Total off-grid solar powered RV

Written by on November 13, 2013 in Gadgets, Videos with 34 Comments

I came across this interesting You Tube video from a guy who calls himself “Master Luke.” It shows a 24 foot cargo trailer that he made into a totally solar-powered RV.

The entire roof of the trailer is covered with solar panels - 3,130  watts worth of them.

And then in the basement he has banks of inverters, chargers, batteries, meters and switches.

solarThe Roadtrek eTrek we drive has a 5,000 watt inverter, a diesel generator and about 250 watts of solar power. But I reckon that we can get more practical RVing use out of our rig than he can with his. That diesel generator charges those batteries very fast and the 250 watt solar panels really help keep the batteries toped off. I suppose if stuck in the woods and the diesel tank runs dry, we’d be pretty limited after a few days but don’t see that as a very likely situation we would be encountering anytime soon.

But, the installation in this video is very impressive and I think it shows how solar is getting more and more viable for many. I think of applying what he has done in this video to a cabin out in the middle of the Michigan Upper Peninsula woods.

And being off-grid is, well, just very cool.

What are your thoughts on this setup?

Here’s a second more in depth video he did on micro inverters, which he briefly shows in the above video.

 



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About the Author

About the Author: Mike is a veteran journalist who, with his wife, Jennifer, and Norweigian Elkhound, Tai, travels North America in a Type B motorhome, blogging about the people, places, joys and frustrations of RV life on the road. He is the official on-the-road reporter for the Family Motor Coach Association. a columnist with Family Motor Coaching Magazine and his Roadtreking reports appear in numerous newspapers and publications. He enjoys camping (obviously), hiking, biking, fitness, photography, video editing and all things dealing with technology. His PC MIke TV reports, on personal technology are distributed weekly to all 215 NBC-TV stations. .

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  1. Martin Lambert says:

    I think I’d prefer your eTrek. But it is interesting.
    I am intrigued by solar and want it on my next RV. Maybe it will be that eTrek you keep showing us, Mike! We’re going to move from a travel trailer to a motorhome. Maybe a C but most likely a Type B.

  2. Terry Wasik says:

    now their is a awesome turtle wax shine …;)
    cheers from cornwall,Ontario canada

  3. Mary Snook Mary Snook says:

    If I bought a new one I would consider it.

  4. Solar powered. I wonder if it operates the engine, too. Wouldn’t that be nice….

  5. Paul Bulgier says:

    The author’s may be more convenient, but he must still buy diesel fuel for the generator, and produce the noise and stink of a generator. The solar is free to use, clean and quiet. :)

  6. Doris Keil-Shamieh says:

    It’s about time!

  7. Sherry Smith Sherry Smith says:

    Now I want to find a totally solar powered boat!!!

  8. Mary Santos says:

    Love it!!
    Who makes these or are they special order??

  9. B Smith says:

    I have seen this video a while ago and it looks and sounds great (oh I am free from mother power system) BUT has anyone looked into the cost of doing what was done in this video? Well I did and the very quick lookup using what was seen and said to use in this video and it is well over $10,000!! When I looked this up and can up with this kind of pricing with the best average with today’s best solar panels you are looking way over 10 yrs. too recoup your money!! I have looked and loved solar since it first became an issue and something to move to in the first big oil crisis of the 70′s and guess what I still do not have anything with solar because the dollars to return still do not work! So when someone can get the pricing closer than a 10 yr. break even I might look into it with more interest, but that time is not here. Now for people looking for basic duty for a couple of days in an rv out in the desert (without a/c use) solar works great but you still are paying a lot of money for the couple of days folks.

  10. Andrew S. says:

    That is a lot of solar!!! I have been intrigued by the idea of solar + fuel cell (Efoy) capabilities combined with Li-Ion batteries. (Similar to–but not quite the same as–current E-trek options)
    I have seen that Mastervolt and Efoy have combined products to offer this Solar + Fuel Cell system with integrated inverter and Li-Ion battery bank (2.5 kWh or even 5.0 kWh!): http://www.mastervolt.com/systems/efoy-mastervolt-advanced-system/
    Combined with an Aux. generator (potentially a regulated Mastervolt series) attached to the Sprinter’s engine, there should be no need to ever plug in! (You will want to carry a Fuel Cell cartridge or two with you . . . )
    Anybody experimenting with this?

    • Jim says:

      I looked into the Efoy and the cost and availability of the fuel are a serious problem, at least in the lower 48. I like the idea, just wish it were affordable.

  11. Barbara Benoit Zabala says:

    Marisa Dolores

  12. Robbie Mingle says:

    Totally off the grid is the way to be that’s all I want to make my motorhome what all the solar panels right on the roof along with my satellite dish lmfao

  13. Donna Mason-Wilson says:

    I want this!

  14. Donna Mason-Wilson says:

    no I will have this!

  15. Tommy Vinson Tommy Vinson says:

    Plans and details please.

  16. Rejean Trudel says:

    I will have that to for Spring…

  17. Fred Showker Fred Showker says:

    Is this the one that will go the full 8-hours or Air Conditioning over night??? That’s the one we’re looking for.

  18. How much weight? Did you have to strengthen the roof at all. Any extra stress while driving highway speeds. Yes that does look great.

  19. Roy King says:

    Ralph Ryan Sean this is our utility hook up

  20. John Tiffin says:

    Full sine wave on the inverters?

  21. Ray Harwood Ray Harwood says:

    can this set up be put on any moto home

  22. Barbara Worley says:

    I like it and would love to have it also. ^_^

  23. Alice Higgins says:

    so cool. never need an outlet again.

  24. Steve Jones Steve Jones says:

    Solar is the way to go

  25. Rita Collins Rita Collins says:

    Seem that I have heard of these, but never saw one!!

  26. Chris Harwood says:

    I don’t think there’s a Class B under all those panels?

  27. Glen Smith says:

    Great idea!

  28. Chris Aloise says:

    Hi Mike, we developed a customized 550 Watt solar roof for the Sprinter. It is available from our US Dealer.

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