TomC - I have to respectfully disagree - you can design an electrical system to not need a generator. I full-time in my MC-7 and have not used a generator over the last year (just recovered about 20cuft of space getting rid of it). Please keep in mind we follow the weather - Summer in WI and Winter in Yuma, AZ. We spend from October till May boon docking in Arizona (Snider Hill, ImperialDam) Nevada (snowbird mesa, boxcar cove and several areas on the north side of lake mead BLM's) Utah (blackrock petroglyphs) and all over in national forest area.
Here are the details of my system - Full disclosure.
Power coming in
My solar system is designed for full time use and we full-time with this setup and never
Solar panels - 4x Canadian Solar 255watt panels (1020 watts in total) fixed mounted at 25 Deg - unirac
Charge Controller - Outback Solar FlexMAX80 (80Amp MPPT)
Inverter - Outback Power FX2012 (12V 2000watt duty rated - 5000watt max)
Batteries - ~1200AH (12x 220AH 6V - wired out to 12V)
Real life numbers
On a good day (sunny) with the air conditioner running we will collect 6000 watts over the course of the day
On a heavily overcast day we may only collect 800watts
On average we collect 3700 watts (over the last 128 days of logging info on my system)
The average is not representative of what we could collect if we used it. Keep in mind MPPT controllers only take what they need to get the batteries full. If the batteries are fully charged and the sun is up it may only take 100watts per hour (of the 1020 available) to float charge the batteries.
Power going out (this is every single electronic device tied to either AC (inverter) or DC and drawing on the solar/batteries.
Lighting - DC - 37.8 watts max (all lights on) - we have normal light fixtures, wired to 12V DC and using 12V DC Screw in bulbs. (9 bulbs times 4.2 watts each = 37.8watts)
Ventilation - DC - 28watts - one fantastic fan - I really need to put one in the bathroom
AirConditioner - AC - 240/1008 watts (960watts x 5% loss at inverter) - 240 watt running the fan and 1008 with fan and condenser - so it alternates while it is on.
Washer/Dryer - AC - 294watts (280watts x5% loss at inverter) - Splendide ventless This is wash cycle only as we don't use the drying feature (the line dry in AZ only takes about 15 minutes
Water pump - DC - 60 to 95watts
Juicer - AC - max 300 watts - I don't have a reading on this one
Blender - AC max 1400 watts - I don't have a reading on this one either
Inverter - DC - 40watts - Many people do not realize in addition to the 5 - 10% loss to push power through the inverter they also have a load of their own
Television - AC - 48watts (5%loss…)
Wireless Antnna/repeater - DC - 12watts - wilson wireless antenna to get cell signal where it is weak
Freezer - DC - 170watts per day - haven't measured it yet
Misc - AC - 600 watts per day average - Phone chargers, laptop chargers, battery charger for tools, outdoor led lights,
Electric blanket - AC - 90 watts max -
Rice cooker - AC - 430 watts - we run this thing at least every other day.
Note the hot water is provided by a solar hot water system and uses no additional electricity (we do have hot water)
Some of the tricks to making it work
-Run high electricity things like the rice cooker and washer when the sun is up - since the DC system is a bus with the solar coming in and batteries connected it will not take nearly as much electricity from the batteries as it would when the sun is down.
-you have to have a DC shunt based meter to actually know what you are using and getting. the meter on the controller, inverter and such are not an accurate measure of what you are using, you have to have a meter watching currant at specific DC shunts.
I think Cliff explained it best - If you take it out you have to put it back in. So it is a basic math problem. If you use 2900 watts per day and can recover that plus a 6 to 10% overhead for charging you may be able to use solar. You also have to account for a few days without sunlight - depending on your location. We have gotten through 15 days without much sunlight. We are willing to adapt our lifestyle to make this many days, we didn't run the washer or use the rice cooker for example.
We seem to use between 1800 and 5800 averaging around 2900 (based on DC shunt measurements made before the freezer was added)
As you can see the roof is covered (about 30% with solar electric panels)
This plc shows the inverter, charge controller and all of the fuses, breakers, disconnects… and the old batteries - I will never buy AGM batteries again.
Again I mean absolutely no disrespect - especially to TomC (thanks again for reaching out to me while I was broke down in Nevada last year).
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
-George Bernard Shaw