Our RV Solar Power Setup and Giveaway

What’s not to love about solar power? Harvesting the power of the sun to provide electricity to run your RV appliances and electronics, without waste or pollution? Yes please!


RV Solar Power by Solarland USA

When we upgraded our RV one of the features we were most excited about was the residential refrigerator.  While current models have gotten quite efficient, a full-size refrigerator will suck your RV battery dry pretty quickly. This may not be much of an issue when you are moving from park to park where electrical hookups are available to run your refrigerator and charge your batteries, but when we decided to set out on an epic road trip from Key West, FL to Anchorage, AK we realized we may not have that luxury at many points along the way. We got in touch with the good people at Solarland USA to see about trying out their Sun Wanderer RV solar kit and they were happy to oblige. They are an international company who have up until recently focused on the wholesale distribution of their products. Fortunately for us they are ramping up their retail marketing and they agreed to send us four 150W high efficiency panels, a portable 90W solar kit, two Blue Sky Solar Boost 3000i charge controllers, an IPN Pro Remote (which lets us monitor the current charge coming in, battery level as well as current being used), cables, and a cool solar lantern.

RV Solar Installation - DIY

RV Solar Installation – DIY

On our way to Alaska, we stopped in Indiana to visit family where I set to work installing them with the help of my super handy brother-in-law Jeff. The panels are high quality and light-weight. We had the trailer wired pretty quickly, running the two sets of cables through the (unused) washing machine vent, down through a chase, into the underbelly storage area, and finally into the utility bay where we built a panel to mount the charge controllers next to the batteries. Wiring the charge controllers to the batteries was a little tricky as our battery bank is still a work-in-progress. We have two gell cell 12W batteries and two Trojan T-105 flooded acid 6V batteries. Since we had two charge controllers we were able to run the battery banks independently with the inverter running off the Trojans and our 12V house system running off the gel cells. Since this initial configuration, I have taken to running both charge controllers to the Trojans since out 12V demand is very low (most of our 12v lights are LED and the refrigerator runs off the inverter). The 90W portable solar charger has a built-in charge controller which allows us to Connect it directly to our gell cell batteries to keep them charged. With this setup, weather permitting. we can operate all our electrical systems, residential refrigerator, charge our laptops and mobile devices as well as our oldest son’s keyboard.

Solar panels in the Wild: Denali National Park, Alaska

Solar panels in the Wild: Denali National Park, Alaska

The panels and charge controllers have held up great since our journey to Alaska. We are now looking forward to optimizing the system further so we can enjoy more ‘wild camping’ throughout the western United States. Future upgrades to the system will be to replace the two gell cell batteries with two more Trojan T-105’s so that we can run it as a single bank. Replace our 1000w inverter with a 3000w “whole house” model. Add 400w more PV panels to better accommodate my large screen iMac.

RV Solar - Homer Alaska

RV Solar Power – Homer Alaska

DIY Solar Installation Video

Give Away!!

What Do I Win?

The winner gets one 90 watt portable solar charge kit.

Who is eligible?
Anyone 18 years of age or older within the 50 United States of America

How Can I Win?
Entering to win using the widget above:

Mandatory: ‘Like’ Newschool Nomads and Solarland USA on Facebook (yes, you must like both to win)
Want a better chance at winning? Expand your interaction and receive additional entries

  • Leave a comment below and tell us how you’ll use your new portable solar charger (counts as 2 entries)
  • Tweet this Giveaway
  • Pin this Giveaway on Pinterest

So that’s 6 chances you have to win, plus an extra credit by leaving a comment below!

This contest runs from Wednesday 11/05/2014 to Wednesday 11/12/2014 at 11:59 pm EST (Eastern Standard Time). The winner will be announced on 11/13/2014 via private email, and shared with our friends on Newschool Nomads’ Facebook page.

The Fine (legal) Print:

You must be a human age 18 or older
You must be a Facebook fan of Newschool Nomads and Solarland USA to win.
Mandatory entry must be done first before additional entries are accepted.
The Winner will be contacted through Facebook and has 72 hours to respond before another applicant is selected.
You must enter the giveaway using the widget above (if you simply like NSN, SLUSA, etc on facebook you will NOT be entered)
Giveaway is NOT endorsed by Facebook or Twitter
All entries are verified.

Disclaimer: The products reviewed in this post were provided to us free of charge by Solarland USA.  No other form of compensation was offered or accepted. All expressed opinions are our own.

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65 Responses to “Our RV Solar Power Setup and Giveaway”

  1. Angel Says:

    Can someone say AWESOME!!!!! I am SO looking forward to solar panels on our RV!!!!



