5 Great Reasons to Go Solar this Holiday Season!

5 Great Reasons to Go Solar this Holiday Season!

By Shari Galiardi & David Hutchison
Shari Galiardi & David Hutchison
renogys blog Nov 21st 2023
  1. SAVE A BUNDLE ON COMPONENTS! Over the next few weeks, you’ll find some of thelowest prices of the year on many of Renogy’s most popular components from now until December 3rd. Keep an eye out for some deep discounts during their Black Friday Warm-Up Sale, Flash Sales, and Black Friday & Cyber Monday Sale. Best of all…throughout November…Renogy guarantees that you’ll get the lowest price of the year at renogy.com.
  2. CHASE AWAY THOSE WINTER BLUES! Digging into a challenging DIY solar installation is a great way to brighten your outlook during the cold, dark, winter months ahead.
  3. GET READY FOR NEXT YEAR! Dive into your solar installation NOW and your rig / cabin will be ready for a January ski trip or an early spring RV road trip to some of your bucket list destinations. No need to travel with the hassle of summer crowds or reservations because you’ll be set to boondock with ease.
  4. TURN YOUR GREEN DREAMS INTO REALITY! We know you’ve been talking about wanting to live more sustainably; there’s never been a better time to take charge of your energy consumption and find your energy freedom – and save money on those outrageous electric bills.
  5. REDUCE YOUR 2023 TAX LIABILITY! Did you know that you can write off 30% of the total cost of the solar equipment that you purchase and install this year on your U.S. federal taxes next year? This applies to both first and second homes. Pssst…these homes can roll, float, or be completely stationary, so motorhomes, 5th wheels, vans, travel trailers, buses, and boats all count for this tax incentive .

For over 11 years, we’ve been living, traveling, and working from the road with solar in our little vintage camper named Hamlet. We’ve been lucky enough to explore all 50 states, 10 Canadian provinces, and have visited nearly every U.S. national park and more public lands than we can count…all powered nearly 100% by solar! Throughout each year, you can find us exploring a variety of ecosystems around the continent from the Atlantic Coast to glaciers of Alaska. Whatever environment brings YOU joy, Renogy solar components will power your way forward!

Have we inspired YOU to get your solar DIY groove on? Your timing is spot on! Prices on many customer favorites will soon be dropping like autumn leaves on a chilly November day – EVERYTHING from solar panels and batteries to charge controllers…and even portable gear. In this blog, you’ll find details about many of the Renogy components that will be offered at deep discounts during the 2023 holiday season!

Don’t know where to begin? Our Solar 101 video and Solar Sizing Worksheet will help you calculate your personal energy demands and size your system correctly. For additional inspiration, check out the stories which some of our favorite families and fellow road warriors shared with us recently!

Make Your Home Shine: Solar Panels for your House, RV, & More!

At an off-grid campground the other day we met some folks who were brand new to RVing. They no sooner pulled into their site than they cranked up their gas generator. By 10pm, I was knocking on the door asking if they wouldn’t mind turning it off. Long story short, by the next morning she was asking questions about solar panels, “We’ve got to get solar panels!” If you’re ready to join the quieter crowd, this is your month! But where do you start?

Rigid panels are often what first comes to mind. These robust, monocrystalline rectangles with durable aluminum frames, and a protective layer of glass come in sizes to suit small battery maintainers ( 50W) to commercial solar farms (550W), and everything in between for RV’s, boats, and off-grid homes at 100W, 200W, 320W.

Bifacial panels are among the latest technologies in rigid panel construction, and are up to 30% more efficient than their monofacial predecessors. Instead of simply one side with solar cells, these have two, plus a clear class in between to allow light to pass through and absorb on the back side of the panel. Perfect as an energy producing patio shade cover, but they also work great for RV’s and boats. They are more efficient than traditional rigid panels in RV roof-top, flat installations, and in shaded conditions. This new line has expanded significantly this year, including both 115W and 220W bifacial panels for smaller installations as well as 450W and 550W bifacial options designed for larger on-grid / off-grid homes and solar farms. Watch our “real-world” efficiency test of Renogy’s 220W bifacial panel in this product review video.

