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The Ultimate RV Solar Maintenance Guide - Solar Bliss on Wheels

Table of Contents

Buckle up, adventurers! In the realm of RV travel, where the open road meets the great outdoors, there's a silent powerhouse steering the way—your RV solar system. Solar power has been a great enabler of living the off-grid lifestyle, delivering cost-effective, renewable energy. No wonder many RVers are already relying on the sun’s relentless power supply, providing them with convenience and independence on their road trips.

As we dive into the heart of RV solar maintenance, envision your solar system optimized for peak performance. This guide is your ticket to unlocking the full potential of solar bliss on wheels. Let's dive in and discover the secrets to keeping your RV solar system soaring.

How does RV solar work?

Let’s have a quick look at the components of an RV solar system and how they work together to provide your vehicle with energy.

Ensuring optimal RV solar performance

Fortunately, RV solar systems require only minimal maintenance. But consistent care and occasional upgrades ensure that you have power when you need it most. A proactive approach not only helps prevent power outages but also extends the lifespan of your hardware, ensuring you get the maximum output.

When it comes to the health and efficiency of your RV solar system, regular checks and inspections are paramount. This section outlines essential steps to incorporate into your routine to ensure everything is in top-notch condition.

1. Daily System Glance

2. Monthly System Scrutiny

3. Annual Deep Dive

In addition to the above, you may want to consider the occasional professional inspection. Have an expert evaluate the system every few years, assessing the overall condition of your solar system and ensuring it is functioning optimally. Professionals can identify any potential issues and perform maintenance tasks that require specialized expertise.

Cleaning and maintaining RV solar panels

The solar panels are your sleek energy harvesters transforming sunlight into power for your RV. To keep them operating at peak efficiency, a bit of TLC is in order. Over time, dust, sand, and debris can impact the efficiency of your solar setup.

How do I clean my solar panels?

Choosing a Go Power Solar RV Kit helps to keep maintenance at a minimum. However, you can benefit from performance gains by regularly cleaning the solar panels. How often you will need to clean them depends on the circumstances. The reality is that wind will blow off loose particles and dust, so when driving, there is an inherent cleaning effect. The same applies to rain; it washes down the panels, rinsing away dirt that may have built up.

Step-by-step guide for cleaning your solar panels

1. Turning off the system is only required if you disconnect any of the wiring.
2. Clean the solar panels as needed on a bi-annual or monthly basis. Use water and a soft sponge or cloth. A mild, non-abrasive cleanser can be used for more stubborn residue. Rinse well.
3. You may have to clean the panels more frequently during drier months. A pressure washer is not recommended.
4. Use a soft brush to remove snow during the cold months to keep producing power.
5. Clean seasonal substances like pollen or leaves and other tree droppings that may get stuck on the panels.
6. Watch out for bird droppings and clean them off as soon as possible.
7. Check all wire connections to ensure all are still securely attached.

Do flexible panels require different care?

The surface of flexible panels is more delicate than that of rigid panels. It’s advisable to proceed without applying much force. The panels should be cleaned using soap and water, wiping carefully and without using abrasive materials. Do not use scouring pads or other materials that could scrape the surface. Rubbing alcohol can be used to remove tougher grease, sap, etc. Whenever in doubt, consult the manufacturer's recommendations for cleaning and maintenance to comply with warranty provisions.

Solar panel maintenance – Tips for being proactive

Solar panel care extends beyond cleaning. The structural integrity of the installation and the electrical connections will need to be checked periodically. Are there any cracks, missing or broken hardware, or other potential problems?

By implementing these cleaning and maintenance practices, you'll ensure that your solar panels continue to harvest the sun's energy efficiently, providing sustainable power for your RV adventures.


Battery maintenance – Peak performance and extended lifespan

Routine inspections also help with preserving the longevity of RV batteries. Keep an eye out for any indications of corrosion or leaks, and verify that the connections remain clean and securely tightened. Regular monitoring of your batteries’ charge level and voltage will help to detect any potential issues ahead of time.

Watch out for differences between battery types

Lead Acid batteries are likely the stock batteries your RV or trailer came with. Lead acid batteries are the most inexpensive batteries on the market today. They require a vented location, regular maintenance, and are one of the older battery technologies available.

AGM batteries are sealed, do not spill or vent gas, and require very little maintenance. AGM batteries also charge quickly and are more resistant to low temperatures. They are, however, sensitive to overcharging.

Lithium batteries require virtually no maintenance. Advanced Lithium batteries will come with an integrated battery management system. Even though the high performance and long lifecycle come with a higher price tag, many RVers are in love with this type of battery.

Comprehensive battery maintenance checklist

1. Regular Inspections: Conduct routine checks of your batteries to detect any signs of corrosion, leaks, or physical damage.
2. Terminal Maintenance: Ensure that the connections at the terminals are securely tightened. Use a solution of baking soda and water or a wire brush to clean any corrosion. Disconnect the cables, clean the terminals and cable ends, and then reconnect them.
3. Voltage Monitoring: Consistently monitor the voltage of your batteries with a multimeter. This practice helps in identifying potential issues with either the charging system or the batteries themselves. Periodically, perform a capacity test to ascertain the batteries' ability to hold a charge.
4. Charging Best Practices: Regularly charge your batteries, especially if the vehicle is not in use. Consider investing in a battery maintainer to sustain optimal charge levels during periods of storage.
5. Water Level Check (for Lead-Acid Batteries): If you use lead-acid batteries, routinely inspect water levels. Add distilled water as necessary.
6. Timely Replacement: Recognize that batteries have a finite lifespan. If you observe a significant decline in performance or if your batteries are aging, contemplate replacing them.
7. Professional Evaluation: If you are not sure about the condition of your batteries or if an issue persists, seek out a professional service technician for a comprehensive inspection.

Regular checks and consistent maintenance can dramatically extend battery life, in many cases, by 4-5 years. Solar power is a great way to frequently recharge your batteries and contribute to their health.

Solar Inverters 

Inverter and charge controller maintenance

Charge Controllers manage the charging process of your van’s batteries. As an electronic device, they should only require minimal maintenance, often limited to accumulated dust or dirt. They generate heat during operation, so adequate air circulation is required.

Regularly check for software updates with bug fixes and improved functionality to keep your charge controller humming and your batteries safe.

Inverters transform DC from the batteries into AC power. Follow these recommendations for improved efficiency:

1. Check for loose connections, signs of overheating, or physical damage to the inverter.
2. Clean dust and debris to avoid blocked vents, as those cause overheating and reduce efficiency.
3. Make sure there are no obstructions to inverters with cooling fans. A well-ventilated inverter works better and lasts longer.
4. Regularly test the overload protection mechanisms of the inverter to ensure it shuts down safely. Check and test any alarm systems or warning indicators on the inverter for continued safe operation.

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System health in extreme temperatures

In extremely hot weather, components can overheat, with a detrimental effect on performance. Ensure airflow around the solar panels and keep the batteries well ventilated and in the shade. It may be necessary to open access panels to keep the inverter cool.

For winterizing, proceed as follows:

Visit our Support Center for any questions related to the maintenance of your RV solar system.


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Download the RV Solar Resource Guide

Download the RV Solar Resource Guide