirius/XM radio and that the previous owner had purchased a lifetime membership… these things can happen). An inverter, unlike a converter, allows one to use the juice stored in your battery(s) to power up appliances inside the RV. The battery(s) can then be “recharged” by either running the generator, running the engine or with solar panels. Without an inverter we could only run things that used 12v power like our lights and…well, our lights…that’s it.