Solar Power

Solar power is our main source of electricity and we’ve learned way more about it over the years than we ever wanted to! From our current sailboat and past RV Solar Setups to explanations on what it is and how it works, we try to keep things as simple as possible with these complex systems. Click on any of the posts below for more information on solar, inverters, chargers and panels.

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116 Comments

  • dana

    March 26, 2016 Reply

    I was curious about what your opinion was on the best complete solar kit you have used. i noticed there were several to choose from in "our gear", which did you find to be the best?

    dana

    • Jason Wynn

      March 26, 2016 Reply

      Dana,
      It all depends on your needs. We think the absolute best is our newest setup which provides a ton of power for our wild camping and full-time living needs. It's the solar AE kit from GoPower, here's the link: http://amzn.to/1q8fVO9

  • Kirk Gadberry

    March 15, 2016 Reply

    HI. We think you guys are fantastic. Your videos are incredibly informative and VERY well put together. Congrats on your results. Its obvious that you put a lot of work into your products and it shows.
    Now for my question. I see that you mentioned that you had a third party do your install. Can you tell us who did the install? Since we are going to be on the road anyway, it wont matter much to us if we have to drive it to them to do the job.

    • Nikki Wynn

      March 15, 2016 Reply

      We have had a couple of different set ups/RV's over the years. We have not had one specific installer. The best thing to do would be call your solar manufacture (for us that would be Go Power) and ask them for a recommendation. They have a list of certified installers and can tell you who they would recommend as their top choice along your route.

  • Venice Scherer

    February 4, 2016 Reply

    Can the solar panels be on an electric lift so you don't have to access the roof and manually lift them?

  • Mike Bushaw

    January 24, 2016 Reply

    Questions: One of your older RVs had flexible solar panels glued and sealed to the roof. Very aerodynamic, I like that. Why the change? How does this change/upgrade drive? How are they protected while driving?
    One last suggestion before you head out to get your boat. Have you ever thought about a trip to the Grand Canyon? And since my wife and I live just 10 miles north of Dayton OH, how about a trip to Jackson Center OH the home of Airstream?
    Happy traveling
    Mike and Starr Bushaw
    Huber Heights OH

  • Steve

    December 12, 2015 Reply

    I own a 30' thor ace and really liked your video on solar. You mentioned a kit that can be purchased that includes everything in the video. Where can I buy the kit?

    Thank you

    Steve

    • Nikki Wynn

      December 13, 2015 Reply

      There are links on each post to the specific products. I am not sure which video/set up you were looking for (we have had a few different set ups over the years) but here is the link to the solar extreme kit: http://www.gonewiththewynns.com/product/go-power-solar-extreme-complete-solar-and-inverter-system-with-480-watts-of-solar

  • Wendy

    November 25, 2015 Reply

    Never mind about what I just posted about articles not showing up--right after I hit the "submit" button, they all showed up. Odd.... Thanks for the fun helpful info, hope you continue to have a super time!

  • Jake White

    October 7, 2015 Reply

    My son and I are trying to start a snow cone shack business. I'm looking into solar panels to figure out if this would be a good way for us to power the shack, so that we can save on the costs of energy. This site presents some very good options, especially if we could mount some panels on the top of the shack, or even just have a portable one attached to the actual shack itself. Either way would work, and this may well be worth our investment, so thanks for giving us some information.

  • Jorge Palencia

    April 3, 2015 Reply

    After seeing your videos I decided to invest on a GoPower Extreme kit. Everything is working find but my 3000 Inverter does not seem to handle the load. Mine goes on overload overtime I connect two appliances that don't quite add to 2000 watts. Did you had similar issues? could it be the batteries? I just added two new Trojan 105 Batteries which give me 225 amp hr. How big was your battery bank? I called their support guys a couple of times but we have not been able to diagnose the problem. Starting to wonder if I have a faulty inverter.

    • Jason Wynn

      April 4, 2015 Reply

      We did not have this issue with our system, however we did have 420ah from our giant 2 batteries. My guess would be battery related but I'm no expert. Let us know what you find out that way if anyone else has similar issues we can help direct them to your solution.

    • Steve McVeigh

      April 26, 2015 Reply

      The distance from your batteries to your Invertor needs to very short. 4' at the most. I used the same size wiring to the invertor that is used to go to the starter on a car.

      • Nikki Wynn

        April 27, 2015 Reply

        Oh man, we have said that so many times we feel like a broken record!

    • illya

      February 4, 2016 Reply

      if you have the remote it should show your voltages, it sounds like they followed the specs and the wires from the batteries to the inverter are limiting the power. Going from 12v to 3000 watts is a big jump and requires a lot of amps. I have the same inverter but use Optima yellow tops for the high output they have. I also used 0 gauge OFC tinned wire made by knuconcept at only a 3 foot run. Something like 6000 strands of thin copper wire in the whole of it. I tested to about 2500 watts so far but my watt meter is only good for 15 amps and starts beeping. I am currently hooking up 2 more optimas in the bank giving me 6 total.4 are all tightly packed and using the 0 gauge connecting them together. 24v setup would have been much better. But it is doing fine with the bigger wire and no issues at all. So i would say your problem is the drop in power from the batteries at load.

