From the pages of I RVing: Winter 2023

Separate Solar Fact from Fiction RV quiz

See if that super brain is powered by the sun.

Solar panels with photovoltaic (PV) cells catch photons

A. Electromagnetic coils.
B. Tiny baseball gloves.
C. Semiconducting materials like silicone.
D. Mirrors that redirect thermal energy.

A standard solar system includes solar panels, a battery, a charge controller, a power inverter, and

A. A giant, green gas planet.
B. A gateway to the RV multiverse.
C. A Kryptonian photo nucleic amplifier.
D. A power converter and transfer switch.

Solar systems generate less power in colder weather

A. True.
B. False.

RV solar installs provide power in the daytime and at night

A. True.
B. False.

Lithium batteries are required for solar installation

A. True.
B. False.

The function of a battery charge controller is to …

A. Prevent overcharging.
B. Convert DC input to AC output.
C. Preserve the life of your battery.
D. A and C.



  1. Answer: C. Tiny baseball gloves may be the answer of our heart, but they’re out when it comes to converting photons to electrons. Silicone, on the other hand, does. Bonus: Unlike PV cells, concentrating solar-thermal power (CSP) systems use mirrors
  2. Answer: D. As much fun as it would be to say the answer is Uranus or something more Marvelous, it ain’t. That is, unless you think shortening battery charge times and safely separating AC power sources is super. (Like us.)
  3. Answer: B. Light is the key here, not heat. And strangely enough, cold climates are weirdly awesome for solar energy production efficiency— so long as they aren’t covered in snow.
  4. Answer: A. Just because the sunlight shuts off doesn’t mean your power does. Your RV battery is kind of like a gas tank. So long as it has enough amp hours, you’re good to go.
  5. Answer: B. Sure, we love the enhanced efficiency that lithium batteries provide. But while they may be the gold standard, other (cheaper) options might fit your energy needs just fine.
  6. Answer: D. Using either a PWM (pulse width modulated) or a MPPT (maximum power point tracking) controller will not only keep your solar panels from overcharging your battery; it will also help recharge a low battery faster. (Option B is what a power inverter does.)
  7. Answer: A. Pure sine wave inverters provide a higher quality of electric current, similar to what you get on the grid. However, if you’re just turning on a water pump or charging a phone, you’ll be fine with a modified sine wave inverter.

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