  2. Deb Says:

    I have no idea what language you’ve just said (something about IPN connector positive inputs megawatt gigabite radar lasers), but I love the concept and I know that Derek will too!


  3. Jodee Gravel Says:

    Looks like a sweet set up and doing it yourself must have saved a ton! And you’re in (or were) in Alaska – wow!


  4. Anna White Says:

    I will use the portable solar charger while we tour the US in our 5th wheel beginning in January 2015. I have been following your blog for several weeks and you are an inspiration to me.


  5. Ramblin’ Rose Says:

    We would so set up “Our big Kahuna” with an awesome solar system!!! Our full-time adventure starts right after Christmas 2014. That would be a super Christmas gift Solarland USA 🙂


  6. Tara Platt Says:

    We would use this on our many camping trips. We want to go off grid in certain places with our 5th wheel but it is difficult with 4 children. This would be wonderful!!!


  7. Leesa Dykstra Says:

    I would LOVE to win these! We will be full-timing soon and these would be so perfect for us. What a fantastic giveaway!


  8. Matt Dykstra Says:

    This would be excellent! We are planning to go fulltime with the family next year. We’d be using this at the many boondocking nights we’ll have along the way.


  9. paul m Says:

    If I win I would use this as a quiet eco friendly way to keep our trailer batteries charged. Here’s to good lucky!


  10. Kristy Says:

    We need these for our newly acquired vintage Airstream!


  11. druzieacrossamerica Says:

    We are leaving for a year long trip with our two girls ages 10 and 16 at the end of December in a Mountaineer 345DBQ. The solar panels will be a great addition to our interior upgrades we ate putting in the coach!


  12. Jeep Gypsies Says:

    We are always looking for some boondocking independence, Portable solar is a great way to do it.


  13. Tamie Says:

    We are so so so excited about this giveaway! We are planning on taking a year off of school and work when this current school year is up and taking the kids up to Alaska, across Canada, and all over the east coast. Solar panels would be amazing on our coach! Crossing my fingers =)


  14. scott Says:

    This would be a perfect entry into the world of solar power. We loved following your adventure this summer.


  15. Heather Says:

    We love to camp in the woods. This would be great for that 🙂


  16. Chris Yeager Says:

    I am working on a masters degree and trying to write a couple of novels, and would love to have the flexibility to get someplace isolated to write. Solar power offers untethering from the need for an outlet to write for 6 hours on a Saturday in a quiet forest.


  17. Eric Says:

    This would be great for the long trips we take into the woods.


  18. Sharon R Says:

    How awesome! I’d use the solar starter kit to show my husband the value of adding solar as an option on our 32′ Jamboree Class C. We both want to travel more often, but are fairly new to RVing, so would love to learn and do more.


  19. Kim Says:

    We’ll use the portable solar charger to keep in touch with family and friends while on the road! 🙂


  20. Julie Sorenson Says:

    We are heading to Alaska in May and this Solar unit would be amazing to have for our adventure!!


  21. Alissa Says:

    We would love this for our new setup! More off grid power would be awesome!


  22. Stephanie Says:

    We will begin rv’ing full time next year & would love to integrate some renewable energy to lessen our footprint!


  23. Alex & Lindsay Reed Says:



  24. Mary Dunlap Says:

    to run my mobile office while boon docking.


  25. Neil Says:

    Keeping batteries charged.


  26. Mary Dunlap Says:

    also – I will have the kids use it as a science and engineering opportunity…. for our blog


  27. Erin Marsee Says:

    Would love more solar to our small set up. Thanks so much!


  28. Alicia Says:

    We’ve been very interested in learning more about solar! Thank you for your post!


  29. Zoë Racca Says:

    I would LOVE too win this! We don’t use much electricity to begin with, so I imagine it would have no problem powering our chargers and what not! Love your blog too, by the way!


  30. Micah Sheheen Says:

    We are newbies, this would be an awesome edition for us to be able to take the kids to place they have never been and be able to see the world a whole new way!!


  31. Karl Habegger Says:

    I love me some solar. We would use this kit to make our 2012 Crossroads Zinger grid-independent. Thanks for the opportunity!


  32. robyn griggs Says:

    So great! We leave for our fulltime adventure Dec 11. We will use the portable kit on our 1969 MCI bus while we see the country. Thanks so much!


  33. mike nadeau Says:

    Photovoltaics is awesome!
    We need to use more of whar mother nature gives us.
    We woukd use it to start our own solar project.


  34. Shifra Says:

    Can’t wait to use solar instead of generator!


