Frequently Asked Questions About Solar, Charging Systems and Inverters

If you don't see your question answered here, please contact us for more information.

1. How does solar work with my RV? Solar takes the sun's energy and converts it into DC battery power to charge you RV’s batteries. It is a battery charger that works anytime the sun is out. 


2. What is the difference between DC and AC power? DC (direct current) power is drawn from a battery and will run several types of RV appliances, like lights and water pumps. AC (alternating current), which is drawn out of the wall at home, can be replicated in an RV by using an inverter to convert your DC battery power into AC household power. This is important if you wish to run AC-powered devices such as a TV, hair dryer, or coffee maker.


3. Can I run my TV, refrigerator, or water pump on solar? Many refrigerators in RVs can run on DC propane and AC power. The solar panels will provide power to the batteries, which will allow you to run the fridge on DC power and propane. Solar will also charge the batteries so you can use your water pump. Many TVs run on 120-volt power, so you would require a small inverter to run an AC TV.


4. How long can I run my appliances or electronics on solar? This all depends on how many amps your load consumes per hour and how large your battery bank is. Try using the Go Power! calculator, which will recommend battery bank size for the loads you use.


5. What is the difference between amps, watts and volts?   A gas station is a great analogy to use when talking about Watts, Amps and Volts. Amps are like gallons of gas that fill your RV's battery and Volts can be compared to the pressure at the gas pump - you require a certain volt "pressure" to fill your battery "gas tank". Watts are simply the amps multiplied by the volts.


6. How do I determine how much solar or inverter power I need when I take my RV dry camping? Use our Calculator Tool to add up the devices you use, and our calculator will suggest a system, kit, or inverter.


7. What is the difference between a solar kit and a solar system? Our solar kits contain a solar panel, solar controller, and cables, and are ideal for simply charging your RV battery. A solar system includes more accessories such as an inverter, transfer switch, battery charger, and fuse block, which will allow you to run AC appliances/electronics, charge your battery, and connect both shore and solar power to your RV's breaker panel. Depending on your application, both products will come with all of the components you will need to install solar on your RV, boat, or cottage/cabin.


8. Why do I need a solar controller/regulator? The solar controller prevents the solar panel from overcharging your batteries.


9. Do I need to install an inverter if I only want to charge my boat or RV battery with a solar panel? No, you only require an inverter if you need to convert DC battery power to AC household power to run devices like TVs, tool chargers, and microwaves.


10. What is the difference between a pure sine wave and a modified sine wave inverter? All AC devices are made to run off of pure sine wave power. Modified sine wave is a version of AC power that is trying to replicate AC power, but does not achieve an exact replica of it. Modified sine wave inverters are much less expensive. However, many sensitive electronic devices require the exact replica of AC power that a pure sine wave inverter produces. Examples of devices running poorly on modified sine wave include portable tool chargers, high-end TVs and stereos, CPAP machines, and microwaves.


11. Will solar work in the winter in my state or province? Solar will work anytime it is light out and sunlight is shining on the panel. If there is an accumulation of snow on the panel, it will not work.


12. Do I have to penetrate my roof to install a solar panel system? In many applications, we permanently mount the panels to the roof of your RV, boat, or cottage/cabin without any issue when the proper sealant is used. Our portable solar kits are easily set up on the ground and are not meant to be a permanent option.


13. Where can I buy Go Power! products? You can find one of our certified dealers using our locator map—just select your state or province.


14. How do I install a solar module?  Have a look at our solar installation video or diagram.


15. Why isn't the digital display working on my solar controller/regulator? Most issues with a display can be remedied by doing a hard reset on the controller. This is achieved by unhooking all sources of power from the controller (battery power and solar power) and then re-connecting the battery connections and solar connections.


16. How do I install an inverter? Connect your inverter to a battery using a Go Power! DC installation kit and install the fuse that comes with the kit on the positive battery cable as close to the battery positive as you can. Connect the cables to the inverter first and then to the battery. There may be a small spark when you first make the last connection to the battery, which is perfectly normal (this is the capacitor powering up). On the AC output side, you can simply plug a device directly into the inverter AC outlet, or hardwire the inverter into your application using a Go Power! transfer switch.


17. How do I store my RV solar system in the winter months? Read our step-by-step instructions in our Winterizing Solar page for both cold and warm storing conditions.