Flexible panels have all the same power production capacity as rigid, but with the ability to bend around a curve up to 248 degrees! Without the added frames and glass, the 100W panel is a fraction of the weight at 4.2 pounds and the 175W version weighs in at 6.2 pounds. They are perfect for RV’s with a curved roof line such as Airstreams and T@Bs, as well as the vintage roofline of our 1957 camper as they don’t distract from that mid-century aesthetic. We’ve had 2 x 100W Flex panels for over 3 years now, they work great, and they look like they were installed last week.

Solar Kits Simplify Your Research & Save Time

Solar kits make it even easier to get started with a DIY solar system as many of the panel wires and mounting brackets are included (some even include fuses and Bluetooth modules), and the charge controller is already appropriately sized for the system.

Renogy has a wide variety of kits on sale – from Starter Kits and General Kits in 100W and 200W options, as well as a 400W Premium Kit . For larger installations, check out the Advanced Kit (1.2 kW) which includes the LYCAN 5000 Power Box and the Essential Plus Kit (2.5 kWh) which includes a 48V 3500W Solar Inverter Charger ! If you prefer flexible over rigid panels, 200W and 350WFlexible Panel Kits are also deeply discounted. They are even offering a new Complete Solar Kit which includes 2 x 100Ah AGM batteries ! Check out the chart below for all the options on sale this season.

Solar Suitcases are Perfect for Low Angle Sunlight

If you are interested in an easy “plug and play option” for your next car camping or RV road trip, check out Renogy’s 100W or 200W Foldable Solar Suitcase with a built-in, waterproof, smart PWM charge controller. These panels are made from A+ quality cells and an integrated, corrosion resistant aluminum stand, they store easily as the folding design minimizes their size, and are excellent for capturing the lower angle of light in the mornings and afternoons as well as during the autumn, winter, and spring seasons.

We’ve used our 100W solar suitcase with a 2 x 20ft-10AWG extension cord for many years to stay charged up while our camper is parked in the shade, or for more solar surface area on cloudy days. Even if you have a robust rooftop system, we always highly recommend including this option to RVers so they’ll be set for just about any boondocking or off-grid situation!

All of these panels come with A+ quality cells, a 25-year power output warranty, and industry leading technology! Check out our installation video for more information about how to integrate a solar suitcase into your rooftop solar system set-up.

Time to Upgrade Your Deep Cycle Battery Bank?

There’s simply no reason to chug along with a standard flooded lead acid battery when battery technology has come so far in such a short time. November is the month to upgrade with some of the lowest prices in history!

AGM batteries provide some great benefits over traditional flooded lead acid, including: the ability to store it inside your van or RV (no leakage or off-gassing), multiple installation orientations, greater life cycles, and a wider range of operating temperatures, including better performance at extreme low temperatures. Renogy’s 100Ahand 200Ah AGM batteries are both on sale this holiday season, and are perfect for weekend warriors or those folks who take short road trips and want to boondock for a night or two in their small RV’s or van.

Gel batteries also offer many similar features to AGM, installation options, greater cycles, and more; additionally, Gel batteries have a low discharge rate during long term storage. So if you are looking for a battery to power an off-grid cabin, that will spend many months out of the year in storage, the 200Ah Hybrid Gel battery is a good option.

A Battery Investment that Pays Dividends

If you plan to do longer road trips, or want to live seasonally or even full-time in your rig, or you have a larger, more energy-intensive lifestyle, then Lithium Iron Phosphate (aka LFP or LiFePo4) batteries are definitely the way to go! With LFP, you will enjoy the benefits of Smart technology (Battery Management System - BMS), significantly more life cycles, an 80% safe depth of discharge (only 50% for all other deep cycle battery chemistries), a 10-year life expectancy, and more.

We used the basic 100Ah Smart LFP battery for a few years, and remain super impressed with its performance. It has the integrated Battery Monitor System, and can connect wirelessly to the DC Home App through a BT-2 Module (not included). The 100Ah LFP battery with integrated Bluetooth , will help you skip a step in wireless monitoring, eliminating the need for a separate BT module and/or battery monitor.

Or, you can simply purchase the 12V-100Ah Battery Kit and get all 3 products!

This waterproof version of the Renogy LFP Flagship is also an ideal choice for marine installations.

Since we are full-time RVers and regularly see temperatures from triple digits down to single digits, we were excited to upgrade to Renogy’s 100Ah Self-Heating LFP battery , which overcomes the LFP challenge of charging in near freezing temperatures (all LFP’s will discharge without problems down to -4F). It’s early in the winter and we’ve already witnessed the performance of these self-heaters. Even in the southwest, the icy chill of winter often arrives before Thanksgiving in the mountains. Take advantage of a gift with purchase this holiday season and get the option with the free monitoring screen !

