Lithium battery prices could fall from $550 per kWh in 2014 to $200 per kWh by 2020. That whopping 65% is one of the results of an energy storage study published by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.
This would be a game changer in the RV environment, by making such a battery bank overall much more affordable, with big technological improvements over lead-acid batteries. Such a quick adoption would equal the current implementation of solar energy, which has been the second-largest source of new electricity generating capacity in the US.
Battery prices will be under big pressure starting 2016 when Elon Musk’s monster factories will go on-line and start producing 500,000 Lithium batteries a year in Nevada. May be just in time for my van conversion!
PREVIOUS: RV Electrical System: Sizing
Now that we have a good understanding of the intricacies of a well-designed electrical/solar system for an RV, it’s time to select the actual components for my upcoming Ford Transit cargo van conversion.
The goal I’m striving for, is a fully electrical, self-sufficient van/RV that can handle a minimum of 5-6 days off the grid. No other power sources such as propane for cooking & heating are considered and average consumption is calculated to be between 80-90 Amps per day.
The heart of the electrical system is the battery bank. Long dominated by lead-acid batteries (first flooded and more recently AGM’s), finally the more appealing Lithium technology is gaining a foothold. With the Continue reading RV Electrical System: My Setup
Sharp will launch its first DC powered air-conditioner later this year. Marketed to the solar home crowd, this and other DC appliances may find their way into your RV.
With the increasing use of solar panels worldwide, manufacturers are beginning to explore more and more DC devices for the home. The major advantage is a further 5%-10% increase of efficiency in locations powered by solar panels.
Ordinarily these panels produce a 12V DC current that is converted into 110V AC, to be used by the home’s appliances, which often convert it back to 12V internally. Each conversion causes a substantial efficiency loss, that can be avoided with these DC-to-DC devices.
The RV Electrical System is structurally different from the solar home, yet these future efficiency improvements will greatly enhance the off-grid lifestyle.
The announcement doesn’t include any specifications of amperage use, which, very likely will be high and in the RV environment, such an air-conditioner may be feasible only in combination with a Lithium battery bank.
Sharp aims to release an air conditioner powered by direct-current (DC) electricity in 2015.
PREVIOUS: RV Electrical System: Batteries & Solar Panels
Sizing the electrical system in your RV means choosing the different components and making sure they work well together, while their relationship in terms of quantity, size and number is well proportioned.
Setting up solar is fairly simple, yet involves many interdependent parts and unless done correctly, will heavily influence the final setup. There is a certain order to the chaos:
- Sizing solar always starts with establishing demand. This is partly an exact science (add amps from appliances), partly guesswork (how often do you use lights, heater, etc.). But try first to minimize demand by replacing old incandescent or even fluorescent lights with highly efficient LED lights. Continue reading RV Electrical System: Sizing
PREVIOUS: RV Electrical System: Design
Central to the system and most visible are the batteries, which have to supply the electricity during the days when a hookup is not available. Two basic types are currently used in RV’s: