The single most important upgrade we have made to our two full-time trailers and our cruising sailboat has been the installation of solar power. This page lists all our links to our solar power posts on this website.
The best place to start so you can get an overview of the whole topic of off-the-grid solar power is with this article:
Solar power is not expensive and is not difficult to install. It has given us a life of total independence and the ability to live completely off the grid, boondocking (or “free camping“) on America’s gorgeous public lands or anchoring out in Mexico’s bays.
We never have to worry about finding (or paying for) marinas, campgrounds or RV parks!
Since we began traveling full-time in 2007, as of June 2019, we have boondocked in our trailer for nearly 3,200 nights and we have anchored out in our sailboat for over 900 nights, going without shore power (or “hookups”) for months — and even years — at a time. What a beautiful experience and life of freedom it has been!
Our solar powered mobile lifestyle has caught the attention of the solar industry. In May, 2013, Kyocera Solar Power, the manufacturer of one of the major brands of solar panels, featured our sailboat’s solar power installation on the Kyocera website. In addition, Clean technica, a green energy online magazine, wrote a feature article about our solar installation, and the story was ultimately picked up by Scientific American.
SOLAR POWER OVERVIEW and TUTORIAL
- RV (and Marine) Solar Power Made Simple - An overview of how solar power works on an RV or boat
- Which Solar Panels To Buy? - What's Best: Flexible or Rigid Panels? 12 or 24 volt? Mono- or Polycrystalline? And WHY?
- Is RV Solar Power Affordable? - 3 solar power solutions for RVs and boats, including parts lists and actual costs
- Installing Solar Power on a Sailboat - How to overcome the unique challenges of solar power on a sailboat
- RV Solar UPGRADE - An EASY upgrade to a factory-installed baseline RV solar power system that TRIPLED the power output
- Solar Power Tutorial 1 - Basics - What makes up a solar power system and how does it work?
- Solar Power Tutorial 2 - Weekend/Vacation Systems - Everything needed for small "Weekending" and "Vacation" systems
- Solar Power Tutorial 3 - Full-time Systems - Describes the design of a "Full-time" system
- Solar Power Tutorial 4 - Solar Panel Selection & Wiring - Design considerations for choosing solar panels PLUS wiring tips
BATTERIES and BATTERY CHARGING SYSTEMS
- RV and Marine Battery Charging Basics - How do batteries get charged and what is the best charging method?
- Converters, Inverter/Chargers and Engine Alternators - No two battery charging systems do the job the same way.
- Solar Charge Controllers - How to optimize battery charging from the sun
- Solar Power and Shore Power Combined! - What happens when you're on solar and you plug into shore power?
- Wet Cell vs. AGM Batteries in an RV or Boat - Why we upgraded our RV house battery bank from flooded to AGM!
LIVING ON 12 VOLTS
- Inverter Selection & Installation - Choosing and installing the best inverter to support all our lifestyle's 120 volt AC needs
- RV Electrical System Upgrade - Which converter, inverter and batteries we upgraded to after 8 years off the grid, and WHY!
- How Much Inverter is Enough? - What happened when we accidentally killed our big inverter
- Clean Technica: Solar Power Installation on Sailboat Groovy - An analysis of our boat's solar power setup
- Kyocera Solar Showcases our Sailboat's Solar Power Setup - Sailing Groovy on Kyocera Solar Power!