Generator v. Solar Panel

Discussion in 'The Beginner' started by Enjoy_Yourself, Aug 9, 2011.

  1. Enjoy_Yourself

    Enjoy_Yourself Read Only Funster

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    At the risk of starting a debate that ends up by concluding that "its all a matter of personal preference", what do the more experienced motor-home users out there have to say about the pros and cons of these respective energy sources?

    I'm no electrician so difficult for me to assess what you get for your buck with either option. Understand the basics - I think- but a bit unclear about use of inverters for providing 240v if we go down the solar panel route. Looking to have a few of the "luxury" items available when we decide to stay off EHU in aires or wild-camping closer to home.
    :Doh:
    All advice welcome!
     
  2. stagman

    stagman Deleted User

    Solar Panel = Quiet . Gen = Noisy . Initial cost about the same for a good quality set up .
    Running cost Gen = expensive . S/P = nil . Gen = smelly . S/P = not smelly . Gen = Pollution . S/P = not .
    Gen = Maintenance . S/P = nil
    Gen = Fast Charge . S/P slow charge
    Friends Solar Panel = Loads . Generator = Nil
     
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  3. Hayleylulu

    Hayleylulu

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    I love my kipor keeps people from parking to close to me
     
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  4. Gromett

    Gromett Funster

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    I have gone with both as most full timers seem to do. Wouldn't be without either of them now. 240watts solar 1Kw Genny.
     
  5. Bryan

    Bryan Read Only Funster

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    Both.

    Solar for keeping batteries topped up so the inverter can run TV etc.

    Generator for when not enough sun and for Microwave, hairdryer, A/C etc.
     
  6. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    solar panels...free leccy when the sun shines

    generator...expensive leccy whether sunny or not (petrol aint cheap)

    i had a 2.6kva (2200watts) genny til it packed in (Kipor quality :Doh:) which would run anything in the motorhome...including the aircon.

    i now use a 170watt solar panel and 440ah of batteries.

    i also have a built in 5500watt genny but far too thirsty to run for long periods, i do use it occasionally for the microwave etc.

    invertors are great but you need a large battery capacity to use them as an alternative to a mains 230v supply.
    a mains appliance rated at 240watts will pull 1amp per hour on hookup
    the same appliance on an invertor will pull 20amps from your battery plus the losses involved in inverting 12v to 230v.
    a fully charged 100ah battery will run that one appliance for around 2 hours continuosly before it needs recharging.

    generators may be inconvenient and sometimes a noise nuisance but its the most reliable source of alternative 230v leccy.
     
  7. robinmclaren

    robinmclaren Read Only Funster

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    both

    300w of solar , marine batteries to cope with high inverter load , 3kw inverter and 2kw honda genny for heavy loads
     
  8. CHRI$

    CHRI$ Funster

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    you forgot

    gen power 24/7== s/p if it's sunny:Rofl1:
    genny no hole in roof--s/p hole in roof:Eeek:
    genny on gloomy day lots of power--s/p no power:cry:
    most peeps who have s/p also carry a genny:thumb:
    per watt s/p a loooooooooot more expensive than a genny.:RollEyes:
    how much a 1000watt solar?
    how much a 2000watt genny?
     
  9. JeanLuc

    JeanLuc Funster

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    I have had a generator for nearly two years and have used it only occasionally. I had a 130W solar panel fitted this May and it's great. However, if you want to camp without hookup in the winter in the UK (or further north) a solar panel will not provide sufficient power to recharge your batteries. That's where the generator comes in. If you just want a gennie to charge batteries, a 1KvA model is sufficient (my Honda EU10i provides 900W continuous power). Get a pure sine wave model and you should be able to plug it straight into the EHU socket.

    An inverter is useful whether or not you have a gennie. You don't want to have to run a generator for small 230V loads if you can afford not to. E.g. for charging laptops, running a desktop fan, or powering a TV / Digibox etc. Of course, if you can get 12V versions of these, so much the better - but don't bother with 12V hair dryers, kettles or heaters of any kind; they're next to useless.

    First step in getting more power though is to maximise your battery capacity. 2 x 100 Ah or more is a good starting point. With no extra charging system, you should be able to get two or three night's worth of power at around -5 to -10ºC outside temperature, provided you are sensible with consumption, and that assumes you leave the Truma running at tick-over 24 hours per day.
     
  10. JJ

    JJ Funster

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    I agree with the wisdom shown here...

    I have both...

    The genny is my insurance policy... rarely used but VERY useful when needed...:thumb:

    JJ :Cool:
     
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  11. Hayleylulu

    Hayleylulu

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    JUST LIKE MY WIFE:Rofl1::Rofl1::Rofl1::Rofl1::Rofl1::Rofl1::Rofl1:
     
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  12. maz

    maz Funster

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    I've only been fulltiming 4 months so have limited knowledge, but for what it's worth I also have both solar and a generator. The 85w solar panel is enough to keep the leisure batteries (2 x 110 Ah) topped up nicely most of the time (summer anyway) - I am fairly light usage, mainly the water pump and a 65w laptop, LED lights. The generator (1kW Honda) is my 'security blanket' - don't need to use it often but good to know it's there for when I do! I'm generally off hook-up for around 3 weeks at a time - this combination works well for me. :Smile:
     
  13. bobandjanie

    bobandjanie Funster Life Member

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    Both. The sun does not always shine (and daylight does not quite do the trick unless you have an array like those tilting solar fields in Germany) whereas the generator is instant power.
    They are two different tools, bit like a hand tool and a power tool. That whisk is always there to beat a few eggs but if you want to make a meringue best to get the electric mixer out of the cupboard! Jane :)
     
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  14. JeanLuc

    JeanLuc Funster

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    Alternatively, I guess on a good day, you could fry the eggs on a solar panel but if it's cloudy, put them in a bowl resting on the generator and gently coddle them!
    :Rofl1:
     
  15. chatter

    chatter Read Only Funster

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    We also have both solar and a genny, as stated if the sun shines solar charges if it doesnt there is always the genny, and to be honest i would use the genny if i wanted to use the microwave rather than use an invertor and really drain my batteries, it takes longer to charge the batteries when drained than the annoyance of a few mins of genny power unless of course it was early morning or late night but then i wouldnt be using the microwave at those sort of times.
     
  16. W18BLA

    W18BLA Funster

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    Well i would only have a solar panel for one reason "I keep leaving my aircon unit inverter on when i store the MH and it kills my batteries" :Doh:..

    I bought a generator for the times we are away from hookup, My advice would be if your planning on staying on sites with hookup alot dont bother with solar panels, if you plan on wildcamping solar panels defo..

    If you are only going to use your van away from a hookup for the odd time Generator, Thats what we use and we have no need for Solar and you get peace and quite coz no one will park near you lmao...
     
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