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Camp worry-free with solar power

Friday, February 20, 2009

Harnessing the sun's power is fast becoming a trend for homeowners.

But RVers can take advantage of that big ball of gas in the sky, as well. In fact, Doug Grafton, regional manager of Central Canada for Carmanah Technologies, says solar power is the way to go when it comes to recreational vehicles.

"It harnesses sunlight energy and converts it to DC battery current to recharge the 12-volt battery system, which is used on all recreational vehicles," he says.

"A solar panel system can be beneficial on everything from an entry-level tent trailer to a $500,000, top-of-the-line motorhome."

They're cost-effective, as well. Grafton says typical RV solar systems cost between $800 and $1,400, while more elaborate systems for full-time campers may come at a higher price - but, he adds, they're worth every penny.

"Solar power allows campers to stay extended periods of time in national and provincial parks and campgrounds without electrical hookups," he says.

"It removes the worry of running out of 12VDC battery power that runs the creature comforts such as lights, water and heat in the mountain campsites."

And forget the worry about hail damage or wear and tear. When Grafton demonstrates how the solar panels work, he walks on them to showcase their durability.

"The panel is glass-covered, but it is tempered similar to a car windshield," he says.

"It can withstand two-inch hailstones at 60 miles per hour, and it comes with a 25-year output warranty.

"Once you invest in a system, you will have it for as long as you will be RVing."

In fact, those moving up or trading one RV for another can bring their solar system with them. They're easily removed and transferred from vehicle to vehicle.

"It makes the entire camping experience much more worry-free," Grafton says.

"Even an entry-level system will double your typical camping stay without running out of battery power."