  35. Cindy T Says:

    Thanks for the detailed post and giveaway! If we win, it will will power our hand-built teardrop. 🙂


  36. Christine S Says:

    Would put them to good use on our travel trailer and do more boondocking!


  37. Allee Woodwell Says:

    We would love this for our Gateway we are purchasing next week for fulltime with our kids. It would make it much easier while visiting family or boondocking!


  38. Tam H Says:

    Getting ready to full time in 2015 and we would love this for some boondocking!


  39. Janis Says:

    I have been wanting to get off the grid since we started our adventure. This could be the nudge we need!


  40. Christiane Sears Says:

    Yes, please! I have been living full-time in my RV traveling the country now for 5 months and I really need a solar panel system. I’ve been disperse camping in every state I travel to – 15 states so far! After the continual problem of having my battery die, I finally upgraded to two 6 volt Trojan T125’s. Now I just need solar to hopefully never having another dead battery problem again!


  41. Jennifer Master Says:

    My husband and I purchased our first trailer last year. It was just a trial to see if we would like RVing…now the kids and us are hooked!! We camp on dunes and in the desert. We have been looking into solar for the trailer, but just can’t afford it. This is something that would be so beneficial for us and our needs.


  42. Tara Says:

    We would love to win this 🙂


  43. Spencer Says:

    Awesome giveaway from an awesome family!! Great to see you guys!


  44. David Says:

    We will use it for our converted skoolie that we plan to workamp out of. Really need this!!


  45. Tom Devoe Says:

    This would be a great way for us to learn more about and include solar power into our fulltime adventures!


  46. josh monthei Says:

    We travel the country full timein our sprinter and we have been dreaming of solar panels since we started 2 years ago!!!! We need some electricity! !


  47. Jeneca Says:

    I would use it for boondocking.


  48. Jen B Says:

    Great article with useful details. This solar power kit would be a great help as we hope to become more energy efficient and travel more cost effectively with our little kiddos.


  49. Shannon Says:

    We would use this to set up our system for off-grid living. I am super excited about solar, but a bit overwhelmed to start. This would help. We are not large rv’ers, but are ready to overhaul either a class c or school bus. About to purchase and want to boondock, write and road school/live. Thank you for the give-away!


  50. Jen Says:

    I would love to take our own source of clean, free energy along with us on our big adventure!


  51. andrewodom Says:

    This solar kit will join the Tiny r(E)volution family as we continue our #rvfamilies adventure!


  52. Meg Says:

    We would put the solar panels on Alice!!!


  53. Jason Liske Says:

    We would love to get lucky with one! We just started out on our road schooling adventure and we’d use it as a gateway to getting into a full off the grid solar system for our 38′ Fifth wheel.

    Currently we are in Alabama Hills near Lone Pine CA and it would sure be nice to have more power when boondocking!


  54. Jim Lipscomb Says:

    I would use this in an off grid cabin.


  55. Jeff Farnsworth Says:

    We’re still pretty new to the full time road schooling lifestyle and one of our biggest problems has been the batteries. Currently we use a portable battery charger we hook up every time we stop. Having solar panels would be life changing for us.


  56. Amber Hobson Says:

    We have been inspired by your life on the road and we are contemplating it ourselves..on the hunt for our new rolling house and the solar panels would be put to good use, especially since I will be working full-time.


  57. Miranda Ludy Says:

    We are hitting the road in Jan. in a travel trailer with our 2 boys and a pug. We have been going back and forth about getting solar panels. Would be awesome to win them!! Thanks for the chance to win them!!


  58. Lisa Holt Says:

    My husband and I take off on random road trips several times a year. Frequent boondocking is an adventure we would like to do more of. We also travel with our retail business setting up at festivals and events. Sometimes these events offer no hookups. Boy, what a difference a little sun power could make!


  59. Margie Lundy Says:

    We’d love to use this on trips in our RV, or even while we’re just sitting here in Arkansas to save on electric!


  60. Jema Says:

    Oh, we could boondock again! We could hook up that new residential refrigerator to some sun power. This butterfly RV would be decked out then 🙂


  61. Rachel @WhereInTheWorldRV Says:

    Great giveaway! Spencer and I would love to add solar to our setup for more wild camping opportunities.


  62. Karl Habegger Says:

    I’m excited to find out who wins tomorrow! The boondocking possibilities would be great!


  63. Cady Says:

    new solar panels for our rv would be the icing on the cake to a fantastic off the grid renovation! we can’t wait to hit the road next summer and solar panels would be amazing help!


  64. Jeep Gypsies Says:

    Who won this bad boy? I did’t see anything on Facebook either 🙁


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