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  1. #1
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    Generator vs Solar

    I tried to search the forum for this, but either my search string wasn't correct or it wasn't verbatim to other previous posts. So that is a long way of apologizing if this has been discussed previously.

    I am debating with myself on a reasonable solar install with up to 400 watts of Lithium Batteries. We live in Minnesota and many of the State Parks, State forest and National forest campgrounds do not have eclectic sites, or if they do have some eclectic sites if you don't reserve them the day they come available you wont get one. We would like to be able to camp 1-2 weeks at a time in a location. In addition we do want to boondock/dispersed camp in the future.

    With that as a back ground, for those of you that went solar what were the primary reasons besides it being passive, quiet, and always "on" when the sun is out. For those of you who did a genny, what were your primary reasons besides cost, and simpler operation, (other words no complicated install, etc).

    Thanks in advance for your thoughtful responses.

  2. #2
    Site Team Ynot4me2's Avatar
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    Well first you'll need to determine your power requirements and AH amps hour. When off grid, do you want to run the ac, microwave, TV..... then you'll need to determine your budget. Solar and lifepo4 batteries are expensive off the start but will last a long time. A lot of boondockers will have solar and a geny to top off the batteries. It really depends on your needs, length of time, budget.
    Steph & Lise
    2019 F150 Lariat 2.7 EB
    2020 Imagine XLS 22MLE

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ynot4me2 View Post
    Well first you'll need to determine your power requirements and AH amps hour. When off grid, do you want to run the ac, microwave, TV..... then you'll need to determine your budget. Solar and lifepo4 batteries are expensive off the start but will last a long time. A lot of boondockers will have solar and a geny to top off the batteries. It really depends on your needs, length of time, budget.
    Thanks! I have gone through the math and which is where I came up with the 400ah. (I used Watts above...my mistake) Our needs are moderate. I know this is a bad response, but I am flexible with budget. I am not printing cash at home, but I would rather make a good decision on Solar Vs Geny and then work my way into a reasonable budget.

  4. #4
    Site Team Ynot4me2's Avatar
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    OK now, let's go shopping. Lol. Just kidding. I'd definitely go solar maybe 2 x 150 watt or 4 x 100 watt, lifepo4 (check out the thread on building your own for a fraction of the price) if you go DIY I'd go 2 x 280ah, I'd also carry a small geny 2000 watt inverter for those days where you need to top up.
    Steph & Lise
    2019 F150 Lariat 2.7 EB
    2020 Imagine XLS 22MLE

  5. #5
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    You really need both.
    Location - Wherever the road takes us...Full-timers
    2015 Momentum 380
    2019 Ram Dually

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ynot4me2 View Post
    OK now, let's go shopping. Lol. Just kidding. I'd definitely go solar maybe 2 x 150 watt or 4 x 100 watt, lifepo4 (check out the thread on building your own for a fraction of the price) if you go DIY I'd go 2 x 280ah, I'd also carry a small geny 2000 watt inverter for those days where you need to top up.
    I see you have a 22MLE. That is the unit we have as well. What I hear people indicating is if you have Solar, you still need a small genny for cloudy days or shady locations. That just made the investment bigger. I was hoping it was going to be an "either / or" not an "and".

  7. #7
    Site Team Ynot4me2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lafamaku View Post
    I see you have a 22MLE. That is the unit we have as well. What I hear people indicating is if you have Solar, you still need a small genny for cloudy days or shady locations. That just made the investment bigger. I was hoping it was going to be an "either / or" not an "and".
    It all comes down to your needs, budget and battery bank. The geny is only there if your battery bank gets low. If your battery bank is superior to your needs then no need for a small geny. BTW theres good deals on small 2000 watt inverters. It doesn't have to be a Ferrari or Honda.
    Check out this post from a 22mle member https://www.mygrandrv.com/forum/show...-modest-system
    Steph & Lise
    2019 F150 Lariat 2.7 EB
    2020 Imagine XLS 22MLE

  8. #8
    Site Sponsor bertschb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by el Rojo View Post
    You really need both.
    ^^^ This is what we did. ^^^

    If for some reason the sun doesn't shine for several days (or a week?) in a row, we will use our generator.
    Brian & Kellie
    2020 Solitude 310GK-R, FBP, 1,460w solar, 540ah BBGC3, MORryde IS w/disc brakes
    2020 F-350 Platinum SRW Powerstroke Tremor, 60g TF fuel tank, Hensley BD3-F air bag hitch

    Previous setups:
    2019 Solitude 373FB-R, 2019 F-350 Platinum DRW Powerstroke, Hensley BD5 air bag hitch
    2016 Reflection 318RST, 2016 GMC 3500 Denali SRW Duramax, Hensley BD3 air bag hitch

  9. #9
    Site Sponsor RV Sailor's Avatar
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    Both. We have 600 in solar and a Westinghouse dual fuel 4500 ( $1100) for many cloudy days or air conditioning

    https://www.homedepot.com/p/Westingh...00DF/314515883
    Donna and Dave
    Annapolis, Maryland
    2021 Grand Design Imagine 2500RL / Dodge Ram Longhorn 2500 6.4 Hemi
    350 W Newapower Solar: 3000 Victron Inverter/ Charger: Firefly Oasis carbon foam AGM

  10. #10
    Site Sponsor orbiker's Avatar
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    I agree. BOTH
    It's always good to have backup.

    We have 400ah of lithium battery bank and a Honda 2000. We don't plan to run the ac. KEN
    Backpacker and tent camper all my life, including BSA as a kid and adult. Motorcycle trips with a tent too 1978 to Present.
    2-10-05 - 2002 F350 CC SWD PSD and a new 2003 Citation 10'8S mostly for Crater Lake Ski Patrol.
    2016 Grand Design 380TH as of 10-29-2015. It's HUGE. Update: Traded Momentum for a New 2018 374TH-R Solitude as of 3-16-19
    10-19-18 - traded truck for a 2016 Ram 3500 DRW Laramie Crew Cab 4 X 4 Long Box.

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