Taking to the road in your RV is a feeling like no other, the windows are down, the winds flowing through your hair and you have one heck of a road trip ahead of you. If you're traveling around a large country or continent then the possibilities are endless, you could find yourself by the ocean or halfway up a mountain, you go wherever the wind takes you. Now we are in 2020, technology has developed to such a point where being on the move doesn't mean you have to go without certain luxuries in life. We can develop our RV/camper/van to do just about anything our house can do, with the benefit of having it on wheels. The internet comes with us, along with the television and even your laptop if you fancy doing a bit of work whilst you're away, but that begs the question, how are we going to power all of our kit? When moving the battery should charge things like your phones but if you want that extra bit of juice then why not have a look at solar panels. But are they worth the investment?
What Is It For?
First of all, we should take a look at the real reason for solar panels on a recreational vehicle. It is a common misconception that solar panels are for your main electricity supply when on the move in your beloved camper. What they are actually for is restocking your onboard batteries with juice, ready for when you need it the most. Usually, you will recharge your batteries using an onboard generator but this can be a loud solution to any battery problem, especially when camping near others. Second to that is using your engine's alternator to recharge the batteries which does mean they will charge when you're on the move. With solar, all you need is some UV rays to be beaming down onto your panels.
They're Environmentally Friendly
Being aware of our carbon footprint is something we should all be doing, especially in the age of recycling. Installing solar panels on your roof means that you won't be using gasoline to run your generator and you won't need to run your engine every day if you're staying in the same place for a while. This will reduce the number of emissions you're releasing into the atmosphere, therefore being much better for the environment. That's worth the investment in itself.
How Much Do They Cost?
There are obviously a huge number of different solar panels on offer to the general public, from the reasonably cheap to the more expensive upmarket brands. Depending on what you want from your solar panels will determine how much you're going to spend. The professionals at TheSolarAdvantage.net suggest that you should work out exactly what power you're going to need from your solar panels before making any decisions. Understanding how much power you use in your RV first will make your decision much easier, there's no point in buying the most expensive panels when you're only going to need half their power outage. Roughly speaking you're going to be looking at around $150-350 per solar panel.
Am I Going To Save Money?
The simple answer to this question is yes, you will end up saving money. However, the actual amount of money you're going to save does depend on a few different factors. The amount of time your panels spend in direct sunlight is obviously the biggest issue and despite the fact that UV does come through on cloudy days, it's always better to be broad daylight. The angle of your solar panels also makes a difference, but this is an easy fix when it comes to them being on the top of your camper as the majority of RV solar panels come with stands to hold them up. Finally, the size of your panel will affect how much you'll save. Yes, you're limited to roof space but there's nothing saying you can't fill the top of your van with as many panels as you like.
When it comes to having solar panels on your RV the main thing you'll be saving money on is the fuel it costs to run your generator, which can be rather costly. If you have the money to invest in solar, then I would recommend you do so, be a part of the future.
When we take everything into consideration we can see that overall it's going to be far more beneficial for you to install solar panels on your RV even if it does come with a slightly expensive initial cost. Not only will it save you money in the long run but it's also going to do wonders for the environment, something that should be thought about if you're going to be driving around for years on end!
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Help! My Friend Is a No Show
Dear Armchair Psychologist,
I have a friend who doesn't reply to my messages about meeting for dinner, etc. Although, last week I ran into her at a local restaurant of mine, it has always been awkward to be friends with her. Should I continue our friendship or discontinue it? We've been friends for a total four years and nothing has changed. I don't feel as comfortable with her as my other close friends, and I don't think I'll ever be able to reach that comfort zone in pure friendship.
Dear Sadsies,I am sorry to hear you've been neglected by your friend. You may already have the answer to your question, since you're evaluating the non-existing bond between yourself and your friend. However, I'll gladly affirm to you that a friendship that isn't reciprocated is not a good friendship.
I have had a similar situation with a friend whom I'd grown up with but who was also consistently a very negative person, a true Debby Downer. One day, I just had enough of her criticism and vitriol. I stopped making excuses for her and dumped her. It was a great decision and I haven't looked back. With that in mind, it could be possible that something has changed in your friend's life, but it's insignificant if she isn't responding to you. It's time to dump her and spend your energy where it's appreciated. Don't dwell on this friend. History is not enough to create a lasting bond, it only means just that—you and your friend have history—so let her be history!
- The Armchair Psychologist