Total off-grid solar powered RV

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.


65 thoughts on “Total off-grid solar powered RV”

  1. 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. 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. 🙂

  3. 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.

  4. 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!):
    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?

    1. 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.

  5. 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

  6. Gary Zuckerman

    I operate an 18′ Step Van that is a tool truck. I currently idle the diesel engine for the most part of a 60 hour work week to generate power for the 16 4′ florescent light fixtures and the office related equipment inside Would love to know if going solar is viable rather than having the engine running so much.

  7. I actually have a slightly better set up with a 18′ trailer and 2100 watts solar – its designed to supply 100% solar power for the heating and cooling HVAC system. The insulation is 3 x thicker then a standard RV which makes the trailer 70% more energy efficient. There is a mini split ac – heat pump unit SEER 20 powered by a 2800 watt inverter the solar panels that feed the power to a 16,000 watt 12 volt Lithium power center. The trailer should be able to provide heat to 10F and solar cooling up to 115F. The original concept was tested with a 5,000 Btu window ac and is now being outfitted with the final components to hit the road by end of 2014.

  8. We have been doing this for a few years now, our generator gets used on occasion, just because we have to run it once in a while. We are not full timers though, but have never run out of power. Our fridge is propane run, and we BBQ a lot. We watch movies every night, run the coffee maker in the day, and use what we want. Never any lack of power, even after a 18 day stay, in the woods with a few hours of direct sunlight a day. The panels charge even on cloudy days, or in-direct sunlight. We have 3 panels, 3 6V deep charge batteries. Love this as we are completly independent! Boondocking…YEAH!!!

  9. How much did it cost for you to install these solar panels?
    What kind of maintenance do you do on the panels?

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