    • illya

      February 7, 2016 Reply

      Also i forgot to add, if you suspect the batteries are the problem not putting out enough amps for the inverter hook up a jumpstarter or a temp battery that has plenty of amps to test it. Use quality connectors for sure, Amazon has gold plated ones and all kinds of good quality stuff for cheap. I used to have to hook up my jumpstarter just to make coffee with my old inverter.

  • Dave Graf

    February 24, 2015 Reply

    HI Jason,

    My wife and I just purchased a Mercedes Sprinter van and we'll have it "upfitted" to become our "adventuremobile" over the next couple of months.

    We have been studying the bathroom and found your videos on natures head composting toilets. We are considering a small room to serve as a water closet in the truest meaning of the term. A toilet and shower room. I know that this is done in some set ups with what I assume is a toilet that sets above a black water tank.

    Here's the question; Is the Natures Head toilet "waterproof" when closed so that one could shower in the same space getting the stool very wet in the process?

    Thanks a lot!

    Cheers!

    Dave Graf

    Sent from my iPad

    • Nikki Wynn

      February 24, 2015 Reply

      The natures head is used in wet baths all the time, especially on sail boats. I would call Larry (he is the owner of natures head and is typically the one who answers the phone, crazy right!) and talk with him as he can give you the best tips and ideas for your specific instillation. We love our toilet and if you are going to be off grid, its the best!

  • Doug

    February 8, 2015 Reply

    In your portable solar videos you show how you plug the portable panels into an Anderson Connector mounted to your RV. I realize the connector came with the GoPower kit. But I didn't get anything that would allow me to mount the connector in my kit. How did you mount this connector to the underside of the RV?

    Thanks,

    -Doug

    • Jason Wynn

      February 9, 2015 Reply

      It was screwed in somehow, I wish I could tell you but the solar installer added this plug for us.

      • illya

        February 4, 2016 Reply

        it just goes to the battery

  • Dolf

    January 27, 2015 Reply

    Hi,

    Thanks so much for the info on bendable panels. I did learn a lot. I have a 2014 Georgetown 378XL Class A. My main concerns reading after all of this is still:

    1. I would like to be able to remove the the panels without damaging the thin fiberglass roofing. What the best stuff to use to keep them down yet to be able to remove a panel plus glue/calking?

    2. I read somewhere that there may be a heat increase inside the cabin after install of 5 panels due to the heating up of the panels and this heat dissipating through the roof/ceiling.?

    What do you both think about this ?

    Thanks in advance for your response!

    • Jason Wynn

      January 28, 2015 Reply

      After owning these panels for a year my go to answer is: If you need flexible panels for a curved roof, or space limitations then purchase them...if you don't need thin panels then purchase the tempered glass version.

  • Elizabeth Menkin

    January 3, 2015 Reply

    Has anyone figured out if a Nissan Leaf battery could be adapted for an RV solar setup? 16 usable kWh, 600+ lbs, and about 5 ft x 4 ft x 10 inches. New install as a replacement in a Leaf EV costs about $5500 plus a trade-in battery. Perhaps one could be harvested off of a totaled Leaf, if the battery itself was not injured? Or perhaps one of the degraded batteries being removed from a five-year-old Leaf might still have enough capacity to be worth using in an RV...

  • Mike Stoner

    December 29, 2014 Reply

    620 watts includes the 120 portable and the 500 on the roof and if you had 800AH battery bank you may not need to run the generator at all other than to exercise it or for A/C?

  • Marie

    December 25, 2014 Reply

    I know I would *like* to have 100% solar for 300 kwh/month. Isn't there somewhere I can just be told what I need to buy? (I was looking into building a very simple camper on a utility trailer). I am not technologically inclined, and I'd really rather not have to figure it out or do trial and error.

    • Jason Wynn

      December 31, 2014 Reply

      GoPower has a calculator on their website, whether you choose to purchase one of their all-in-one kits or not the information is extremely helpful when planning a solar setup for your RV. http://gpelectric.com/go-power-calculator

  • Mike Stoner

    December 14, 2014 Reply

    With the flexible solar panels installed on the Fleetwood do you find you need to run the generator daily to supplement the solar?

    • Nikki Wynn

      December 14, 2014 Reply

      It really depends on the day. Our residential fridge is a big energy hog. If it is cloudy and we are not bringing in enough power then we may need to run our generator for a half hour to an hour to get us through the night. We have about 460AH of batteries and 620watts of solar. We really need closer to 600AH or 800AH battery (to match our solar because you want 1 watt of solar to 1 amp hour of battery). If we upgraded our battery bank, that would solve our problem.

      • Mike Stoner

        December 14, 2014 Reply

        620 watts includes the 120 portable and the 500 on the roof and if you had 800AH battery bank you may not need to run the generator at all other than to exercise it or for A/C?

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