Until recently, LFP batteries could only be connected in parallel, never in series. Now, there’s a whole line-up of CORE LFP batteries that can increase the voltage of a battery bank (series connection) or increase amperage (parallel connection). The 200Ah LFP CORE battery is perfect for anyone wanting to build a higher voltage system. With over 5000 cycles, this battery bank might just outlive your RV!

For those seeking a less complicated installation, but still want a powerful battery, the REGO system is an attractive option. The 400Ah REGO LFP battery is offered at the LOWEST price in history this month! With an integrated Bluetooth, self-heating function, over 6000 cycles, and simple connectivity through Anderson cable connections, much of the work of building a massive battery bank is done for you!

Speaking of higher voltage systems, Renogy has options on sale. 24V batteries in both 25Ah and 50Ah versions offer easy ways to build those higher voltage systems with just one battery. The 48V-50Ah battery is a densely packed power option, at the lowest price in its history. Not only does it offer LFP functionality, with self-heating, over 6000 cycles, but can be expanded up to a 19.kWh capacity. That’s a whole lot of back up power to face nearly any winter storm!

Seeking a comprehensive side-by-side comparison of many of Renogy’s battery styles, options, and sizes? Check out our recent blog for details! **Spoiler Alert: LFP is far cheaper over the long haul!**

Key Components To Make Your System More Efficient

Solar Charge Controllers

Essential to any off-grid system, a charge controller serves as the brain of the system, regulating your solar charge and even boosting it with MPPT technology.

The Rover 60A 12-48V MPPT Charge Controller is perfectly sized to monitor a mid-sized 12V to 48V system with any type of deep cycle battery. With a 60A maximum input, this charger can handle 800W - 3200W of input (depending upon the system’s voltage) from your solar panels at 99% tracking efficiency. The MPPT technology transfers the excess voltage from the panels to boost the charging amps going to your battery (reducing charging time significantly) and has 5 load modes for better load management. This customer favorite is also offered as a kit with the Renogy ONE Corefor cloud-based worldwide monitoring, 24/7 energy analysis on multiple devices, a handy RV leveling feature, and optional Smart accessories for home security and automation.

Additional MPPT charge controllers that are deeply discounted this holiday season include the Rover Li 30A 12-24V and the Rover 40A 12-24V, both packaged as a kit with a Renogy ONE Core monitor. Both of these charge controllers are designed to work with 12-24V systems and are equipped with automatic battery chemistry detection, offer 99% tracking efficiency, and 4-stage safe charging.

Check out our recent blog, Everything you Ever Wanted Know about Charge Controllers, and our video product review of the Renogy ONE Core monitor!

Battery Chargers & Charger Kits

If your off-grid set up has an engine, like an RV, van, or boat, you have the chance to fully recharge a discharged battery through DC to DC charging. There are several models and kits that are on sale this month to make more efficient use of this kind of charge.

The on-board DC to DC chargers, both 30A and 50A options, are designed to take both a solar charge as well as an engine charge input. When the sun angle is low, or rain sets in for more than a couple days, you can still charge up your battery bank using your vehicle’s alternator while driving. Both models feature powerful MPPT boost technology as well BT-2 connectivity for wireless monitoring through the DC Home App or Renogy ONE Core. This month, the 30A and 50A are sold as a kit with a Renogy ONE Core monitor included!

Want to learn how to choose and size a battery charger for your system? Check out this blog and check out our step-by-step installation video for beginners.

Inverters & Inverter Chargers

Want to run all of your normal household appliances while off-grid? Off-grid living and boondocking is a breeze with an inverter that will transfer DC power to AC to run most 120V appliances – and leave the generator at home. Most of Renogy’s Pure Sine Wave 12V inverters are on sale this season, including the 1000Wand 2000W models which are designed to work with any battery chemistry and offer high quality AC power at 90% or more conversion efficiency, under/overvoltage, overload, overheating, and short circuit protection, and remote control operation.

If you are building a large off-grid system and need to run multiple 120V appliances with higher amperage, check out Renogy’s high-end inverter chargers . These inverter chargers are designed to do the job of both an inverter and converter, so you can plug into shore power and recharge your batteries at night or on low solar days.

