Solar Energy Experiences

Hello everyone!

I’m an entrepreneurship student at Northern Michigan University and a student intern at a local accelerator called Innovate Marquette SmartZone. Our focus is on outdoor recreation innovations. Currently, I’m working on a project related to vehicle-attached solar energy. I came across this forum and was curious about the consumer experience with using electricity off-grid. If it’s not too much trouble, could you share your experiences and insights in general?
Additionally, I’d appreciate it if you could answer some questions such as: How did you generate power? How big was your battery setup? What issues did you encounter? What problems did you face with using solar energy? What is something that you wish you had or could change about your van solar setup? Also, what makes you trust a product?

Thank you!


Vehicle attached solar is way over hyped, and usually under performing.

Even the solar guru’s admit to needing their generators on a regular basis.

Solar is just too unreliable, at best it only works well a few hours a day, and at worst it’s basically useless. Depending on the weather for your power needs is an exercise in stupidity, and parking in the sun during the summer amounts to cruel & unusual punishment.

There’s nothing free, cheap, or easy about solar. Countless people are severely injured on a regular basis while attempting to clean their solar panels. Countless more burn their rigs down due to their faulty solar spaghetti wiring. Still more kill their batteries prematurely due to improper solar charging.

Isolator’s are cheap & reliable, and in the long run a generator is cheaper and about 1,000x more useful and reliable than solar, and it can be easily portable as well. A generator can be taken to a job site to power it. It can be used to charge or jump start your battery(s), and is not dependent on the weather.

Solar is the best choice for very few people, regardless of what the promoters want you to believe. Solar can be a good choice to maintain an unused battery, or people with very minimal needs, but even under optimal weather conditions, vehicles have a limited amount of roof space available. It’s not like a house roof, yard, or field you can mount large solar arrays on.


"Simon Says: Don't get suckered into solar." ~ SimonSays

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Thank you for sharing your insights. They are truly helpful!