The 12V 3000W Inverter Charger w/ LCD display, and the REGO 12V-3000W Inverter Charger w/ LCD display and built-in Bluetooth, as well as the 3500W 48V Solar Inverter Charger (designed to complement an on/off-grid solar generator) have comprehensive load/voltage protection and power saving modes.

Learn how to appropriately size an inverter for your system and watch an installation of the REGO Inverter Charger that we helped our friends install in their travel trailer.

Just a Little Solar Curious? Try Some Portable Gear!

If you are just getting into solar, portable gear is a great entry point! This gear ranges from hand-held power banks and portable power stations to powerful (yet lightweight and foldable) solar panels and solar home generators on wheels. Each is designed for different appliances and with energy needs in mind.

Renogy’s new 72000mAh (266Wh) Power Bank is a massive yet portable battery bank with 2 high speed ports – ideal for charging tablets / small laptops and fits easily into a backpack. It can also be used for most CPAP machines and wirelessly charge a smartphone. While designed for everyday charging needs, it is ideal for use on airplanes, long road trips, and overseas traveling.

Portable Power Stations combine 3 of the 4 components of a larger solar powered system and can be charged in a variety of ways – standard household plug, car utility port, or solar panels. Unlike gas powered generators, they give off zero fumes, no noise pollution, are perfect for inside or outside use, and ideal for powering your next camping trip, tailgate party, mobile home office, or during that unexpected power outage. We’ve used our Portable Power Station to keep our laptops, phone, and other small mobile electronics charged up while we are off-grid and away from our camper, and as a back-up to our house system on lower solar days or at night.

Good news…three different Portable Power Stations are on sale this holiday season – including the 200, 500, and 1000 models! The 200 model is small enough to fit into a daypack and is perfect for charging small laptops, tablets, and phones. The 500 and 1000 models are designed with portability in mind, but with enough power to run appliances such as a coffee maker, instant pot, toaster oven, CPAP, crockpot, small electric heater, sound system, desktop computer, and more – making them perfect for unexpected power outages in your home or RV…or even tailgating!

Seeking a portable solar panel that can charge an RV deep cycle battery bank, or complement the 1000W Power Station mentioned above, check out Renogy’s new high efficiency, 400W Foldable Solar Blanket. This durable and easy to use panel weighs in at 26.5 pounds, so it can lay on top of an RV awning, be temporarily mounted on the side/top of your rig, or simply spread out on the picnic table or even the ground.

Taking it up a notch, the Elite Portable Solar Generator is a Portable Power Station with the addition of a small, built-in solar panel. It packs enough punch to power small kitchen appliances or charge large capacity gaming laptops with ease. All contained within a briefcase-sized unit, it is easy to store, carry, and perfect for road trips, or weekend camping or sailing trips!

If you are seeking a powerful home generator that will keep many of your appliances running during a power outage and/or you are planning to build an off-grid home, give the Lycan 5000 a look. With a 5.12kWh battery capacity and 6000 cycles to ensure lasting performance, this unit will provide power during your build AND can power your off-grid home once it’s complete. Built with 4 sturdy wheels and waterproof aluminum housing, you can roll this unit wherever you need power -- both inside and out. This holiday season, the Lycan 5000 is being offered at the lowest price in history!

We tested out this powerful unit and were thoroughly impressed with its quality, design, and performance. Check out our video review for details!

Don’t know which solar generator is best for you? Check out our recent blog which provides more information about the pros and cons .

If you are brand new to solar and looking for some help with unscrambling the terminology of it all, we have some easy to understand resources to help you get started -- from how-to videos and blogs to one-on-one DIY coaching for beginners. As educators, we love to empower people to overcome the challenges of a DIY project! We’ve helped thousands of people across the country design and install their own solar powered system...and there’s nothing like a challenging project to keep your spirits high when the outside temps are dropping below freezing.

In 2012, Shari Galiardi & David Hutchison left behind careers and a comfortable home in North Carolina to travel with the vintage camper trailer they lovingly restored, outfitted with solar, and named "Hamlet." What began as a short break from careers and responsibility quickly turned into a love affair with roadlife. They have parlayed their higher education backgrounds, desire for life-long learning, and thirst for adventure travel into writing, photography, video production, and public speaking gigs from coast to coast. Known to their friends as simply Shari & Hutch, you can learn more about their full-time, solar-powered adventures on their website at freedominacan.com. Or, follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube as “Freedom in a Can, LLC.”

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